Sunday, June 14, 2015

CHILDREN'S BOOKS: Corner 33 Bear Books-Five Wonderful Children's Books About a Bear by TC LiFonti & Charles Tillman




I decided to switch it up a little this Sunday morning, and host a review for five amazing children's books by TC LiFonti & Charles Tillman. They are adorable books, and they support a great cause! I have a children's book blog as well as this blog, which is geared more towards historical fiction, obviously (lol). Anyways, I am posting here, because I have more followers, but I also plan to post at my children's book blog: My Twins Hid My Book...Again 
I'm sure a lot of my followers have children, so enjoy! :)


Story Summaries

• The Story of Snowy Bear and the Lost Scarf 

When Snowy wakes up and sees the snow falling outside, he rushes to get dressed in order to run outside and play.  However, as he cannot find his scarf, which he needs before he can go out, he tears apart his room in frustration instead of taking a moment to listen to his mother and consider what he may have done with it.

• The Story of Pirate Bear and the Treasure Hunt

As Pirate Bear heads to the community treasure hunt at Unity Park, he makes the decision to “hunt” by himself instead of with a team because he wants the grand prize for himself.  As his friends and parents try to convince him to be part of a team and work with others, his greed gets the best of him and he goes at it alone.  Throughout, Pirate slowly discovers the disadvantages and loneliness of not being part of a team and working with others.

• The Story of Beach Bear and the Sandcastle

Early in the morning, Beach Bear begins the construction of his dream sandcastle.  And, as the day moves on and the tide rolls in, he is unaware of what can happen to his sandcastle as he rushes off to bring back Mama Bear to show her.  One of the greatest lessons Mama Bear helps her son realize is the importance of what one does and the memories that it brings back.

• The Story of Scary Bear and the Pumpkin Patch

While waiting for Papa Bear to come home so that they can go to the pumpkin patch for their Halloween pumpkin, Scary falls asleep and dreams what he thinks is reality.  By the end, Scary learns the importance of listening and staying close to his father, especially in unfamiliar places.

• The Story of Lovie Bear and the Valentine’s Day Card


For Valentine’s Day, Lovie Bear wants so desperately to give his one valentine a card; however, when the moment comes to do so, he does not have the confidence to follow through.  By the end of the school day, Lovie begins to understand how many people have the same fears and that having the smallest amount of courage can open the doors to greater opportunities.

My Review


A publicist from Publishing Push reached out to me after coming across my children’s book review blog, My Twins Hit My Book…Again, and asked if I might be interested in reviewing a set of five children’s books about a bear co-authored by TC LiFonti, and former professional football player, Charles Tillman. To be honest, it had been so long since I had done a review on my children’s book blog that I had kind of forgotten about it. I didn’t begin it at the best time for myself, as I was just getting ready to go back to school for my second master’s degree, and did not have the time to keep up with it. Anyways, there are five different books; The Story of Snowy Bear and the Lost Scarf, The Story of Pirate Bear and the Treasure Hunt, The Story of Beach Bear and the Sandcastle, The Story of Scary Bear and the Pumpkin Patch, The Story of Lovie Bear and the Valentine’s Day Card. In each book the young, white bear makes and innocent, but wrong, choice, but with the help of his ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ bear, he is able to grow and learn a lesson from his mistake. The different ‘mistakes’ that the bear makes are all relevant to young children around the ages 3-8. They include lessons like learning to stay close to an adult in places you are not familiar with, learning how to get over your fears, why it’s better to be working as part of a team rather than along, as well as a couple other great lessons for young children to learn.

I read all five of these books to my two year old, identical twin boys over the period of a day. I’m actually attempting to potty train them, so in order to keep the boys entertained and sitting on the potty for longer than usual, I read these books to them! They loved them! They both were completely engrossed in the books as I read them, the one on the potty obviously was there, but the other one came and sat right down beside him so that he could hear the story, too! Then, later on it was his turn to get the training, so I read the books to him, and even though it was his second time, he was still loving the books, and his twin came over and sat right down and wanted to hear the books over again as well! 

I work as a Therapeutic Staff Support (aka Wraparound) for a 13 year old girl who is on the severe side of the Autism Spectrum. She is also 50% deaf in both ears. It is difficult to work with her, because she is nonverbal, and she can also be aggressive at times, but she can also be a sweetheart. One of the things that she does enjoy doing during her sessions with me, is being read to. There were only a couple books at her house to read, so I brought these books over, and showed the five different books to her, and her face lit up! She was SO excited! She rarely says anything, but after I went through the books and said the names, she immediately picked out "The Story of Scary Bear and the Pumpkin Patch", and said "Scary Bear!" She listened intently, and wanted "Lovie Bear" next! 


So, I can say from experience that these books are entertaining for the little ones, and then for the kids that are a little older, not only are they interesting books, but they also have a great message. These books definitely come highly recommended from me, and I honestly can’t say enough good things about them. When you look at the prices on amazon.com, they do look pricey, BUT, you have to remember that 66% of the proceeds are going towards helping/assisting those in need in the Chicago area, and this includes children! If you have small children, these are adorable books to add to their little library. Definitely a FIVE out of FIVE rating from me!


Inspiration


Each of the five books provides not only situations that children will find familiar, but each story also provides the presence of parents to help guide their child as he works through situations and ultimately finds a greater understanding and/or appreciation for the moments and obstacles that he faces.

Truly, one of the greatest attributes to these books is how the parent/s deal with the child and try to help him understand the world around him while also allowing him to make his own decisions, possibly failing, before calmly helping him recognize better ways to approach situations.

The impact that a parent can have on his or her child’s life is immeasurable; therefore, each book is impacted by these interactions and the responses that follow.

We do hope that you enjoy each story.


About the Authors

TC LiFonti, an educator and coach, has co-authored five children’s books with Charles Tillman, co-founder of the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation.  Through the sale of these books, the intention is to help make an impact on people in the Chicago-land area in need of help and/or assistance.  Each hopes that these books help the Cornerstone Foundation raise awareness and financially help to better assist the foundation and those impacted by its efforts.

Charles “Peanut” Tillman is an All-Pro corner-back for the Carolina Panthers, formerly of the Chicago Bears, and heads the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation.  Charles is a very strong philanthropic figure throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois where he is always working to help enrich the lives of those around him and in need.  Additionally, since 2005, Charles Tillman’s charitable efforts have impacted the lives of over one million Chicago-area children.

For the 2013 NFL season, Charles was named the “NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year” for his philanthropic work off of the field and through his charitable foundation.  You can visit his foundation’s page via the link on the home page or at: www.charlestillman.org

One Forty-Two Productions LLC, in partnership with the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, is donating 60-percent of all earnings from each of the five children’s books back to the foundation and its efforts to continually help those in need.
Gabrielle Esposito is the illustrator for each of the five books.  Please take a moment to look at her art on either of her two sites.  Her personal website: http://gabrielleesposito.weebly.com/   –facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GabrielleEspositoArt


Purchase a Book



All books can be purchased via amazon or createspace and all titles are available in Spanish.  REMEMBER: sixty-percent of all profits directly benefit the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation!





Monday, June 1, 2015

GIVEAWAY & SPOTLIGHT: The Gisburn Witch: A Witches of Pendle Novel by Sarah L. King





Publication Date-June 1st--(paperback version to follow!)
Genre--Historical Fiction


Blurb:

A tragic tale of friendship, passion and betrayal set against the backdrop of the Pendle witch trials of 1612, one of the most famous witch trials in English history.

Scandalised as a young woman after being accused of seducing Tom Lister, a gentleman’s son, Jennet Preston’s life is filled with shame and hardship. An outcast in her own village, she befriends the Device family in Blacko, and she is quickly embroiled in their world of folk magic and superstition, of old family feuds and dangerous reputations.

When fate intervenes to reunite her with Tom, Jennet risks everything for love and happiness, but when tragedy strikes Jennet finds that she is vulnerable to accusations for which she could pay the ultimate price. The Gisburn Witch is a novel about falling in love with the wrong person, making the wrong friends, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


The Gisburn Witch is Available At:



Author profile:

Sarah L King has always loved writing and as a youth she flirted with poetry, some of which was published. In addition, she has always loved History which led to her obtaining a 1st Class Honours degree in the subject from Lancaster University. Now, with her first novel, The Gisburn Witch she has begun a new journey to merge her two passions together and bring some new, interesting Historical Fiction to the world.

Born in Nottinghamshire, England, Sarah has lived in several places but now resides in West Lothian, Scotland with her husband and two children. Her days are filled with trying to juggle her time between writing, working, and looking after her children.

Subscribe to her Blog: http://www.sarahlking.com/
Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sarahkingauthor



The Author is giving away ONE eBook Copy of The Gisburn Witch (eBook format of your choice!)


Saturday, May 30, 2015

BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, & GIVEAWAY: Phoenix Rising by Hunter S. Jones

02_Phoenix Rising_Cover

Publication Date: May 19, 2015 
MadeGlobal Publishing 
eBook; ASIN: B00X806742
Genre: Historical Fiction


Add to GR Button

The last hour of Anne Boleyn's life... Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny's stage. A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Château Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction. Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment... the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.


My Review

I have to say, I was partial to Phoenix Rising before I even started to read it due to the fact that I have been fascinated with Anne Boleyn since I was probably 10 years old and read a book about her life.

I enjoyed reading this book, and especially how different it was from the majority of Tudor books out there. It was a little confusing to me at first, and I admit, I skipped through some of the old letters and writings that were in the book, but as I got a little further in, I began to enjoy it more. I began to see what the author was actually doing with the star chart that had 12 sections, which Madam Bliant had foretold. It became more apparent that each of the 12 sections was a different person’s point of view, who was a part of Anne’s “circle”. It was interesting to see the different points of view of basically how Anne had ended up where she was currently at—waiting for the hour of her execution, ordered by the man who had once loved her so much he changed the world in order to marry her.


Overall, great writing style, clear and precise with good descriptions and definitely a lot of creativity and originality! I wish I had been able to feel more connected to the characters, but with a novella, it’s a little harder. I give this novel a FOUR out of FIVE stars.

Praise for Phoenix Rising

"Compelling, captivating and moving." Claire Ridgway, The Anne Boleyn Files "Thought provoking, esoteric and heart wrenching." - R.J.Askew, blogger, reviewer, author and journalist

Phoenix Rising Available at

Amazon

About the Author

03_Hunter S. Jones_AuthorDeb Hunter publishes as Hunter S. Jones. Her best-selling novel, "September Ends" won awards for Best Independently Published Novel and Best Romance, based on its unique blending of poetry and prose. Her story "The Fortune Series" received best-selling status on Amazon in the Cultural Heritage and Historical Fiction categories. She has been published by H3O Eco mag, LuxeCrush, Chattanooga Times-Free Press, and is now a freelance contributor for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She has recently been accepted into the prestigious Rivendell Writers Colony. Her arts, music and culture blogs on ExpatsPost.com are filled with eclectic stories regarding music, writing, the arts and climate awareness. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband. Her undergrad degree is in History with an emphasis on the English Renaissance and Reformation. For more information please visit Hunter S. Jones' website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Phoenix Rising Blog Tour

Tuesday, May 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, May 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Anne Boleyn Files
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, May 21
Review at Book Drunkard
Friday, May 22
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Saturday, May 23
Spotlight at Curling up by the Fire
Monday, May 25
Review at JulzReads
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, May 26
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, May 27
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at The Readers Hollow
Thursday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings
Friday, May 29
Review at The Reading Queen
Saturday, May 30
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Beth's Book Nook Blog
Sunday, May 31
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight at Unshelfish


Giving away ONE Paperback Copy Of PHOENIX RISING!

US Entrants ONLY!

Giveaway ENDS June 12th!



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Friday, May 15, 2015

BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, & GIVEAWAY: A Pledge of Better Times by Margaret Porter

01_A Pledge of Better Times Cover

Publication Date: April 14, 2015 
Gallica Press Formats: eBook, Paperback 
ISBN: 978-0-9907420-4-3 
Pages: 400 
 Genre: Historical Fiction

  Add to GR Button 


 A sweeping tale of ambition, treachery, and passion... For generations Lady Diana de Vere’s family loyally served England’s crown. But after King Charles II’s untimely death, her father firmly opposes James II’s tyranny. Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans—the late king’s bastard son by actress Nell Gwyn—also rebels against his newly crowned uncle's manipulation. Secretly pledging to wed Diana, he departs for the Continent to become a soldier. Political and religious turmoil bring about revolution and yet another coronation before Charles returns to claim his promised bride. As companion to Queen Mary II, Diana has followed her de Vere forbears into royal service. She expects Charles to abandon his military career after marriage, but he proves unwilling to join the ranks of the courtiers he despises and mistrusts. In palace corridors and within their own household the young duke and duchess confront betrayals, scandals, and tragedies that threaten to divide them. And neither the privileges of birth nor proximity to the throne can ensure their security, their advancement—or their happiness.


MY REVIEW


A Pledge of Better Times by Margaret Porter was able to take me to a time in history that I have rarely travelled before. There have been a couple books that I have read where King Charles was mentioned, mostly the books were about his mistress Nell Gywn, Barbara Palmer, and Louise de Kerouaille ( who was not well-liked by the people of England). He was always part of the books about his mistresses of course, but the main part would be about their lives, and their drama and competiveness with the other mistresses who also ruled a large part of his life. This novel gives the readers an idea of who he is and how he interacted with his multiple children by his mistresses, although it’s short, because he dies shortly into the book, but it’s enough to get an idea of possibly what he was like, and how he treated his sons. The reader also is able to see and in depth portrayal of the succession of King Charles II’s brother, King James II, and then his daughter, who ended up marrying Prince William of Orange.


The author did a great job researching this novel and putting it together in a well thought out manner. It definitely is obvious that a lot of time was put into researching and writing this book. My only issues are that I often was confused with the wealth of different names that were used in the book. Some characters were called by more than one name, and it took me a little while to even figure that out, so by the time I realized that one character was being called two different things in the book, I had lost some of the information or meaning. Also, while it was a well written book, and I do believe that fans of historical fiction, especially fans of England’s historical fiction, will enjoy this book, it is a little dry at times. I liked it well enough, but to be honest, there are other books on my list that I would rather be reading. I would give this novel a FOUR out of FIVE stars.


Praise for A Pledge of Better Times

“Meticulously researched and offering an impressive cast of real life characters brought to vibrant life, A Pledge of Better Times expertly captures the drama, passions, politics and religious turmoil of England at the turn of the 18th century. Margaret Porter crafts her story with exquisite detail, transporting the reader into a world full of intrigue, scandal, and breathtaking danger . . . a masterful writer.” - Award-winning author M. Reed McCall 

“With elegant prose and vivid detail, A Pledge of Better Times sweeps you into late Stuart England, transforming the lesser known adversities and triumphs of Lady Diana de Vere and Charles Beauclerk into a beautiful love story you won’t forget.” - Marci Jefferson, author of Enchantress of Paris and Girl on the Golden Coin 

“A portrait of Diana de Vere as rich as the portraits that grace British museums and palaces.” - Christy K Robinson, author of Mary Dyer Illuminated 

“The sparkling, dangerous, enticing post-Restoration period comes to vivid life! Porter gives us a wonderful, complicated heroine in Diana, drawing us deep into her world . . . . I couldn’t stop reading!” - Amanda Carmack, author of Murder in the Queen’s Garden: An Elizabethan Mystery


Official Book Trailer





02_Margaret Porter Author PhotoAbout the Author


Margaret Porter is an award-winning, bestselling novelist whose lifelong study of British history inspires her fiction and her travels. A former stage actress, she has also worked in film, television, and radio. For more information please visit Margaret Porter's website. You can also find her on Facebook here and here, and on Twitter.



A Pledge of Better Times Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 4
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Spotlight & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf
Tuesday, May 5
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews
Wednesday, May 6
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, May 7
Review at Book Drunkard
Friday, May 8
Review at Books and Benches
Sunday, May 10
Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, May 11
Review at Reading the Past
Tuesday, May 12
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, May 13
Guest Post at Book Babe
Thursday, May 14
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Friday, May 15
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession



ONE Paperback OR Ebook Copy (YOUR Choice!) of Margaret Porter's A Pledge of Better Times!!

Rules:
-Only one entry per household
-Must be 18 or older
-US entries only





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Friday, April 17, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig



Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (October 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451643535


BLURB

Authorized by the Margaret Mitchell Estate, here is the first-ever prequel to one of the most beloved and bestselling novels of all time, Gone with the Wind. The critically acclaimed author ofRhett Butler’s People magnificently recounts the life of Mammy, one of literature’s greatest supporting characters, from her days as a slave girl to the outbreak of the Civil War.

“Her story began with a miracle.” On the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue, an island consumed by the flames of revolution, a senseless attack leaves only one survivor—an infant girl. She falls into the hands of two French émigrés, Henri and Solange Fournier, who take the beautiful child they call Ruth to the bustling American city of Savannah.

What follows is the sweeping tale of Ruth’s life as shaped by her strong-willed mistress and other larger-than-life personalities she encounters in the South: Jehu Glen, a free black man with whom Ruth falls madly in love; the shabbily genteel family that first hires Ruth as Mammy; Solange’s daughter Ellen and the rough Irishman, Gerald O’Hara, whom Ellen chooses to marry; the Butler family of Charleston and their shocking connection to Mammy Ruth; and finally Scarlett O’Hara—the irrepressible Southern belle Mammy raises from birth. As we witness the difficult coming of age felt by three generations of women, gifted storyteller Donald McCaig reveals a portrait of Mammy that is both nuanced and poignant, at once a proud woman and a captive, and a strict disciplinarian who has never experienced freedom herself. But despite the cruelties of a world that has decreed her a slave, Mammy endures, a rock in the river of time. She loves with a ferocity that would astonish those around her if they knew it. And she holds tight even to those who have been lost in the ravages of her days.

Set against the backdrop of the South from the 1820's until the dawn of the Civil War, here is a remarkable story of fortitude, heartbreak, and indomitable will—and a tale that will forever illuminate your reading of Margaret Mitchell’s unforgettable classic, Gone with the Wind.


MY REVIEW

I was immediately drawn to the novel Ruth’s Journey by Donald McCaig, because it is a book that is about Mammy, the slave from the book Gone with the Wind who basically raised Scarlett O’Hara. When I was younger, I watched the movie Scarlett, which is the sequel to Gone with the Wind, and fell completely in love with Scarlett O’Hara, Mammy, Rhett, and the rest of the characters. Shortly after watching that movie, I begged my mom to get the movie Gone with the Wind for me, so she did, and I absolutely loved it, and watched it over and over again.  When I was a little older I decided to read the book, and I fell even more in love with the story, because as with all books vs. movies, the book has so much more detail and there is so much that the movie doesn’t show. Anyways, I was pretty sure that I was going to like this novel right away, and I was not disappointed.

Mammy (Ruth) is brought to Georgia from Santa Domingo after her parents are killed during an uprising by her great-grandmother, Solange, and that is how she becomes a part of the household that will lead to her becoming Scarlett’s Mammy. Ruth’s life spans over 60 years, and during those 60 years she experiences so many different things in life. From heartaches to happiness and everything in between. She raised three generations of Scarlett’s family, and helped to love, protect, and care for her white owners, even though she was just a slave.

The writing style is smooth and descriptive, and you can clearly picture what the author is describing on the pages. I can’t even imagine the amount of research that had to have gone into this novel in order to make sure it was historically accurate, and to make sure that it went along with Margaret Mitchell’s books as well. I can definitely appreciate a great book that obviously took a lot of hard work and research to put together and this one did. The only thing I would say that might have improved it a little, would be if the book had focused a little more on Ruth’s voice. I felt like Ruth was sometimes a passive observer as her life was talked about, rather than an active participant. It would have been nice to get more of a feel of who she was. However, that was just a small thing, and didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the book.
I give this novel a FOUR out of FIVE stars.


REVIEWS

“Exquisitely imagined, deeply researched, Donald McCaig's Ruth's Journey brings to the foreground the most enigmatic and fascinating figure in Gone With the Wind. This is a brave work of literary empathy by a writer at the height of his powers, who demonstrates a magisterial understanding of the period, its clashing cultures and its heartbreaking crises.” (Geraldine Brooks, author of March)

“Rich with sympathy and telling prose…McCaig’s prequel proves engaging and satisfying,” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

"A much-needed fleshing out of one of the original book’s three major characters." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Donald McCaig is the award-winning author of Canaan as well as Jacob’s Ladder, designated “the best Civil War novel ever written” by the Virginia Quarterly. It won the Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Library of Virginia Award for Fiction. He was chosen by the Margaret Mitchell estate to write Rhett Butler’s People, an authorized sequel to Gone with the Wind. He lives on a sheep farm in the mountains near Williamsville, Virginia, where he writes fiction, essays, and poetry, and trains and trials sheep dogs.



PURCHASE BOOK


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella

Please join author Amalia Carosella as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Helen of Sparta, from April 1-22.

02_Helen of Sparta Cover

Publication Date: April 1, 2015
 Lake Union Publishing 
Formats: eBook, Paperback
 ISBN-10: 1477821384
 Genre: Historical Fiction

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Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods. A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Buy the Book

Amazon 
Barnes & Noble

About the Author

03_Amalia Carosella AuthorAmalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin. You can also connect with Amalia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter here and here.


Helen of Sparta Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 1
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, April 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, April 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Saturday, April 4
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Monday, April 6
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, April 7
Spotlight at leeanna.com
Wednesday, April 8
Review at Historical Reads and Views
Thursday, April 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Friday, April 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, April 13
Interview at Book Babe
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, April 14
Review at Forever Ashley
Wednesday, April 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Thursday, April 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, April 17
Review at Impressions in Ink
Saturday, April 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, April 20
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at The Maiden's Court
Tuesday, April 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, April 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews


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Saturday, April 4, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy & Becky Hepinstall

BLURB


A best-selling novelist enlists her own sister to bring us the story of two Southern sisters, disguised as men, who join the Confederate Army—one seeking vengeance on the battlefield, the other finding love.

In a war pitting brother against brother, two sisters choose their own battle.

Joseph and Thomas are fresh recruits for the Confederate Army, daring to join the wild fray that has become the seemingly endless Civil War, sharing everything with their fellow soldiers—except the secret that would mean their undoing: they are sisters.

Before the war, Joseph and Thomas were Josephine and Libby. But that bloodiest battle, Antietam, leaves Libby to find her husband, Arden, dead. She vows vengeance, dons Arden’s clothes, and sneaks off to enlist with the Stonewall Brigade, swearing to kill one Yankee for every year of his too-short life. Desperate to protect her grief-crazed sister, Josephine insists on joining her. Surrounded by flying bullets, deprivation, and illness, the sisters are found by other dangers: Libby is hurtling toward madness, haunted and urged on by her husband’s ghost; Josephine is falling in love with a fellow soldier. She lives in fear both of revealing their disguise and of losing her first love before she can make her heart known to him.

In her trademark “vibrant” (Washington Post Book World) and “luscious” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) prose, Kathy Hepinstall joins with her sister Becky to show us the hopes of love and war, the impossible-to-sever bonds of sisterhood, and how what matters most can both hurt us and heal us.


MY REVIEW

Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy & Becky Hepinstall is the best book that I have read in a long time. I cannot get over how much I loved it! I would have read it in a day or two if it were possible, but unfortunately I have a million things on my plate right now, so it took me longer than I wanted to be able to finish it. However, every time I had a chance, I would sneak away and read as much as I could. 
The story is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. Libby is completely lost at her husband Arden’s death during the Civil War, and she makes a promise to avenge him by joining the cause disguised as a young male Confederate Soldier, and killing as many Union soldiers as Arden was years old. Her sister Josephine refused to let her go at it alone, so she joins in on this crazy plan to protect her, and together they become Thomas and Joseph.

Libby (Thomas) was so connected to her dead husband Arden, that it is almost as if they have become one after he has died. She speaks like him, walks like him, is basically becoming him. She dreams about him nightly, and he speaks to her every day. She is slowly losing her mind, and it is as if Arden is taking over her. Josephine (Joseph) is worried about her, but through a new and close friendship with another soldier named Wesley, she learns that she has to start thinking about herself, and that nothing she does is going to help her sister at this point. Josephine has to make some tough decisions at this point, and she is torn between Wesley and her sister.

The writing is excellent in this novel. Everything flows together so nicely, and there is so much attention to detail. The descriptions of the battles put you right there with the sisters and the rest of the soldiers. I love that there was a great amount of historical research that went into this book, yet it was still a creative and interesting story. The characters were all easy to connect with, and you could really feel their pain and their struggles. I loved each and every character in their own way, even Lewis. I felt sadness with the others when their friends died, and I worried for Libby when her mind started to slip. I felt Josephine’s struggle to make the choice between Wesley and her sister. I felt so much throughout this book, and I love books that make me feel. I remember books like Sisters of Shiloh forever, because of how much emotion I felt while I was reading it.


There is absolutely nothing negative to say about this book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good book to read, whether they are a fan of historical fiction or not. However, if they like historical fiction, then they are probably going to fall in love with this novel just as I did. I wish that I could give it more than FIVE stars, because that is what it deserves.  

This book definitely gets a FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!


REVIEWS


"Sisters of Shiloh is an unsparing, bloody, emotional tour-de-force. With Kathy’s experience as a bestselling author and Becky’s history degree, the Hepinstalls are a highly effective writing team. They present lucky readers with a tale of love and hate, vengeance and devotion, and the darkest secrets imaginable. Highly recommended for all." --Historical Novels Review

"The Hepinstall sisters provide a fascinating glimpse into Civil War life from an unconventional perspective." --Kirkus

"The very best historical fiction delivers us into another time and place. In Sisters of Shiloh, Kathy and Becky Hepinstall plunge us so deeply into a complete and vividly rendered world of Civil War battlefields and Confederate campsites, we can smell the gun powder and taste the metallic tinge of fear along with their remarkable heroines." --Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Kathy and Becky Hepinstall grew up outside Houston, Texas. An award-winning creative director, Kathy is also the best-selling author of four previous books. She lives in Carpinteria, California. Becky holds a history degree from the University of Texas at Austin and lives in Virginia with her husband, a Navy pilot, and their four children.