Book Spotlight: Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

02_Mademoiselle Chanel Cover
Please join author C.W. Gortner as his latest release, Mademoiselle Chanel, is featured around the blogosphere from March 17-April 3, and enter to win one of three fabulously chic, Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets!
 
Publication Date: March 17, 2015 William Morrow/HarperCollins
Formats: Hardover, eBook, Audio Book Genre: Historical Fiction

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DRAMA, PASSION, TRAGEDY, AND BEAUTY: C.W.’s new novel stunningly imagines the life of Coco Chanel—the iconic fashion designer whose staggering creativity built an empire and made her one of the 20th century’s most influential, and controversial, figures. Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother’s death. Here, the nuns nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel her into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood. Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny. Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. Her little black dress, her signature perfume No. 5; her dramatic friendships, affairs, and rivalries with luminaries of her era increase her wealth and fame. But as the years pass, success cannot save her from heartbreak. And when Paris falls to the Nazis during World War II, Coco finds herself at a dangerous crossroads, forced to make choices that will forever change her. An enthralling portrayal of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel is Coco’s intimate story.
 
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Praise for Mademoiselle Chanel

“In this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend.” (Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train) “In a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortner’s prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!” (Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl) “A richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls) “From her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinating—as is C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation.” (Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex) “Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. ” (Historical Novels Review) “Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman’s unstoppable ambition.” (Booklist) “Well-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Buy Mademoiselle Chanel

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03_CW GortnerAbout the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding. C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin's Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015. Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats. For more information visit C.W. Gortner's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner's Newsletter for updates.

Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, March 17
Mina's Bookshelf
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 18
Forever Ashley
History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, March 19
The Lit Bitch
100 Pages a Day

Friday, March 20
A Literary Vacation
Beth's Book Nook Blog
What Is That Book About

Saturday, March 21
Genre Queen

Sunday, March 22
A Bookish Girl

Monday, March 23
Let them Read Books

Tuesday, March 24
Unshelfish The True Book Addict

Wednesday, March 25
Historical Fiction Connection
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, March 26
Broken Teepee

Friday, March 27
The Maiden's Court

Saturday, March 28
Caroline Wilson Writes
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Sunday, March 29
Passages to the Past

Monday, March 30
Flashlight Commentary To Read, Or Not to Read
I'd So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, March 31
Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, April 1
Booktalk & More

Thursday, April 2
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, April 3
Book Nerd
Luxury Reading

Coco-braceletsGiveaway!

Three Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets will up for grabs during this blast, follow along for chances to win! – Giveaway starts on March 17th at 12:01am and ends on April 3rd at 11:59pm EST. – Must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – 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. - Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim prize, or new winner is chosen.
 
 
 
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Book-to-Movie Spotlight and Giveaway: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks


THE LONGEST RIDE
20th Century Fox
In theaters April 10, 2015
 
 Official Websites
·  Like The Longest Ride on Facebook
·  Follow on Twitter,  Google+, Instagram
·  Subscribe on YouTube
·  Visit the Official Website
·  #LongestRide

 
About the Film
Based on the bestselling novel by master storyteller Nicholas Sparks, THE LONGEST RIDE centers on the star-crossed love affair between Luke, a former champion bull rider looking to make a comeback, and Sophia, a college student who is about to embark upon her dream job in New York City’s art world.  As conflicting paths and ideals test their relationship, Sophia and Luke make an unexpected connection with Ira, whose memories of his own decades-long romance with his beloved wife deeply inspire the young couple.  Spanning generations and two intertwining love stories, THE LONGEST RIDE explores the challenges and infinite rewards of enduring love.
 
Starring: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, and Alan Alda
Directed by: George Tillman, Jr.
 

  



Giveaway

Prizing courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Open to US mailing addresses only
 
One (1) winner receives:
·         $25 Visa gift card to see the film in theaters
·         Tote Bag
·         Copy of the book (movie tie-in book cover)


 

Book Review Vlog and Giveaway: The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency #1) by Jordan Stratford

Summary:  
History, mystery, and science collide in a new series for middle-grade readers, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and Lemony Snicket!
 
Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!

 
Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.

Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes. But most especially--emerging readers will love this series filled with humor, action, intrigue and wonderful artwork from Kelly Murphy.

Release Date: January 2015
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By: Macy Kate


Great start to a middle grade series!
 
This series has easily become one of Macy Kate's favorites.  Middle grade readers are sure to fall in love with The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency!  
 
 
Giveaway
 
We're giving away one hard copy of The Case of the Missing Moonstone!
 
Giveaway Rules:
1.  US residents only (sorry!).
2.  You must be over the age of 13 to enter.
3.  The winner will be notified via email, and will have 72 hours to reply and claim their prize.  If no response is received within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.
4.  You don't have to follow our blog to enter this giveaway, but you will get extra entries if you do so.  :)
 
      
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Mini Book Review: The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead

Summary:  
The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

Release Date: February 2015
Age Group: YA
Source:  Purchased
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
I was SO worried that I would be Roth'ed with this conclusion, that I was actually hesitant to start. Yea, okay, so my hesitation lasted about 30 seconds... 30 seconds too long! I started this series thinking that I couldn't stand Adrian and really thought that Sydney might be an okay POV, I couldn't have been more wrong. Dare I write it... but Sydney & Adrian were way more entertaining to read! I love their banter, fearlessness and her practicality. It really would have been a tragedy for Mead to leave us with the Adrian that ended in the VA series, he was so much more and definitely needed his HEA.

I don't know how Mead did it but she managed to bring back all the feels from VA laced with the high octane and pure wit of Bloodlines, simply this was nothing short of a stellar conclusion. I felt like this was not only the final piece for Adrian & Sydney but also for all the characters that I had originally fell in love with from VA. 

THE DUSTER RETURNED! #enoughsaid 
But subtle and as an ally.


This has been by far the BEST spin-off series of all time! It is impossible to be disappointed. 

#DIMKA #ROSE #SYDNEY #ADRIAN one big happy, dysfunctional family. Just the way I like it.

Book Spotlight: A Soldier of Substance by D.W. Bradbridge

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Please join D.W. Bradbridge as he tours the blogosphere for A Soldier of Substance from March 19-April 3.


Publication Date: November 1, 2014 CreateSpace Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 470
Series: Daniel Cheswis Mystery
Genre: Historical Mystery
 
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Summary:
1644. The smoke of parliamentary musket, cannon, and mortar fire is in the air around the royalist stronghold of Lathom House. Though guards still stand atop its walls, it is besieged on all sides, and it is only a matter of time until the house, along with its embittered and unwavering countess, Lady Charlotte de Tremouille, falls to Parliament’s might. Yet somehow, a royalist spy still creeps, unseen, through its gates, and brings the countess Parliament’s secrets. Barely recovered from the trials of the last few months, Daniel Cheswis is torn from his family and sent north, to uncover the identity of the traitor; though before he can even begin, Cheswis finds himself embroiled in a murder. A woman has been garrotted with cheese wire in her Chester home, suggesting there is more than just the usual hatreds of war at play. As lives are lost and coats are turned on both sides, Cheswis is tasked with finding the murderer, uncovering the traitor, and surviving his soldierly duty long enough to see Lathom House fall.

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

03_Author D.W. BradbridgeAbout the Author

D.W. Bradbridge was born in 1960 and grew up in Bolton. He has lived in Crewe, Cheshire since 2000, where he and his wife run a small magazine publishing business for the automotive industry. “The inspiration for The Winter Siege came from a long-standing interest in genealogy and local history. My research led me to the realisation that the experience endured by the people of Nantwich during December and January 1643-44 was a story worth telling. I also realised that the closed, tension-filled environment of the month-long siege provided the ideal setting for a crime novel. “History is a fascinating tool for the novelist. It consists only of what is remembered and written down, and contemporary accounts are often written by those who have their own stories to tell. But what about those stories which were forgotten and became lost in the mists of time? “In writing The Winter Siege, my aim was to take the framework of real history and fill in the gaps with a story of what could, or might have happened. Is it history or fiction? It’s for the reader to decide.” For more information please visit D.W. Bradbridge’s website. You can also find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

A Soldier of Substance Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, March 19
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Saturday, March 21
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, March 23
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, March 24
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Monday, March 30
Guest Post at Mythical Books

Thursday, April 3
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, April 3
Review at Genre Queen


Book Spotlight: Another Rebecca by Tracey Scott-Townsend


Another Rebecca

by Tracey Scott-Townsend
 
When past torment threatens what little semblance of a family Rebecca Grey has, how are any of them going to keep a grip on reality?
Paperback ISBN:           978-1-908600-43-1
eBook ISBN:                 978-1-908600-44-8


March 2015 will see the release of ‘Another Rebecca’, the second title from author Tracey Scott-Townsend which follows the interweaving lives of a teenage girl and her parents as they struggle to reconcile past tragedy with the present moment. Once again, Townsend returns to explore familial relationships with a powerful, bright light, illuminating those dark corners that many of us would rather remain undisturbed. Nevertheless, her command of character persists as she expertly knits together the separate strands of her narrative.
Struggling to emerge from the shadows of someone else’s grief, Rebecca Grey has a hard time living her own life. Between caring for her alcoholic mother and battling mental health issues, there is little room left for trivial teenage dilemmas. But as the evidence begins to add up, and the truths of the past are revealed in all their startling detail, Rebecca must find her own path or risk losing herself for good.
In her own unique style, Scott Townsend manages to capture a snap shot of a single family in crisis, while exploring those themes that touch all our lives.

Three lives tied together

Family, tragedy and overwhelming guilt… You’ve read it all before, but not like this. The same story, three ways, each more emotive than the last.
 
Excerpt
Chapter Four: Rebecca
      Rodins The Kiss sits on a plinth in the corner of Dr Parrishs office. I saw the real thing when I went to The Tate with my art class. The original is much bigger and is made from marble, unlike this small bronze copy.
        Dr. Parrish is telling mum about the tablets I have to take when I go home, and shes at least pretending to listen. I catch her eye and we both try not to be the one to smile first. She looks away but her lips are already curving upward at the corners.
        Part of me is scared about leaving. There were no responsibilities in here.
     In the car park, I watch Mum carefully as she puts my bag in the boot of the car. She doesnt look like shes had a drink today.
         Im tired out by the time I get myself strapped into the seat beside her.
         All right babe? She traces a finger over my cheekbone. Youre so pale. You have violet hollows under your eyes, Rebecca Jane, but to me you are still the most beautiful girl in the world.
         She gives me a sad smile. When she says things like that I wouldnt change her for anything. Sometimes her dark brown eyes remind me of the seals at the sanctuary where I had my Saturday job. I used to stare at those seals eyes for ages. But if Mum catches you looking into hers she puts on that gormless expression shes good at faking.
         I cant relax in the car, havent been able to since that time we had a crash. The sound of the other car hitting us when Mum wasnt paying attention felt like it cracked my skull open. It didnt count as drink driving on Mums part because nothing showed up on the breathalyser but you could smell it if you were cooped up in that small space with her. The worst thing about it was, she couldnt stop laughing afterwards.
         Peopleve asked me why I insisted on going back to live with her when I couldve stayed with the Marten family. I was happy there, its true. But I guess the simple answer is: shes where I belong. I cant just pretend shes not. And Im afraid shell end up dying of some stupid accident if I dont stay with her. I sneak a look at her face while shes driving, tongue tucked into her cheek and her eyes narrowed, fastened on the road. At least shes more careful these days.
About the Author
Tracey spends her writing time in her much-loved shed. Its a world of her own making, like her stories. She says that stepping inside and closing the door behind her induces a feeling like the one you get in the hushed atmosphere of a church. 
She is the mother of four children, three of whom have now left home: one of them particularly far away. Still, shes sure that Australia will provide as much inspiration for her writing as Iceland has done, (another place she was introduced to by her son). Shes really hoping to witness a full show of the Northern Lights next time she is there.
Closer to home, Tracey enjoys travelling in the bus-with-a-woodstove with her husband and their Labrador, Riley. They are always on the lookout for a scenic layby in which to sleep. Last year they spent time all over the British Isles, including the Outer Hebrides, which will be the setting for a future novel. In a few years they plan to set off on the road (by way of the sea) for an extended period of time: after all, writing can be done anywhere.
Contact Information
To learn more about Tracey Scott-Townsend, why not visit her corner of the internet, or contact her via the information below:
Website: http://www.traceyscotttownsend.com
Twitter: @authortrace
 

Book Review and Giveaway: Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen

Summary:

Afraid of Everything is a touching and expertly written book about the life and experiences of Helena Carr as she explores an intriguing new world.

Helena Carr is afraid of everything. After a crisis at work, she quits her job and feels lost. It’s time for a serious change, to beat the extreme anxiety that has plagued her since childhood. Something different, unplanned and radical. Sell her house, move to a foreign location, turn her life upside down in an effort to end the emotionally paralyzing fear.

Before Helena can act on her options, however, she has a terrible accident on a Southern California freeway. Instead of going on an exotic vacation, she is in a hospital, in a coma, traveling to strange worlds of another dimension, meeting people who seem to know more about her than she knows about herself.

As Helena explores this intriguing new world, she realizes the truth about her past and the purpose of her future. And she is no longer afraid. Helena is at last ready to live. But first, she must wake up from the coma.

 
 
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli
 
Review:
Afraid of Everything was such a neat book.  I really enjoyed it.  The premise is very intriguing and unique, especially for Christian fiction.  It's one of those stories that stands out in the genre, and one I know I'll never forget.

The book started out a little slowly.  I wasn't sure about Helena or how engaging her story would be.  Then, the story took off and I fell in love with the characters and the story line. 

Helena is literally afraid of everything.  She's spent her entire life anxious, afraid, and unsure of herself.  Helena has built up a protective wall around her heart and guards it at all costs.  This leaves her very alone, and even more afraid when her fears start to come true (the thinking of believing something will happen can cause it to actually happen is the case with Helena's life).  But then, Helena is involved in a car accident, and that's when her story really changed.  Suddenly, the narrative changed from first person (Helena's voice) to a third person narrative.  This change really threw me off at first, until I realized that Jones changed narratives to fully portray the events that occur in Helena's Great Sleep. 

And speaking of the Great Sleep, this was such an interesting part of the story.  Helena calls her coma the Great Sleep, and in it, she travels to mystical worlds, sometimes alone and sometimes populated by other people---some of whom she knows.  And they all seem to know her.  She's not sure if she's in Heaven or not, but she loves it there.  Helena's Great Sleep was my favorite aspect of Afraid of Everything.  I loved the imagery and the way Jones used this part of the story to weave everything together.

The conflict resolution was perfect for the plot.  I loved it.  And the ending was everything I wanted it to be.  I really loved Afraid of Everything and highly recommend this unique and engaging book.


 



About the Author:

Born and raised in central Illinois, Karen Jones Gowen now lives and writes in Panajachel, Guatemala. She and her husband Bruce are the parents of ten children. Not surprisingly, family relationships are a recurring theme in Gowen's writing. Her  children’s stories have appeared in the Friend, and her essays in the Jacksonville Journal Courier. Gowen's published books are Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds, House of Diamonds, Lighting Candles in the Snow, Farm Girl Country Cooking: Hearty Meals for Active Families and Afraid of Everything. She blogs at her website, karenjonesgowen.com and at Coming Down the Mountain.
 
Karen can be found online at:
Twitter:  @KarenGowen
 
 
Giveaway! 
Giveaway Rules:
You must be over the age of 13 to enter.
The hard copy giveaway is restricted to residents of the US only.
The e-book giveaway is open internationally. 
The winners will be chosen and notified via email (from iwouldratherbereading@gmail.com).  They will have 72 hours to respond and claim their prize.  If no response is received within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.