Today is my stop on #TheTherapist Audio Blog Tour. To listen to this audiobook sneak preview from the beginning, head over to @baparisauthor and follow the blog tour chain. Have you got your copy of #TheTherapist? smarturl.it/TheTherapistEB @HQStories
To listen to my clip from today, head over to my twitter account, @kellierbutler.
As bonus content on today’s stop, we have a lovely Q&A snippet from B.A. Paris herself. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy the tour as much I as enjoy being on it. Look for great new books from HQ to come this autumn.
You may have noticed a bit of a change to this site. For some time now, it’s functioned as my author page and book blogging site; however, I’ve decided it would serve readers better of these two were separated. So, going forward, this site is going to be for book blogging, author spotlights, excerpts and etc, only. A new author site is currently under construction, and I’ll post a link to it once it goes live.
As always, my commitment to reading and sharing books remains the same. One of the best things about becoming an author is that I’ve been privileged to meet so many gifted, brilliant people in this world, and I’m honored to call many of them friends. We’re all in this thing together, this writing business, and although we’re different in so many ways, we all have one love: to share the art and passion of storytelling with the world.
I hope to bring you more book reviews, excerpts, and spotlights for years to come.
I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Amelia Henley’s The Art of Loving You, publishling on July 22nd, 2021 by HQ.
Life isn’t always beer and skittles.
To be honest, when I first started reading this book, I didn’t know if I could finish it because of the subject matter. Having been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and tumor in the last year, some of this hit way too close to home for me, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read a book that delves into the way that we experience grief and loss. Emotionally, it didn’t seem to be the right time, or that’s what I told myself.
But I soldiered on with it, and I’m glad I did. So many of us have had to deal with unexpected grief in the last year, whether it be via illness or a sudden catastrophe that this book could not be more timely, nor more beautifully written. Ms. Henley’s honest, realistic portrayal of the many stages is grief is sometimes a sucker punch to the gut, because it’s so beautifully raw, it eeks out every bit of emotion out of you.
I found great comfort and relief in the characters of Sid and Norma, especially in their relationship. Although the primary relationship is of Libby and Jack, Sid and Norma taught me so much, and Norma’s Book of Kindness reminded me that indeed, life isn’t always beer and skittles but we can do things, small things, to help brighten the day of someone else.
In times past I’ve always heard that helping someone else out can sometimes make your own troubles seem easier, and truthfully, this is hard to put into practice, as is illustrated by Libby as she deals with what so many of us are dealing with right now: the unexpected and sometimes cruel changes of life.
Yet thank goodness there are the Jacks and Sids and Norma’s of this world who try to make life more beautiful one painting, one square, one page at a time. Simply breathtaking.
A must-read for everyone. I cannot rate this book highly enough.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my candid review.
Love and Pollination by Mari Jane Law, published April 16, 2020 by Dubois Publishing
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A laugh out loud, quirky, adorable book
If you are in need of a pick-me-up sort of book, with quirky, adorable characters, grab yourself a copy of this book because it had me reading into the wee hours of the morning it was so good. I honestly couldn’t put it down. It’s laugh out loud funny, endearing book filled with larger-than-life characters full of flaws, but you will root for them anyway.
I really loved Perdita and Saul’s story, along with Violet’s good-hearted meddling/matchmaking. As much as I loved Perdita and Saul, I honestly stayed for Violet, because she was the star of the book.
One of the most hilarious books I’ve read this year. Highly recommended.
Today I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for Zahara and Lost Books of Light by Joyce Yarrow. It’s a page-turning, suspenseful book, full of mystery and twists and turns interwoven through time with danger following lead protaganist Alienor from the moment she arrives in Spain. Watch for my full review soon…
Zahara and the Lost Books of Light by Joyce Yarrow
Publication Date: December 13, 2020 Adelaide Books
Genre: Historical Fantasy
When Seattle journalist Alienor Crespo travels to Granada to apply for citizenship as a descendant of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, she uncovers her own family story, along with a hidden treasure trove of medieval Hebrew and Arabic books, saved from the fires of the Inquisition.
This “Library of Light” is being protected by a secretive group of literary caretakers. Alienor joins their struggle to safeguard the priceless manuscripts from discovery and destruction by a fanatical group devoted to restoring limpieza de sangre, purity of blood, to the Iberian Peninsula.
Crespo forms mystical bonds with her female ancestors, both Jewish and Muslim, who once faced the same dark forces aligned against her. What began as a routine, freelance assignment becomes front page news in Spain’s growing confrontation with its troubled past.
With a touch of magic realism honoring the mystics of Andalusia, as well as an emerging romance entangled in mystery, this fast-paced novel is rich with conflict and suspense.
Joyce Yarrow is the author of literary novels of suspense that “appeal to readers who enjoy unusual stories with an international setting.” – Library Journal
Her latest offering is a historical fantasy – ZAHARA AND THE LOST BOOKS OF LIGHT – from Adelaide Books in Dec 2020.
A New York City transplant now living in Seattle, Joyce began her writing life scribbling poems on the subway and observing human behavior from every walk of life.
Her published novels include ASK THE DEAD (Martin Brown), RUSSIAN RECKONING – available in hardcover as THE LAST MATRYOSHKA (Five Star Mysteries), RIVERS RUN BACK, co-authored with Arindam Roy (Vitasta, New Delhi).
She is a Pushcart Prize Nominee with short stories and essays that have appeared in Inkwell Journal, Whistling Shade, Descant, Arabesques, and Weber: The Contemporary West and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Yarrow is a member of the Sisters in Crime organization and has presented workshops on “The Place of Place in Mystery Writing” at conferences in the US and India.
I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for Mitchell James Kaplan’s Rhapsody. Some years ago I saw two biopics from the Golden Age of Hollywood focusing on two titans of the Jazz Age: Cole Porter, Night and Day from 1946 and George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue from 1945. The moment I heard of Kaplan’s book, I knew I had to have it. I am convinced there needs to be a film about Kay Swift, and a screen adaptation of Kaplan’s Rhapsody is it.
Rhapsody is a joy for music lovers, romantics, and anyone who loves the golden age of entertainment. Kaplan’s lyrical tale of life in the Jazz Age is every bit as worthy of the praise of Fitzgerald. While the novel centers on Kay Swift’s relationship with Gershwin, Kay is rightfully the star here. You don’t always love her, in fact, at times I really didn’t, however following her journey as an artist versus being a wife and mother, which is what she was expected to be, is what is important here. Rhapsody shines a dazzling light on the first woman to write a hit Broadway play in a time where women of her status were told to just live a life of leisure and let men do the work. Her ultinate struggle is our struggle: Is life defined by what others think our happiness should be and soceity mores, or do we follow what sings to our souls? Do we stay in the status quo or do we risk everything to love that kindred spirit that gives us a piece of ecstacy? I ached for her and I celebrated with her.
This one of the best books I’ve read thus far for 2021. Highly recommended. Gimlet drinking optional.
One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.
Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.
Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction, for fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists. George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman who loved him with all her heart, knowing all the while that he belonged not to her, but to the world.
“Mitchell James Kaplan pens a lilting, jazzy ballad as catchy as a Gershwin tune, bringing to vibrant life the complicated relationship between classically trained composer Kay Swift and free-wheeling star George Gershwin. Their musical bond is as powerful as their passion, and jazz-soaked gin-drenched Broadway is their playground through the tumultuous years of the Great War and Prohibition. Rhapsody will have you humming, toe-tapping, and singing along with every turn of the page.” –Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS
“We all know Gershwin, but how many know he was ‘the man behind the woman,” the conflicted, extraordinary Katherine ‘Kay’ Swift? Mitchell James Kaplan illuminates her in Rhapsody, bringing his impressive knowledge of history, composition, and the heart’s whims to bear on this shining rendition of Swift and Gershwin’s star-crossed love.” –Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z and A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD
“In Rhapsody, Mitchell James Kaplan brings to lyrical life the romance between Kay Swift and George Gershwin. A gifted musician in her own right, Kay was no mere accompanist to Gershwin’s genius; she was a true partner, unfortunately little remembered today. Kaplan’s vivid prose and empathetic characterization shines a spotlight on this remarkable woman who contributed so much to American music.” –Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Mistress of the Ritz
“Mitchell James Kaplan’s Rhapsody shines a blazing light on the celebrated George Gershwin, uncovering the man behind the legend through the story of the woman he loved, Kay Swift, a brilliant musician caught in the swiftly moving mores of New York’s Jazz Age. Rich with history and packed with intricate detail, Rhapsody soars.” –Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET and WAISTED
“Mitchell James Kaplan has captured a whole world in his luminous journey through the jazz age in fast-paced New York City with this love story of composer Kay Swift and the brilliant but elusive George Gershwin. Kay first heard him playing his Rhapsody in Blue, but she was married to a wealthy man and Gershwin could be faithful only to his own genius. Through Broadway theaters and concerts, he was rising so fast that neither the Great Depression, nor the darkening rise of Hitler across the sea, nor the impossible difficulties of writing the first black folk-opera Porgy and Bess could stop him. Through their love affair, Gershwin and Kay gave fire to each other’s music until nothing could derail his meteoric success but time.” –Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of CLAUDE AND CAMILLE and THE PHYSICIAN OF LONDON
About the Author
Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.
After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.
He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.
We recently celebrated World Cancer Day. Siddhartha Mukherjee, an Indian-born American physician and oncologist, once named cancer The Emperor of All Maladies. We’ve all been impacted by this Emperor during our lives, either through own journeys or supporting friends and loved ones. Today I’m sharing my friend Hope Aguilar’s story.
I first met Hope several years ago while teaching English abroad in Europe. She and I were roommates, two girls of faith from Mississippi and Texas who although were from different backgrounds and lifepaths, had so much in common. She quickly became one of my friends.
Hope has since those days in Europe taught in the Middle East before returning to her native Texas. All the while I got to know during our teaching days, I never knew that she was in remission from late-stage ovarian cancer. But that’s Hope. She has the kind of infectious joy and optimism that would never let you know something was trying to kick her butt. Hope doesn’t roll like that, though.
She published her story in her book Hope Through Cancer, recently launched a podcast, Talk Time with Hope, and published an article on CureToday.com.
“I still very much believe that there is life after, and during, cancer. That, yes, cancer can break our bodies, but it cannot break our spirits – if we don’t allow it to. That, yes, cancer may make life hard, physically, psychologically, and financially, but it doesn’t have to mean that life is over. At least that is what I’m choosing to believe.”
from Your Life Is Not Over Cause of Cancer, published on CureToday
Hope recently came out of remission again and after surgery is undergoing chemotherapy. When she asked me to share her GoFundMe page, I couldn’t help but share her wisdom and journey with you. To support her in journey, please consider giving what you can to her GoFundMe page:
I’ve been wanting to do a showcase on books set in the 1960s by other authors after writing my own novel, Out of Night. I asked an online community of authors and readers for their recommendations, and boy did they deliver! Here are ten books set in the changing times of the decade that we’ll always remember.
Story of a Country Boy by Val Portelli
A gritty saga set in 1960s London, it’s a perfect read for those that want to devour a story in one sitting.
Ridley Road by Jo Bloom
For fans of Maggie O’Farrell and Sadie Jones, amid the rise of fascism in sixties London, one woman searches for her lost love . . . Summer, 1962. Twenty-year-old Vivien Epstein, a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester, arrives in London following the death of her father. Alone in the world, she is looking for Jack Fox, a man she had a brief but intense love affair with some months before. But the only address she has for him leads to a dead end.
Determined to make a new life for herself, Vivien convinces Barb, the owner of Oscar’s hair salon in Soho, to give her a job. There, she is swept into the colourful world of the sixties – the music and the fashions, the coffee bars and clubs.
But still, Vivien cannot forget Jack. As she continues to look for him, her search leads her into the fight against resurgent fascism in East London, where members of the Jewish community are taking to the streets, in and around Ridley Road. Then one day Vivien finally spots Jack, but her joy is short-lived when she discovers his secret.
For UK readers, this book is being adapted by BBC1 as a television series, and filming started in September 2020.No air date time announced as of yet.
Not the Life Imagined by Anne Pettigrew
A darkly humorous, thought-provoking story of Scottish medical students in the sixties, a time of changing social and sexual mores. None of the teenagers starting at Glasgow University in 1967 live the life they imagine. Beth Slater is shocked at how few female medical students there are and that some people, such as Conor Towmey, think they shouldn’t be there at all. Devastated by a close friend’s suicide, Beth uncovers a revealing diary and vows to find the person responsible for her death. Struggling with the pressure of exams while supporting friends though disasters, Beth charts the students’ changing, often stormy, relationships over two decades in a contemporary backdrop of Free Love, the Ibrox Football Disaster, the emergence of HIV and DNA forensics. In time, indiscretions surface with dire consequences for some. In Not the Life Imagined, retired medic Anne Pettigrew has written a tale of ambition and prejudice laced with sharp observations, irony and powerful perceptions that provide a humorous and compelling insight into the complex dynamics of the NHS fifty years ago.
The Girls from Greenway: A nostalgia saga perfect for fans of Daisy Styles and Rosie Clark by Elizabeth Woodcraft
A dramatic and nostalgic saga of two sisters coming of age in 1960s Essex.
Angie Smith lives in Greenway, Chelmsford, with her elder sister Doreen, their struggling mother and their drunk, violent father. Bored of her job, and of her dull, ordinary boyfriend, Angie dreams of bigger and better things.
But then she meets boutique owner Gene Battini. He is older, handsome, charming – and married. She is completely swept off her feet. But little does she know that Doreen is falling for Gene, too, and that their affair will have disastrous consequences.
As things at home go from bad to worse, Angie and Doreen must struggle to fight for what they want.
Can the girls from Greenway ever achieve their dreams?
‘[A] beautifully written saga which brims with the spirit of youth and is rich in period detail.’ Lancashire Evening Post
Kanyakumari by Hazel Manuel
Written during three separate trips to India and is set in that country. It is an unusual and powerful tale of friendship, danger and loss as three women find themselves alone in India, each facing some of her deepest fears and challenges.
When close friends and seasoned travellers, Rachel and Gina, take a trip to India, Rachel expects the usual round of sight-seeing and collecting experiences, but she is not prepared for the secret that Gina is harbouring. Interwoven with this unfolding drama is the story of Sandrine, who writes letters home to her brother as she travels around India in the late 60s.
In a tense narrative that moves between two periods, we take a journey that is both sumptuous and dark. Has Rachel placed herself in danger? What is at the root of Gina s anxiety? And what is Sandrine s place in this story of three women making interior journeys as they travel?
Mrs. Murray’s Ghost by Emily-Jane Hills Orford
It’s 1967 and Mary’s family has moved into a huge Victorian mansion. She loves her gigantic new house, especially her room. But then she begins to meet the house’s other residents. Mrs. Murray was murdered in Mary’s new house. At first she tries to scare the new residents away, but there seems to be a force connecting the ghost to Mary. Even the stranded Brownies, the little people who live between the walls, feel that connection. When Mary becomes deathly ill, the Brownies and the ghost team up to try to rescue her, only to encounter a witch and her evil dragons and minions. Time is running out. They must rescue Mary from a fever-induced dream world before she is trapped there forever.
Storm Clouds Gathering by Pauline Barclay
Storm clouds are gathering, silently and slowly, too far away to worry about. Or so it seems. But ignoring what is brewing will have dire consequences for the people caught up in the maelstrom.
Shirley Burton is too busy cheating on her husband, having a laugh and looking for fun to alleviate the boredom of her childless marriage. Kathleen Mitchell is too wrapped up in running around after her beautiful family to worry about her health. Anne Simpson has two things on her mind: her forthcoming marriage to Paul Betham, who seems to want to control her, and her career, which she does not want to give up.
Can Shirley really expect to deceive her husband and get away with it? Can Kathleen hold it all together, and is Anne able to have the best of everything?
Storm Clouds Gathering is a story of human emotion, passion and heart-rending grief. Set against the backdrop of the mid-sixties, these three families will be tested to the limit as betrayal, loss and love threaten to change their lives forever.
Living in the Shadows by Judith Barrow
Sequel to the acclaimed Changing Patterns and Pattern of Shadows. It’s 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse – following in Mary’s footsteps – and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire. At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda’s darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so? There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.
Her Mother’s Secret by Jane Baynham
A wonderful sixties saga from a promising new talent. Highly recommended.
It’s 1969 and free-spirited artist Elin Morgan has left Wales for a sun-drenched Greek island. As she makes new friends and enjoys the laidback lifestyle, she writes all about it in her diary. But Elin’s carefree summer of love doesn’t last long, and her island experience ultimately leaves her with a shocking secret … Twenty-two years later, Elin’s daughter Alexandra has inherited the diary and is reeling from its revelations. The discovery compels Alexandra to make her own journey to the same island, following in her mother’s footsteps. Once there, she sets about uncovering what really happened to Elin in that summer of ’69.
To Brighton and Back and A Little Drop of Moonshineby Deirdre Palmer
One weekend in Brighton. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Four young Londoners – Carol-Anne, Jeanette, Terry, and Mark – head to Brighton for a weekend of seaside fun. Dancing, drinking, and a whole lot of lovin’ are high on the agenda, not necessarily in that order. It’s the Swinging Sixties, a time of freedom, so why not?
But behind the bravado lurk more insecurities than there are pebbles on Brighton beach. Each of the weekenders has a secret. Nobody is quite what they seem, especially Jeanette, whose problems run deeper than anyone could begin to imagine. When she disappears on a night out, tensions rise as her friends struggle to work out what to do.
They agree on two points: no parents, no police. Where they come from, people sort out their own problems. But can Carol-Anne, Terry and Mark really handle the situation without help, or is this too big, even for them?
A hot summer’s night when anything seems possible, no dream out of reach. Then everything changes.
As Apollo 11 hurtles into space and Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon, young Londoners Carol-Anne, Terry, and Mark join the celebrations at an all-night party in a holiday camp in Devon. But as the cheers go up for the astronauts, one of their group is missing: Carol-Anne’s teenage sister, Beverly.
When Beverly is discovered in tears back at their caravan, she has a story to tell that knocks the moonwalk into second place. But is she telling the truth?
The special night falls into chaos as loyalties are tested to the limit, with accusations hurled about like beach balls.
With Beverly becoming more of a liability by the minute, the best plan is to return to London. But once they’re back home, each of the group is forced to confront the troubles they thought they’d left behind.
A Little Drop of Moonshine is the sequel to To Brighton and Back but can equally well be enjoyed on its own.
I’m currently accepting books for review in the following genres: historical fiction, sagas, crime, psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and romance. I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can. Please contact me no less than four weeks before publication date. Thank you!
Palimpsest: Book One of the MDS Series by Craig Herdern. Published in 2019 by HFS Rundle Publishing
Rating: Four Stars
A real page turner, kept me guessing until the end.
Palimpsest is a riveting, twisting crime story centered around a dysfunctional family and an experimental drug that allows users to access a multiple dimension state (MDS) that others might believe to be in the realm of science fiction and fantasy. This allows the users to access the lives of others at will, including those across the span of time.
As with all means and powers, this ability can be used for immense good or immense evil, depending on the individual. Heroine Lucinda Soames-Parker, or Lu, finds herself in a drug trial at University while trying to make some extra money to pay her tuition, thanks to the poor relations with her father, Edward Soames-Parker. who will stop at nothing to make his youngest daughter pay for not bending to his will. She’s aided by a number of people in her quest to stop those from harming her before it’s too late.
I won’t give the plot away, but the twists and turns in this novel kept me going until the very end. The only complaint that I have is that at times it felt quite jaunty while traveling in time without warning, thus made it a bit difficult to follow, but I later got used it. A compelling and thought-provoking read.