Thursday, April 26, 2018

[Timeless Tour] Q & A with Kim Van Alkemade, author of BACHELOR GIRL


Today's Timeless Tour post is a Q & A with Kim van Alkemade, the author of BACHELOR GIRL!


Q & A

1. What draws you to writing historical fiction?

To me, learning about history is like reading a collection of fascinating true stories. My grandmother, who lived to be 98 years old, was born in Manhattan in 1918, so I feel especially connected to early twentieth-century New York. Although they take place in other times and places, historical events are, at heart, about the people who lived them. I love combining imagination and research to create historical worlds where my characters can tell their stories while readers learn something new about our common human experience.


2. What is your writing process like? For example, do you listen to music, do you plan or just wing it when you write?

I always have a plan before I start writing, but I stay open to the surprises that come along during the drafting process. I like a silent room while I write. When things are really flowing, I lose track of time and get immersed in the process. Drafting, for me, is the hardest part, so I set word-count goals every day until I have a complete draft. I really like the process of rewriting and revising, which is where the characters and the story begin to come alive for me. Editing is like the icing on the cake! I am so thrilled to get to the point where my biggest concern is which word to choose. 


3. How do you go about writing your characters into history? Do you start with the historical elements or the characters?

I like inserting fictional characters into a historical situation. By fictionalizing historical characters, it makes it seem as if the characters I invented really could have lived in a specific time and place. I am a huge fan of E. L. Doctorow’s approach to historical fiction—I read Ragtime every couple of years to keep it fresh in my mind—and I am so inspired by his audacity in creating a fictional version of the historical world. If I am successful, then my reader won’t quite be able to tell where the historical world ends and the fictional one begins.


4. If you had to pick a song (or songs) that would make up a playlist for BACHELOR GIRL, what would you choose, and why?

In Bachelor Girl, there is a scene in a black-and-tan club in Harlem where I imagined the band performing Bessie Smith numbers, and in Antonio’s, the Greenwich Village club I imagined where Albert would meet up with his friends, I evoked songs by Gladys Bentley, a blues singer famous as part of the Harlem Renaissance.


5. In one or two sentences, how would you pitch BACHELOR GIRL to someone who hasn’t heard of it before?

Bachelor Girl is the story of an actress in jazz Age New York City who finds the courage to pursue her profession—and her heart’s desire—after a surprise inheritance from the millionaire owner of the Yankees baseball team.



ABOUT BACHELOR GIRL:
NOW AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Bachelor Girl plunges the reader deep into life during the Jazz Age…and the revealing of other secrets and confessions will keep readers up all night looking for answers.” —Booklist, starred review

From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.

When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.

New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other.

Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.
About Kim van Alkemade:

Kim van Alkemade is the author of the historical novels Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl. Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. Born in New York City, she earned a BA in English and history from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a Professor in the English Department at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches writing.

Follow Kim: Facebook | Twitter


Follow along with the Timeless Tour on the tour website, www.timelesstour.ca.



You can also find a tour schedule on my
[Timeless Tour] Kick Off Questions & Full Tour Schedule post.




What did you think of Kim's answers?
Are you adding Bachelor Girl to your to-read list?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: VICIOUS (Sinners of Saint #1) by L.J. Shen

Source: Purchased kindle and paperback copies.
Release Date: December 27, 2016
Number of Pages: 328 (Kindle)

Description:

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.
The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.
He is a brilliant lawyer.
A skilled criminal.
A beautiful liar.
A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist.
Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.
Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.
She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.
That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.
So she hates me. Big fucking deal.
She better get used to me.


Well this review is a long, long time coming! :D

I first read VICIOUS in January 2017 and I've read it several times since then. That first time that I read it was just a few days into the New Year. I started it and couldn't stop reading until I'd finished! As soon as I put the book down, I knew that I'd read something special. Something that would stick with me for a very long time, and sure enough, by the end of 2017, it was still my top read all year. It's been over a year now, and I've since reread it multiple times--as an ebook, in paperback, and also as an audio. I've loved it in every format and I can honestly say that I think the audiobook is absolutely phenomenal, too!

I'm a huge romance reader, so the description for VICIOUS intrigued me right away, but I'd never really been one to read romances with heroes that aren't exactly nice guys, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about the main character, Emilia's love interest, Vicious. I started the book thinking that he was awful...but somehow, the more that I read, the more L. J. Shen managed to make me fall further and further in love with Vicious. He's dark, he's unapologetically rude...he is oh, so selfish, but he's 100% true to himself and when he does let someone in, he lets them in fully and he protects and supports them in a way that is simply irresistible. He's captivating, powerful, passionate...and he's really, really raw and dirty.

If any of that appeals to you...you seriously need to pick this book up. I'd recommend it in any format you can find. If you like ebooks, you'll love it. Paperbacks, you'll love it, too. Audiobooks...oh, yeah, you'll definitely love it! Highly, highly recommend! I also highly recommend all of L. J. Shen's other books--I've loved every single one of her books!



Have you read VICIOUS or one of L. J. Shen's other books yet?

If you have, thoughts???
If you haven't, why not???

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

[Timeless Tour] Review: COME FROM AWAY by Genevieve Graham


For my Timeless Tour post today I'm sharing my review for Genevieve Graham's COME FROM AWAY!

Scroll on down to read about COME FROM AWAY and Genevieve Graham, after that you'll find my review. ;)




 Source: Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada
to participate in the Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Number of Pages: 256 (Paperback)

DESCRIPTION

From the bestselling author of Tides of Honour and Promises to Keep comes a poignant novel about a young couple caught on opposite sides of the Second World War.

In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker’s three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts. But three years later, the fighting rages on and rumours swirl about “wolf packs” of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone’s throw from Grace’s window. As the harsh realities of war come closer to home, Grace buries herself in her work at the store.

Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after a several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be, but someone else entirely—someone not to be trusted. When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand.

Come from Away is a mesmerizing story of love, shifting allegiances, and second chances, set against the tumultuous years of the Second World War.
About Genevieve Graham

Genevieve Graham is the bestselling author of Tides of Honour and Promises to Keep. She is passionate about breathing life back into Canadian history through tales of love and adventure. She lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visit her at GenevieveGraham.com or on Twitter @GenGrahamAuthor.

Follow Genevieve: Facebook | Twitter

REVIEW

I've been a fan of Genevieve Graham's for a while now, and ever since she began bringing Canadian history into historical fiction, I've loved her even more! I've eagerly awaited each of her books set around important events in Canadian history since the first one, TIDES OF HONOUR, which revolved around the Halifax Explosion. As soon as I heard about COME FROM AWAY and learned that it would be a follow-up to TIDES OF HONOUR, I was ecstatic! I couldn't wait to see what had happened to the Bakers and I was thoroughly excited to see where there were at...and let me tell you, COME FROM AWAY didn't disappoint! In fact, I'd actually say that COME FROM AWAY is my favourite out of all of Genevieve's books so far!

If you're a fan of TIDES OF HONOUR, or Genevieve's last book, PROMISES TO KEEP, then I think you'll love COME FROM AWAY, too! It still contains all of the wonderful aspects of her previous books that you surely love and as per her previous two books, she's pulled in interesting tidbits surrounding Canada's history, this time centred around World War II. I've loved her previous books, but COME FROM AWAY just pulled on my heartstrings sooooo much! I couldn't help loving it! To start with, I really loved how she developed both Grace and Rudi's characters! And I love, love, loved how their relationship developed! It had me sighing, swooning, and just grinning like crazy! :D

Along with the fabulous Grace and Rudi, I loved all of the other characters, too, especially Grace's family! It was so neat to see them all so many years after TIDES OF HONOUR, and I love how their lives were all intertwined! It made me feel as if I was part of the family, too. I also loved getting to see a completely different side of life during World War II through Grace and her family. I've always considered myself extremely fortunate to not know what it's like to experience war like so many of our ancestors have, so it was a very humbling experience to put myself in Grace's shoes. I love that Genevieve showed what life could have been like back home in Canada while the soldiers were fighting on (mostly) distant shores. It put so many things into perspective, and I really loved that COME FROM AWAY pushed me to think more critically while also making me swoon!

Overall, I thought that COME FROM AWAY was absolutely wonderful! Genevieve Graham has delivered a story that will leave you breathless. One that will make you think, and reconsider preconceived notions that you've had in the past, and one that will have make you—above all else—feel! COME FROM AWAY pulled me in from the very first page, and once I met Grace and Rudi, there was no turning back! I highly recommend COME FROM AWAY! It's perfect for readers who already love historical fiction, but it would also be a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to delve into the genre because it's approachable, compelling, and extremely well crafted!



Follow along with the Timeless Tour on the tour website, www.timelesstour.ca.



You can also find a tour schedule on my
[Timeless Tour] Kick Off Questions & Full Tour Schedule post.




What do you think?
Have you read any of Genevieve Graham's historical fiction books that are centred around Canadian history?
Does Come From Away sound like something you'd like to read?

Monday, April 23, 2018

[Timeless Tour] Written Piece from Kim Van Alkemade, author of BACHELOR GIRL


For today's Timeless Tour I have a written piece from Kim van Alkemade, author of BACHELOR GIRL!


WRITTEN PIECE

Setting the Stage/Using Historical New York as Inspiration 

New York City is a great source of inspiration for me. Me, my mom, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother were all born in Manhattan so I feel a strong connection to the place—my parents even met in the Empire State Building! There are so many traces still today of historical sites from the turn of the last century that I am able to actually go to the places I am writing about, and the abundance of museums and libraries and archives means I always have something new to discover about the history of the city and the people who live there.



ABOUT BACHELOR GIRL:
NOW AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Bachelor Girl plunges the reader deep into life during the Jazz Age…and the revealing of other secrets and confessions will keep readers up all night looking for answers.” —Booklist, starred review

From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.

When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.

New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other.

Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.
About Kim van Alkemade:

Kim van Alkemade is the author of the historical novels Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl. Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. Born in New York City, she earned a BA in English and history from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a Professor in the English Department at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches writing.

Follow Kim: Facebook | Twitter


Follow along with the Timeless Tour on the tour website, www.timelesstour.ca.



You can also find a tour schedule on my
[Timeless Tour] Kick Off Questions & Full Tour Schedule post.




What did you think of Kim's written piece?
Do you have any places that inspire you?

Friday, April 20, 2018

[Timeless Tour] Written Piece from Susanna Kearsley, author of BELLEWETHER


For today's Timeless Tour post I have a written piece from Susanna Kearsley, author of BELLEWETHER!


WRITTEN PIECE

Favourite Historical Fiction/Romances or Authors

How much space do you have? Because I always have such a hard time shortening my list—especially if I’m talking about current writers, because there are so many people writing now who’ve written books I’ve really enjoyed: Tessa Dare, Jeannie Lin, Elizabeth Boyle, Carla Kelly, Alyssa Cole, Donna Thorland, Beverly Jenkins, ALL of the women I blog with at the Word Wenches…

But I know if I try to list everyone who’s writing books I love right now, I’m inevitably going to leave off a name by mistake, and then I’ll feel just terrible, so I think it will be safer if I stick to telling you the three longtime favourite historical romances I’ve loved since I was a teenager, and still love now every time I re-read them.

The first is Bride of the MacHugh, by Jan Cox Speas, which was written in the 1950s and actually first discovered in our family by my mother when she was a teenager, sick in bed. She read the book in a condensed version in the newspaper, when it first came out, and then managed to buy her own copy, and years later that was the copy I read and fell in love with in my turn. It’s such a great romance, and Jan Cox Speas was such a great writer, and a huge influence on my own work.

The second of my longtime favourites is Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, the book that started my love of both Cornwall and wrong-side-of-the-tracks heroes. I’m sure some would classify it as more historical fiction than a proper historical romance, but since I always “finish” books with ambiguous endings in my own imagination, I can assure you that my version has a happy ending. So, definitely a romance.

And my third and final longtime favourite historical romance is by Dinah Dean—Road to Kaluga—a road-trip romance with an honourable soldier escorting a woman to safety during the Napoleonic wars. This book has another title, also, and is part of a trilogy, but it’s just such a good book I’ve never wanted to spoil it by reading the other connected stories. I just want to leave the characters exactly where I imagine them to be, at the story’s end.

So there you have my three (very old) favourites. They’re still on my shelves, and I still get them down and re-read them when I need the comfort of old friends, and first loves.

Thanks, Ambur, for letting me share them with you.




ABOUT BELLEWETHER:
Some houses seem to want to hold their secrets.

It’s 1759 and the world is at war, pulling the North American colonies of Britain and France into the conflict. The times are complicated, as are the loyalties of many New York merchants who have secretly been trading with the French for years, defying Britain’s colonial laws in a game growing ever more treacherous.

When captured French officers are brought to Long Island to be billeted in private homes on their parole of honour, it upends the lives of the Wilde family—deeply involved in the treasonous trade and already divided by war.

Lydia Wilde, struggling to keep the peace in her fracturing family following her mother’s death, has little time or kindness to spare for her unwanted guests. French-Canadian lieutenant Jean-Philippe de Sabran has little desire to be there. But by the war’s end they’ll both learn love, honour, and duty can form tangled bonds that are not broken easily.

Their doomed romance becomes a local legend, told and re-told through the years until the present day, when conflict of a different kind brings Charley Van Hoek to Long Island to be the new curator of the Wilde House Museum.

Charley doesn’t believe in ghosts. But as she starts to delve into the history of Lydia and her French officer, it becomes clear that the Wilde House holds more than just secrets, and Charley discovers the legend might not have been telling the whole story...or the whole truth.
About Susanna Kearsley

A former museum curator, Susanna Kearsley brings her passion for research and travel to her novels, weaving modern-day and historical intrigue. She won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Award for her novel Mariana, the 2010 Romantic Times Book Review’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction novel for The Winter Sea, was shortlisted for a 2012 RITA Award for The Rose Garden, and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada for Every Secret Thing. Visit her at SusannaKearsley.com or follow her on Twitter @SusannaKearsley.

Follow Susanna: Facebook | Twitter


Follow along with the Timeless Tour on the tour website, www.timelesstour.ca.



You can also find a tour schedule on my
[Timeless Tour] Kick Off Questions & Full Tour Schedule post.




I haven't read any of Susanna's favourites, but I definitely want to pick them up now!

What about you?
Do you want to read any of the books Susanna's mentioned?
And what are some of your favourite historical fictions or romances?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

[Timeless Tour] Written Piece from Santa Montefiore, author of SONGS OF LOVE & WAR


For today's Timeless Tour post I'm sharing a written piece from Santa Montefiore, author of SONGS OF LOVE AND WAR!


WRITTEN PIECE

Favourite Historical Fiction/Romances or Authors
There are so many authors I love and so many novels that I would love to re-read, given the time. I’ve read many books over the years but these have really stayed with me. I love them for the beauty of the sentences, the wonderful characters that live on after the last page has been read, and for the fact that they are simply unforgettable stories – really, these writers are so talented to be able to touch the heart the way they do. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • The Invention of Wings & The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kydd
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Age of Innocence & The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  • An Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  • Memoires of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  • Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
  • Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  • A Man Named Ove by Frederik Backman



ABOUT SONGS OF LOVE AND WAR:
Previously published in the US as The Girl in the Castle.

The #1 international bestseller about the enduring bond between three women and the castle they will never forget.

Their lives were mapped out ahead of them. But love and war will change everything...

It’s the early 1900s and Castle Deverill stands staunchly untouched by time, hidden away in the rolling Irish hills. Within the castle walls, three friends have formed a close bond: affluent, flame-haired Kitty Deverill; Bridie Doyle, Kitty’s best friend and daughter of the castle’s cook; and Celia Deverill, Kitty’s flamboyant English cousin. They’ve grown up together, always sheltered from the conflict embroiling the rest of the country. But when Bridie learns of a secret Kitty has been keeping, their idyllic world is forever torn apart.

Later, the three women scatter to different parts of the globe. Kitty must salvage what she can before Castle Deverill and everything she has ever known is reduced to ash. Songs of Love and War is an epic generational saga about the lasting bonds of true friendship and the powerful ties we all have to the place we call home.
About Santa Montefiore:

Santa Montefiore's books have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than four million copies in England and Europe. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London. Visit her at SantaMontefiore.co.uk.

Follow Santa: Facebook | Twitter


Follow along with the Timeless Tour on the tour website, www.timelesstour.ca.



You can also find a tour schedule on my
[Timeless Tour] Kick Off Questions & Full Tour Schedule post.




Now that you've seen some of Santa's favourite historical fiction,
what are some of your favourites?
What do you love about them?