Wednesday, October 5, 2016

TWO Years Since Serial's Debut on Audio--Check Out Serial's Best Spin-Offs!

Two years since Serial's audio debut 

On Friday 3rd October 2014, the podcast that became a worldwide cultural phenomenon made its debut. Serial, described by critics as an audio game-changer, gripped the world with its exploration of Adnan Syed’s 1990 conviction for the murder of his former girlfriend, Hay Min Lee. The podcast was downloaded over 20 million times in 2014 alone and went on to win a Peabody Award in 2015. Two years on from Serial, the editors at have selected the best Serial spin-offs and investigatory true-crime, for those who still can’t let go…

1. Adnan's Story: The Case That Inspired the Podcast Phenomenon Serial
Author: Rabia Chaudry
Narrated by: Rabia Chaudry

'The first letter I received after being arrested in 1999 was from Rabia. Since that time until now, she has believed in my innocence and been committed to my exoneration.... There is no one better to help tell my story, and no one that I trust more to tell it, than Rabia.' (Adnan Syed)

Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, always believed him and has never given up the hope that he might someday be released. By 2013, however, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, things looked bleak. That was when Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in the hopes of finding a journalist who would bring greater attention to Adnan's story and might shed new light on the case.

Woven with personal reflections from Adnan himself, and the story of his family, community, and public advocate Chaudry, the audiobook offers new insight into the story that captivated the attention of millions as his legal and investigatory team seek to find out the truth of what really happened on that day in 1999.

2. In The Dark
 Created by APM Reports
 Free on the iTunes store

A podcast about a 27-year child abduction investigation that changed the nation.

Child abductions are rare crimes. And they're typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the
abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, changed how adults parent their kids and led to the nation's sex-offender registries.

3. Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime
 Author: Val McDermid
 Narrated by: Sarah Barron

The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: how they lived, how they died--and who killed them.

Val McDermid uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine with groundbreaking research and her own experience. Along the way you'll wonder at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death and how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer.

4. Undisclosed
Written and narrated by: Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller

The Undisclosed podcast investigates wrongful convictions, and the U.S. criminal justice system, by
taking a closer look at the perpetration of a crime, its investigation, the trial, and ultimate verdict... and finding new evidence that never made it to court.

Series One explores the State of Maryland's case against Adnan Syed. The podcast revisits the case from the beginning, looking at all available evidence - not only what was presented in Serial, but new evidence that we uncovered in the team’s investigation. The podcast is written by three attorneys and as such it delves deeply into the legal side of the case, aiming to get to the truth of what happened on January 13, 1999.

5. The Innocent Man
 Author: John Grisham
 Narrated by: Craig Wasson

In the major league draft of 1971, the first player chosen from the State of Oklahoma was Ron Williamson. When he signed with the Oakland A's, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue his dreams of big league glory.

Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits-drinking, drugs, and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother.
In 1982, a 21-year-old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter was raped and murdered, and for five years the police could not solve the crime. For reasons that were never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with capital murder.

With no physical evidence, the prosecution's case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to death row.

If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.

6. Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony
 Author: Jeff Ashton
 Narrated by: Jeff Ashton
It was the trial that stunned America. On July 5, 2011, nearly three years after her initial arrest, Casey Anthony walked away, virtually scot-free, from one of the most sensational murder trials of all time. She'd been accused of killing her daughter, Caylee, but the trial only left behind more questions: Was she actually innocent? What really happened to Caylee? Was this what justice really looked like?

In Imperfect Justice, prosecutor Jeff Ashton, one of the principal players in the case's drama, sheds light on those questions and much more, telling the behind-the-scenes story of the investigation, the trial, and the now-infamous verdict. Providing an inside account of the case, Ashton, a career prosecutor for the state of Florida, goes where the press and pundits have only speculated, detailing what really happened during the investigation, showing how the prosecution built their case, and explaining how a woman so shrouded in suspicion was proclaimed innocent. Ashton examines what the prosecution got right, what they got wrong, and why he remains completely convinced of Casey Anthony's guilt.

7. Criminal
 Co-created by: Phoebe Judge, Lauren Spohrer, Eric Mennel

Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Hosted by Phoebe Judge, this podcast is just as addictive as Serial, and one that’s sure to get you hooked.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: Blog Tour for In the Garden Room by Tanya Eby

Historical Suspense, Gothic

Date Published: July 18, 2016

Publisher: Blunder Woman Productions


It is Chicago. 1910. Eleven-year-old Lillian March looks over her mother’s dead body with a sense of relief.

As a poor woman, her mother, Cora, never had any real choices or happiness with her life. Cora and Lillian flee to the bustling city of Chicago, where she is certain she will have the life of opulence she deserves.

Cora and Lillian face deep hardships in turn-of-the-century Chicago as Cora’s mind continues its downward spiral. With no money and no hope for income, Cora sells Lillian to The Garden Room, a brothel, where young girls and desperate women are kept like flowers in a jar.

John March comes looking for his daughter and his wife in an attempt to rescue them, but even if he finds them alive, is rescue really possible?

IN THE GARDEN ROOM is an exploration of madness, desire and two women’s choices in a time when they weren’t really allowed to choose.

My Review

In the Garden Room was a welcome reminder that sometimes it’s good to step outside of my usual genre of reading material, and try something a little different! While this novel is historical fiction, which is what I like, it is set in a period of time that I very rarely read about. I was immediately drawn in by Cora’s character. She the beautiful mother, who lives her life thinking about the “what if’s” and dreaming about being anywhere else in the world other than where she is at. She’s in a loveless marriage, which she believes she is too good for, and has a child who is something she considers to just be in her way. She a dreamer and she is naïve, which is the perfect combination for Zeke to take advantage of. She ends up leaving her husband, and dragging her daughter, Lillian along with her to Chicago. Cora has high hopes that she will end up wealthy and worshipped by Zeke, but things turn out nothing like she expected. Lillian loves her father, but now believes he is dead (thanks to her mother). The hard-scrabble city life turns Lillian into something she completely different than what she was when they arrived. Both Cora and Lillian change drastically, and do what it takes to stay alive in a city without mercy. Lillian’s father, John, is alive and well, and is determined to find his daughter and bring her home, but he has no soft feelings towards the wife who turned his life upside down.

It is definitely a darker novel, and it’s easy to get caught up in the strong emotions that each of the characters displays. I definitely felt a little depressed and shocked at times as I read. As a mother, it was difficult for me to imagine ever putting my children in the position that Cora placed Lillian. It is definitely the type of book that is hard to put down once you get into it. I typically read historical fiction that is set prior to the industrialized age, but I am glad that I gave this one a chance. I definitely suggest picking a copy up, you won’t be disappointed! A solid FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!

About the Author

Tanya Eby is a writer and an award-winning audiobook narrator. She has published a variety of novels from romantic comedies to mysteries to dark historical pieces. While her writing crosses genres they all share quirky characters and complicated relationships. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter @Blunder_Woman.

Contact Info






Purchase Links

Friday, September 2, 2016

GUEST POST: One Writer's Dreams by Christy English, Author of Aphrodite's Choice

One Writer’s Dreams

By Christy English

How does a writer go from obsessing about Eleanor of Aquitaine to being possessed by the need to write about a goddess? For any of you who have read my historical fiction novels THE QUEEN’S PAWN or TO BE QUEEN, both of which have Eleanor of Aquitaine as a narrator, you know that it is not that far a leap from queen to goddess. Indeed, I think Eleanor would have enjoyed the comparison.

But as with more than one of my novels, APHRODITE’S CHOICE first came to me in a dream.

During the summer and fall of 2010, I was traveling around the Southeastern US going to book signings and literary festivals to support my first published novel, THE QUEEN’S PAWN. While I did this, I took time out to see friends and family along my route, and I stopped at my godmother’s on my way back to my home base (at the time, that was Wilmington, NC.) We got to talking about books, as we so often do, and she asked me why I had never written a paranormal novel, a genre she loved to read.

I didn’t have an answer for her, other than to say that a character with a paranormal story had never shown up on the doorstep of my mind. If one ever did, I said, I was sure to write it. Because, in my world, the book is always the boss.

That night I slept well, tucked away in her frilly guest bedroom downstairs. And as the early morning light began to creep in at the windows, I dreamed of a goddess of love, of her mortal friends, and of the man who was hunting her.

The first fifty pages of the novel came from my very involved, very detailed dream, pretty much as they appear now in APHRODITE’S CHOICE. While my Aphrodite, or Addy Stanfield as she calls herself in modern Boston in 2016, is an immortal being who came down to earth to offer an aspect of the healing of Divine Grace, she is also a woman. A woman with a perspective out of time, a woman who belongs to all times and places, and to none.

Addy loves her mortal friends, though she knows that she will very likely live long enough to watch them die. She keeps an immortal lover, the war god Ares, who comes into and out of her life on his own whims, and in his own time, often wreaking havoc as he passes through her world. And for the last eight hundred years or more, the same group of men has hunted Addy and her sisters, fellow goddesses who do the work of serving humanity, each in their own way. This group, the Brotherhood of the Light, destroy her sisters when they can, and as the novel opens, Addy discovers that they have found her yet again.

Paranormal thrillers are a lot of fun to read, but before APHRODITE’S CHOICE, I had never written one. She opened my eyes to a whole new world, as each of my characters has, as I pray each new character always will. I am very grateful for that conversation with my godmother, and her off-the-cuff question about paranormal story-telling. My life is infinitely richer for having met and worked with Addy, and I hope that, if you read her story, she enhances your life half as much as she has blessed mine.

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: Blog Tour - Aphrodite's Choice by Christy English

02_Aphrodite's Choice

Aphrodite's Choice by Christy English

Publication Date: May 20, 2016 
eBook; ASIN: B01FZQ80F0 
 Series: The Goddess Diaries #1 Genre: Fantasy/Mythology/Paranormal/Romance

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  Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, still walks the modern world. No longer thronged by worshipers, Aphrodite heals the bodies and souls of the men she touches, one man, one night, at a time. But not everyone thinks of her as a long-dead myth. Someone is stalking her. The men who have hunted her kind as witches for centuries have passed their hatred on to their sons. As she flees her enemies and tries to warn her sisters of the danger facing them once again, Aphrodite is followed by one of the members of the Brotherhood, a man who has been given the task of killing her, and any of her sisters who cross his path. But it does not take her long to discover that Steven Wharton is not a murderer, and his soul is one she has known before. In this paranormal romance, a goddess’s past is brought to life, from the Greek city of Corinth to the shores of the island of Cyprus, at the court of Versailles to the burning city of Persepolis. But it is not until she meets Steve that Aphrodite falls in love for the first time. As she faces an ancient enemy, Aphrodite discovers that the love she feels, not the love she gives, is the root of her soul. And that love might even be the path to her freedom...

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review

I have been a fan of Christy English for several years now, and one of my favorite things about her novels is the seamless way that she is able to weave historical fact and fiction into her stories. “Aphrodite’s Choice” is more of a paranormal romance novel, and less of a historical romance/fiction novel, yet the reader is still transported to the past with Ms. English’s fantastic descriptions and well-researched historical details. As Aphrodite has been around for 9,000 years, her story covers many different periods of history, as well as fascinating places like Versailles, Corinth, Cyprus, etc.

Despite being the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite has somehow avoided truly falling in love during her many, many interactions with members of the opposite sex. That is, until she meets Steven Wharton, who is a danger to more than just her heart. Aphrodite (who goes by Addy in modern times) is faced with the daunting task of not only keeping herself safe from those who want to destroy her, but also to protect her sisters. This novel is full of drama and intrigue, and the author does a great job of creating romance and passion, without it coming across as a tacky bodice-ripper. Paranormal romance is definitely not a genre I would normally read, but I wanted to give it a chance after I discovered that Christy English was the author. There was enough of a historical aspect added to the novel to keep my interest, so in the end I was happy that I gave it a chance. I probably won’t run out and look for another book in this genre, but I enjoyed “Aphrodite’s Choice” enough to give it a FOUR out of FIVE stars!

About the Author

Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in western North Carolina. Please visit her at You can also find Christy on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 29
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, August 30
Review at Luxury Reading
Wednesday, August 31
Review & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, September 1
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review & Guest Post at Historical Fiction Obsession
Friday, September 2
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Monday, September 5
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Tuesday, September 6
Review at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, September 7
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Interview at A Bookish Affair
Excerpt at Buried Under Romance
Thursday, September 8
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Friday, September 9
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne


To win an eBook of Aphrodite's Choice by Christy English, please enter via the Gleam form below. 5 eBooks are up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter. 
– Giveaway is open Internationally. 
– Only one entry per household. 
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. 
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Aphrodite's Choice

04_Aphrodite's Choice_Blog Tour Banner_FINALMytho

Monday, August 29, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY - Blog Tour - Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage

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Days of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy #2) by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Matador eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages 
 Series: The King's Greatest Enemy 
Genre: Historical Fiction 

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   Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France. Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not. Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead. Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

My Review

I am absolutely in love with Anna Belfrage’s novel “Days of Sun & Glory”, which is the second book in The King’s Greatest Enemy Series. It is so well-written and researched, and completely reaches out and grabs and holds the reader’s attention. I wish I had been able to read the first book in the series prior to reading this one, because it’s obvious a lot of interesting adventures happened in that one as well! Although it is the second book in the series, I was able to read it as a standalone. The author did a great job of mentioning certain instances from the first book that helped to explain what was going on as I read the second.

Kit and Adam de Guirande are perfect. Perfect for each other, perfect foils for other characters in the book, and just perfectly written by an author who obviously put a lot of time and research into creating such an interesting pair. The action is pretty much non-stop throughout this book, and while the author uses creative license, she still sticks with historical figures and details that are specific to the time period. The way Despenser, Mortimer, Queen Isabella, and King Edward II are described really rang true to me. I feel like the author captured their personalities perfectly, and honestly, the way she described them is the way I have always pictured them to be like as I read other books of this time period.

I am already looking into getting the first novel in the series, and then any that follow. I also saw that Anna Belfrage has a series about a family called the Grahams, so I hope to get the first book in that series as well! I’m the type of reader who finds an author I really like, and then reads everything by them that I can get my hands on! This is one of those authors! I definitely recommend this novel/series to fans of historical fiction. It’s packed full of adventure, intrigue, romance, and betrayal, and definitely a page turner until the very end! Definitely a FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!

About the Author

03_Annna_Belfrage 2015Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours. When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape. Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters. Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling. The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016. Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 29
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, August 30
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Wednesday, August 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, September 1
Review at Lampshade Reader
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Friday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, September 5
Review at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, September 6
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, September 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, September 8
Interview at Books and Benches
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, September 9
Review at A Holland Reads
Monday, September 12
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, September 14
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, September 15
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review
Monday, September 19
Review at A Book Drunkard
Tuesday, September 20
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, September 21
Review at It's a Mad Mad World
Friday, September 23
Review at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Monday, September 26
Review at Diana's Book Reviews
Tuesday, September 27
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
Thursday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings


To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.


 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. 
– Only one entry per household. 
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
 – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 

04_Days of Sun and Glory_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BOOK TOUR & GIVEAWAY - With Excerpt & Guest Post by Bethany Swafford Author of "A Chaotic Courtship"

Title: A Chaotic Courtship
Author: Bethany Swafford
Genre: Historical Fiction


Twenty year old Diana Forester, a country bred young woman fears that her inexperience and uncertainties has driven Mr. John Richfield away. On arriving back home from London, she learns that he is already there, ready to continue their acquaintance. If Diana thought that it was difficult in London, courting takes on a whole new aspect when Diana's younger siblings become involved. She finds herself dealing with her own feelings, her sister, her younger brother, jealous members of a house party, a jilted suitor, and a highwayman as she falls in love with the charming Mr. Richfield.

Guest Post

First of all, I’d like to say I’m honored to be a guest here today. I make no claims at being an expert of the Regency era, or a historian. I can only offer my own opinion based on what I have learned from my research.

Many Regency based novels feature daring ladies, either with a title of their own, breathtaking beauty, or the wealth to grant them entry into the highest level of society. An official coming out, with balls and soirees, vouchers to Almack’s, all with the aim of marrying well. But what about a well born woman from a more humble background?

From infancy, a girl would be trained to manage a household. Likely, due to her family’s circumstances, this practical training, along with accomplishments such of a musical or artistic nature, would come from her mother. Once she reached the age of about seventeen, a young woman ought to have been ready to move on to the next stage in her life: marriage.

Of course, meeting an eligible man could present a bit of a problem. Being raised in a small community, young lady might be required to seek such a man elsewhere. Spending a season in London would have been near impossible. She would have to rely on an invitation from family members to visit new places where she would have the opportunity to expand her circle of acquaintance.

In a time when men held all the power, a woman really only had one right: she could accept or refuse a gentleman’s offer of marriage. This would not be a simple decision for her. After all, this was a decision that would set the course for her entire future. Not to mention, how the expectations of her family and friends would be a strong motivator for her.

Still, a young lady with patience could find love, if she kept her wits about her and took advantage of every opportunity presented to her.

Book Excerpt

“I thought you’d never get here!” Sarah said, ignoring my question completely as she spun to face me. I frowned at her as I put my outside garments away. She seemed highly agitated, a state which I had seldom seen her in. “Diana, I must speak with you!”

“About what?” I asked calmly.

Sarah took up pacing, and for a moment I believed she wasn’t going to continue with whatever she wanted to say. “You must listen to me for once in your life!” she finally said, as
though I had been disagreeable.

Sinking onto our bed, I tried to hide a smile. “Then come out and tell me what has you in such a state.”
“I think Mr. Richfield is the highwayman!”

My smile faded instantly as I stared at her. How had she come up with this ridiculous idea? “You what?” I asked in astonishment.

“There, I’ve said it!” Sarah collapsed into the chair at the dressing table. “I’ve considered the matter carefully, Diana, and as your sister, I could not let you become attached to such a black-hearted criminal!”

I couldn’t help but laugh in response to that absurd notion. “Blackhearted criminal? You cannot be serious, Sarah. I have never heard anything so outlandish. Have you been reading my novels?”

“Diana, I am being completely serious! Stop laughing!”

“How can I take you seriously when everything you say is utter nonsense? Why would you possibly think Mr. Richfield, a true gentleman if I’ve ever met one, is a common criminal?”

Sarah leaned forward, her eyes wide. “Don’t you remember what Aunt Forester said at dinner yesterday?” she asked, lowering her voice for some reason. She acted like she was about to disclose some deep secret to me, and I found myself leaning closer. “About the highwayman being around the Bath area?”

Thinking back, I did in fact remember the conversation and our aunt’s comment. “Yes, of course I remember. What about it?”

“Mr. Richfield was there!”

I failed to follow her line of reasoning. “I’m sure a great many people were in Bath at the same time, Sarah. Aunt and Uncle Forester, for example, were there for two months, I believe.”

Shaking her head, Sarah groaned. “Don’t be obtuse, Diana! You have to see the connection here. Mr. Richfield was in Bath when a highwayman terrorized innocent people. And now, he’s here, where a highwayman has mysteriously appeared to threaten our peaceful home!”

Author Bio

For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors is Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer. When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand. In her spare time, Bethany reviews books for a book site called More Than A Review.

Author's Links





Giving away a PDF copy of A Chaotic Courtship!

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Monday, August 15, 2016

REVIEW, GIVEAWAY, & EXCERPT - Blog Tour: Rebel of Ross by Mary Lancaster

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Rebel of Ross by Mary Lancaster

Publication Date: July 31, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 340 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance/Medieval

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Scotland, 1156.

Malcolm MacHeth, one time Earl of Ross, languishes a prisoner in Roxburgh Castle while his sons raise rebellion in his name. Optimistically, the King of Scots promises the earldom of Ross to landless Norman knight, Sir William de Lanson, if he can somehow defeat the infamous MacHeths.

It wasn’t quite how William’s disgraced wife Christian dreamed of coming home. Capture by the strange and ferocious Adam MacHeth was hardly part of her plan either, although she and William quickly become pawns in his.

Adam, warrior and seer, fights for his father’s freedom and for his family’s right to claim the kingdom of the Scots. Plagued by waking dreams which threaten his sanity and his life, he’s learned to use his prophecies to further his family’s goals. But when he abducts his enemy’s lady, his dreams and his desires are suddenly more personal.

Surrounded by intrigue, ambition and betrayal, Christian must choose between loyalty and love in order to keep a fragile peace for her people and for the man she loves beyond all reason.

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My Review

Rebel of Ross by Mary Lancaster was an interesting look into Scotland during the early 12th century. The author did an amazing job of bringing this era to life for the reader, and obviously a lot of research was done. Of course, it probably helps that she is Scottish herself!

I admired the main female character, Christian de Lanson. She is in a loveless marriage, and has a facial disfigurement, but despite this, she is strong and passionate. She is captured by Adam MacHeth, who is on a mission to free his father, who has been imprisoned since he was very young, and then to help him take back Scotland’s throne. Adam and Christian end up having an inexplicable connection between one another, and fate keeps throwing them together time and again. They are obviously on opposite sides when it comes to who they are loyal to, so they have to find out which side they stand on if they are ever to find a way to be together.

I love the time period that this novel is set in. Not only am I a huge fan of novels about Scotland’s history, but I also try to read as much about England’s King Henry II as possible. The fact that this novel includes both elements grabbed my attention right away. The author did a great job of portraying the events and individuals of this specific time period, all while staying as true to history as possible. As it was so long ago, much of the history of this time is either lost or is very one-sided.

There are a lot of characters that have pretty large parts in this book, and at times it does get a little confusing, especially at the beginning. I was a bit lost in the first chapter or so. Once the action picked up, I was hooked, and ended up really enjoying it. I would definitely recommend it for historical fiction fans who enjoy a bit of a love story! I give it a FOUR out of FIVE stars!

About the Author

03_Mary LancasterMary Lancaster's first love was historical fiction. Since then she has grown to love coffee, chocolate, red wine and black and white films - simultaneously where possible. She hates housework.

As a direct consequence of the first love, she studied history at St. Andrews University, after which she worked variously as editorial assistant, researcher and librarian. Although she has always written stories for her own entertainment, she began to make serious efforts toward publication in order to distract herself from a job she disliked. She now writes full time at her seaside home in Scotland, which she shares with her husband and three children.

Mary is the author of three historical novels:
An Endless Exile - the story of Hereward, 11th century outlaw hero
A World to Win - a Scottish governess finds love in revolutionary Hungary
A Prince to be Feared: the love story of Vlad Dracula

Mary loves to hear from readers. You can email her at, and connect on Facebook. Find out more about Mary and her books at

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 8
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, August 9
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at Books and Benches

Wednesday, August 10
Excerpt at The Reading Queen
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Thursday, August 11
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Friday, August 12
Review at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, August 13
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, August 15
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review & Excerpt at Historical Fiction Obsession


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Rebel of Ross

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