The Girls in the Picture (A Review)




I first became familiar with Melanie Benjamin when I read her novel about Anne Lindbergh in ‘The Aviator’s Wife‘. I was absolutely awestruck by how Ms. Benjamin could draw me into the world she was writing about. Hers is a genuine talent that I admire so much in writers; where they can make the world disappear and draw you into the world they’re written about. She takes these known figures, figures that we’ve known only by history and makes them living, breathing, vibrant people. There are dimension and wonder created. I became a fan then and I was so excited to hear about this project. I love Old Hollywood and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this novel.

I was not disappointed.

Given my love for Old Hollywood, I’m a bit surprised that I’ve never heard of Frances Marion. I’m not entirely sure if it’s an error on my part or if history has tried to erase her at all. It could be both so I am glad to be aware of her now. Ms. Marion was a “Scenarist” back then, what we now call a screenwriter. She could have worked on screen, but she found that she preferred to be behind the scenes. She did make a few appearances in film though.

tumblr_p2psd5apv91scp23ko2_400Not only did she help with a lot of scripts (300, 160 of which became produced films!), she was close friends with Mary Pickford. They were so close that when Mary married Douglas Fairbanks, she and her new husband, Fred Thomson all honeymooned together. What I loved was the friendship between the two women; how genuine and tender it was. They were legendary for the fact that not only were they women in a field where men seemed to reign supreme but each became powerful forces to be reckoned with. They became businesswomen, which at the time was a truly trailblazing endeavor and each made significant contributions in the movie industry.  (Have you ever heard of United Artists? Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. created it!) It wasn’t always sunshine and roses, of course. Jealousy flared its ugly head, threatening the friendship. By 1932, Mary’s career was over, given that she was so small and childlike, the transition to ‘talkies’ wasn’t kind to her as she wanted to be seen as an adult. She only made four of those. Frances had endeavored to give Mary a childhood on screen (because she never had one in real life; having been working to support her entire family since she was a child) but it seemed ‘America’s Sweetheart’ wasn’t meant to be seen as anything but the young girl America had fallen in love with.

tumblr_p2psd5apv91scp23ko3_400Frances’ career continues to soar, however. She has been a journalist and served overseas during WW1, documenting women’s contributions to the war efforts. They were nurses, typists, messengers, and support. She was even the first woman to cross the Rhine after the armistice. Her career continued onwards and upwards. She was a force all on her own. She eventually became quite wealthy, earning $50,000 per film. But in 1946, she said goodbye to Hollywood.

I enjoyed greatly learning about silent films and how they were evolving to ‘talkies’ and the technical aspects of film were very interesting to learn. They really were spliced together from all different things to create a film. It was interesting to learn that the actors were also quite hands-on, stepping behind the camera to see how things would look and things to that effect.  To see two women become such powerhouses was amazing and I loved reading about that. I also loved the complexity of their friendship; it jumped off the pages to me, giving me the feeling of it being a friendship I might have with someone. Though I really wouldn’t let a man come between a friend and myself!

I also enjoyed the mention of other celebrities of the day, particularly Charlie Chaplin! All in all, I wasn’t disappointed and I look forward to when Ms. Benjamin releases a new novel.


I’d give it ★★★★ stars.

Additional Notes:

  • I received a copy of this in exchange for my fair and honest review. Thank you to Random House! ❤
  • would recommend this to a friend. 100%!


This weeks Top Ten is going to be the books I had the most trouble getting through. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, which I just discovered from another blog on Twitter. So thank you to social networking!

Okay! Here we go!


I usually devour Ms. Moran’s books; I even have a few on my bookshelf. However, this time, I was sorely disappointed and I couldn’t finish. You would think a book about Mata Hari would be fascinating and would keep you entertained. Not the case this time. Though a short novel at 273 pages, I called quits at 50 pages. I found the writing not up to Ms. Moran’s usual par and the research didn’t seem as in depth as usual. What could have been a fascinating topic dragged on and I just couldn’t get into it.

18490831This book was supposed to be hilarious and charming. I thought it more fitting to donate it and never lay eyes upon it again. It was hyped up, but it didn’t deliver. I found the obsessive mentions of bodily functions and the racism too overpowering to be entertaining. Yes, I understand that this book is based in the 1920’s and racism was common. However, I felt maybe the author should have covered it in a way that didn’t make me feel like that was just his personal feelings. I also felt that he (Andrew Lewis Conn) tried too hard at times. He also used ridiculous words and phrasings that didn’t need to be used at all. He made me feel like he went to college and learned all of them and needed to show off that he knows big words. They’re tripe. Absolutely unnecessary in the long haul. This was a DNF…and an instant addition to the ‘donate to library’ box.


The writing to me was juvenile and lacked the finesse a Tudor/Elizabethan era novel should have. The characters were one dimensional and quite frankly, if the real Amy Dudley was as annoying as she is in the book, then I completely understand why Robert didn’t spend much time with her. She was given to tantrums and acting like a spoilt child rather than a wife of a courtier. She was spiteful and I spent most of the time wanting to slap her. I understand that she wanted more time with her husband, but that really wasn’t the way to accomplish that. The emphasis put on that it was a love match–Amy married rather high above her station–seemed ironic, since he couldn’t seem to tolerate being near her. Why the author chose to turn her into such an intolerable git in this book, I’m still pondering. Terrible, terrible writing.


22571611Far too predictable. Girl meets boy, girl dislikes boy, boy charms girl, girl falls for boy…blah blah. The boy in this case is William Shakespeare and he is the biggest tool. Katherine d’Lisle is essentially a doormat, having no endearing qualities in my opinion. Even when she discovers he’s lied to her, she can’t really pull herself away. it is very much a case of unrequited love because Will is in love with two things–himself and his work. Also, he tells her that he’s married but she believes they’ll go away together. (Seriously.) Far too disjointed, most of the characters were lackluster and honestly, I had to force myself to finish.


18404135I have rarely come upon any books with her as a main character and I was very excited to see that she was a main character. She is such a strong historical figure and a fascinating one at that; however, Ms. Goodwin disappointed me. Every single character seemed so…dull and lifeless. I found very little to like in any character, which made it very hard for me to get through it. It is a very loosely based story of Elisabeth ‘Sisi’, Empress of Austria when she visited England. Whilst I knew she had long hair and was thought of as pretty (which, I agree with!), it was maddening to hear very other moment about it. Also, putting meat on her face at night? That was rather vile. Whether that fact is true or not, I don’t know, but it was not very entertaining and just another thing I disliked. Sisi was made to be this vapid, bubble headed woman and I don’t think she was like that at all. Also, an Empress throwing childlike tantrums or sulk when she didn’t get her way. I really struggled with finishing.

25476259Lizzie Borden is one of history’s strangely fascinating people. There’s so much intrigue surrounding her–did she? Didn’t she? Thus, one would think her to be a good subject for a book. I must applaud Ms. Purdy for her obvious enthusiasm. However, that is about the most praise I can bestow.  I suppose that I, like most people, expect a more radicalised version or a version where we get chills down our spines and a good dark read. I didn’t get that here, much to my own disappointment. I found myself wishing someone would take an axe and smack Lizzie with it as she came off as an immature brat through most of the book. I would have liked to have seen more development of the. characters and the surroundings; to give more life to the story.  I was disappointed with this one.

21412403The story of Mammy from Gone With The Wind. I think I’ve posted before how much of a “windie” I am. When I had first heard this was coming out, I was absolutely delighted. Mammy is one of the central characters in the well beloved original and I love her. I thought to myself, “Oh boy! We’re going to get a good backstory on her! We’re going to learn this and that…blah blah, so forth and so on.” I had read Donald McCaig’s ‘Rhett Butler’s People’ and honestly, I enjoyed that, so I had no worries about Ruth’s Journey.

I should have taken it as a sign when I was denied for the ARC.


I wanted to be able to relate to her, however, she was quite unlikable I found; or at the 176265very least, her characterization made her rather unlikable. She was such a conflicted individual and I found I often wanted to reach into the book and smack her because as a child/young woman, she was intolerably rotten. Spoiled rotten and over-privileged…granted, I know that is how she was raised, but I just couldn’t believe her. And how she hooked Lincoln into marrying her…I know that this was just a dramatization but how dreadful of her. Also, I didn’t like how she complained about being poor. She knew when she married him that they’d be poor. Yet, hey, let’s go blow money on gowns that she didn’t need! Let’s buy furniture for the house they didn’t have yet! Let’s force Lincoln to work even harder and have nothing to show for it since people didn’t regularly pay him. I do appreciate the details; I like to hear about the hustle and bustle of towns, the detail of attire and I will give the author as much credit for that as I possibly can. Sadly, that is about as much praise as I can give and even that can be too much of a good thing. The scenes were repetitive; such long paragraphs about Mary Todd Lincoln feels and those way too frequent dream sequences…ad nausium is the term I’m thinking of here.


Need I say more?
I didn’t think so.





The title is misleading in that Wolf Hall was the home of the Seymours and there isn’t a great deal of them. Secondly, I found the writing choppier than the ocean on a blustery, windy day. Very, very disappointed.






(E-Mail)box Monday!

tumblr_oq1sxdeuhz1qelqjto1_500Happy Monday…well, almost Tuesday, actually. I thought it’d be fun to share with you guys the ARC’s (advance reader copies) that I’ve been approved to read. I’m very excited to get into these. They’re all on my kindle and are ready for me to dive into! I can’t wait to read them. I’ve posted the descriptions of each book for you. If you’ve heard about any of these, let me know your thoughts! Are you excited for them? What books are you guys looking forward to?

What are ya’ll reading? Let me know in comments below!

Hope you had a good Monday! xxx

P.S: In light of the weekend’s events, I just wanted to take the time to tell you guys that I love you and if you ever need to talk, I’m here. We should remain vigilant and be mindful of history because those who forget it are doomed to repeat it. Be good to each other! x


The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of cover111991-mediumtheir family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, with romance, intrigue, forbidden friendships, and political and financial threats weaving together to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.


In this beautifully written novel of historical fiction, bestselling author Susan Holloway Scott tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza—a fascinating, strong-willed heroine in her own right and a key figure in one of the most gripping periods in American history.

“Love is not easy with a man chosen by Fate for greatness . . .”

As the daughter of a respected general, Elizabeth Schuyler is accustomed to socializing


with dignitaries and soldiers. But no visitor to her parents’ home has affected her so strongly as Alexander Hamilton, a charismatic, ambitious aide to George Washington. They marry quickly, and despite the tumult of the American Revolution, Eliza is confident in her brilliant husband and in her role as his helpmate. But it is in the aftermath of war, as Hamilton becomes one of the country’s most important figures, that she truly comes into her own.

In the new capital, Eliza becomes an adored member of society, respected for her fierce devotion to Hamilton as well as her grace. Behind closed doors, she astutely manages their expanding household, and assists her husband with his political writings. Yet some challenges are impossible to prepare for.

Through public scandal, betrayal, personal heartbreak, and tragedy, she is tested again and again. In the end, it will be Eliza’s indomitable strength that makes her not only Hamilton’s most crucial ally in life, but also his most loyal advocate after his death, determined to preserve his legacy while pursuing her own extraordinary path through the nation they helped shape together.




cover116861-mediumThe family behind the Virgin Queen

It is 1559, and Elizabeth Tudor has just succeeded to the throne of England. Beside her are the family who will share the momentous triumphs and setbacks of her reign: the Allgraves. Richard and Margaret Allgrave’s lives and those of their children and grandchildren are destined to be closely bound to that of the queen, though with such power will also come grave personal sacrifice.

This is a tale of kinship, loyalty, heroism and reward, set in the time of Drake, Frobisher and the Armada; of Mary Stuart, sent to her violent death. It is also the story of Elizabeth herself, the woman behind the magnificent facade of velvets, silks and jewels. A woman who passionately loved just one man, but chose to devote her life to her country and its people. Together Elizabeth and the Allgraves created the Tudor Heritage – a nation whose power was to be feared and respected for centuries to come.

Told with Lynda Andrews’ trademark vibrant storytelling panache, The Tudor Heritage will appeal to readers of Phillipa Gregory, Emily Purdy and Anne O’Brien. Reissued nearly 40 years after their original publication, they showcase the emerging talent of a writer who has become one of Britain’s bestselling and most-loved authors.


cover115011-mediumOn the Feast Day of Bride, 
The Daughter of Ivor, 
Shall come from her mound, 
In the rocks amongst the heather.
I will not touch Ivor’s daughter, 
Nor shall she harm me.

Two extraordinary women come back to full-bodied life. Flora McIvor has been rescued from the pages of Sir Walter Scott, who sent her to a nunnery. Her close friend, the real life Clementina Walkinshaw, was the love of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and mother of his only child. Both are caught up in a tangle of espionage and treachery following the defeat of the 1745 Jacobite Rising in Scotland.


Hello, hello!

7952ad29c51c68032c5e9c41fe313089I feel almost like a new blogger; it’s been sometime since I have written a post here. Well. I’ve written quite a few. I just never published them because they didn’t have my usual spark. As I said on my main page, I was burnt out and I wasn’t finding the experience of writing about the books I was reading to be fun. I also had some friends telling me “only nerds or losers blog about books.” It was quite irritating, particularly since I’ve met some fantastic bloggers who are definitely not losers.

So here I am again; writing about the thing I love most in the world. As you can see, I’ve put up a picture of my current read. I’m only 10 pages in, having started last night, but I’m enjoying it so far. I feel Sally Hemings gets viewed as “Jefferson’s Mistress”, but I tend to think there is a lot more to her and I want to see her fleshed out more. I’m hoping this book does it for me. I find myself craving more American historical fiction as of late. I entirely blame Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie for this, ever since I read ‘America’s First Daughter’. I also blame Lin-51ziwaxdpplManuel Miranda because Hamilton. Speaking of Hamilton…on the 9th, I’ve got a cover reveal coming! It’s for the upcoming novel, ‘My Dear Hamilton’ as written by the two above mentioned authors. It’s from Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s perspective and I am psyched. When they first announced the project, my mind instantly went to ‘Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?’ Another book featuring Eliza is coming out next month by Susan Holloway Scott titled ‘I, Eliza Hamilton’. Having read her other novels, I am excited for this too.

cf96e853ccab0e619976bf1fea9c2c37What are you guys currently reading? What’s been your obsession lately? I’ve branched out into Young Adult books lately; that’s not my usual sort of thing. I don’t know, does 30 count as a young adult anymore? Haha, I just know the books are really rather good and I’m so into them. These were two purchases I made last month and whilst I haven’t gotten to ‘Three Dark Crowns’ yet, I loved ‘Stalking Jack The Ripper’. What an astonishing debut! I’ve already got ‘Hunting Prince Dracula’ pre-ordered. (You should check it out, since I gave you a link. Aren’t I lovely?


Now, if you think I’ve been idle in my time away from here and from all of you….I most assuredly have not. As you can see by this picture, I’ve been busy reading. Rather, I ordered a bunch of new books to read. You are totally reading that right–16lb box of books from my favorite online book shop, betterworldbooks.com 

It was like Christmas in July. It was also retail therapy; my dog, Sammy, had to be put to sleep. I’ve been drowning my sorrows in my books. I miss him terribly and honestly, no book will ease the pain in my heart that I still and always will feel. I can only hope that he’s at peace and running around the Rainbow Bridge. ❤

Now, catch me up, guys! Let me know what’s up with you!

Big Hugs!





Happy Release!

28503798Wishing Susan Elia MacNeal a (belated) Happy Release Day for the sixth book in her fantastic Maggie Hope series!  If you haven’t read them, I highly suggest that you do. If, like me, you’re a fan of Agent Carter from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then Maggie will really win a spot in your heart. In a world where there were rules and regulations on how to act, Maggie Hope is breaking down those barriers. Of course, as Prime Minister Winston Churchill said often in the first book, ‘there’s a war on!’ The Second World War really helped change things for women; they joined the work force, they joined the service, they did their part as opposed to being compliant little women and sitting about at home raising the children. It’s a strange thing to think that a war is what really helped women break free of society’s expectations.

I mean, in particular, the Princess Elizabeth served in the war as a mechanic and driver 4431b2ee912bd4b10c5b5845d2815db1in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. It would have been hard and viewed as highly unpatriotic for women not to do their part since the boys were putting their lives on the line. Knowing what we know now, the British Royals did not hide, nor flinch, remaining in London during the bombings and even went out and about to view the wreckage and to walk amongst the people. Today, the Princess is now the longest reigning monarch in British history and she is also the last remaining head of state to have served in WWII. Yes, that picture is of the nearly 91 year old monarch!

Getting back to Maggie, she’s a spy and a code-breaker and she has had to work damn hard to be where she is. Bright, beautiful and determined, Maggie makes for a splendid lead and the usual cast of characters that are with her only add to the story, making it shine as usual. Mrs. MacNeal has quite the talent in how she can draw you into Maggie’s world and make you feel like you are right in the thick of it with her. It’s a disappointment when you’re drawn away and have to go do ‘adulting’, as my friends and I joke. I always endeavor to rush back as soon as I possibly can. agentcarter-agent-carter-9-reasons-why-it-s-crucial-to-the-marvel-cinematic-universe-jpeg-214176

Whilst I don’t yet have a copy, I will post a review as soon as I have devoured this. Also, I totally envision Hayley Atwell as Maggie. I know it’s typecasting but Hayley has that perfect look, the attitude and we know she can play a badass, code breaking, no sh*t-taking secret agent. All she’d have to do is dye her hair red like Maggie’s infamously stubborn tresses. If you were going to cast an actress to play Maggie, who would you pick?

I’ve included links below, so please go show love to this wonderful series of novels and enjoy them!

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Synopsis: Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Times bestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

Praise for the Maggie Hope series
“You’ll be [Maggie Hope’s] loyal subject, ready to follow her wherever she goes.”O: The 


Oprah Magazine



Again, congratulations! I can’t wait for book 7, The Paris Spy!




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Get A Copy!

About the author:  New York Times-bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. She is the winner of the Barry Award, and her books have been nominated for the Edgar, 517286Macavity, and Dilys Awards.

The first novel in the series is Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. It won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Mystery Readers International’s Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel. It was also nominated for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s 2013 Dilys Award for “the mystery title of the year that booksellers have most enjoyed hand-selling,” Mr. Churchill’s Secretary was also declared one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debut of 2012, Deadly Pleasures’s Best Paperback Original of 2012, and chosen as one of Target’s “Emerging Authors” series.

The sequel, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, was a New York Times bestseller and chosen by Oprah.com as “Mystery of the Week” and one of “7 Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader),” as well as Tagret’s “Emerging Authors” series. It was nominated for the Macavity Award’s Sue Feder Historical Memorial Award.

His Majesty’s Hope made the New York Times- and USA Today-bestseller lists and was chosen as one of Target’s Emerging Author Series.

Books #4, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, will be published in spring of 2014.

Susan graduated cum laude from Wellesley College, with departmental honors in English Literature and credits from cross-registered classes at MIT. She attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

Her first job was as an intern at Random House for then-publisher Harold Evans, before moving her way up the editorial ladder at Viking/Penguin and McGraw-Hill, then becoming an associate editor at Dance Magazine.

Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fodor’s, Time Out New York, Time Out London, Publishers Weekly, Dance Magazine, and various publications of New York City Ballet. She’s also the author of two non-fiction books and a professional editor.


I’m Back!!


What is up, everyone? 😀 The Quirky Lady is back and ready to review! It’s been a long while, I know. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back where I was, seeing as I have lost all of my followers. The unfortunate deletions did a number on me here and I lost my inspiration and inclination. Thus, I took a long break. I am hoping to get back to business though, I hope you’ll all join me once again. I am also opening up to more genres than historical fiction, so please feel free to reach out to me!  (Erotica is the same–not accepting.)

Since the last time I was here, I am now in a new decade! I observed my 30th birthday and as usual, I went to my favorite store…

And I just went on Wednesday too! My Uncle came up to visit and brought me to the store. SO thrilled. You can imagine who isn’t too thrilled. My poor bookshelf. I have no room on it as it is, so I’m being forced to be creative until I can get a new one or a bigger one. It’s kind of fun to experiment, however, to see how I can fit them all in. I almost view it as being a form of Tetris. (Which is my favorite game!)

What do you guys do when your bookshelf is getting too full? Do you buy another shelf? Donate some old ones to make room for new? Or do you look on Pintereste for some new interesting solutions. I’ve been eyeballing ‘invisible’ shelves but I’m not quite sure if that’d work in my room. I’m going to figure something out because earlier this year I donated a  lot of books to the local DAWN center, where domestic violence victims stay. I would have given them to Goodwill but I thought this was a far more pleasant thing. I also donated to my local

library. 🙂

What have you guys been reading? I’m always up for new suggestions and I’d love to hear what you’re all reading. Please stay tuned as I get set up again, finding new subscribers, new friends, old friends and so forth. As I said, I’m also looking for new books to review. I’ve found myself enjoying YA fiction, but I do ponder, am I too old for it? Or is it silly to wonder such a thing if I’m enjoying what I’m reading? This is my struggle, ya’ll. Haha.

I’m going to keep it short, but stay tuned to this space!

Take care! xx


Clarissa Writes A Note!

I am so happy to say that I have my new glasses–both pairs! As such I will be catching up on everything that I owe. I owe several reviews and again, my deepest apologies. I am always striving to be ready to go, to be on time and deliver what I have promised. Most of you have been amazingly supportive during this time and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

While I was not seriously injured, I have been struggling to get my head on straight. I find my attention span to be worse than usual and I have been suffering from bouts of depression. It comes with being bipolar, ups and downs, but I have been down a lot lately. As such, I have withdrawn myself from several tour companies and am remaining with the three on the sidebar there. Firstly, to slow my pace and secondly, because they’ve worked with me.

I promise to post everything I owe as soon as possible and again, many, many thanks for your patience, good wishes and so forth.

Happy Holidays! ❤


Publication Date: January 22, 2014
Campanile Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Audiobook
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery/Medieval

A tragic loss. A desperate journey. A mother seeks the truth.

In December of 1377, four children were burned to death in a house fire. Villagers traveled hundreds of miles across England to demand justice for their children’s deaths.

Sinful Folk is the story of this terrible mid-winter journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village. For years, she has concealed herself and all her history. But on this journey, she will find the strength to redeem the promise of her past. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and transcendence.

The remarkable new novel by Ned Hayes, illustrated by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Nikki McClure, Sinful Folk illuminates the medieval era with profound insight and compassion.

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Hardcover)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Hardcover)

Booknote Interview with Ned Hayes

About the Author03_Ned Hayes Credit Linda Marus 2012

Ned Hayes is the author of the Amazon best-selling historical novel SINFUL FOLK. He is also the author of Coeur d’Alene Waters, a noir mystery set in the Pacific Northwest. He is now at work on a new novel, Garden of Earthly Delights, also set in the Middle Ages.

Ned Hayes is a candidate for an MFA from the Rainier Writer’s Workshop, and holds graduate degrees in English and Theology from Western Washington University and Seattle University.

Born in China, he grew up bi-lingually, speaking both Mandarin and English. He now lives in Olympia, Washington with his wife and two children.

For more information please visit www.sinfulfolk.com and www.nednote.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Booklikes, YouTube, Google+, and Goodreads.

My Review: I read a lot of historical fiction, obviously. I have my favorite genres and time-periods, I have many favorite historical figures who I like seeing fictionalized. It adds a human element to them that one doesn’t always get from biographies or historical non-fiction. When I’m reading a ‘histfic’ book, I suppose you might be saying that I have a type. I wanted to branch away from that and when the opportunity pops up, I go for it. Insert ‘Sinful Folk’. It’s based in the 14th century (1377) and begins straight away with a fire that kills 5 of the town’s boys. (Why? How?) Angry, confused and generally unsure of what to do, the men (and Mear) decide to take the King’s road (which, they need a lord’s permission to do and don’t have). It’s a harsh road to travel down as it’s winter and none of them particularly trust one another. Their supplies are sparse as well. Each has a secret and bandits follow after them at each twist and turn.

The author has a tremendous gift in that his descriptions are very thought inspiring and his description of the mob-like mentality of the townspeople is actually quite terrifying. They are very quick to point their fingers at someone as being a witch or a Jew; most of who have converted to Christianity in order to stay alive. It seems a strange thing to be afraid of, but such a mentality is frightening when you think about it. If you offend one person…they could accuse you and you’d be killed.

Mear is a fantastic lead character and I love how we learned about her and her backstory. Seeing her agony at the loss of her son, my heart broke for her. I could imagine the wails she let out and truly, I was saddened. I enjoyed seeing the moments where she fluctuated between being masculine and feminine. I can’t imagine living amongst an unfamiliar town as a mute and posing as a man. I would like to see her again in another book. I would gladly read it as I will anything else this author puts out. Absolutely brilliant. I enjoyed the detail and the historical accuracy and use of language, which was fairly accurate for the time. It reminded me immensely of Chaucer.


I think you’ll greatly enjoy this!

My Rating: 4auqZQi

Tomorrow is the last day of the tour, please follow this link: Library Educated!

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Time to play catch up!

If you’re like me, you’ve got an e-reader (and bookshelf) with books you just haven’t gotten around to reading yet. It feels like your TBR pile is massive and unending, right? Well, as you can see…there’s an upcoming challenge to help you solve this problem. 

My Goals!

  • I’m going to aim to lessen my TBR list by 25. I have a lot of books there. 
  • I will visit other participants pages. 🙂 
  • I will write two replies a week.

This is my first COYER, I’m very excited to be taking part! There’s still time for you guys to sign up too and on December 20th, we begin the challenge. You want to join in? Click the pic! Everything you need to know is right there. 🙂 Let me know if you sign up! xxx




Spotlight: We’ll Always Have Paris.

We'll always have Paris coverWe’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir

Release date: April 8, 2014
at Sourcebooks

400 pages

ISBN: 978-1402288630

Website | Goodreads



How her daughter and her passport taught Jennifer to live like there’s no tomorrow.

Jennifer Coburn has always been terrified of dying young. So she decides to save up and drop everything to travel with her daughter, Katie, on a whirlwind European adventure before it’s too late. Even though her husband can’t join them, even though she’s nervous about the journey, and even though she’s perfectly healthy, Jennifer is determined to jam her daughter’s mental photo album with memories—just in case.

From the cafés of Paris to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Jennifer and Katie take on Europe one city at a time, united by their desire to see the world and spend precious time together. In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals how their adventures helped vanquish her fear of dying…for the sake of living. [provided by the author]





Jennifer CoburnJennifer Coburn is a USA Today best selling author of six novels and contributor to four literary anthologies. Over the past two decades,
Coburn has received numerous awards from the Press Club and Society for Professional Journalists for articles that appeared in Mothering, Big Apple Baby, The Miami Herald, The San Diego Union-Tribune and dozens of national and regional publications. She has also written for Salon.com, Creators News Syndicate and The Huffington Post. Coburn lives in San Diego with her husband, William, and their daughter, Katie. We’ll Always Have Paris is her first memoir.

Visit her website.

Follow Jennifer Coburn on Twitter | Facebook

Buy the book | on Amazon | on Barnes & Noble




We'll always have Paris banner*

You can enter the giveaway here
or on the book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter,
they are listed in the entry form below


Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour
will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

5 copies:
print for US residents only.


Please drop by December 1st for my review!!