Book Review Tuesday: The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger, Pretty Evil New England #truecrime @SueColetta, Magical Whispers #Poetry @BalroopShado

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

I missed doing a Book Review Tuesday last week. Hubby and I have started a new remodeling project so my reading time took a hit. Today, however, I’ve got some great books to share. Two are based on historic accounts and actual events, the third is a soothing and mesmerizing book of poetry. Take a look . . .


Book cover for The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger shoes girl in colonial dress standing on shore looking to clipper ship at seaThe Last Pilgrim
by Noelle Granger

The Last Pilgrim is an amazingly researched historical novel detailing the life of Mary Allerton Cushman, the last survivor from the Mayflower. Mary was four years old when she arrived at the Plymouth Colony. She lived to be 88, dying in 1699. During her lengthy life she experienced the hardships, upheaval, and struggle to survive in a new land. Her growth from curious, wayward child to strong, intelligent woman takes the reader on a remarkable journey populated by historical figures and events.

The author delves into multiple issues ranging from political disputes, relations with neighboring tribes, even religious disagreements. Everyday life is presented in such engrossing detail it’s easy to lose track of time as Granger immerses her readers in a world all but unfathomable today. Her passion for those she has undertaken to write about, along her meticulous research, shines through in every passage. I found myself reluctant to stop reading at night when sleep called.


Close up of a 19th century woman from nose to chest, with blood splatter over imagePretty Evil New England: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs
by Sue Coletta

In Pretty Evil New England, author Sue Coletta takes a look at five 19th century female serial killers and their victims, including how these women—all who moved within genteel society without arousing suspicion—perpetrated their crimes. In some cases, the killers were highly respected individuals and often times, the victims were members of their own family. Coletta’s meticulous research provides detailed backgrounds of each killer, along with glimpses into the disturbed workings of their mind and how each sought to justify their actions. There is insanity, narcissism, and heartless manipulation, among other twisted motivations. I found Coletta’s explanations of how female serial killers differ from their male counterparts surprisingly eye-opening.

The book is divided into sections, each devoted to a particular killer and her victims. But it isn’t just the actual crimes Coletta focuses on. She also shows us how each woman was apprehended, then places the reader in the courtroom for an in depth look at her trial, and the outcome. The subject matter, while grim in nature, is in no way gruesome to read, and Coletta’s manner of delivery is thoroughly engrossing, the writing flawless. I highly recommend Pretty Evil New England to fans of true crime, AND crime fiction and suspense novels. The author held me spellbound from cover to cover and I finished this book in two days.

I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.
I give Pretty Evil New England 5 Stars!

Pre-Order from Amazon (Releases November 1)
Genre: Biographies of Serial Killers > History of New England U.S.


Book cover for Magical Whispers shows waterfall tumbling over rocksMagical Whispers
by Balroop Singh

This beautiful collection of poems focuses mostly on elements of nature, offering stunning verses that speak to heart. The author uses words like a paintbrush, conjuring images that seep with tranquility, ebbing like a gentle tide into the spirit and mind. Spend time with each exquisite verse. These are poems to absorb and savor. Poetry is personal and touches each in a different manner. Verses resonate differently with each individual, but I have no doubt there is something mesmerizing for each in this collection that varies in tone from serene, to mystical, to thoroughly enchanting. Those that particularly resonated with me included Life is much More, Magic, A Concert, and A Moon Fairy (among others). I am frequently in awe of this poet’s skill with weaving words on a loom. If you love words…if you love deftly layered verse, this collection is not to be missed.

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Poetry

I give Magical Whispers 5 Stars!


Thanks for joining me today. This will be my last Book Review Tuesday for quite some time, as I plan to go dark during the month of November to concentrate on NaNoWriMo. I’ll still pop in on Story Empire, as I have responsibilities there, but otherwise you won’t see me online much, if at all. I’ll miss everyone but hope you’ll understand my need to focus on my WIP—I really MUST get it done! Hopefully, when I resurface in December, I’ll be sharing the wonderful news that I met my 50K goal and finished the thing 🙂

I do have a guest scheduled this Thursday and hope you’ll return to chat and wish him well.

Welcome Carmen Stefanescu with Dracula’s Mistress #Historical #Gothic #Paranormal

Happy Saint Paddy’s Day! On this delightful wearin’ o’ the green day, I’m excited to welcome my dear friend, Carmen Stefanescu, with her brand new release, Dracula’s Mistress. Carmen is wonderful supporter of other authors. If you haven’t already connected, check out her blog, Shadows of the Past, or find her at any of the contact links below.

As a lifelong native of Romania, Carmen is ideally suited to write Dracula’s Mistress, a tale that combines history, horror and light romance in a look at the man who spawned the Dracula legend. Let’s make Carmen feel welcome on her book’s birthday!

Dracula’s Mistress

Book Cover for Dracula's Mistress by Carmen Stefanescu

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Blurb:
From the day that the powerful, brave and merciless Vlad III Basarab, a descendant of the Draculesti family—better known to most people as the infamous vampire Dracula—ascends the throne, he knows only battles, betrayal and intrigue.

Evil grips the town of Targoviste, capital residence of Walachia. The secrets behind the stone walls of the palace are as dark and violent as a winter’s night, as terrifying as the prince’s deeds. Dead bodies, drained of blood and missing their little finger keep appearing in the streets at night.

Lovely, smart, determined, Angela Oltenescu ignores all the aggressive rumors and her mother’s warning regarding Vlad. Will she suffer the consequences of falling in love with a man nicknamed Dracula by his enemies—an infamous creature of the night?

Rich, sly, treacherous,  Marin Craioveanu, a powerful landlord, craves the same woman loved by Vlad. Marin’s hatred toward the prince will make him an ally to Handsome Radu, Vlad’s brother and Sultan’s friend, ready to sell the country to the Ottomans to get rid of his rival.

Dracula’s Mistress will awe legions of fans of Gothic literature, paranormal and historical fiction.

 

Purchase Dracula’s Mistress from Amazon • Just .99 cents!!

Excerpt:
Angela smiled with fond indulgence and looked at her father. “Prepare for mother’s. . .” She stopped as the words passed her lips, looked over her father’s shoulder, and started violently. The image behind her father made her words freeze on her lips. A sickening sense of horror overpowered her.

The pale light of the moon fell on a man’s face. A man dressed in torn clothes. Some ragged ends of silken thread were still attached to his arms, stretched towards them in begging.

His face, all covered in blood. His eyes were closed. His bluish lips mumbled something Angela couldn’t clearly understand. Slurred words reached her. She thought she heard, “Candle. . . candle. . . pleaaaase. . .” A sickening odor reached Angela’s nostrils. Slowly, the closed eyelids opened revealing two empty sockets instead of eyes.

A low moan of horror escaped her.

“What? What’s wrong?” Grigore asked.

But before he turned his head to see what triggered Angela’s reaction the apparition melted into the darkness.

Angela staggered a little, and then found her balance.

“Nothing,” she answered in a shaken voice. “I thought . . . Nothing, Father.” She pushed the horrible apparition from her mind. Perhaps all the stories about the souls of the young noblemen killed so cruelly here were not just stories.

Grigore shook his head and shrugged. Then reaching out his hand, he helped her climb into the carriage. She was barely able to move as she trembled from head to foot. She shrank back on the bear skin spread inside.

Grigore sat facing her, but looked absorbed by the things that had happened that night.

The neighing of the horses sounded strange to her ears. The sound of a tree branch scraping the roof of the carriage sent Angela’s heart into her mouth.

She leaned forward until her nose was touching the glass of the carriage window. Outside, on the side of the road, she glimpsed again the silhouette of the horrible man, dressed in tattered clothes. She peered into the darkness to see better. There was no doubt.

Author Bio:
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula  where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

High-school teacher of English and German in her native country, and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression  by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books. Reading was, is and will always be her greatest hobby.

She has dreamed since childhood to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989, and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.

She likes to blend genres and thus she writes paranormal stories with a smidgen of mystery, history and romance. The reader will find suspense, dark themes, adventure, danger as well as sweet revenge. She calls her stories  “gothic” romance. Her writing focuses on rebirth, past life regression, karmic retribution.

Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA, folowed by Till Life Do Us Part released by Solstice Publishing, USA.

Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.

Connect with Carmen at the following haunts:
Blog | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon | 
Cold Coffee Cafe  

#FridayBookShare @ShelleyWilson72 – The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

Welcome to another Friday Book Share! Anyone can join in. Just answer the following F.R.I.D.A.Y. questions based on the book you’re either currently reading or have just finished reading. Use the hashtag #FridayBookShare and remember to tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72)

early morning beach scene with sun breaking through the clouds over oceanFirst line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favorite line/scene.

~ooOOoo~

I haven’t done as much reading as I’d like lately because I was involved in meeting a deadline on book 3 of my Point Pleasant/Mothman series. Now with that finally behind me (Snoopy dance) I’m diving back into my regular reading. THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT is a book I read while working on my deadline. As a result, it took me a few weeks to finish but honestly, this book was soooo good, I normally would have devoured it in a week or less. Who would have thought the “current war” between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse could make for riveting, pulse-pounding reading? I’m ashamed to say that until I read this novel, I never realized General Electric was originally Edison General Electric, the company founded by Thomas Edison. Doh!

First Line of Book:

On the day that he would first meet Thomas Edison, Paul watched a man burn alive in the sky above Broadway.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A thrilling novel based on actual events, about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America—from the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and author of The Sherlockian

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST • SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING EDDIE REDMAYNE

New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?

The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?

In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.

Introduce the main character using only three words:

Paul Cravath—young, driven, confused

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book):

Book cover for the novel The Last Days of Night shows a street with gas lamp in foreground

 

Audience appeal. Who would enjoy reading this book?

Readers of historical fiction, particularly as related to the late 1800s.

A favorite line/scene:

Paul mediated the wars of men who devoted their lives to creating things from thin air. But such different things! Westinghouse created objects. Tesla created ideas. While Edison, a few miles away, was busy creating an empire.

Amazon Purchase Link

Do you enjoy historical fiction? Does this book sound like something that would appeal to you?

#FridayBookShare @ShelleyWilson72 – The Terror by Dan Simmons

Welcome to another Friday Book Share! Anyone can join in. Just answer the following F.R.I.D.A.Y. questions based on the book you’re either currently reading or have just finished reading. Use the hashtag #FridayBookShare and remember to tag Shelley (@ShelleyWilson72)

early morning beach scene with sun breaking through the clouds over oceanFirst line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favorite line/scene.

~ooOOoo~

I haven’t actually read THE TERROR recently, but I wanted to participate in Shelley’s Friday Book Share, and this novel ranks as one of my all-time favorite reads—probably among my top five. It’s one of those books you can’t say enough about.

Also, please note that although the first line (below) is in present tense and several chapters of the book are written that way, the huge bulk of this book is written in third person POV.

First Line of Book:

Captain Crozier comes up on deck to find his ship under attack by celestial ghosts.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb:

The men on board the HMS Terror—part of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin Expedition—are entering a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, stranded in a nightmarish landscape of ice and desolation. Endlessly cold, they struggle to survive with poisonous rations and a dwindling coal supply. But their real enemy is even more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror clawing to get in.

Introduce the main character using only three words:

Captain Francis Crozier—conflicted, commander, survivor

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book):

Book cover for THE TERROR by Dan Simmons which shows an old clipper ship without sails surrounded by ice and glaciers

Audience appeal. Who would enjoy reading this book?

Although I found this novel in the horror section of the bookstore, it is far more than a story of terror. It’s also a riveting account of the doomed historical expedition to discover the Northwest Passage. Characters such as Sir John Franklin and Captain Francis Crozier actually lived. What makes this book stand out—at least for me—is how well the author combines the terrifying with the lyrical. The Terror is a novel that weaves folklore, the supernatural, history, horror, and suspense into one huge powerhouse of a book. It will appeal to those who love historical fiction with unique and terrifying twists.

A favorite line/scene:

Suddenly there came the pop-pop-pop of musket fire.

Incredibly, unbelievably, obscenely, a line of four Marines just outside the circle of light from the flames had taken their knees on the ice and were firing into the clumps and mobs of running men. Here and there a figure—still sadly and absurdly in costume—fell to the ice.

Releasing Fitzjames, Crozier ran forward, stepping into the line of volley fire and waving his arms. Musket balls whizzed past his ears.

“CEASE FIRE! GOD-DAMN YOUR EYES, SERGEANT TOZER, I’LL BREAK YOU TO A PRIVATE FOR THIS AND HAVE YOU HANGED IF YOU DON’T CEASE THAT FUCKING FIRE IMMEDIATELY!

The firing popped and stopped.

The Marines snapped to a standing salute, Sergeant Tozer shouting that the white thing was out there among the men. They’d seen it backlit by flames. It was carrying a man in its jaws.

Amazon Purchase Link

Do you enjoy historical thrillers? Does The Terror sounds like something that would appeal to you?