Tag Archives: historical romance

Blog Tour: Resurrection Men by Steven Harper

Resurrection Men - Steven Harperp

Steven Harper has a new MM historical romance out: Resurrection Men. And there’s a giveaway.

Arthur Tor steals the dead for a living. As a resurrection man, he creeps around graveyards with his shovel, hoping to dig up corpses so he can sell them to the local medical college and pay his tuition there. He also holds a strange position in underground society. If someone is dying a slow, painful death, the family members come to Arthur and beg him to end their loved one’s pain. Arthur can never refuse, and he helps the dying cross the threshold without more pain in a process he calls the Black Rounds. Unfortunately, the local judge has gotten wind of Arthur’s activities and has sworn to send him to prison—or the hangman’s noose.

Jesse Fair has fled his corrupt family in Baltimore and landed in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he becomes the town gravedigger and, eventually, the undertaker. He works hard to help grieving families through their pain with warmth and compassion. Some of these families make odd requests for their dearly departed, and Jesse discovers that the undertaker often has to deal with the absurd side of death. But his nefarious family is still searching for him. Relentlessly. And once they find him, Jesse will have to make a terrible choice.

When Jesse catches Arthur in the act of robbing a grave, the two of them form a strange friendship and even stranger partnership that digs deep into social taboos—and into their own souls.

In his first book since his critically-acclaimed novel The Importance of Being Kevin, Steven Harper spins a heartfelt, uplifting story of suspense, life, and love against the backdrop of a Michigan town at the edge of the frontier.

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Giveaway

Steven is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card:

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Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47262/?


Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

A resurrection man watched the funeral, and his expression was hungry. He stood behind the huddle of funeral-goers clustered around the grave and didn’t speak with anyone, which was how Jesse spotted him. Dead giveaway, so to say. Jesse stared at him from the corner of one dark eye. The resurrection man wasn’t yet twenty. Brown as a dead tree. Straight brown hair under a frayed brown cap, long nose, sharp jaw, long brown coat mended twice, worn brown shoes that were nonetheless carefully polished. Someone who was used to hiding who he was.

The resurrection man met Jesse’s eye for a flick. He had good eyes, that one—clear and blue and strong—and Jesse touched his cap in salute. Jesse had a gravedigger’s build, wiry and a little short, able to throw an eight-pound shovelful of dirt six feet toward heaven, and he could hold his own in a fight against two men half again his height. The resurrection man was taller, whipcord, and Jesse bet he wore gloves to keep his hands clean when he robbed night-time graves. No one who saw him by day would know what he did at night.

When their eyes met, blue on brown, it created something interesting and indefinable, like that boundary moment when water touches a burning coal, or warm ocean air brushes chilly shore. The resurrection man looked away. Jesse clicked his tongue in mischief—and the chance to make some money.

The coffin rested on a pair of beams set across the grave Jesse had dug only that morning. Jesse always put a scattering of sawdust and few pine branches in the bottom of his graves so the coffin wouldn’t rest on dirt. It made no difference to the deceased, mind you, but it made the family feel better. Two solemn boys pulled the beams away, and the pall bearers lowered the coffin with ropes braced around their necks like pulleys while the preacher said his final bit. While all this was going on, the resurrection man slipped away, confirming Jesse’s suspicions that the man was a grave robber who knew the best time to leave was when the family was occupied.

As the family drifted off, Jesse barely overheard a man and a woman in conversation. The woman murmured, “He won’t get up and come after us, do you? He’s stubborn enough to try.”

“Jesus, I hope not,” the man muttered back. “That copper-plated sumbitch was bad enough when he was alive. I can’t think what he’d be like lurching around dead.”

Death brought out the truth among the living. Jesse looked in the direction the resurrection man had taken and gave himself a private nod. It was going to be an interesting evening.

Jesse finished filling the grave of Mr. Elmer Pitt (b. 1803, d. 1889), then went home to the little shack he occupied at the edge of Highland Cemetery, made himself a pot of strong coffee on his bachelor stove, dropped a slug of Irish in it, and waited until sunset. When the early autumn night slid in cozy among the gravestones, Jesse put his shovel back over his shoulder and strolled toward the grave of Elmer Pitt. There was time to enjoy the walk and think about how to spend the money he would shake out of the resurrection man. It had been a while since he’d passed a good night’s drinking and fighting at a pool hall. Or maybe he’d buy a new pair of boots.

The trek was easy. Didn’t matter that it was dark. Jesse had dug plenty of graves in Highland Cemetery and knew the place like the end of his shovel. He even had a map of the place tacked to the wall of his shack, with every grave picked out in careful precision. People thought that graveyards laid out the dead in neat, cornfield rows, but Highland’s graves made a swirling mosaic that twisted around the hills and trees, creating stars and flowers and teardrops that only god and Jesse’s map could see. Jesse had taken over as the main gravedigger in Ypsilanti from Mr. Suggs two years ago. Mr. Suggs himself currently rested in a grave well back from the road that Jesse himself had dug with extra care. Jesse didn’t run the cemetery—that job belonged to the great and gloomy Frederick Huff, who issued daily orders from the caretaker’s house and only emerged to complain at Billy Cake and the other fellows who worked the cemetery. But it was Jesse who dug the graves.

Highland Cemetery had opened twenty-some years ago, a little ways before Jesse was born, and it had stolen away all the business from Prospect Cemetery. Didn’t seem to matter that Prospect was half a mile closer to downtown Ypsilanti, with its growing Normal School and expanding railroad system. Prospect still failed to prosper.

Problem was, Prospect had both proven too small, so the city had bought a big chunk of loamy hillside outside Ypsilanti and named it Highland Cemetery. The local Catholic community had been scandalized at the idea of sharing eternity with Protestants and even Lutherans, so they had bought a bit of land right across the road for their own dead, keeping Mr. Suggs, and now Jesse, busy digging graves for both. Meanwhile, the townsfolk stopped using Prospect Cemetery entire, and no one seemed interested in paying Jesse Fair or Billy Cake to even trim its trees, so these days the verge ran wild. The inhabitants didn’t complain.

It was a serpent night, with the chill breeze hissing in the leaves. Jesse wound through the stones until he came to the new grave of Elmer Pitt. The thin glow of a little lantern on the ground illuminated the markers from the bottom up, and the familiar quiet sound of a wooden shovel biting earth came to Jesse’s ears. Resurrection men always used wooden shovels. They made less noise. Jesse crept closer.

The resurrection man had already made good headway and was knee-deep in the ground at the head of the grave. Two canvas drop cloths lay beside him, one to catch the dirt, and the other to receive Elmer Pitt. Jesse noted the well-worn leather gloves covering the resurrection man’s hands. The man also had a crowbar and a length of rope.

“So you’re from the University Medical School,” Jesse said in the dark.


Author Bio

Steven Harper

Steven Harper Piziks was born with a last name no one can reliably spell or pronounce, so he usually writes under the name Steven Harper. He grew up on a farm in Michigan but has also lived in Wisconsin and Germany and spent extensive time in Ukraine.

So far, he’s written more than two dozen novels and over fifty short stories and essays. When not writing, he plays the folk harp, lifts weights, and spends more time on-line than is probably good for him. He teaches high school English in southeast Michigan, where he lives with his husband. His students think he’s hysterical, which isn’t the same as thinking he’s funny.

Author Website: http://www.stevenpiziks.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/steven.piziks

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevenPiziks

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/250784.Steven_Harper

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Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot’s Story by Helena P. Schrader Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A fighter pilot during WW2 struggles to return to duty after the loss of his best friend, while also dealing with a mark on his record stating he lacks moral fibre after his failure to return to duty during a raid in Berlin and fledgling feelings for the woman his best friend had been engaged to in author Helena P. Schrader’s “Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot’s Story”. 

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The Synopsis

Riding the icy, moonlit sky—

They took the war to Hitler.

Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent.

Their average age was 21.

This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew, and the woman he loved.

It is intended as a tribute to them all.

Flying Officer Kit Moran has earned his pilot’s wings, but the greatest challenges still lie ahead: crewing up and returning to operations. Things aren’t made easier by the fact that while still a flight engineer, he was posted LMF (Lacking in Moral Fibre) for refusing to fly after a raid on Berlin that killed his best friend and skipper. Nor does it help that he is in love with his dead friend’s fiancé, but she is not yet ready to become romantically involved again.

The Review

This was such a powerful and thought-provoking WWII historical fiction read. The author perfectly captures the chaos and struggles of men and women during WW2 who fought against Hitler’s regime in the skies and on the ground. The attention to detail the author utilized in the narrative and the heavy emphasis on setting and tone really brought the history aspect of the novel to life perfectly.

Yet it was the character development and themes that really spoke to me in this read. The way the author wove these themes of racism, grief, PTSD, and “good versus evil” was fantastic to see, as they mirrored the historical context of the war so seamlessly. Kit’s development in particular was so moving, as the psychological and societal impact of his experiences during the war and his background overall played a role in the development of this rich and captivating read. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, engaging, and thought-provoking, author Helena P. Schrader’s “Moral Fibre” is a must-read historical fiction novel! The complex themes the author explores, the rich character development, and the incredible historical detail of both the war and in particular the world of aviation during a time of war were so brilliantly portrayed here, and the emotional bond the reader makes with the protagonist and the cast of characters will have readers hanging off of the authors ever word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Helena P. Schrader is an established aviation author and expert on the Second World War. She earned a PhD in History (cum Laude) from the University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking dissertation on a leading member of the German Resistance to Hitler. Her non-fiction publications include Sisters in Arms: The Women who Flew in WWII, The Blockade Breakers: The Berlin Airlift, and Codename Valkyrie: General Friederich Olbricht and the Plot against Hitler. In addition, Helena has published eighteen historical novels and won numerous literary awards. Her novel on the Battle of Britain, Where Eagles Never Flew won the Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and a Maincrest Media Award for Historical Fiction. RAF Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Bob Doe called it “the best book” he had ever seen about the battle. Traitors for the Sake of Humanity is a finalist for the Foreword INDIES awards. Grounded Eagles and Moral Fibre have both garnered excellent reviews from acclaimed review sites such as Kirkus, Blue Ink, Foreword Clarion, Feathered Quill, and Chantileer Books.

You can follow her author website for updates and her aviation history blog.

Purchase a copy of Moral Fibre on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Blog Tour Calendar

August 15th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. Read more about this fascinating historical fiction novel and learn more about the author. You can also enter to win a copy of the book too!

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

August 17th @ Deborah Adams’ Blog

Deborah Adams features Helena P. Schrader’s guest post about dissecting a novel.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/blog/

 August 19th @ Life According to Jamie

Join Jamie as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/

August 21st @ What Is That Book About?

Join Michelle as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. 

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

August 22nd @ Mindy McGinnis’ Blog

Join Mindy as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about how editors are not optional.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

August 23rd @ Lisa Haselton’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Don’t miss an interview with author Helena P. Schrader about her book Moral Fibre.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

August 24th @ A Writer of History

Read Helena P. Schrader’s guest post about the challenges of designing book covers for historical fiction.

August 25th @ Bring on Lemons

Join Crystal as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

August 26th @ Bookshelf Journeys

Read Terri’s review of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

https://bookshelfjourneys.com/

August 27th @ Mercedes Rochelle’s Blog

Read Helena P. Schrader’s guest post featuring her book Moral Fibre.

https://mercedesrochelle.com/wordpress/

August 30th @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

September 1st @ The Faerie Review

Check out a spotlight of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

September 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina

Anthony reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/reviews/

September 5th @ Choices

Join Madeline as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about the author and the seven drafts.

http://madelinesharples.com

September 10th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdre as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

September 12th @ Word Magic

Fiona shares a guest post by author Helena P. Schrader about the lack of moral fibre.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

September 17th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today where she interviews author Helena P. Schrader.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

September 18th @ Wildwood Reads

Join Megan as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.

https://wildwoodreads.com/

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman finds her world turned upside down when a handsome stranger enters her life from another time, and together they discover fate’s plans for them when a rogue threat targets her for a power she never knew she had in author Sasha Alsberg’s “Breaking Time”.

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The Synopsis

Romance, Celtic mythology, and adventure swirl together in this time travel fantasy by #1 New York Times bestselling author, booktuber, and popular Outlander social media influencer Sasha Alsberg.

Fate brought them together. Time will tear them apart.

When a mysterious Scotsman suddenly appears in the middle of the road, Klara thinks the biggest problem is whether she hit him with her car. But, as impossible as it sounds, Callum has stepped out of another time, and his arrival marks the beginning of a deadly adventure.

Klara soon learns she is the last Pillar of Time—an anchor point in the timeline of the world. After being unable to protect the previous Pillar, Callum believes he’s fated to protect her. But now a dark force is hunting the Pillars—and Klara and Callum are the only two standing in the way. They’ll have to learn to trust each other and work together…but they’ll need to protect their hearts from one another if they’re going to survive

The Review

This was such a powerful and entertaining new read! The author did such an incredible job of world-building in this narrative. Each scene felt vibrant and alive on the page, thanks to the author’s incredible handle on imagery in her writing and the atmosphere she builds as the narrative progresses. The striking balance the author struck between the rich mythology of the world she created and the intimate and emotional character growth was superb. As a huge fan of mythology in general, I was immediately drawn into this narrative, but what was really fun was being introduced to new mythological figures and stories, and the intricacies of Celtic mythology definitely drew me into the story so much that I’ll be researching the mythos myself, really adding to the author’s ability to draw readers in. 

Yet it was the rich character development that really drew me in further and further into the story. The multiple POVs were great to have, as they added depth to both Callum’s and Klara’s stories. Their backstories and the eras from which they hail and the instant chemistry and discoveries they make about themselves along the way were truly inviting to behold on the page. Even the antagonist, who emerges from the shadows and strikes into the heart of these two protagonists, was chilling and haunting to behold and did a great job of becoming the hero’s foil in the narrative. 

The Verdict

Captivating, engaging, and brilliantly written, author Sasha Alsberg’s “Breaking Time” is a must-read YA Historical Fantasy meets Time Travel story and one of my top picks for best reads of 2022. The author does a great job of traversing the influences of other series such as Outlander and The Mortal Instruments, and yet feels so original and authentic on its own at the same time, bringing magic back into the Historical Fantasy meets Highland genre. With a twist ending that left this reader eager to read more, you guys won’t want to miss out on this spectacular story. Be sure to pick up your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Sasha Alsberg is the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Zenith, the first book in The Androma Saga. When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland, she is galavanting across social media with her two dogs, Fraser & Fiona. Sasha lives in London, England.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.sashaalsberg.com/ 

Twitter: @sashaalsberg

Instagram: @sashaalsberg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sasha.alsberg 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15100575.Sasha_Alsberg 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Time-Sasha-Alsberg/dp/1335284893 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-

time-sasha-alsberg/1140332910 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335284891 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Breaking-Time/Sasha-Alsberg/9781335284891 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/ch/audiobook/breaking-time/id1591477301 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sasha_Alsberg_Breaking_Time?id=5TlHEAAAQBAJ 

Please enjoy this excerpt from Author Sasha Alsberg’s “Breaking Time”

Excerpted from BREAKING TIME by Sasha Alsberg, © 2022 by Sasha Alsberg, used with permission from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.

Callum

1568

“Thomas!” Callum yelled as he left the pub. The wall of crisp night air dizzied him, causing him to stumble over cobblestones that seemed to shift beneath his feet. Drunken laughter muff led as the door slammed shut behind him. 

“Where the hell are ye?” he shouted. His voice echoed through the deserted streets. 

No answer came. 

Lanterns flickered along the main road, setting the heavy fog aglow. In a wee town like Rosemere, the slightest whispers could be heard a mile away. They carried farther than that, Callum knew; the windows around him were shuttered, but candles burned low just inside. How many prying eyes watched from behind the slats? How many would speak of his friend, the disgraced fighter, in hushed voices at tomorrow’s market, over bread bought with the coin they’d won betting on him mere weeks earlier?

Callum clenched his fists. The whole pub had shouted and jeered while Thomas got pummeled that night. Sounds still rang in Callum’s ears: the thud of fist and flesh, the sickening crunch of bone. It was the third time this month that Thomas had lost—only the third time, in two years of fighting.

Brice would be angry.

Master, keeper, devil, father. Brice MacDonald was all of these things to Callum and Thomas. Whatever Brice’s wrath tonight, Callum could not let Thomas face it alone. Not when Thomas had looked after Callum for so long, raised him up from a nipper as well as a real older brother would.

But he would not abandon Thomas like his mother had abandoned him.

The thought sobered Callum. He called again, lowering his voice to a taunt.

“Thomas! You owe me three shillings!” Thomas could usually be drawn out with a jab.

Callum paused, straining his ears for a response but was met with unease instead. An owl watched from its perch atop the baker’s roof, golden eyes unblinking against the dark night sky. The shining orbs fixed on him.

He tore his gaze from the bird and walked on, moving away from the firelight and into shadow.

Even more worrisome than Brice was the fact that Thomas had given Callum his most treasured item earlier that night: his notebook, small sheaths of vellum bound in leather. When he first began carrying it around, Thomas claimed to have stolen it from the apothecary when he went in for a poultice. 

He had kept it on him, always, and had never let Callum lay eyes on what was inside. Yet he had pressed it into Callum’s hand, just before the match tonight. He said something to Callum when he did, but his words were inaudible within the roar of the pub. Then after, he disappeared from the pub without even a goodbye.

Now Callum was wandering the streets, alone.

It was unlike Thomas to behave so strangely, to lose so badly. The Thomas he knew—boyish and rowdy, tough as leather but never mean—had fallen away with the autumn leaves these past months. Instead of spending evenings at The Black Hart Inn, weaving stories he’d learned as a child of selkies and sailors for red-cheeked barmaids until the sun rose, Thomas began to disappear for days, weeks at a time—stretches too long for Callum to explain to Brice. He took a beating or two for it, too. When Thomas returned, he was sullen, sometimes violent, and consumed by a strangeness Callum had no words to describe. His eyes stared but did not see, as distant as stars burning in his skull. If he spoke at all, he told tales of the demons that terrified them as children: like the Sluagh, spirits of the dead who wandered in flocks, flying around the sky like soaring reapers and stealing souls, flesh hanging off them like blackened rags. Or the bean-nighe, banshees, messengers from the Otherworld and omens of death, who lingered in lonely streams, washing the clothes of doomed men. Normally Callum heard of such dark creatures within the stories of heroes, but Thomas’s stories didn’t end in life…but death. He fixated on that fact, as if it were coming for him.

I saw her, he’d said of the bean-nighe. I refuse to die. 

It worried Callum, but just as his worry morphed into confrontation, Thomas would come back to himself. This was enough to comfort Callum as he watched Thomas return to tales of ancient heroes and kings. Maybe he accepted his relief too soon since the nights of those stories were fewer these days, and more often Thomas’s speech would turn dark again. He would speak of strange visions, of men who leaped from one world to the next.

They’re coming, Cal, you’ll see. It’s as simple as stepping through a veil.

Who’s coming, Thomas? What veil? Callum asked, and Thomas would laugh.

It was no tale that Callum knew. He’d warned Thomas not to tell it. He didn’t like the wary looks it earned him. It was one thing to be a bard who told these stories for a living, but it was another thing to speak like a madman of evil spirits and fairies as if they were tangible things away from the lyrics of a song or the pages of a book.

Callum reached the end of the main road—the turn for Kelpie’s Close. If you wanted trouble, you found it in Kelpie’s. The narrow backstreet edged Rosemere like a blade pressed against the town’s throat.

A chill clung to his skin. Here, there were no lanterns to light the way, his only guide sparse slivers of moonlight. The wind picked up suddenly, lifting his hair and reaching under his woolen cloak. He tried to shake off visions of the Sluagh hovering above him, raking their cold fingers down his neck.

“It’s as dark as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat,” he mumbled.

Callum reached for the dirk tucked under his arm and found the carved handle concealed under layers of wool, feeling a sting of guilt. It was Thomas’s knife. Callum had slipped it away from him before the match, worried about what his friend might do in the crowded pub if he got enough drink in him. He tapped it, drawing enough strength to plunge into the darkness.

“Scunner!” he cursed, meaning it. “Where are you?”

A cry pierced the quiet.

Callum’s heart pounded as he followed the sound farther down the alley. He pulled the dirk from under his arm, certain now that he’d need to use it.

“Thomas?”

Unease, cold and metallic, crept up his spine. The alley appeared empty—strange, for this time of night—but the silence was thick, alive with a feeling Callum couldn’t name. He pushed on, deeper into the gloom. “Thomas?”

Another strangled cry, ahead.

Callum broke into a run.

A single lantern flickered a short distance away, casting a wan glow over a lone figure slumped against the wall. A sweep of red hair, bright even in the dim alley.

“Thomas, ye bastard, do ye ken what—”

The insult lodged in his throat. Thomas lay on the ground, his legs splayed at sickening angles. Blood seeped through his shirt, blooming like ink on paper. Callum rushed to his friend and knelt beside him. He dropped the dirk and pressed his hands against the deep slice that marred his friend’s torso. A knife wound.

“Dinnae fash, Thomas, dinnae fash,” Callum repeated, voice tight and panicked. He glanced up, searching for friend or foe, and found no one. “We’ll be back to the pub before Anderson kens we havna paid our tab.” 

Thomas stared up at him with glassy blue eyes. With each shuddering breath, more blood spilled through Callum’s fingers. He ripped the cloth stock from his neck and pressed the fabric onto the wound. It did little to stem the flow of blood. Within a few heartbeats, the cloth was soaked through, red and dripping.

If he pressed any harder, would it be doing more harm than good? Should he call for help, though it might draw the attacker? Callum hadn’t a clue. He wished suddenly, ferociously, that he’d had a proper mother, one whose wisdom he could call upon to calmly guide his hands. However, Thomas was the only family he had.

His only family was dying.

Thomas opened his mouth, but instead of words, a wet cough came out, splattering red across his pale face.

“Dinnae move, Thomas,” Callum shushed him. His uncertainty gave way to desperation, burst from his throat. “Help! Help us!”

His words dissolved into the night air, leaving behind only a tightness at the center of his chest. If he hadn’t taken Thomas’s dirk, he would have been able to defend himself, he wouldn’t be dying in Callum’s arms—

Thomas gasped, but it seemed as if no air reached his lungs.

Lowering his head, Callum gripped Thomas’s hands, though his own were shaking. “I will find the man who did this, I swear—”

Then the world flipped sideways. A blow had hit Callum like a runaway carriage, throwing him against the alley wall opposite Thomas.

Pain exploded along his ribs. Grasping the mossy wall for purchase, he struggled to his feet and wiped blood from his eyes, scouring the darkness for his attacker—and found no one.

“Show your face,” he growled.

A cruel whisper cut through the quiet. “Are you certain?”

The man emerged from the shadows as if he had been one with them. He wore a dark black cloak, in stark contrast to his unkempt, pale hair. Deep set in his face, a pair of amber eyes seemed to emit their own light. Callum’s gaze was drawn to a glinting shape in the man’s hand.

A dagger, dripping with blood.

Thomas’s blood.

Callum’s heart pounded like a war drum in his ears.

The man sighed. “Move along. Unless you’d like to meet the same fate as your compani—”

Callum lunged forward, cutting off the man’s speech with a guttural cry, striking with the speed of a viper.

The man ducked. He whirled around as Callum charged again. He overreached with the arc of his knife, and Callum used the moment to surge upward with a punch. His fist took the assailant in the chin—

And the force knocked Callum back.

He stared. A blow like that would have laid out the toughest fighter, yet the man stood and smiled, rubbing his chin with a gloved hand.

“I’m going to have fun with you,” the stranger whispered. “I like a man with a bit of fight in him. It’s more fun to play with your prey, don’t you think?”

Callum didn’t see the blow coming, only felt the pain searing across his temple as he was thrown to the ground again. 

He lifted his head, vision blurring. He blinked it clear, took in his friend’s ashen face. The sight flooded Callum with rage.

Whoever said to never fight with anger fueling your fists was a fool. Thomas’s best fights had been powered by emotion. Callum wasn’t fighting for money now. Or for Brice. He was fighting for Thomas. Because Thomas was—

“Stay down, little man,” the attacker’s voice hissed.

Callum dragged himself to his feet. His body, corded with muscle from a lifetime of training, screamed for him to stop. Instead he stood, swaying.

“I dinnae believe I’m going to Heaven,” Callum said, raising his fists once more, drawing strength from the familiar ache that radiated through his arms. “But I cannae wait to bring you to Hell with me.”

Lunging forward again, Callum poured everything he had into a single strike. He swung, landing the punch more out of luck than skill, half blinded by blood and dirt.

The man merely flinched, then caught Callum easily by the throat. A grin curled over his face.

How could that be possible?

“My, my, you are a feisty one,” he hissed.

The man lashed out, and pain flared along Callum’s torso. He released Callum and stepped back, red-tinged silver shining in his fist.

Callum touched his side, and his fingers came away wet with blood. He watched as crimson spread across his shirt. He tried to take a step, only to crumple to the ground beside Thomas, whose head rested limp against his chest.

Callum had never feared death, but now as he looked into its eyes, terror seized him. 

“Many thanks for the entertainment,” the man said.

To Callum’s horror, he bent low, holding a vial to the spreading pool of Thomas’s blood. He was gathering it.

“If you’ll excuse me, there’s one last Pillar I must find.”

Pillar?

The unearthly amber eyes melted into darkness as his opponent backed away and turned, disappearing into the shadows once more. Softly hissed words echoed in the alley. Àiteachan dìomhair, fosgailte dhomh, Àiteachan dìomhair, fosgailte dhomh…

The words the man spoke were Gaelic, but Callum’s fading mind couldn’t make out their meaning. A dark, mist-like substance rose from the ground and curled around the man’s feet, nearly indistinguishable from the dim of night. Like a sudden fog had rolled in.

Callum sputtered a curse, lacking the strength to spit. He tried to lift himself, but with each breath, pain flared in his side like a web of fire.

“I’m sorry, Thomas,” he croaked. Tears fell freely down his face, mingling with blood and sweat. He pressed his forehead against his friend’s. Grief washed over him at the still-warm press of his skin.

Thomas was gone, and Callum would soon follow.

A shiver raked his body. His eyes drifted shut.

Take me already, he pleaded to the darkness.

And the darkness answered.

No, not the darkness—Thomas’s voice, a memory now, though it was solid as stone.

“Get up, scunner.”

The warmth of the words turned electric, spreading through Callum’s body like wildfire. His eyes shot open and he gasped, breathing in a shock of cold air still sharp with the smell of blood. His fingers found the dirk he’d dropped earlier.

Grief and agony and pain and rage lifted Callum onto his feet, thrumming in him as he charged after Thomas’s murderer, knife raised and eager for flesh. He grabbed blindly, finally grasping a handful of fabric—the man’s cloak. Turning, the man’s eyes widened, making two white rings of surprise in the dark. Callum’s hand grabbed the man’s neck and aimed his dirk at the pale slash of his throat.

Suddenly, they froze. Callum could not move. His hand remained around the man’s neck, the tip of the dirk pressed against his vein. Light flowed around them. It’s not time for sunrise, he thought. Dimly, he noticed markings along the man’s collarbone. Knots carved into his skin.

The man cried out—not in pain, but in anger—but then, the cry was stifled by a rush of silence, so thick Callum thought he might drown in it. His stomach turned violently as the ground seemed to drop out from under him, forcing him to squeeze his eyes shut. He was falling, flying, falling.

I must be dead in the alley. The man must have killed me. This must be death.

A bright glow burned against his lids. He closed his eyes tighter and welcomed whatever might follow, only hoping he’d find Thomas there. A wall of light had formed above, descending as if the sun were pulling him through the sky. His body rose into its searing embrace.

He waited for the long drop to the ground, but it never came.

Callum kept soaring.

Not just through the street.

Not to death’s embrace. 

But somewhere else.

Leaping to another world, like the man in Thomas’s story, Callum thought.

So he leaped. 

Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two Italian immigrants in 20th century America fight to reunite and find comfort in their letters to one another in the interim in author Audry Fryer’s “Until Next Sunday”.

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The Synopsis

Until Next Sunday is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.)

Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream.

She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place.

Then she met him.

Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life.

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit.

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever?

It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

The Review

This was such a powerful love story. The world-building and setting the author is able to bring to life through incredible writing that evokes a great sense of imagery made the story feel so vibrant and captivating to read. The powerful themes of love and the “American Dream” during a time when many people from Italy were immigrating to the United States were both captivating and brought a sense of community to the narrative as well.

It was the cast of characters that really sold this narrative. The emotional connection between Gianni and Rosina was so impactful, and the way this fictional narrative was fit around the love letters of real-world individuals made the connection readers had to this story that much more powerful. The way this aspect of the narrative was able to be more prominent in the novel was great to see, as the history portion of the historical fiction romance read was brilliant for a history buff like me, but with romance being such a focal point in this novel, as well as family, it was great to see the history lift up and add a spotlight to the romance more so than anything else.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, captivating, and entertaining, author Audry Fryer’s “Until Next Sunday” is a must-read and mesmerizing historical fiction romance novel! The emotional depths of the romance between these two main characters were amazing to read, and the natural way the history of the era played to the themes of love and the story many immigrants had during this point of history was inspiring to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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I’m excited to announce the WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour with author and Audry Fryer and her book Until Next Sunday. 

This book is written with so much heart – you can’t help but fall in love with the characters from this historical romance! 

Here’s a bit about the book:

 After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, 
illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after. 
When separated, will letters keep their love alive? 


Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream. She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place. 

Then she met him. Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life. 

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit. 

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever? 

Until Next Sunday is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.) It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

Purchase your own copy on: Smashwords, Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo!

About the Author





Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com

Social Media Links:

#untilnextsunday




– Blog Tour Calendar

May 9th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.

May 10th @ Create Write Now 
Today’s guest post at Create Write Now comes from Audry Fryer as she pens an article titled: “The Importance of a Talented Editor”. Hear from Audry on this important topic and find out more about her latest work: Until Next Sunday.

May 11th @ Pages & Paws 
Kristine from Pages and Paws reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is delighting readers – find out what Kristine thinks!

May 13th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Audry Fryer pens today’s travel inspired guest post on Rebecca J. Whitman’s blog. Find out more about Fryer’s book Until Next Sunday and the region of Italy featured in the book.

May 16th @ What is that Book About
Today’s book spotlight at What is that Book About is none other than Audry Fryer’s latest Until Next Sunday. Readers will want to add this gem to their TBR pile right away!

May 16th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Don’t miss today’s podcast with Rebecca J. Whitman as she features Audry Fryer and Audry’s latest book Until Next Sunday.

May 17th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird welcomes Audry Fryer to her blog today. Stop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest book Until Next Sunday and find out the inside story about “How 100 Love Letters Became a Novel”

May 18th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Behavioral Psychotherapist, Linda Appleman Shapiro, reviews and shares her thoughts after reading Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Don’t miss Shapiro’s insight on this beautiful historical romance.

May 19th @ A Storybook World
A StoryBook World welcomes Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday to the spotlight today! Stop by and find out more about the historical romance everyone is talking about!

May 20th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Rebecca J. Whitman reviews Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog; don’t miss a chance to learn more about this historical romance that is delighting readers young and old!

May 20th @ Word Magic
Readers at Fiona Ingram’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about the difference between historical romance and historical fiction. Is there a difference? Find out today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 24th @ Mindy McGinnis
Readers at Mindy McGinnis’ blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about how to create a book club kit for your readers. Sop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina
Readers at Anthony Avina’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about Roses and what they symbolize in books. Stop by today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 25th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Fellow author Madeline Sharples has Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday in the spotlight at her blog today! Stop by and see what all the fuss is about!

May 30th @ Bring on Lemons with High School Student, Carmen Otto
Teenager Carmen Otto offers her 5 star review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday. Otto can’t wait for her school library to add this gem to their collection! Read more from Carmen about this historical romance today!

May 31st @ Reading is My Remedy
Chelsie Stanford of Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday – find out what Chelsie has to say about this historical romance and it’s talented author!

June 1st @ Lisa’s Reading
Lisa from Lisa’s Reading has Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday in the spotlight today! Stop by and see the historical romance everyone is talking about!

June 2nd @ KnottyNeedle Creative
Judy from the Knotty Needle offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday for readers of her blog. This is a delightful historical romance and readers will want to hear what Judy has to say!

June 2nd @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is getting lots of attention – find out what Beverley thinks!

June 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Audry Fryer’s latest historical romance, Until Next Sunday. Find out from one author to another what Anthony thinks of this book!

June 4th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion
Linda of Boots Shoes & Fashion interviews Audry Fryer about her latest historical fiction, Until Next Sunday; don’t miss this insightful interview!
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

June 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples welcomes a guest author to her blog – today, readers will hear from Audry Fryer about Until Next Sunday as well as learning what Audry has to say about Top Strong Female Characters in Literature.

June 9th @ The Frugalista Mom
The Fruglista Mom, Rozelyn, shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer! This is a book and review you won’t want to miss!

June 10th @ World of My Imagination
WOW! Blog Tour Manager Nicole Pyles shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Nicole’s review wraps up the book blog tour for this historical romance – find out what Nicole has to say about this beautiful story!

Guest Post: Rose Symbolism in Literature by Author Audry Fryer

I am so honored to be sharing author Audry Fryer’s latest guest post on Rose Symbolism in Literature for Women on Writing Blog Tours. I hope you will all enjoy this wonderfully written post.


Rose Symbolism in Literature

Known for their beauty, fragrance, and as a symbol of love, roses are one of the most popular flowers. So, of course, they’re often featured in literature. 

The mention of a rose in literature often adds a symbolic element of love, romance, and femininity. The word “rose” often appears in titles.  And many books’ covers feature roses or rose gardens. 

The cover of my book, Until Next Sunday, features a single red rose. Besides adding a pop of color, the red rose offers a clue to the reader that my book contains a love story. It’s also a nod to the many moments a rose or roses are mentioned, including in the main character’s name, Rosina.

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A Brief History of Roses

Scientific evidence reveals roses were among the first flowers to bloom on this Earth. Fossil records indicate that roses are estimated to be 35 million years old.

The cultivation of roses dates back over 5,000 years in Asia. Chinese philosopher Confucius wrote about roses in the Imperial Gardens around 500 B.C.

In Greek mythology, when Aphrodite found her lover, Adonis, wounded by a wild boar, her tears mixing with his red blood are said to have created the first roses. 

When Egyptian queen Cleopatra endeavored to romance Roman general Mark Antony, she had all her fountains filled with rose water and her chamber carpeted with rose petals. 

Later, Emperors in the Roman Empire would lavish their guests with rose petals. They hung roses from the ceilings in banquet halls, known as the term “sub-rosa” or under the rose. In this case, roses symbolized secrecy and confidentiality.

In 15th Century England, roses played a role in the civil war between the House of Lancaster, symbolized by the red rose, and the House of York, represented by the white rose. Playwright William Shakespeare penned, “That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet,” in the play Romeo and Juliet. And King Henry VII declared the rose England’s national flower in 1485.

In the United States, in 1986, then-President Ronald Reagan held a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden to sign a proclamation certifying the rose as the national flower. 

What do roses symbolize?

Rose symbolism in literature directly relates to rose symbolism in everyday life. However, it may vary on an individual book’s historical or cultural setting. 

To learn what roses symbolize, consider their botanical features, color, and the number of roses in a bouquet. 

There are over 150 species of roses, with most varieties containing thorny stems. Persevering past the thorns to the beautiful, fragrant blossom relates to the symbolism of overcoming difficulty to find reward and happiness.

The vast majority of rose symbolism relies on color

  • Red Rose – deep passionate love, romance, and desire. It’s best suited to couples.
  • White Rose – purity,  youthful innocence, and spiritual ceremonies, including weddings, baptisms, and funerals.
  • Yellow Rose – friendship, warmth, and new beginnings. However, in the Victorian era, the yellow rose represented infidelity and jealousy. 
  • Pink Rose – gratitude, joy, friendship, or young love. Light pink can express either admiration or sympathy. 
  • Orange Rose – energy, sensuality, enthusiasm, and celebrations, including birthdays, anniversaries, and achievements
  • Lavender Rose – appreciation, adoration, enchantment, and love.
  • Green Rose – hope, fertility, rejuvenation. Ideal for a new baby. However, green roses can be associated with envy.
  • Blue Rose – achieving the impossible, mystery, or something desired but attained. Blue roses are either a result of placing cut roses in dye or genetic engineering. 
  • Black Rose – death, sorrow, mourning, tradegy, or sophistication. Also, a symbol of power and strength in Ancient Greece and Rome. Black roses tend to be deep red, deep purple, or enhanced by a florist with dye. 

The number of roses holds considerable significance:

  • One Rose – love at first sight
  • Two Roses – deep love
  • Three Roses – for the three words, “I love you.”
  • Six Roses – for six words, “I love you. I miss you.” 
  • Seven Roses – infatuation or new love
  • Nine Roses – eternal love
  • Twelve Roses – a perfect love

12 Rose Literary Quotes

While hundreds of literary quotes mention a rose (too many to list in this post), selecting a dozen rose literary quotes seemed appropriate. Enjoy these notable quotes from well-known authors, poets, and writers. 

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. Loveliness extreme. Extra gaiters, Loveliness extreme. Sweetest ice-cream. Pages ages page ages page ages.” – Gertrude Stein

“Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.” – Louisa May Alcott

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” – Anne Bronte

“That afternoon my mother had brought me the roses. ‘Save them for my funeral,’ I’d said.”         – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”

― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

“Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly-tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly?” – Emily Brontë, The Complete Poems

“Of all the flowers, me thinks a rose is best.” – William Shakespeare.

“True love is like little roses, sweet, fragrant in small doses.” – Ana Claudia Antunes, Pierrot & Columbine

“The more you love roses the more you must bear with thorns.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

“The pink roses are love hopeful and expectant. White roses are love dead or forsaken–but the red roses–ah, Leslie, what are the red roses? Love triumphant.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery.

“A rose dreams of enjoying the company of bees, but none appears. The sun asks: Aren’t you tired of waiting? Yes, but if I close my petals, I will wither and die.” – Paulo Coelho.

Final Thoughts: Rose Symbolism in Literature

Throughout history and across cultures, the rose has held many different meanings, from playing a role in love affairs to civil wars and national symbols. In literature, roses have powerful symbolism representing love, desire, romance, passion, friendship, infidelity, and envy. A rose is so much more than what meets the eye, from its thorny stems to its fragrant petals.

Author Bio

Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com.

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I’m excited to announce the WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour with author and Audry Fryer and her book Until Next Sunday. 

This book is written with so much heart – you can’t help but fall in love with the characters from this historical romance! 

Here’s a bit about the book:

 After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, 
illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after. 
When separated, will letters keep their love alive? 


Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream. She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place. 

Then she met him. Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life. 

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit. 

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever? 

Until Next Sunday is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.) It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

Purchase your own copy on: Smashwords, Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo!

About the Author





Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com

Social Media Links:

#untilnextsunday




– Blog Tour Calendar

May 9th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.

May 10th @ Create Write Now 
Today’s guest post at Create Write Now comes from Audry Fryer as she pens an article titled: “The Importance of a Talented Editor”. Hear from Audry on this important topic and find out more about her latest work: Until Next Sunday.

May 11th @ Pages & Paws 
Kristine from Pages and Paws reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is delighting readers – find out what Kristine thinks!

May 13th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Audry Fryer pens today’s travel inspired guest post on Rebecca J. Whitman’s blog. Find out more about Fryer’s book Until Next Sunday and the region of Italy featured in the book.

May 16th @ What is that Book About
Today’s book spotlight at What is that Book About is none other than Audry Fryer’s latest Until Next Sunday. Readers will want to add this gem to their TBR pile right away!

May 16th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Don’t miss today’s podcast with Rebecca J. Whitman as she features Audry Fryer and Audry’s latest book Until Next Sunday.

May 17th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird welcomes Audry Fryer to her blog today. Stop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest book Until Next Sunday and find out the inside story about “How 100 Love Letters Became a Novel”

May 18th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Behavioral Psychotherapist, Linda Appleman Shapiro, reviews and shares her thoughts after reading Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Don’t miss Shapiro’s insight on this beautiful historical romance.

May 19th @ A Storybook World
A StoryBook World welcomes Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday to the spotlight today! Stop by and find out more about the historical romance everyone is talking about!

May 20th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Rebecca J. Whitman reviews Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog; don’t miss a chance to learn more about this historical romance that is delighting readers young and old!

May 20th @ Word Magic
Readers at Fiona Ingram’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about the difference between historical romance and historical fiction. Is there a difference? Find out today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 24th @ Mindy McGinnis
Readers at Mindy McGinnis’ blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about how to create a book club kit for your readers. Sop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina
Readers at Anthony Avina’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about Roses and what they symbolize in books. Stop by today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 25th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Fellow author Madeline Sharples has Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday in the spotlight at her blog today! Stop by and see what all the fuss is about!

May 30th @ Bring on Lemons with High School Student, Carmen Otto
Teenager Carmen Otto offers her 5 star review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday. Otto can’t wait for her school library to add this gem to their collection! Read more from Carmen about this historical romance today!

May 31st @ Reading is My Remedy
Chelsie Stanford of Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday – find out what Chelsie has to say about this historical romance and it’s talented author!

June 1st @ Lisa’s Reading
Lisa from Lisa’s Reading has Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday in the spotlight today! Stop by and see the historical romance everyone is talking about!

June 2nd @ KnottyNeedle Creative
Judy from the Knotty Needle offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday for readers of her blog. This is a delightful historical romance and readers will want to hear what Judy has to say!

June 2nd @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is getting lots of attention – find out what Beverley thinks!

June 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Audry Fryer’s latest historical romance, Until Next Sunday. Find out from one author to another what Anthony thinks of this book!

June 4th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion
Linda of Boots Shoes & Fashion interviews Audry Fryer about her latest historical fiction, Until Next Sunday; don’t miss this insightful interview!
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

June 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples welcomes a guest author to her blog – today, readers will hear from Audry Fryer about Until Next Sunday as well as learning what Audry has to say about Top Strong Female Characters in Literature.

June 9th @ The Frugalista Mom
The Fruglista Mom, Rozelyn, shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer! This is a book and review you won’t want to miss!

June 10th @ World of My Imagination
WOW! Blog Tour Manager Nicole Pyles shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Nicole’s review wraps up the book blog tour for this historical romance – find out what Nicole has to say about this beautiful story!

The Highlander’s Stolen Bride (Highland Alliance Book 3) by Madeline Martin Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two people born to hate one another find themselves drawn together through harrowing odds in author Madeline Martin’s “The Highlander’s Stolen Bride”, the third book in the Highland Alliance series.

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The Synopsis

A dramatic enemies-to-lovers romance from New York Times bestselling author Madeline Martin!

Kidnapping Elspeth MacMillan on her way to an arranged marriage is the only way for new laird Calum Campbell to avoid more bloodshed and bargain peace for his people. Calum expects her fury but doesn’t expect the feisty lass to break through his defenses into his heart. With war waging between their families, will they ever be able to yield to love?

The Review

As a history buff and romantic, I absolutely loved this book. The examination of Scotland’s ancient history and the emphasis on clans and how the rivalries and conflicts arose between these houses was very Shakespearean in nature, and the author captured that perfectly in this novel. The author’s unique writing style allowed a great sense of imagery that brought the lush and vibrant lands of Scotland and the harsh landscape of the lands the Campbell clan found themselves banned to live in the reader’s minds. 

The character development was superb in this book. The heated passion between the two protagonists was felt throughout the entire book, first in the hatred Elspeth felt for Calum and the mistrust that permeated their meeting, and then in the love and passion, they felt as they spent more and more time together. The exploration of how family rivalries and assumptions based on a person’s family can bring more harm than good to any situation was perfectly laid out in this novel, and the balance of action and romance was incredible. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, entertaining, and captivating, author Madeline Martin’s “The Highlander’s Stolen Bride” is a must-read novel of 2022 and the perfect compact romance for fans of adult romance novels. The fast pace and intensity of the narrative will leave readers breathless, and the historical setting will leave readers invested in the growing series the author has created. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Madeline Martin is a New York Times and International Bestselling author of historical fiction and historical romance. She lives in sunny Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions), one incredibly spoiled cat and a man so wonderful he’s been dubbed Mr. Awesome. She is a die-hard history lover who will happily lose herself in research any day. When she’s not writing, researching or ‘moming’, you can find her spending time with her family at Disney or sneaking a couple spoonfuls of Nutella while laughing over cat videos. She also loves to travel, attributing her fascination with history to having spent most of her childhood as an Army brat in Germany.

The Twesome Loop by Mandy Eve-Barnett Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Four people find themselves brought together at an Italian Villa, where secrets of the past reveal to them connections they never thought possible in author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “The Twesome Loop”.

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The Synopsis

Is it possible to change our destiny, break free from the echoes of our past lives? The Twesome Loop is an erotic romance novel with a reincarnation twist.

A picturesque Italian Villa holds a hidden past of a pact that cannot be broken – a secret untold. Passion, pleasure, and pain play their part as seemingly chance meetings reveal secrets and hidden agendas. One dark secret is coupled with a burning desire to extract revenge. It will see four guests re-living their past lives – for love, for lust, and for revenge.

Who will win and who will lose?

The Review

This was a very heated yet intriguing read. The author seemed to blend the erotic thriller genre with the historical romance genre, and the marriage of these two specific genres worked out so perfectly. The exploration of themes such as reincarnation, love, and whether or not that love can transcend time itself was beautifully woven into the fabric of this narrative, and the fast-paced story was perfectly accentuated by the great back and forth between the past storyline and the present. 

The tension and atmosphere of this read were brought to life brilliantly thanks in large part to the richly developed characters of this novel. The main cast of characters and their past counterparts really do an amazing job of highlighting the concept of reincarnation and showing the dangers of the past repeating itself in the present as a whole. The idea of people using marriage not for love but for monetary gain, those who are stuck in loveless marriages, and the passion and wildness that comes when true love is found were perfectly illustrated in each character’s unique interactions with one another in both time periods.

The Verdict

Suspenseful, entertaining, and captivating, author Mandy Eve-Barnett’s “The Twesome Loop” is a must-read erotic thriller/historical romance read. The heated passion when blended with the metaphysical aspect of reincarnation and the suspense of what happened to bring these four souls together again will have readers on the edge of their seats, making this a fun and engaging adult read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.

Mandy is passionate about writing to the point of obsession and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. Mandy’s venture into freelance writing has been successful and she regularly contributes to Strathcona Connect, an e-zine and the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park newspaper as well as well as holding the position of Secretary for her local writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. She is also Secretary of Alberta Authors Cooperative.

Writing in various genres, Mandy has been published in anthologies, on numerous websites as well as regularly blogging about her writing journey.

https://mandyevebarnett.com/

Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Gail Ward Olmsted tells the riveting story of a widow who marries her brother-in-law, and fights to earn the affections of her new husband as she helps inspire him to become the father of American Landscape Architecture and find her own place in the world in the biographical and historical fiction novel, “Landscape of a Marriage”.

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The Synopsis

A marriage of convenience leads to a life of passion and purpose. A shared vision transforms the American landscape forever.

New York, 1858: Mary, a young widow with three children, agrees to marry her brother-in-law Frederick Law Olmsted, who is acting on his late brother’s deathbed plea to “not let Mary suffer”. But she craves more than a marriage of convenience and sets out to win her husband’s love. Beginning with Central Park in New York City, Mary joins Fred on his quest to create a ‘beating green heart’ in the center of every urban space.

Over the next 40 years, Fred is inspired to create dozens of city parks, private estates and public spaces with Mary at his side. Based upon real people and true events, this is the story of Mary’s journey and personal growth and the challenges inherent in loving a brilliant and ambitious man.

The Review

A truly original and yet historical read, the author has done a masterful job of bringing protagonist and real-life historical figure Mary Olmsted, wife of legendary landscape architect Frederick Olmsted. The unique perspective of Mary makes the history feel alive and within reach, highlighting the struggles and changes many women faced back in the day, from gender bias to finding balance within marriage and even bringing love and romance into a marriage, which flew in the face of so many’s belief that status and wealth were the keys to a successful marriage. 

The balance between history, professionalism, and family is felt early on in this narrative. The evolving relationship between Frederick and Mary is engaging, taking a tragedy and leading to a marriage-turned-romance situation. The bond between them and the growth of their relationship as the world around them changed was fascinating to see unfold. Yet it was Mary herself that made this narrative so inspired and heartfelt, exploring her commitment to her marriage, fighting against societal expectations for her marriage and family, and how she processed the emotional impacts in her life made this story feel not only investing but real. 

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The Verdict

Historically driven, entertaining, and heartfelt, author Gail Ward Olmsted’s “Landscape of a Marriage” was a must-read novel! Fantastic character development and a beautifully rich history to draw upon lead to a marvelously engaging narrative that readers won’t be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Gail Ward Olmsted was a marketing executive and a college professor before she began writing fiction on a fulltime basis. A trip to Sedona, AZ inspired her first novel Jeep Tour. Three more novels followed before she began Landscape of a Marriage, a biographical work of fiction featuring landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, an ancestor of her husband’s, and his wife Mary. For more information, please visit her on Facebook and at GailOlmsted.com

https://www.instagram.com/gwolmsted/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/landscape-of-a-marriage-central-park-was-only-the-beginning-by-gail-ward-olmsted

The Girl From the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young Jewish woman who has been forced to flee German Occupation once before finds herself trapped on the only island in Great Britain to become occupied by German forces and must find a means of surviving in author Jenny Lecoat’s “The Girl from the Channel Islands”.

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The Synopsis

An extraordinary story of human triumph against impossible odds

The year is 1940, and the world is torn apart by war. In June of that year, Hitler’s army captures the Channel Islands–the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by German forces. Abandoned by Mr. Churchill, forgotten by the Allies, and cut off from all help, the Islands’ situation is increasingly desperate.

Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish girl who fled Vienna for the island of Jersey two years earlier during the Anschluss, only to find herself trapped by the Nazis once more–this time with no escape. Her only hope is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight wIth the help of her friends and community–and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle, neighbors turn on neighbors, and Hedy’s life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.

A sweeping tale of bravery and love under impossible circumstances, Hedy’s remarkable story reminds us that it’s often up to ordinary people to be quiet heroes in the face of injustice.

The Review

What a complex and tense story. Anytime a historical fiction novel explores WWII, readers know that heartbreak and emotional turmoil are sure to follow suit. It was a tumultuous and deadly time, especially for those of Jewish descent. What makes this story stand out immediately is the background that showcases this is based on true events. The haunting nature of the occupation and the impact it has on the island’s residents is gripping for the reader, drawing them in slowly but surely.

It is the strong character growth of this narrative that makes the novel stand out. From protagonist Heady and her struggle to hide within a German-occupied land to highlighting German soldiers who didn’t believe in the “cause” or Hitler’s Vision of the future, but instead were forced to participate in the army and worked to help protect innocents from the crimes of their nation, this novel really helped develop complex and emotional characters that viewed the war from multiple angles and highlighted how many people suffered during this time.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartbreaking, and engaging read, author Jenny Lecoat’s “The Girl from the Channel Islands” is a must-read historical fiction novel. The war was devastating, as were the millions of lives lost to a madman and his ruthless, savage cause. The author perfectly captures the raw emotions and cruel reality of the war and those impacted by it. A truly heartfelt journey, be sure to grab your copy of this fantastic read today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jenny Lecoat was born in Jersey, Channel Islands, where her parents were raised under German Occupation and were involved in resistance activity. Lecoat moved to England at 18, where, after earning a drama degree, she spent a decade on the alternative comedy circuit as a feminist stand-up. She also wrote for newspapers and women’s magazines (Cosmopolitan, Observer), worked as a TV and radio presenter, before focusing on screenwriting from sitcom to sketch shows. A love of history and factual stories and a return to her island roots brought about her feature film Another Mother’s Son (2017). She is married to television writer Gary Lawson and now lives in East Sussex. The Girl from the Channel Islands is her first novel.

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @JennyLecoat

Facebook: @JennyLecoat

Goodreads