Monthly Archives: April 2013

HFVBT Guest Post: E.M. Powell of The Fifth Knight

The Fifth Knight Tour Banner FINAL

Kinx’s Book Nook Guest Post: A short story from the world of The Fifth Knight, followed by a related post on Aelred of Rievaulx

 Brother Cuthbert’s Story

 

Episcopal Palace, Canterbury Cathedral, England

29 December, 1170

 

Though the time is close to the holy hour of Vespers, I am no longer wanted. Men of my advanced age, with a voice that quavers and cracks when singing the Divine Office and a mind that can no longer recall the words with ease, are not welcome. Instead, I am asked to do other work. Important work, I am assured. Like lighting the scores of candles in the cathedral, followed by a long trek through the corridors of my Lord Becket’s Palace to illuminate that too.

“Vital, necessary work,” said the Prior, when he came to see me on a special visit. “So vital, we have to give you an assistant. Young Brother Matthew here will be your apprentice.”

I am not a fool. They have given me the young, red-cheeked Matthew, hair like dried straw, to make sure I do not burn the place to the ground. With my unsteady hands and my forgetful ways, I cannot be trusted.

Matthew makes his way behind me along our last section, the high-ceilinged hallway. I know full well he checks that each sconce is steady, that there is no chance the lit pillars of wax will tip over, falling against a priceless tapestry or a carved wood cabinet.

“All perfect as usual, Brother Cuthbert!” comes his cheery call, echoing to me as he follows along with an armful of spare new candles.

My shoulders tighten. A quarter my age, he has been my overseer for, for- it escapes me. A long time. But still he pretends that he is learning from me, his wide, innocent face beaming with gratitude.

“Good.” I spit my resentment on the taper to quench it, and wrench open the door in the far corner of the hallway that leads back to the stores.

A sudden series of thuds halts me. It sounds as if it has come from the closed and locked front door. I look back. Paused, Brother Matthew looks towards the door too.

“A strange way to knock.” Brother Matthew gives me a questioning look.

“Indeed.”

“Open up, in the name of King Henry!” The muffled male voice from the other side of door has great authority.

“I had better see what this man wants.” Brother Matthew places his pile of candles on a nearby chest with care.

More pounding, another shout. “Open up, I say!”

“Wait, Matthew. We should seek help.” My years give me caution. No, fear. Where once I would have opened the door on a dark evening to Satan himself, now I quail.

Brother Matthew gives me another of his sunny smiles. “Don’t worry, Brother Cuthbert. It sounds like it’s important. And be sure, I’ll send them on their way if not. You carry on back to the stores.”

But I don’t. I don’t know why I stand in the shadows and watch as Matthew slides the thick metal bolt and opens the tall, heavy door.

The light from our lit candles spills out. Standing there is a group of knights, I don’t know how many. All with weapons drawn.

Matthew pulls in a breath, but does not falter, does not step back, does not try to save himself. Instead, he raises a courageous hand. “No. You cannot enter this place.” He gestures for them to stand back.

Then as I hold the door handle, hold it as my legs threaten to give from under me, the biggest one, a monster with a scarred face, pulls back his huge broadsword and plunges it into Matthew.

The blade slices clean through him. It emerges from his back, stained with his blood. He makes no sound, doubles over and falls to the ground as the monster pulls it back out of him. They all surge over him, these demons that have come this night.

The hall echoes under their surging steps. Then one, one with unnatural blue eyes, speeds up. Speeds up towards me as I shudder uselessly in the gloom.

“You there!” His axe is raised.

He stops before me. “Take us to the Archbishop. At once.”

I haul my gaze from the raised weapon to poor Matthew, lying in a pool of his own blood across the threshold.

I cross myself, but whether it is for his soul or for my own, I do not know. “What errand of the devil are you on? We are all men of God in here. No-one will fight you, sir knight.”

My old, foolish voice trembles out, shows my terror. The knight brings the blade to my throat. I feel its keen edge against my quivering flesh and I know he could take my head in an eye-blink. “Take us to Thomas Becket. Now. Or you can join your young friend in Paradise.”

I should have Matthew’s courage, I should. But I don’t. I point a foolish, shaking finger to the passage that leads to the Archbishop’s rooms.

The knight removes his weapon from my pulsing neck, indicates for the others to follow him to my lord Becket.

My breath escapes me, rattling and wheezing in my chest as if it is my last.

Another of the demons, a stocky red-bearded man, yanks me to my tip-toes by the front of my robe.

I stare into his hard eyes, his thick red beard half-concealing his sneer.

“Paradise not so appealing when you think you’re going there, eh?”

He is so close, his spit mists my face. “Please, have mercy.” I beg like a maid.

“Put him down,” comes the order from the blue-eyed one. “We have a task to finish.”

My head meets the red and black tiles. As I open my mouth to cry out in pain, a savage boot lands in my ribs. I feel some go, my thin old bones shattering in agony. I writhe on the ground, trying to breathe but trying not to, as pain overcomes me.

“All yours, Palmer.” Red-beard’s feet move away.

Like a dying fish, I look up at a tall, dark young knight. Dear Christ, his powerful legs and feet could finish me off. I try to jerk away but he simply bows his head and moves on.

They go. They all go, their murderous shouts fading. They will go to do what other evil, I don’t know. But I’m alive.

I try to rise to my feet but the pain grips me harder. I manage to get to my hands and knees. I crawl over to Matthew. The cold tiles under my palms are warm and sticky with his pooled blood as I near him.

I grasp him by one shoulder to turn his face up. He is so heavy, so dreadfully heavy. It is the weight of death. I knew that already but my agonized touch confirms it. His blue eyes, the ones that lit with his easy smile, are blank and empty. His ruddy cheeks, his healthy, placid, kind face now an empty pale mask.

I stroke his hair and my keening cries spark fresh agony in my chest. I do not care. This man, this young man, had only ever offered me his friendship, his spiritual friendship, just as our beloved Aelred says we should do. He gave me his help, but made it seem like I was helping him. And because he was young, I had resented him, despised him. He’d accepted my bad humor with the best of grace, fulfilling his vows in every moment he looked after me.

It should have been me. I should have gone to that door. I should have had courage as he had, faith that whatever happened, was in Christ’s hands. But I didn’t.

And now my old, broken bones live on, while he is no more. My heart is broken too.

 

#                                                          #                                              #

 

Who was Aelred of Rievaulx?

In The Fifth Knight, we see Sister Theodosia Bertrand (the young nun cloistered in Canterbury Cathedral) draw on the teachings of the great Aelred of Rievaulx for spiritual guidance. He is also of huge importance to Brother Cuthbert, the monk in the book who witnesses the arrival of the knights at Canterbury.

Aelred was one of the great monastic educators and teachers in early medieval times. He was born around 1110 into a good family with aristocratic connections. When he was about fifteen, he was sent to the court of the King of Scots as part of the fosterage system that existed at the time for upper class families. Though Aelred was successful at Court, he still longed to fulfill an emerging vocation to join the Church. He was hugely drawn to the religious life and struggled with this up to his early twenties. While on a mission to York on behalf of the archbishop at the time, Aelred encountered a new monastery at Rievaulx. After a night’s deliberation, he offered himself as a monk at its gates. Aelred’s calling to the religious life was never in doubt. He rose to become Abbot of Rievaulx and doubled it in size. He wrote many important texts on faith and spirituality. He also traveled extensively across Britain and France, supervising the setting up of new monasteries. One of Aelred’s greatest written works is ‘Spiritual Friendship’, where he writes of the value of ‘the love of friendship.’ He insists on the importance of the love of friends, making it as important as the love of God.

This is a remarkable world view for someone who lived over 900 years ago. I believe Brother Matthew in Cuthbert’s story, held it too.

The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

The_Fifth_Knight_V4  Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Thomas & Mercer Publishing
Paperback; 390p
ISBN-10: 1611099331

To escape a lifetime of poverty, mercenary Sir Benedict Palmer agrees to  one final, lucrative job: help King Henry II’s knights seize the traitor Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. But what begins as a  clandestine arrest ends in cold-blooded murder. And when Fitzurse, the  knights’ ringleader, kidnaps Theodosia, a beautiful young nun who  witnessed the crime, Palmer can sit silently by no longer. For not only  is Theodosia’s virtue at stake, so too is the secret she unknowingly  carries—a secret he knows Fitzurse will torture out of her. Now Palmer  and Theodosia are on the run, strangers from different worlds forced to  rely only on each other as they race to uncover the hidden motive behind Becket’s grisly murder—and the shocking truth that could destroy a  kingdom.

About the Author

E.  M. Powell was born and raised in Ireland, a descendant of Irish  revolutionary Michael Collins. At University College, Cork, she  discovered a love of Anglo-Saxon and medieval English during her study  of literature and geography. She is a member of Romance Writers of  America, the Manchester Irish Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and International Thriller Writers. A reviewer for the Historical Novel  Society, she lives today in Manchester, England, with her husband and  daughter.

For more information, please visit E.M. Powell’s website and blog.  You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Review: All the Appearance of Goodness

All the Appearance of Goodness by Maria Grace (Given Good Principles #3)

Published by White Soup Press

Published in March 2013

326 pages

Historical/Austenesque Fiction

Received from author in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:

What is a young woman to do? One handsome young man has all the goodness, while the other the appearance of it. How is she to separate the gentleman from the cad?

When Darcy joins his friend, Bingley on a trip to Meryton, the last thing on his mind is finding a wife. Meeting Elizabeth Bennet changes all that, but a rival for his affections appears from a most unlikely quarter. He must overcome his naturally reticent disposition if he is to have a chance of winning her favor.

Elizabeth’s thoughts turn to love and marriage after her sister, Mary’s, engagement. In a few short weeks she goes from knowing no eligible young men, to being courted by two. Both are handsome gentleman, but one conceals secrets and the other conceals his regard. Will she determine which is which before she commits to the wrong one?

 

First of all, I’m somewhat of an Jane Austen purist. I love the original stories so I really don’t like it when they have been changed. In All the Appearance of Goodness, Maria Grace creates her own Pride and Prejudice. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book; however, I did have a difficult time accepting the changes in the characters and the plot.

In her first two novels, Ms. Grace depicted Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy before the events in Pride and Prejudice began. I really liked how she created the events led up to their meeting. However, this book had quite of few changes to the original story that might be difficult for some of the diehard Jane Austen fans to take. For instance, you will very surprised who the Bennet sisters marry. I was pretty astonished.

Like P and P, Mr. Collins is a complete turd. However, he is even more so in this book. I would say he has some very Wickham-like qualities. He absolutely horrid! I couldn’t believe Elizabeth would even dream of liking this man (another drastic change from the original story). Furthermore, I was completely surprised how Ms. Grace resolved this character.

Changes aside, I did like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I found their budding relationship to be very romantic. I liked the insecurity of Mr. Darcy. He didn’t have the arrogance that he had in P and P. The shyness was very endearing. Elizabeth still had her wit and cleverness. Their conversations were fun and lively.

Despite the changes from Pride and Prejudice, I did enjoy this book. However, at times, those changes were difficult to swallow.

KinxsBookNookScore3

 

 

Review: My Sister’s Keeper

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Published by Washington Square Press

Published in 2005

423 Pages

Fiction

Borrowed from the library

10917Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people. Now she tells the emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness. Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate—a life and a role that she has never challenged…until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister’s Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child’s life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

The only reason I read this book is because of my book club. This is not my usual subject to read about; not crazy about kids and cancer. However, I’m committed to read at least 100 pages (a book club rule). Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t believe how good it was, until the end. I have never read any of Jodi Picoult’s other books and I probably won’t in the future. This book left an incredibly bad taste in my mouth.

Ms. Picoult tackled some very difficult issues that I pray that I will never have to face. I couldn’t imagine being in the mother’s shoes. There were times I hated her and other times that I felt great empathy for her. I had a rollercoaster of feelings throughout the book. Up and down, back and forth.

I appreciated that Ms. Picoult gave the reader several different perspectives and the book wasn’t narrated by one single character. Each had their own story to tell. I thought all of the subplots flowed and fit together well.

My major complaint with this book is the ending. It was absolutely abhorrent. It didn’t expect for the story end that way. It literally made me sick to my stomach. I think it could of ended in a much better way. I’m really angry that I just didn’t quit at 100 pages and saved myself the pain of the ending.

KinxsBookNookScore3

 

Barefoot Saturday: Chapter Books

Chapter Books

One of my favorite things about Barefoot Books is that they have grown with my kids. Our first books were board books and singalongs (still on sale!). Later, we ventured to Storytime and other wonderful stories. Now, my kids are reading on their own. I know my 8 year old loves Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I want her to be able to read more quality books. That’s where Barefoot Books comes in! Recently, Barefoot has expanded their library to include more titles for early, confident and advanced readers. Take a look at some of my favorites.

Early Readers

Monster Stories

The Mother of Monsters (A Story from South Africa)

Mischievous Ntombi, the Chief’s daughter, isn’t at all afraid of the fearsome Ilunge River. But when she goes to swim there, she enrages the Mother of Monsters, with her gigantic head, bulging eyes and thick, slimy scales, causing more trouble than she could ever imagine!

Ages 6 to 11 years

Retold By: Fran Parnell

Illustrated By: Sophie Fatus

Paperback Chapter Book $7.99

 

 

 

The Feathered Ogre (A story from Italy)

This Italian tale tells how Pírolo, the King’s youngest gardener, sets out on an impossible quest which frightens even the bravest of the King’s knights. Can he steal a magic feather from the back of the terrifying feathered ogre who eats tasty boys and girls for his supper?

Ages 6 to 11 years

Retold By: Fran Parnell

Illustrated By: Sophie Fatus

Animal Stories

The Tortoise’s Gift (A Story from Zambia)

One hot, dry summer in Zambia, the rain stops falling. Soon, the animals are very hungry and thirsty. How can they recover? They have heard of a wonderful tree that can produce fruit, but it will only do so if it is asked by name—and no one can remember what it is called! The animals agree to send a messenger to the wise mountain to find out the name of the tree and bring it back. One by one, the animals set out, but remembering the name is not as easy as they had imagined . . .

“Simple vocabulary, straightforward text and plenty of repetition make this a good choice for somewhat experienced readers, while the gentle humor, accessible lesson and appealing illustrations make this a tale that children will savor.” –Kirkus Reviews

Ages 6 and up

Retold By: Lari Don

Illustrated By: Melanie Williamson

 

 

Never Trust a Tiger (A Story from Korea)

As a merchant makes his way to the market, he comes across a beautiful tiger that has fallen down a hole. The merchant is kind enough to help the tiger out of the hole, but once he does, the tiger wants to eat him! The merchant doesn’t think this is fair . . . but who is right and how can the merchant get away unscathed?

“Young readers will be drawn in by the suspense and leave with a chuckle. An excellent addition to both the folk tale genre and the early-reader shelf.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Ages 6 and up

Retold By: Lari Don

Illustrated By: Melanie Williamson

Confident Readers

The Snow Queen

An exquisitely illustrated retelling of the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen. An evil troll creates a mirror which reflects the bad and ugly sides of people. Shards of its glass enter a young boy, causing him to reject his loving family and best friend Gerda. Helped by kind strangers and guided by her warm heart, Gerda makes the perilous journey to rescue her friend from the icy palace of the Snow Queen.

Ages 8 and up

Retold By: Sarah Lowes

Illustrated By: Miss Clara

 

 

 

The Twelve Dancing Princessess

Every night, the king wishes his twelve beautiful daughters good night and locks the doors to their bedroom tight. But every morning, the princesses’ shoes are worn through. Where do they go every night? The twelve famous sisters shimmer across the pages of this gorgeous retelling of the classic tale.

Ages 8 and up

Retold By: Mary Hoffman

Illustrated By: Miss Clara

Advanced Readers

Arthur of Albion

This vivid retelling brings together the best-known stories about Arthur and his court, exploring the relationships between the main characters in the legends. Magnificent illustrations by Pavel Tatarnikov add to the atmosphere of Arthurian England.

Paperback chapter book now part of the Barefoot Books Young Fiction line.

Moonbeam Awards Gold Medal Winner
Winner of the NAPPA Gold Award

Ages 8 and up

Written By: John Matthews

Illustrated By: Pavel Tatarnikov

 

Robin Hood

The champion of the destitute and downtrodden rides again. Meet young Robin Hood before he becomes the hero of Sherwood Forest, and follow along with his band of merry men as his adventures become the stuff of legend. This lavishly illustrated picture book makes a wonderful gift title to complement Arthur of Albion and The Arabian Nights, and features nine tales including: “Robin Becomes an Outlaw,” “Robin Meets Little John,” “Robin and the Widow,” and “Robin’s Last Battle.”

“Lively dialogue and fast-paced action will keep (kids) engaged. Sure to attract new followers for a perennially popular hero.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Ages 10 and up

Retold By: David Calcutt

Illustrated By: Grahame Baker-Smith

 

 

Remember singalongs are still on sale: buy two get the third one FREE!

Book Blogger Hop (12) & FF Friday

book blogger hop

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012.

Luckily, Billy from The Coffee-Addicted Writer has relaunched the Book Blogger Hop. Each week the hop will start on Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt just like before. The hop’s purpose will remain the same as it will give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

Q: What was the last book you read that made you laugh out loud?

A: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax. Some parts of the book were really funny!

 

 

 

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The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Q: Is there a song that reminds you of a book? Or vice versa? What is the song and the book?

A: Holy crap! This is a really hard question! Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of historical and Austenesque fiction. Modern music wouldn’t really fit with those genres. However, one just came to mind: Enter Sandman by Metallica and the Matt Archer Series by Kendra Highley. I’m a huge fan of Kendra and her Matt Archer series. Enter Sandman fits right into those books.

 

Why I Love to Read: World Book Night

Why I Love to Read

Why I Love to Read

World Book Night

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On April 23, 2013, I participated in my first World Book Night. I had never even heard of it until I started blogging. You sign up, select a book, and then pick up your 20 books to hand out for free. I love this entire concept. I absolutely love to share my loving for reading and World Book Night let me do just that.

There were so many books to choose from; however, I selected The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I read this book last year for my book club and I loved it. I thought this book would be perfect to hand out. When it was time to pick up my books, I was so excited. I had my two daughters with me and my excitement spread to them as well. They kept asking me what I was going to do with all of those books. I told them I was going to give them to people. “Why?”, they asked. “Why do you think?” I replied. “Because you love to read!” They know their mommy so well. Makes me proud.

On World Book Night, my youngest had to go to dance class. I thought to myself that would be a great place to hand out books. Usually, I’m the only one reading a book while waiting for class to end. Everyone else is glued to their smartphones or chit chatting. I bring my big bag of books into the studio and start handing out books. At first I got some weird looks, not sure what to make of me. But I explain what that night was and I wanted them to have a free book. After that I got lots of smiles and “thank yous”. My girls helped pass out each book. They were so proud to be giving out books to people. Mind you I don’t know any these of people. I’m not what you call overly social and usually I have my nose in a book. So walking up to strange people is not my cup of tea. But I found it so rewarding especially when I saw someone open the book immediately and start reading. It was great!

I love World Book Night and I can’t wait to do it again and again. I wonder what book I will give out next year. It can’t come too soon.

 

Review: The Future Mrs. Darcy

15744732The Future Mrs. Darcy by Maria Grace (Given Good Principles #2)
Published by White Soup Press
Published in 2012
132 Pages
Historical/Austenesque Fiction

Synopsis:

The regiment has come to camp in Meryton. Many young ladies are pleased, but not all share their enthusiasm. Among them, Mr. Carver, who decides to remove his family from Meryton’s savage society. He puts blame, not on the militia officers, but on the shoulders of the Bennet family. The flirtations and boisterous ways of the youngest sisters are too much to be borne. Not even Jane’s renowned beauty and charm can make up for them.

Elizabeth denies the allegations at first, but rapidly uncovers shocking truth. The Carvers are not the only family to cut the Bennets from their acquaintance. Their reputations have been materially damaged and the family borders on social ruin.

The news is too much Mrs. Bennet who collapses from the shock. So, Elizabeth and her sisters must manage the estate until she recovers, a task for which none of them is prepared. Their duty becomes more challenging when Mr. Bennet is called away on business and allows Lydia to stay with the colonel’s wife, surrounded by officers.

Warned by Mr. Pierce, the local curate, that several of the officers have unsavory designs on the local girls, Elizabeth must find a way to honor her father, rein in her sister and salvage the family’s reputation, all in the most ladylike way possible.

Like Darcy’s Decision, Maria Grace has taken us into the world of Pride and Prejudice. This time she focuses on Elizabeth and her sisters right before they are to meet Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Once again, I really enjoyed Ms. Grace’s view of Jane Austen’s characters. I thought it was a refreshing take on Elizabeth and her feelings for her sisters.

Just like in P and P, Elizabeth is the same strong and intelligent young woman we all know and love. However, Ms. Grace has added some insecurity and guilt to Elizabeth’s personality. She feels guilty that she hasn’t given her sisters enough attention and has failed her family. Her guilt gives her the strength to embrace her sisters for who they are and respect them. For Elizabeth, she always relied on Jane and her father; but now, she must turn to Mary and Kitty for support. Both girls thrive under Elizabeth’s attention. Sisterly guilty can be a strong motive to embrace one’s family.

I loved the sister bonding between Jane, Elizabeth, Mary and Kitty. With the four Bennet sisters united, they can conquer anything. I think Ms. Grace had a wonderful idea of having the story revolve around the sisters. Each young lady has her own strength and talent and when all the sisters join together…LOOK OUT! It’s a sight to behold. I really like that they were able to gather strength from each other.

Lydia is an absolute twit! If it has only touched upon in P and P, Ms. Grace fully describes Lydia’s outrageous and selfish behavior. It’s a perfect set-up for when Mr. Wickham enters the picture. She has complete disregard for her family’s reputation and focuses solely only on her own entertainment. Ms. Grace’s characterization of Lydia leaves nothing to be desired.

The Future Mrs. Darcy is a delightful Austenesque novel. The sisterly bond is wonderful to watch unfold.

KinxsBookNookScore5

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

ItsMonday

Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! Hosted by Book Journey.

Last week I read The Future Mrs. Darcy by Maria Grace. My review will be posted tomorrow.

Here are my reading plans for this week:

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (For my book club)

I know I had this on last week’s post but I’ve put it off because I’m kind of dreading reading it. Kids and cancer are not my favorite topics for a book. But I have to read at least 100 pages.

For two upcoming blog tours:

Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

During the 1930s in a small town fighting for its survival, a newly married artist faces an impossible choice between her passion and her promises

Fans of Richard Russo, Amor Towles, Sebastian Barry, and Paula McLain will devour this transporting novel about the eternal tug between our duties and our desires, set during in New York City and New England during the Depression and New Deal eras.

It’s 1935, and Desdemona Hart Spaulding has sacrificed her plans to work as an artist in New York to care for her bankrupt, ailing father in Cascade, Massachusetts. When he dies, Dez finds herself caught in a marriage of convenience, bound to the promise she made to save her father’s Shakespeare Theater, even as her town may be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. When she falls for artist Jacob Solomon, she sees a chance to escape and realize her New York ambitions, but is it morally possible to set herself free?

 

 

 

The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

When mercenary Sir Benedict Palmer agrees to help King Henry II’s knights seize the traitor Archbishop Thomas Becket, what begins as a clandestine arrest ends in cold-blooded murder. And when Fitzurse, the knights’ ringleader, kidnaps Theodosia, a beautiful young nun who witnessed the crime, Palmer can sit silently by no longer. He and Theodosia rely only on each other as they race to uncover the motive behind Becket’s murder—and the truth that could destroy a kingdom.

 

 

What are you reading this week?

Barefoot Saturday: Singalongs!

Barefoot Books is having an AMAZING special happening until May 5. When you purchase 2 Paperback Singalongs, you will receive a 3rd one for FREE. Now, I’m going to highlight some of my favorite Barefoot Singalongs.

Portside Pirates

 Travel the high seas with a lively band of buccaneers as they enjoy a melodic adventure aboard their galleon. Includes fun information about historical pirates, pirates around the world, and even a helpful chart naming the parts of a ship. Book with CD editions include song sung by Mark Collins.

Ages 3 to 7 years

Written By: Oscar Seaworthy

Illustrated By: Debbie Harter

Sung By: Mark Collins

Magic Train Ride

Climb aboard the magic train for an unforgettable journey. At each stop, the train comes across new and wonderful things to look at and talk about, in forests and jungles, and all the way to outer space. Book with CD editions include song sung by Sally Crabtree.

Ages 3 to 7 years

Written By: Sally Crabtree

Illustrated By: Sonia Esplugas

 

If You’re Happy and You Know It

In this multicultural version of the traditional song, children from cultures all over the world clap their hands, stomp their feet, pat their heads, and much more.
Book with enhanced CD edition includes an animated video with audio singalong sung by Susan Reed!

Ages 3 to 7 years

Written By: Anna McQuinn

Illustrated By: Sophie Fatus

Sung By: Susan Reed

 

 

All Singalongs are $9.99 each. Remember buy two and get a third for FREE!

Book Blogger Hop (11) & FF Friday

book blogger hop

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012.

Luckily, Billy from The Coffee-Addicted Writer has relaunched the Book Blogger Hop. Each week the hop will start on Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt just like before. The hop’s purpose will remain the same as it will give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

Q: What was the last book you read that made you cry?

A: Cherokee Talisman by David-Michael Harding. It’s a historical fiction novel about the Chereokee Nation. It is an amazing book!

 

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The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Q: If you could hang out with any author (living) who would it be and what would you want to do?

A: Easy! Deborah Harkness (author of Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night). We would go to a wine bar, drink some amazing wine, talk history, and maybe some supernatural stuff.

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Kendal's bookshelf: currently-reading


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The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Where Are the Dinos?
Lydia Bennet's Story: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Cold Blooded
Bristol House
My Notorious Life: A Novel
Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind
Long Live the King
To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Bad News for a Ghost
The Next Pendragon
Caroline Bingley
My Beloved World
Royal Mistress
My Dear Sophy
The Wild Girl
To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started
Hades: Lord of the Dead
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen


Kendal's favorite books »

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