Monday, October 30, 2017

The Painter's Apprentice - Spotlight Book Tour

Publication Date: November 15, 2017
The Scriptorium
eBook; 482 Pages
Series: The Gondola Maker, Book Two
Genre: Fiction/Historical

Star-crossed lovers with a costly secret. As the plague grips Venice, more than a quarantine divides them…
Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.
Maria arranges to leave the painter’s workshop to return to her family workshop and to a secret lover waiting for her back home. But the encroaching Black Death foils her plans…

When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away to train with Master Trevisan, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. She is forced to buy the servants’ silence, but as their greed steadily grows, Maria resorts to more desperate measures. She questions whether her heart’s desire is worth risking her family, her trade, and her future, but Maria’s sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague arrives on her father’s doorstep and steals away everything she’s ever loved…

From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.

Available at the following eRetailers: 


Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.
Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.
For more information, please visit Laura Morelli’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Pre-Order Promotion

Author Laura Morelli is offering a set of great bonuses exclusively to her readers! If you like to delve deeper into the “story behind the story,” you’ll want to take advantage of Laura’s pre-order package, which takes readers behind the scenes of The Painter’s Apprentice with videos, pictures, commentary about Renaissance Venice, and other exclusive content.

Learn more here:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quote for the Day

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.”

                                                                          ~Jane Austen, Persuasion

Lucy Worsley introduces Jane Austen At Home

Friday, October 27, 2017

First Line Fridays

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I would highlight one of the classic pumpkin stories.  :)  I remember waiting all year to see this cartoon come on TV when I was a kid.  I believe Garfield also had a pumpkin special that came on after Snoopy.  Does anyone remember that?  What holiday cartoons or books did you enjoy when you were younger?  Happy reading and happy Halloween!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
by Charles Schulz 
And the first line is...
"Every fall, the leaves on the trees turn brown and fall off the branches.  Pumpkins grow big and plump in their patches.  The air grows cooler, and people start to think about their Halloween costumes.  And every fall, Linus writes a very important letter." 
Happy Friday and happy reading!  
Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Check Out My New Post!

Check out my new post on the Daily Megaphone to read an excerpt from one of my favorite books.  Happy reading!

An Excerpt from Jane Eyre 
by Charlotte Bronte  


Friday, October 20, 2017

First Line Fridays

This week I wanted to highlight a mystery.  Mysteries are grand to read any time of the year, but since we are getting close to Halloween, I thought a mystery would be most appropriate.  :)  I have read several books by Ellery Adams, and each one was wonderful.  She has a new book coming out at the end of the month entitled The Secret, Book, and Scone Society, which I am excited to read.  For this week though, I want to showcase another book by her called Pies and Prejudice--brilliant name!  What are some of your favorite mysteries?  I would love some new book recommendations.  Happy reading!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Pies and Prejudice
by Ellery Adams 

And the first line is...

"Ella Mae LeFaye Kitteridge slammed a ball of dough onto the countertop, sending a snowstorm of flour into the air."  

Happy Friday and happy reading! 

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pleasing Mr. Pepys - Spotlight Book Tour

Publication Date: September 28, 2017
Accent Press/ Genre: Historical Fiction
eBook & Paperback; 407 Pages
London 1667.

Set in a London rising from the ruins of the Great Fire, Pleasing Mr Pepys is a vivid re-imagining of the events in Samuel Pepys’s Diary.

Desperate to escape her domineering aunt, Deb Willet thinks the post of companion to well-respected Elisabeth Pepys is the answer to her prayers. But Samuel Pepys’s house is not as safe as it seems. An intelligent girl in Deb’s position has access to his government papers, and soon she becomes a target of flamboyant actress Abigail Williams, a spy for England’s enemies, the Dutch.

Abigail is getting old and needs a younger accomplice. She blackmails Deb into stealing Pepys’s documents. Soon, the respectable life Deb longs for slides out of her grasp. Mr Pepys’s obsessive lust for his new maid increases precisely as Abigail and her sinister Dutch spymaster become more demanding. When Deb falls for handsome Jem Wells, a curate-in-training, she thinks things cannot possibly get worse.

Until – not content with a few stolen papers – the Dutch want Mr Pepys’s Diary. 

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists.
She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District – a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.
For more information, please visit Deborah Swift’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
During the Blog Tour, a signed copy of Pleasing Mr. Pepys will be given to one lucky winner!
To enter, please click on the Gleam link below.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Case of the Clobbered Cad - My Review

If you love mysteries, you will thoroughly enjoy Debra E. Marvin’s book The Case of the Clobbered Cad.   The story is set in Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1950's, and it follows the academic career of Heather Munro.  She has arrived in Scotland to pursue a history degree, but in the process falls into a bit of a tragedy.  A professor at her university gets murdered, and Heather becomes one of the main suspects—along with several other individuals within her circle.  Dealing with this man’s death is not only overwhelming, but Heather also begins to wonder who she can trust.  Everyone seems kind and helpful, but deep down, Heather knows that someone she has interacted with is ultimately the one behind Dr. Winter’s murder.  Will the police be able to find that individual before someone else gets hurt? 

Unfortunately, Heather has a connection to the recently departed professor.  She met him on the ship that brought her from America to Scotland and embarrassingly was briefly enchanted by his dashing ways.  Heather worries that her reputation is being scarred from her brief encounter with the professor, since the local detective wants to use her previous knowledge of him against her.  So many people want to embellish her past introductions to the Winter’s family, in order to scar the truth, and therefore be able to use it against her in their murder inquiries.  Can she find a way to make them listen to the facts?  Will they ever believe the information she voluntarily gives to the local authorizes? 

Mrs. Kintyre is Heather’s landlady and her instant friend.  She is the one person who Heather confides in as she deals with all the horror that is unfolding in her life.  After traveling so far from home, Mrs. Kintyre does all she can to make Heather feel welcome in this new city.  From making tea to chatting about life over scones, Kintyre is a welcomed addition to Heather’s world and someone she knows she could not live without.  Interestingly, Heather begins to learn more about her landlady as the case goes along—even to the point of seeing how great a sleuth she truly is. 

I highly recommend checking out this book.  Mysteries are my favorite genre, and I loved getting to know the characters throughout the various scenes in this book—along with the protagonist—I thought her name was really great too.  :)  Another thing I loved about this book was the setting.  I traveled to Edinburgh when I was in college—beautiful city—and it is always amazing to read books that have a backdrop from another country and that are detailed through the eyes of another decade.  When you get an opportunity to read this text, let me know your thoughts about this mystery in the comments below.  Happy reading!    

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Singing Librarian Books for my copy. 

Series: The Nosy Parker Mysteries
Genre:  Journey Fiction, Historical, Mystery 
Publisher: Indie
Publication date: August 1, 2017

Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls' Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until... 
Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master's Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, 
the same would-be lothario she’d hoped 
never to see again. 

As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to believe in.


Debra E. Marvin is a member of ACFW, Sisters in Crime, a Grace Awards Judge, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She’s one of the founders of Inkwell Inspirations Blog, and is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction and contracted with Barbour Publishing. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University in upstate NY, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.

1. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I started making illustrated books as a child, then became a student who wrote two thousand words for a five hundred word essay. Hanging around with readers and authors just feels right, because we are all compelled to step into a story. I love beautiful words and images and there’s not quite so satisfying as finding just the right word. There may have been a time when I read a story and thought… I can do that!  (Oh how na├»ve! I can do it but it’s darn hard work!)

2. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did being an author ever cross your mind?
Despite the fact I tend to be a bit driven by all I want to get done now, I wasn’t a particularly focused child. I recall a few years of wanting to be an astronomer, but basically I just liked to make things and spend time daydreaming.  I was an art major (and we know how difficult that is as a career!) and then all of a sudden I was a housewife and mother who obsessively made things. Finally, I took a creative writing class in my thirties and it all just took off. Writing satisfies like nothing else!

3. What is your current WIP? What can you tell us about this project?
Currently, I’m working on my second contemporary romance novella. Somewhere along the way this project became a difficult emotional journey and was put aside while I finished this mystery and a colonial era novella. The first contemporary romance was a breeze—I wrote 17,000 words in three days. This one is like picking up egg whites, but I’m determined to see it through! It takes place on Cape Hatteras and will be out later this year from Forget Me Not Romances.

What inspired the idea for The Case of the Clobbered Cad?  Oh I wish I knew how to explain the tangled lines that became this story. Ideas just seem to pop up and then explode into a puzzle that needs to be solved. When my setting changed from Sturbridge Village to Edinburgh, Scotland, research pulled me into the University’s archeology department. I had that lovely lightbulb moment upon seeing some reference to an artifact. I’d contacted the secretary of the History and Archeology departments and it happened that a retired archeology professor gave me all sorts of information on the very vibrant archeology department of the 1950s.

4. What do you want readers to take away from reading The Case of the Clobbered Cad?
This story doesn’t quite fit into a nice, neat genre and so I hope readers find it unexpected,  fresh, enjoyable, entertaining and creates nostalgia for the days when a girl detective story kept them up late on a school night!

5. When you are not writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
I love to make things that involve color, texture and handwork. It might be decorative painting, knitting, gardening and the occasional fairy house. But mostly I’m like to design and sew—quilting or making costumes. (I have a little problem with buying fabric.)


Top Ten Authors Who've Influenced My Writing...


  1. LaVyrle Spencer –for word choices that made me sigh
  2. Phyllis Whitney –for making me love romantic suspense
  3. Anna Sewell –for writing the book that so inspired my childhood imagination
  4. Barbara Cartland –for bringing us rakes and rogues 
  5. Margaret Mitchell –for making me an historical fiction fanatic
  6. Diana Gabaldon –for making me choose reading over food or sleep
  7. Laura Frantz –for showing me what it is to be a story teller that touches the heart
  8. Anne Perry –for proving that I’m not the only one who love historical mysteries
  9. Louise Penny –for writing a perfect, compelling balance of character and plot
  10. My critique partner, Susanne Dietze –for pointing out the emotions I need to upgrade when I’ve been too busy with the plot.

  1. We reference “The Girl Detective” but we never actually use her name!  You know who I’m talking about though, don’t you?
  2. The book is set in 1956.  Can you guess why I chose that particular year? Go ahead. You won’t offend me!
  3. Heather’s first trip abroad is to the U.K. Sixty years later, Debra made her first trip abroad and was greeted in the Edinburgh airport by a lovely customs agent with a broad Scottish accent. (Debra grinned like an eejit!)
  4. The Case of the Clobbered Cad was originally set in Old Sturbridge Village because I wanted to visit there. The heroine was a history major doing an internship.  When I made the last minute decision to buy a ticket to Scotland, I asked my publisher if she minded if I changed the setting! She loved the idea!
  5. Like Heather, my grandfather was Scottish. (though mine was born in the U.S. to a Scottish immigrant family). He insisted I was “Scots t’ the backbone and prood of it.” What a thrill to be able to visit the village where his my great-grandparents called home.
  6. I visited the Archeology Department at the University of Edinburgh and went inside the archives room. If you read the book, you’ll understand why that was so important! (Though in 1956, the setting was completely different!)
  7. I actually stayed on both of the Edinburgh streets used as ‘home addresses’ for two of my characters.
  8. Some retired policemen and professors answered my questions, including a gentleman with an OBE.  You do know what that means, don’t you?
  9. Lisa Richardson, author of The Counterfeit Clue designed the covers!
  10. While my earlier published works have been sweet romances, mysteries are my first love and I hope to take Heather elsewhere in Scotland and Ireland.

Friday, October 13, 2017

First Line Fridays

I read and review The Elusive Miss Ellison last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Carolyn Miller.  I can't wait to purchase her new book in this lovely series, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, which comes out later this month.  For this week though, I wanted to highlight the second book in the series, The Captivating Lady Charlotte.  Obviously, I love reading a myriad of genres, but it is so nice when you can continue a book you loved within the pages of a series.  Do you enjoy reading series?  How long is too long for a series or does it matter?  I suppose one of the longest series of books I can of is the Mandie collection by Lois Gladys Leppard.  If you have any young readers in your life who enjoy mysteries, I highly recommend these books.  They have even made a few films based on her books.  Happy reading!  

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  The Captivating Lady Charlotte
by Carolyn Miller  

And the first line is...

St. James Palace, London 
April 1814

"The room glimmered with a thousand points of sparkling light, the bright glow from the enormous crystal-dropped chandelier glinting off heavily beaded gowns, ornate mirrors, and the desperation shining in dozens of pairs of eyes."  

Happy Friday and happy reading!  

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating!