06 October 2015

HFVBT Spotlight of Steering to Freedom by Patrick Gabridge

Published by Penmore Press,May 2015
In this spotlight, brought to you by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (HFVBT), we take a look at a historical novel based on a true story: Steering to Freedom by Patrick Gabridge.

Blurb for Steering to Freedom by Patrick Gabridge

A troubled country, a courageous heart, and the struggle for freedom. In May 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave and ship's pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, crafts a daring plan to steal the steamship Planter and deliver it, along with, the crew and their families to the Union blockade. After risking his life to escape slavery, Robert faces an even more difficult challenge: convincing Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops. 

Based on a true story,
Steering to Freedom tells the powerful and inspirational story of a young man who becomes the first black captain of a US military ship, while struggling to navigate a path to freedom for himself, his family, and his people.

About the Author

Patrick Gabridge is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. His passion for history extends to the stage, and his historical plays include work about the creation of the English Bible (Fire on Earth), the astronomers Kepler and Tycho (Reading the Mind of God), a volcanic eruption on Martinique (The Prisoner of St. Pierre), 19th century Boston publisher Daniel Sharp Ford (None But the Best), and the 1770 Boston Massacre (Blood on the Snow).
Patrick has a habit of starting things and has received numerous awards for his work, including fellowships from the Colorado Council on the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Commission. 

His other novels include Tornado Siren and Moving [a life in boxes]. For more information visit Patrick Gabridge's website or his blog The Writing Life x3. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
Author Patrick Gabridge

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 5 
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection 

Tuesday, October 6 
Spotlight at Carpe Librum 
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book 

Wednesday, October 7 
Review at Book Nerd 
Spotlight at Broken Teepee 

Thursday, October 8 
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews 

Friday, October 9 
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About 

Saturday, October 10 
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More 

Tuesday, October 13
Excerpt & Giveaway at Unshelfish 

Thursday, October 15 
Spotlight at Genre Queen 

Friday, October 16 
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog 

Wednesday, October 21 
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation 

Thursday, October 22 
Excerpt & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books 

Sunday, October 25 
Review at Carole's Ramblings 

Monday, October 26 
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For 

Tuesday, October 27 
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews 

Friday, October 30 
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

04_Steering to Freedom_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

05 October 2015

Winner of the Good Money giveaway announced

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's Friday Freebie to win a copy of Good Money by J.M. Green thanks to Scribe Publications.

This Australian crime fiction giveaway was popular with a total of 53 entries. The giveaway closed at midnight on Friday 2nd October, and the winner was drawn today:

Congratulations Joe S.!!

Congratulations Joe, please email me with your postal address, and your book will be sent to you directly from the publisher. (Please note you have 5 days to provide a valid postal address before your prize is forfeited).

I'd like to thank Scribe Publications for providing the giveaway, and all of you who entered, shared and tweeted. If you missed out, I'll be giving away a children's book this Friday, so feel free to enter and good luck!

01 October 2015

Review: You Are Dying, and Your World Is a Lie | Johnny B Truant

You Are Dying, and Your World Is a Lie is the follow-up to The Universe Doesn't Give a Flying Fuck About You by Johnny B Truant.

Truant has a slap-in-the-face style of writing that is aimed at shocking and motivating his readers, and if you haven't come across this kind of style before, it could give you the kick in the pants you need.

This short e-book is FREE on Amazon Kindle, which is great! But if I'm honest, it doesn't have that much to add from the first book.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!

28 September 2015

Review: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

* Copy courtesy of JAM PR and Harlequin MIRA *

Pretty Baby is an engrossing psychological thriller that begins when Heidi brings a young homeless woman and her 4 month old baby home from the city.

Heidi's husband and teenage daughter are both horrified, but Heidi plays down their concerns about the mysterious Willow; her charitable nature winning over any concern for the safety of her own family unit.

We slowly begin to learn more about Willow and her shady past and just how she came to be living on the streets with her baby. I kept wondering if I'd have to the courage to do what Heidi did, take in a complete stranger, but as Heidi's random act of kindness begins to have repercussions, I stopped admiring her and began to worry for her instead.

The novel builds to a great climax, although it doesn't end how you'd expect it to, earning it an additional star for me.

Pretty Baby is an intelligent thriller as well as being chock-full of suspense and I actually enjoyed it more than Gone Girl and The Girl On A Train.

Highly recommended.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

25 September 2015

Friday Freebie: WIN a copy of Good Money by J.M. Green

Available in October 2015
RRP $29.99
* Copy courtesy of Scribe Publications *

Introducing Stella Hardy, a wisecracking social worker with a thirst for social justice, good laksa, and alcohol.

Stella's phone rings. A young African boy, the son of one of her clients, has been murdered in a dingy back alley. Stella, in her forties and running low on empathy, heads into the night to comfort the grieving mother. But when she gets there, she makes a discovery that has the potential to uncover something terrible from her past -- something she thought she'd gotten away with.

Then Stella's neighbour Tania mysteriously vanishes. When Stella learns that Tania is the heir to a billion-dollar mining empire, Stella realises her glamorous young friend might have had more up her sleeve than just a perfectly toned arm. Who is behind her disappearance?

Enlisting the help of her friend Senior Constable Phuong Nguyen, Stella's investigation draws her further and further into a dark world of drug dealers, sociopaths, and killers, such as the enigmatic Mr Funsail, whose name makes even hardened criminals run for cover.

One thing is clear: Stella needs to find answers fast -- before the people she's looking for find her instead. Set in the bustling, multicultural inner west of Melbourne, Good Money reveals a daring and exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction.

Author Bio
J.M. Green studied professional writing at RMIT. Good Money, her first novel, was shortlisted for the 2014 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. She lives in Melbourne's western suburbs.


22 September 2015

Review and Blog Tour: Sweet Wattle Creek by Kaye Dobbie

* Copy courtesy of JAM PR and Harlequin Australia *

The chance discovery of an antique wedding dress weaves together the fascinating stories of three women from different eras: Sophie, in hiding from a troubled past; Belle, who must lose everything to learn what really matters; and Martha, forced to give up those she loves in order to avoid exposure.

It’s 1930 and Belle Bartholomew has arrived in rural Sweet Wattle Creek to claim her inheritance – a run-down grand hotel formerly owned by Martha Ambrose. Determined to solve the mystery of her birth and the reason why she was bequeathed the hotel Belle runs into difficulties with the townsfolk and their desire to keep their secrets safe.

Sixty years later Sophie Matheson is on a quest to find Belle and her family after discovering the wedding dress. The Sweet Wattle Creek Centenary brings more challenges when her past catches up and she must fight for all that matters to her. Who were Belle and Martha and what links their lives together?

My Review:
I'm a sucker for dual narrative historical fiction and Australian author Kaye Dobbie has created a wonderful tale of mystery for readers to unravel in Sweet Wattle Creek.

With two strong female protagonists (Belle in 1930s and Sophie in 1980s) both women end up leaving their troubles behind and moving to Sweet Wattle Creek, a small town in Victoria.

Belle inherits a hotel in town and Sophie works at the local newspaper while both women are trying to understand the past. Small town relationships and family secrets abound in this novel, and the author offers a solid commentary of post-war conditions in rural Australia which include grief and unemployment.

There's a real sense of the city and the country in both narratives, and being from Melbourne, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes set in St. Kilda. I loved the small town touches throughout the novel, although I could have done without the romance between Sophie and Ian if I'm honest. Their investigative work together on the wedding dress was enough to keep me entertained.

If you enjoy novels by bestselling Australian author Kate Morton, then Sweet Wattle Creek is the book for you. Buy your own copy of Sweet Wattle Creek by Kaye Dobbie from Boomerang Books.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Author bio
Author Kaye Dobbie
Kaye Dobbie is an Australian author living on the central Victorian goldfields. She has been writing professionally ever since she won the Grafton Big River short story contest at the age of 18. 

Her career has undergone many changes, including writing Australian historical fiction under the name Lilly Sommers and penning romance novels as Sara Bennett. 

Kaye has written about, and been published in, many countries, but her passion for Australia shows in her current Harlequin Mira novels. For more information visit http://www.kayedobbie.com

12 September 2015

Winner of Fever of Animals is announced

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's Friday Freebie to win a copy of Fever of Animals by Miles Allinson.

The giveaway closed at midnight on Friday 11th September, and the winner was drawn today:
Congratulations Jaz!!

Congratulations Jaz, you'll receive an email shortly letting you know about your win and requesting your postal details, after which you'll have 5 days to provide a valid postal address.

I'd like to thank Scribe Publications for providing the giveaway, and all of you who entered, shared and tweeted. Keep an eye out for my next giveaway, coming soon.

Update - 22 September
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get in touch with Jaz and her prize has been forfeited. Good news for the rest of the entrants though, as I have selected a new winner:

Congratulations Carmel Corry!
I'll send you an email with the details of your win shortly.