Spellbound by History

Once More Unto the Breach by Meghan Holloway

 

Publisher: Polis Books

Pages: 320

Genre: Historical Fiction

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“A brilliant debut novel that kept me turning pages.”

 

For readers of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a gripping historical thriller set against a fully-realized WWII backdrop about the love a father has for his son and the lengths he is willing to go to find him, from a talented new voice in suspense.

Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city’s liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them.

Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal war has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son’s trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs in Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first.

The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his son’s wartime actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it’s too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg his forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive.

About the Author

Meghan Holloway found her first Nancy Drew mystery in a sun-dappled attic at the age of eight and subsequently fell in love with the grip and tautness of a well-told mystery. She flew an airplane before she learned how to drive a car, did her undergrad work in Creative Writing in the sweltering south, and finished a Masters of Library and Information Science in the blustery north. She spent a summer and fall in Maine picking peaches and apples, traveled the world for a few years, and did a stint fighting crime in the records section of a police department.

She now lives in the foothills of the Appalachians with her standard poodle and spends her days as a scientist with the requisite glasses but minus the lab coat. Follow her at @AMeghanHolloway.

 

The Winnowing by Jo Schaffer

The Winnowing by Jo Schaffer

(Stanley & Hazel, #2)
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: February 26th 2019
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

Darkness descends over St. Louis, a city already rocked by the Great Depression. More and more people are disappearing, and some have turned up dead.  A sinister secret society is putting forward their plan known as “The Winnowing,” designed to wipe out those they consider “undesirable.”

After Stanley and Hazel foil the diabolical plans of Charles Chouteau, they become instant celebrities. Hazel is thrust into the role of debutante, and risks loses herself in it. Meanwhile, Stanley must deal with the horrific tragedy of his best friend’s death while being threatened by the unseen forces of the Veiled Prophet.

With things spiraling out of control, Stanley and Hazel’s relationship is tested, possibly beyond repair. As bodies pile up, people become more desperate. The divide between wealthy and poor grows ever wider, threatening to tear their worlds apart. Now, the two must find a way to work together if there is any hope at all of saving their relationship and their futures.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Google Play

BOOK ONE Excerpts:

Stanley turned to her, curious. “Tell me. Where did you see me before? Perhaps on the golf course or having martinis at the club with the mayor?”

Hazel scoffed. “Selling papers, silly.”

Stanley’s face warmed. “Oh. That’s just my cover. I’m actually an international spy.”

“There’s no shame in selling papers,” Hazel said.

“Yeah. Someday I’m going to write for the papers. Then, I’ll work my way up to be a regular columnist. Someday I might even move into radio journalism or write for the newsreels.”

“I bet you’d be good at it,” she said.

That made his chest warm. “Yeah?”

“Sure. You seem smart. And you have a great voice for radio.”

Stanley blushed. It was a good thing it was dark. “So what’s it going to be for you? Ivy League college and marry a prince?”

Hazel let out a ragged sigh. “I hope not. I kinda had my heart set on becoming a pirate.”

Stanley chuckled. “Is that a fact?”

Her eyes twinkled when he looked at her and then her face went serious. “Well, to be honest … I don’t know. There’s what’s expected of me and then … there’s that part of me that’s just mine. The part that’s a wild gypsy or an actress or a world traveling explorer who brings medicine and education to native tribes in exotic places.”

Stanley grinned, liking her more every second. “Sounds like the interesting part.”

Hazel nodded, a little frown tugging down her full lips. “My world is so little, Stanley.”

He supposed it was. Seemed like being a swell would open the world up to you but maybe it didn’t. Maybe it just confined you to Lindell and the “right places.”

“Well it just got bigger, dollface,” he said, gesturing to the large, dark expanse of the park.

“Yeah,” she breathed. “And I can’t see a thing.”

“Just follow me.” Stanley shoved his hands in his pockets, deep in thought.

 ––––

Hazel stumbled down the grassy hill of the moonlit park. Stanley glanced at her from several steps ahead. “You with me, Bananas?”

“Yeah.” She swallowed back the urge to be sick. Hazel’s legs moved her forward but nothing seemed real. She was in Forest Park at night with a newsie boy she’d just met and Sandy’s runaway sister was back there, slumped against the statue of St. Louis with her head cracked open.

She couldn’t make her brain take it all in. Evelyn’s face—caved in on one side, her mouth slack, teeth showing like gravestones covered in blood. Gripped with panic, Hazel quickened her step to catch up with Stanley—her only guide in this darkness. He was a part of it. This was his world, not hers.

BOOK 2 Excerpts

The renegade newsie climbed on top of the metal box and forced the window open a crack with a crowbar he produced from his baggy trousers. Then he sat and lit a cigarette. He puffed on it a few times before reaching into the inside pocket of his oversized coat. He pulled out a bottle that sloshed with liquid and removed the cork.

He took a handkerchief and stuffed it into the bottle of liquid, leaving a tail of it hanging out of the top. Pinching his cigarette between two fingers, he contemplated the tip, while smoke trailed out of his nose.

Henri sniffed the air, and his ears perked. Before Hazel could stop the young dog, he jumped and let out a bark.

Arthur sprung to his feet, turning in Hazel’s direction.

Bananas. She squeezed her eyes shut, hoping he wouldn’t see her where she crouched.

“Peek-a-boo,” Arthur said, slow and deliberate. “I see you, Princess.”

Knees shaking, Hazel slowly stood to face him. She gripped Henri’s leash. He was her only defense.

 

“Where do you go, Hazel Malloy?” Gabriel said in her ear.

“What?”

“I can feel you thinking hard.” He chuckled.

Hazel smiled. “I like this song,” she said, embarrassed as though he could actually tell that he’d caught her thinking about him.

“I do too.” He pressed his cheek to hers, and she let him.

As the song ended, there was a slight disturbance from the far end of the room. Hazel glanced up, and her heart paused.

Bananas.

Stanley stood in the entrance of the conservatory, tall and suited up, a hard look on his face, one eye almost swollen shut. He was flanked by some of his Knights, looking rough and out of place in suits, smirks on their faces as they scanned the room. It was like Eliot Ness and his Untouchables about to raid.

The “good people” of St. Louis stared uneasily and made way as the boys stalked into the room. Hazel sometimes forgot what they must look like to everyone else. They were a tough looking lot, battle scarred, and imposing.

The song ended and in the pause before the next one began, Stanley took long strides across the room, toward where Hazel and Gabriel stood, still holding hands.

Stanley’s eye twitched. “Heya, Haze.” He tilted his head toward Gabriel. “If it isn’t soft slugger trying to get to first base.” His jaw flexed, and he breathed in through his nose, and Hazel knew he was counting to ten.

Gabriel released Hazel’s hand and calmly replied, “Good to see you, Fields. You clean up nice.”

 

Author Bio:

Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker, writer at Patheos.com, works in film production and is a Taekwondo black belt.

She’s a founding member of Writers Cubed and co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the largest conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. She and a crew of local and international bestselling authors present writing workshops to hundreds of attendees at the Utah-based conference as well as hundreds of others worldwide who view the conference online.

Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. Her brain is always spinning new ideas for books and sometimes she even gets around to blogging.

Jo is mom to three strapping sons and lives in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Innocence Lost by Sherilyn Decter

Publication Date: February 21, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 339 Pages

Series: Bootleggersí Chronicles Series, Book One

Genre: Historical Fiction/Crime/Women’s Fiction

In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…

Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn’t have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren’t bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger’s playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with questionable ties…

When her son’s friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don’t seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child’s life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose…

Maggie’s one advantage may be her new found friend: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?

Innocence Lost is the first novel in the Bootleggers’ Chronicles, a series of historical fiction tales. If you like headstrong heroines, Prohibition-era criminal underworlds, and just a touch of the paranormal, then you’ll love Sherilyn Decter’s gripping tale.

Available on Amazon

Excerpt:

What with the turn of the century and then the war, it is a time of many advances in America: cars, planes, radios, telephones. Lots of changes, and yet some things are still the same. Monday is still Wash Day and clothes are still scrubbed on a board and wrung out to dry, then pinned on the line. Tuesday is still Ironing Day, with a hot iron from the stove. Wednesday is mending, usually replacing the buttons torn off by the washing machine’s mangle. Thursday means cleaning the upstairs. Baking is done on Fridays. Saturday’s chores are to clean downstairs. The best day of all is Sunday: a day of rest, church, and visiting.

Now that Maggie’s doing the lodgers’ wash, her Mondays are longer than ever. She bends over the large galvanized tin washtub on the back porch, and scrubs Tommy’s shirt on the washboard. There are two more washtubs next to it on a wooden washstand. A hand-wringer, the infamous mangle, is mounted above the wash tubs. Two wooden rollers and a crank squeeze out the excess dirty water before the shirt is rinsed in the second tub. Her mangle often breaks a few buttons, keeping Maggie busy with repairs for her own household as well as for the public laundry downtown.

Like most of the houses in the neighborhood, the windows at the back of Maggie’s house are always steamed on Mondays. Inside the kitchen, a large pot of water is on a slow boil so that the washing water stays hot and the soap is dissolved. Maggie uses a second rinse tub to make sure the harsh Borax soap is rinsed out of the clothes before she hangs them on the line. As the shirt goes through the wringer for the last time, it falls into a wicker laundry basket. 

It’s a mild March day, and Maggie puts clothes on the line to dry. Even with it being sunnier, after pinning out the clothes this morning, her fingers are blue from the cold. She picks up one of Tommy’s school shirts and remembers that day she found Alicja crying. She feels a lump in her throat. It seems a lifetime ago.

Next door, Clara hangs her own wash. Maggie hadn’t enjoyed washdays before, but now looks forward to them. It’s her way of staying connected to her neighbors now that she’s not needed over in the Leszek kitchen.

There’s a community conversation going on under the washing lines and over the fences of the houses every Monday. 

“So, Joe was telling me about this cop in California who had two houses, a couple of cars, a speedboat, and cash stashed in every bank in town,” Maggie says. 

Clara mumbles around the wooden peg in her mouth. “I should have married a cop. I’d get me one of those new washing machines.”

“And sit and eat bonbons on Mondays, while the rest of us work?” Maggie asks with a chuckle.

“Nah. You can come over and use my machine too, Maggie. I’ll let you. But it will have to be a Tuesday, because I’ll need it on Mondays.”

“Then when would I do my ironing? Wednesday? Clara, that wouldn’t work. And I suppose mending day would get pushed to Thursday and before you know it my whole week is turned upside down.”

Their laughter is caught by the flapping sheets. 

“Yes, but you’d have Mondays free, Maggie. You could eat bonbons with me.”

About the Author

Sherilyn Decter is a writer, researcher, and lover of historical fiction. Her work is set in the Roaring Twenties and if you like feisty and determined heroines, complex cover-ups, Prohibition stories about criminal underworlds, police and political corruption, then youíre going to love Sherilynís grand gangster tales.

For more information, please visit Sherilyn Decter’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, February 15

Review at Passages to the Past

Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Saturday, February 16

Review at Pursuing Stacie

Excerpt at Bookish Rantings

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, February 17

Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Guest Post at Jennifer Silverwood’s Blog

Monday, February 18

Review at 100 Pages a Day

Excerpt at Old Timey Books

Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, February 19

Review at Peppermint Ph.D.

Review at Reader then Blogger

Wednesday, February 20

Interview at The Old Shelter

Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, February 21

Review at Macsbooks

Review at The Old Shelter

Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, February 22

Review at A Book Geek

Review at Coffee and Ink

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Excerpt at Spellbound by History

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two prize packs of a copy of the book, a set of Paper Dolls, and a Jazz Age Fashion Coloring Book! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

—Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on February 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
—Giveaway is open internationally.
—Only one entry per household.
—All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
—Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

I Enter Giveaway

Book One

Book Two

Novella One

Novella One: Ruby’s Story 

Release Date: May 27, 2019

Novella Two: Charles’s Story

Expected Release Date: July 15, 2019

Release Date: 2020

Estimated Release: Late 2020 or Early 2021

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