My path originally crossed with Ms. Heal during her blog tour last year (2013), when her third novel in the History Mystery series was making it’s way through the book blogosphere whilst stopping on Inspirational fiction blogs I frequently visit. It was on one of these tour stops I had the happy joy in winning a copy of “Every Hill & Mountain” and ever since then, I had had it in mind to blog about this beautiful time travel series for Sci Fi November! I contacted the author about this particular idea and she offered to send me the first two novels in the series with matching cover-art to the third novel, as I have the original cover-art designs for the History Mystery series – where the house is featured but is not prominent as there is a girl featured as well on “Time and Again”.
Therefore, I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Deborah Heal, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Inspired to Read the Series:
What originally drew me into the folds of this particular time travel series is the overall premise, of how an old house can become a portal of a window into time travel! The idea of having the thread of a time travel narrative worked through the Inspirational side of literature was also an appeal, as I was quite curious how the science behind travelling in time might be explored and explained inasmuch as how the story would alter or change from traditional science fiction roots which are published through mainstream markets. As a hybrid reader whose mind is always open and seeking out new inventive ways of telling stories, I was most curious on how an INSPY writer would treat the scope of the story as much as the science behind it.
Abby Thomas is spending the summer in a run-down old house with a bratty pre-teen named Merrideth she is supposed to tutor. Not a dream job. But it does come with perks.
There’s John Roberts, a devastatingly attractive neighbor who is almost too wonderful to be real.
And there’s the new computer program Beautiful Houses—also too amazing to be real. No one knows how it works, but with it she can rewind and fast-forward the lives of all the people who ever lived in the house, including Charlotte Miles.
In 1858, the house is a train stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. And Charlotte is stuck there serving meals to the passengers, wondering if she’ll ever get to have any fun. And then she meets two travelers who change her life forever.
There’s James McGuire with whom she falls in love. And there’s his boss, a young Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. His debate with political opponent Stephen Douglas catapults him onto the national stage. And it inspires Charlotte to take up the cause of abolition.
Deborah Heal, the author of the Time and Again "history mystery" trilogy, which has been described as "Back to the Future meets virtual reality with a dash of Seventh Heaven thrown in," was born not far from the setting of her novel Every Hill and Mountain and grew up just down the road from the settings of Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy.
Today she lives with her husband in Monroe County, Illinois, not far from the setting of Once Again: an inspirational novel of history, mystery & romance. She enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about regional history. She has three grown children, five grandchildren, and two canine buddies Digger and Scout, a.k.a. Dr. Bob in Unclaimed Legacy.
She loves to interact with her readers, who may learn more about the history behind the books at her website and her Facebook author page.
Time travelling within the walls of an older home:
Heal has a good way of giving small details out about the condition of the old house, where you become delighted in finding out about how the wood and/or the fixtures are represented now verse how they would have been viewed when the house was originally built. There are certain passages that elude to the craftsmanship of the care put into it’s structure, as much as a curiosity about certain staircases and what could be found outside in the barn. It has this rambling appeal to it, as if you think you know everything there is to be known about the house itself, yet it is within that moment of certainty that another mystery presents itself that is not as easily explained!
I liked the pace of how Abby encouraged Merrideth to seek out the charm of her new dwelling as much as to find how educational lessons of life and study can become if you ‘think outside the routine’ and ‘structure’ of traditional learning! Abby starts to seek a way to have the ‘house’ transform learning in a way that Merrideth can find tangible connections between what she’s learning and what she can see through experience. Read More
Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Come Dancing” virtual book tour through Book Junkie Promotions. This is my first tour to host for Amy Bruno’s new endeavour where she is now able to host authors across genres and not limited to Historical Fiction! I look forward to successive tours with her in this new vein of book publicity and am thankful I was chosen for this one! I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Leslie Wells, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Interested in Reading:
I knew as soon as I read the premise for this story, it was going to be straight-up ChickLit and a bit of a departure from what I regularly read; yet that is exactly why I wanted to request it for review! I am always lamenting about how I like to break-out of my comfort zones in literature, try a story that is writ in a style and method that is not within my preferred niche of selections and take a chance on something uniquely different. I think it allows readers not to become clogged into a pattern of repetitive thematics and draws an expansive circle around the hearty breadth of what is regularly offered. I will admit, I can stumble a bit here or there, even find a miss amongst the gems, but what I appreciate about the journey is the unexpected joys, the startling wicked discoveries, and the wide expanse of what is being written across all spectrum’s of literature today. Mind you, as I already disclosed on my Review Policy, a bit of ‘heat’ isn’t something I blush away from reading, as I am far more concerned about the level of vulgarity in novels than I am about a bit of romance! And, as far as vulgarity is concerned — I prefer it to be non-inclusive or sparsely sprinkled if a necessity at best.
Julia is a book-loving publisher’s assistant. Jack is a famous British rock star. “Opposites attract” is an understatement.
It’s 1981. Twenty-four-year-old Julia Nash has recently arrived in Manhattan, where she works as a publisher’s assistant. She dreams of becoming an editor with her own stable of bestselling authors—but it is hard to get promoted in the recession-clobbered book biz.
Julia blows off steam by going dancing downtown with her best friend, Vicky. One night, a hot British guitarist invites them into his VIP section. Despite an entourage of models and groupies, Jack chooses Julia as his girl for the evening—and when Jack Kipling picks you, you go with it. The trouble is … he’s never met a girl like her before. And she resists being just one in a long line.
Jack exposes her to new experiences, from exclusive nightclubs in SoHo to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood; from mind-bending recording sessions to wild backstage parties. Yet Julia is afraid to fall for him. Past relationships have left her fragile; one more betrayal just might break her.
As she fends off her grabby boss and tries to move up the corporate ladder, Julia’s torrid relationship with Jack takes her to heights she’s never known—and plunges her into depths she’s never imagined.
With a fascinating inside look at publishing, this entertaining story of a bookish young woman’s adventures with a rock superstar is witty, moving, and toe-curlingly steamy.
Leslie Wells left her small Southern town in 1979 for graduate school in Manhattan, after which she got her first job in book publishing. She has edited forty-eight New York Times bestsellers in her over thirty-year career, including thirteen number one New York Times bestsellers. Leslie has worked with numerous internationally known authors, musicians, actors, actresses, television and radio personalities, athletes, and coaches. She lives on Long Island, New York.
Read an Excerpt of the Novel:
Chapter 1: One Way or Another
“Are you ever getting out of there?” my friend Vicky complained.
I crooked the receiver in my shoulder, scrabbling papers together. “I’m heading out now. Harvey dumped a bunch of stuff on me right before he took off.” My boss, the publisher, liked to clear his desk at the end of the week—which meant I got to stay late every Friday night.
“About time. I’ll see you at your place in an hour.”
“We’re going to stick together tonight, right? Avoid the meat market?” I loved dancing off my pent-up energy from long hours sitting at my desk. Vicky saw it more as a smorgasbord of men, served up buffet-style.
“Depends what’s on the menu. See you in a few.”
The minute she hung up, my line rang again. “Is this Julia?” a familiar voice screeched.
“Hi, Louise. How’s it going in Seattle?” Our high-strung author was on a twelve-city tour for her new thriller, and the campaign had been plagued with problems. A celebrated Texas crime reporter, she had braved drug dealers’ bullets but couldn’t cope with delayed flights and lumpy hotel pillows. Harvey had stopped taking her calls a week ago, and ever since she’d been haranguing me.
“The escort hasn’t shown up yet. Why can’t these people be prompt?” Louise fretted.
I held back from pointing out that it was over three hours until her event. “Let me see if anyone’s left in publicity; maybe they can locate her.”
I scurried around the corner to the desolate PR department. The lights in Erin’s cubicle were still on, which gave me hope. A few doors down, I found her on her knees in front of the copy machine. Erin looked up at me and smiled. “Got it!” she exclaimed, extracting an inky wad.
“Could you come deal with Louise? She’s all pumped up for her signing, but the escort has gone awol.” I rolled my eyes.
“God forbid she should ask the front desk to call her a cab,” Erin grumbled as she followed me down the hall. “She’s stared down gun-toting Mafiosi, but on the road she turns into a quivering mass of jelly.”
“Typical of her,” I said. Most of our authors were great, but a few were real doozies. “Do you want to come out with me and Vicky later? We’re going to hit the Palladium around eleven.”
“I have to finish a press release for that astrology guide. Another glam night in the big city.”
“Okay, be that way. Call me if you change your mind.” I ducked into my office and switched Louise over to Erin, covered my typewriter, then crammed my weekend reading into my backpack.
I sprinted down the deserted hall past shelves overflowing with manuscripts, a few framed awards gathering dust. Our titles ranged from literary to pure fluff; with the economy still in the pits, we were hawking anything from pop psychology to diet fads. This had been a shock when I’d arrived as a starry-eyed editorial assistant after a brief stint in grad school, thinking I’d be spending my weekends holed up with hot talent from The New Yorker. But now I was seasoned enough to plow through the B-list celebrity memoirs and breastfeeding manuals, while relishing any good novels that came my way.
I caught the elevator with a jittery messenger who bounced his bike tire, making the floor shimmy. I waved to the security guard and headed down lower Park Avenue in the balmy air. Usually I walked home to save money on subway tokens; I figured I had time tonight since my best friend was probably still primping.
Vicky had left the company a few months ago to join the publicity department of a larger midtown publisher. I missed her at the office, and I was also envious of her escape from assistantdom. But we still got together on weekends, and now I couldn’t wait to go to our favorite club. We liked the Palladium for its edgy mix of punks, rockers, and regular people like us.
I wove through some guys hissing “Sens, sensimilla!” in Washington Square and stopped at a street vendor selling earrings. A pair with long strands of beads and feathers caught my eye. I fingered them for a minute, calculating. Seven bucks for drinks; three for a cab home tonight … Reluctantly I put them back.
Halfway down MacDougal, I came to a screeching halt. An absolutely perfect small table was sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk. I stepped close for a better look. Gold leaf curlicues adorned its surface, and ornate lion heads were carved into its corners. I gave it a shake to see if the legs were loose, but it didn’t even wobble. I couldn’t believe someone had thrown out something this nice—it wasn’t even large garbage night! At last I could get rid of the stacked milk crates I ate on.
Now I just had to get it home. My place on Broome Street was eight blocks away, and the table was about three feet square. Maybe if I swung my backpack around to the front and hoisted the table on my back …
As I stood there considering, a guy in a dirty tee-shirt approached, holding a can of beer. “You need some help with that?” he asked, swaying a little.
“I think I can get it. Thanks anyway.”
The man leaned against the brick wall of the apartment building to watch. Turning around, I backed up to the table. I tried to reach behind and grasp its sides, but I couldn’t bend back far enough—why I’d always stunk at the limbo-la. Maybe if I bent lower … I crouched down, the backpack wedged against my belly like an unwanted pregnancy, and strained to get a grip on its legs.
Suddenly a woman ran screeching out of the building. “Stop that! What are you doing with my table?”
I stared at her. “This is yours? I thought somebody was throwing it away.”
“Are you kidding? This is an antique! You couldn’t have thought it was being thrown out.” The woman glared at me, hand on her hip.
Oh my god, how embarrassing. “I didn’t realize—I mean, it was sitting here all by itself with no note on it or anything. I thought it was meant for the garbage.”
“The garbage!” the woman shrieked. “I paid six hundred dollars for that! I was waiting for my husband to bring it upstairs! You should keep your paws off things that aren’t yours,” she huffed as she flounced back inside.
The man in the tee-shirt smiled and took a gulp of beer. “Baby, you just took a bite of the B-i-i-i-g Apple.”
I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Someone Else’s Love Story” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
A notation on the Unexpected Extras:
The edition of Someone Else’s Love Story is the special “P.S.” edition of which I happily expressed my enthused response in receiving on behalf of: The Ghost Bride. In this particular case, it drew to light my collection of music is also stored inside of a box at the moment, as I would have happily pulled out my Indigo Girls albums to play in the background once I learnt that Ms. Jackson listened to them whilst creating this novel! (apparently they were excellent for cluing into Shandi) How lovely! Now when she said William’s song was “Gone Gone Gone” by Philip Phillips I nearly couldn’t believe my eyes — it is simply one of my favourite songs by Phillips! And, I’m always especially grateful he performs live on television as I happily have seen him a few times, most recently during the Capitol Fourth celebration on PBS! Further glee for me was reading Walcott is represented aptly through “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers! Seriously!? I can so dig this author! And, I hadn’t even picked up the novel to read yet! Just by saying Paula would be a vocal hybrid of Pink & Regina Spektor (of whom I have seen live in person!) made perfect sense to me — even though I had yet to see her in the story! Laughs.
I am as connected to music as Jackson, and therefore, all these little hints about which musicians and artists would best represent them in song and musical threads of creative voice felt right to me! And, this is what I am saying about the “P.S.” editions by William Morrow, they give you such a hearty insight behind the pen as to allow you to learn a bit more than you were expecting to be able to know!
I listened to each of these ahead of reading the story:
I am always happily surprised by the enclosures I find within the review books I receive in the Post; this particular one was a finished copy and therefore I am not expecting to find an enclosure unless the publicist includes the Press Sheet for the author and novel. This time I was more than happily surprised to find a *bookmark!*, and yes, you can definitely believe me when I tell you that I get quite giddy finding *bookmarks!* enclosed with books for review! I have quite the lovely collection of bookmarks I’ve collected over the years since I was a young child, however, all of those are stored in a box and not readily easy to pull out. Imagine my surprise joy to find this bookmark is for the novel: All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenburg! A novel I have heard a considerable amount of praise as much as I have been on the fence if I can handle reading it or not. Mostly as I know its going to be an emotional read and learning on this bookmark he’s donating all proceeds of the novel to Breast Cancer Research is incredible! He even set up his own foundation (Heidi’s Angels) in order to re-direct the funds to The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
I do state my hesitation to read stories where cancer is front and center on my Review Policy, as I simply have a sensitive heart and I am always being careful about the level of emotional drama I can handle reading. Recently, the novel which truly gutted me emotionally was actually a war drama (I Shall Be Near To You) which was both a surprise and a wake-up call to be a bit more cognisant of the story-lines I’m reading right now. I think my heart is always quite open to stories, but whether or not I’m able to handle their contents is another matter entirely. I always celebrate writers who donate their proceeds to a worthy cause and therefore, I am thankful to William Morrow for enclosing this bookmark and drawing my eye towards the beautiful generosity of this author. Even if I may or may not be able to read the novel, I’ll always know a novel I can give as a gift and perhaps lift someone else’s spirits in the process.
I happily used the bookmark to read Someone Else’s Love Story!
For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She’s finishing college, raising precocious three-year-old Natty, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents.Then she gets caught in the middle of a stickup at a gas station and falls instantly in love with William Ashe, when he steps between the armed robber and her son.
Shandi doesn’t know that William’s act wasn’t about bravery. When he looked down the barrel of the robber’s gun he believed it was destiny: it’s been exactly one year since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do—to him destiny is about choice.
Now William and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.
Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including Gods in Alabama and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.
Listen to an Excerpt of the Novel : Read by Joshilyn Jackson
On listening to the Excerpt after reaching page 8:
Normally I seek out an Excerpt on either SoundCloud or Scribd long before I pick up a novel to read, however, I started to get a hankering for hearing how the character of Sandi might be read aloud which had me googling the title of the novel with “SoundCloud” as part of the search feature! I’ve found that is a much quicker route to getting to where your going on SoundCloud at least until I can restore my links in my sidebar which haven’t materalised since I self-hosted in late August; as it requires a re-organisation of the categories. Listening to the author reveal the voice for Shandi was as ingenius of my listening to The Ghost Bride for each of these authors Choo & Jackson have such a distinctive gift for reading aloud their own works of fiction!
I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Desire Lines” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
There are moments in our lives where our paths cross with a novel that we have a near-sixth sense about how we will enjoy reading it. This is exactly what happened to me whilst I won a copy of Orphan Train from a contest from Shelf Awareness and received the novel from the author herself. The bits and pieces of my life from that moment in April 2013 to a full score year later were one of the most consuming experiences thus far along on my lifepath. I always had the intention of reading Orphan Train close to when I had received it. Yet. Life ebbed away and took my focus off the novel that I felt I was meant to read. It was one of those books I knew I would acquire even if I had not been able to receive one from the author. I never had the proper chance to follow-up with Ms. Kline; nor explain my absence but to attempt to explain why I had not yet read the story that captured my attention front line and center.
When I learnt of two novels by Kline going on tour with TLC, I knew I had found my way of redeeming myself and of a way back to Orphan Train! Part of the reason I had ended up holding off reading the novel is because I knew it was going to be an emotional read for me as I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum. The fate of orphans is very near and dear to my maternal heart, and the plight of those children who were sent out on orphan trains always tugs at the core of my soul.
I had felt a connection to not only the story within the sleeper bestseller but I had felt one with the writer who penned the story, which is why I had written her a heartfelt personal note at the time. This entire year I’ve been a book blogger I have learnt how to yield to stress and how to read stories which are emotionally gutting yet intellectually satisfying whilst going through incredible circumstances that otherwise might only lend themselves to beach reads and uplifting romances. I found that I have the ability to write with a clarity that I had not had in previous years whilst juggling through intense personal stress and I found that the best grace in the world as a writer and reader is the direct focus of stories and the writers who create them.
Christina Baker Kline is one writer who crossed my path at a time I could not devout my heart to read her stories, nor approach them with a mindfulness they deserved. It is only one full year later, but this is my way of not only thanking her for the work she has put forward and into the hands of all of us, but a small gesture of acknowledgement from a reader who was captivated by her sincerity, creativity, and immersive research she conducts to breathe life into her characters and stories. I am the blessed one this year, as this is my second chance at discovering what is inside Kline’s body of work.
Note: There are a total of four novels by Christina Baker Kline on tour with TLC Book Tours, however, Orphan Train is not amongst them. I am going to read Orphan Train in September for my own edification and pleasure. I want to take my time to absorb into it and soak through the emotions I know I shall greet when I open the pages of a story I have not stopped thinking about since it arrived.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train comes a novel about buried secrets and the redemptive power of forgiveness
On the night of her high school graduation, Kathryn Campbell sits around a bonfire with her four closest friends, including the beautiful but erratic Jennifer. “I’ll be fine,” Jennifer says, as she walks away from the dying embers and towards the darkness of the woods. She never comes back.
Ten years later, Kathryn has tried to build a life for herself, with a marriage and a career as a journalist, but she still feels the conspicuous void of Jennifer’s disappearance. When her divorce sends her reeling back to the Maine town where she grew up, she finds herself plunged into a sea of memories. With nothing left to lose, she is determined to answer one simple question: What happened to Jennifer Pelletier?
Christina Baker Kline was born in England and raised in Maine. The author of five novels, including the runaway bestseller Orphan Train, Kline has taught literature and creative writing at Yale, New York University, and Fordham. She lives outside of New York City.
Small Towne Maine:
The undertone of the novel is a unique one, as it is not necessarily underlit with a positiveness about small towne Maine life nor is it especially neutral or negative; Kline has a way of fusing her character’s (Kathryn) emotional state into the underbelly of the narrative itself, giving a unique perspective to the locale. Small townes are always notorious for having the ability to find caring neighbours and close-knitted communities where strangers are infrequent and the care of being in the know about each person’s life is simply a matter of towne pride and goodwill. There is an unsettling harbouring though of the unknown and the unresolved of what can haunt a towne like Bangor on the aftermath of a disappeared teen. The ripples of how one girl can dearly affect a towne and how the people she left behind were stumbling to find any sense of how to proceed forward after she was gone.