Happy Release!

Wishing Susan Elia MacNeal a (belated) Happy Release Day for the sixth book in her fantastic Maggie Hope series!  If you haven’t read them, I highly suggest that you do. If, like me, you’re a fan of Agent Carter from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then Maggie will really win a spot in your heart. In a world where there were rules and regulations on how to act, Maggie Hope is breaking down those barriers. Of course, as Prime Minister Winston Churchill said often in the first book, ‘there’s a war on!’ The Second World War really helped change things for women; they joined the work force, they joined the service, they did their part as opposed to being compliant little women and sitting about at home raising the children. It’s a strange thing to think that a war is what really helped women
break free of society’s expectations.

I mean, in particular, the Princess Elizabeth served in the war as a mechanic and driver intsft9 the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. It would have been hard and viewed as highly unpatriotic for women not to do their part since the boys were putting their lives on the line. Knowing what we know now, the British Royals did not hide, nor flinch, remaining in London during the bombings and even went out and about to view the wreckage and to walk amongst the people. Today, the Princess is now the longest reigning monarch in British history and she is also the last remaining head of state to have served in WWII. Yes, that picture is of the nearly 91 year old monarch!

Getting back to Maggie, she’s a spy and a code-breaker and she has had to work damn hard to be where she is. Bright, beautiful and determined, Maggie makes for a splendid lead and the usual cast of characters that are with her only add to the story, making it shine as usual. Mrs. MacNeal has quite the talent in how she can draw you into Maggie’s world and make you feel like you are right in the thick of it with her. It’s a disappointment when you’re drawn away and have to go do ‘adulting’, as my friends and I joke. I always endeavor to rush back as soon as I possibly can. agent-carter-season-3-pic

Whilst I don’t yet have a copy, I will post a review as soon as I have devoured this. Also, I totally envision Hayley Atwell as Maggie. I know it’s typecasting but Hayley has that perfect look, the attitude and we know she can play a badass, code breaking, no sh*t-taking secret agent. I took the liberty of editing her hair to red much like Maggie’s infamously stubborn tresses. If you were going to cast an actress to play Maggie, who would you pick?

I’ve included links below, so please go show love to this wonderful series of novels and enjoy them!

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51fesnje8dlSynopsis: Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Times bestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
 
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

Praise for the Maggie Hope series
 
“You’ll be [Maggie Hope’s] loyal subject, ready to follow her wherever she goes.”O: The Oprah Magazine

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Again, congratulations! I can’t wait for book 7, The Paris Spy!
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Get A Copy!

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  • About the author:517286  New York Times-bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. She is the winner of the Barry Award, and her books have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, and Dilys Awards.

    The first novel in the series is Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. It won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Mystery Readers International’s Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel. It was also nominated for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s 2013 Dilys Award for “the mystery title of the year that booksellers have most enjoyed hand-selling,” Mr. Churchill’s Secretary was also declared one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debut of 2012, Deadly Pleasures’s Best Paperback Original of 2012, and chosen as one of Target’s “Emerging Authors” series.

    The sequel, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, was a New York Times bestseller and chosen by Oprah.com as “Mystery of the Week” and one of “7 Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader),” as well as Tagret’s “Emerging Authors” series. It was nominated for the Macavity Award’s Sue Feder Historical Memorial Award.

    His Majesty’s Hope made the New York Times- and USA Today-bestseller lists and was chosen as one of Target’s Emerging Author Series.

    Books #4, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, will be published in spring of 2014.

    Susan graduated cum laude from Wellesley College, with departmental honors in English Literature and credits from cross-registered classes at MIT. She attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

    Her first job was as an intern at Random House for then-publisher Harold Evans, before moving her way up the editorial ladder at Viking/Penguin and McGraw-Hill, then becoming an associate editor at Dance Magazine.

    Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fodor’s, Time Out New York, Time Out London, Publishers Weekly, Dance Magazine, and various publications of New York City Ballet. She’s also the author of two non-fiction books and a professional editor.

Scent of Triumph {A Review}

02_Scent of Triumph CoverPublication Date: March 31, 2015
St. Martin’s Griffin
Formats: eBook, Paperback
384 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Praise for Scent of Triumph

“SCENT OF TRIUMPH [is a] World War II epic.” -Los Angeles Times

“Though romance figures importantly in [SCENT OF TRIUMPH], Danielle’s professional life is most appealing, profiting from perfume expert Moran’s (Fabulous Fragrances, 1994, etc.) authentic experience…The casual demeanor with which Danielle always notices scents in her environment helps establish her character and professional credibility in a charming way…Danielle makes for a strong, unusual heroine who doesn’t always make wise decisions, although her resilience, style and knowledge remain admirable…. [A] historical fiction carried by a complex, resourceful heroine with a nose for business.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Warm and well written, with characters who attract the reader’s sympathy and affection. A lovely story well-told, which will appeal to romantics, fashion and perfume devotees, and fans of historical fiction.” -Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader.com

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Let’s begin by me saying…I really love stories that transport me. So, already, Ms. Moran is getting major props from me for that fact. And maybe, once or twice, I felt myself tearing up. Or it could have been effects from the pollen but I’ll let you ponder that fact while I tell you about this delight of a book. I’m not going to rehash what the synopsis is, since it’s right up there for you to read, but I am going to tell you how much I enjoyed the book. I may revisit it someday, but for now…

Whilst this novel takes place during the Second World War, it’s more of a backdrop though it does rear it’s ugly head to remind us that these terrible heart wrenching events were going on whilst our main character, Danielle, searches for her family who was left with his Grandmother in Poland. She’s no wilting flower of a heroine, fortunately, so you’ll find yourself cheering for her. She is brave, independent, a hard worker and very mature. Once she has set her mind to something, there’s no stopping her and I liked that immensely. She was very human and relatable, which some books seem to forget to allow their characters to be. She really drove the story through all of its tragedies, victories (however small or large they may have been) and I found myself really hoping for a happy ending.

I was also fascinated by the work that goes into making perfumes–I had never actually given it real thought and I was delighted by the author’s ability to have us use all of our senses and emotions to get into the story. There’s no way that you won’t get totally entrenched and absorbed. Being that I like to listen to music whilst I read, I set the mood with some 30’s and 40’s music. This is a fantastic playlist on Spotify, if you’d like to take a page from my book. It’ll really get you In The Mood. {Glenn Miller joke, eh, eh? No? Okay.}

I think you’ll really enjoy this if you like romance, personal triumph and history. Ms. Moran is a truly gifted storyteller and I hope you’ll let me know what you think!

PS: The cameo from Coco Chanel was lovely!

My Rating:3star

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Buy Scent of Triumph

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IndieBound
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03_Jan Moran

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women’s fiction for St. Martin’s Press, contemporary women’s fiction, and nonfiction books. Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details. The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful.

Jan has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Costco Connection, and Porthole Cruise.

A perfume and beauty industry expert, she is the creator of Scentsa, a touch screen fragrance finder in Sephora stores.

From Jan: “I love smart and fierce female protagonists. I hope you enjoy these books, and if you’d like to Skype me into your book club meeting, simply send me a message!”

For more information and to sign up for Jan Moran’s newsletter visit her official website. Jan blogs at Jan Moran Writes. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.

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Special Offer from Jan Moran!

Jan Moran is running a special incentive on her website for a free digital ebook of her new non-fiction book, Vintage Perfumes, to everyone who purchases Scent of Triumph from March 31 to April 30! All you have to do is email your receipt to Jan Moran at janmoranbooks@gmail.com, along with a photo of yourself with the Scent of Triumph book, eBook, or your tablet.

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Scent of Triumph Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 1
Interview & Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight & Excerpt at Genre Queen

Friday, April 3
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 6
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 8
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, April 9
Review at The Eclectic Reader

Tuesday, April 14
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 16
Guest Post at Book Nerd

Friday, April 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Interview at Reading Lark

Giveaway

To enter to win a signed copy of Scent of Triumph, please complete the giveaway form below.

RULES

Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

Scent of Triumph

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The War Nurse [Review]

01_War Nurse eBook Cover LargePublication Date: January 14, 2014

BRY Publishing

Formats: eBook, Paperback

Pages: 382

Genre: Historical Fiction

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My review:

WWII books are usually tomes that I try to avoid. I seldom find ones that don’t just tell the American side and for me, I want to see what it was like for all parties involved. Not all Germans prospered; not all were bad. It’s a broad subject that ought to have light shed on all subjects. I was afraid that this would be one of those light hearted romance kind of war story. What a fascinating read, however! It is not light at all; it’s dark and it’s heavy. It does not sugarcoat anything and I found it quite refreshing. I loved the characters included; at first, they seemed a little one dimensional, but as the story goes on, they get better.

What was particularly poignant to me was how the author didn’t hold back in showing the suffering people endures. In an era where one is encouraged to chase their dreams, back then, such a thing was dashed. Emotional and tragic, I admit, you may want a box of tissues handy! I give complete props to the author for being able to show such a different range of emotions in less than 400 pages, haha. I also liked seeing how German people lived and faced at the hands of the Americans. That was very educational to me. So if you enjoy romance, there’s a love story. If you want to learn about things from a different view point–that’s here too. War? Obviously. There’s something for everyone. I hope you’ll be certain to give this book a try!

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Rating: 4 Lattes! 🙂

Surviving The Angel Of Death.

Sometimes a review is long and it doesn’t need to be. This book is one everyone should read if possible. I cried, I was filled with joy and heartbreak..the Holocaust survivors who have written their stories or spoken them…I am thankful for their courage and endurance, in that they can reach inside of themselves and go back to that place in their lives and and relive it so that no one forgets. And we shouldn’t forget because it shouldn’t happen again. (Yet, it does in other countries and will likely continue for all time.)

I don’t want to reveal anything for this because at 175 pages, you can finish it within the day if you wanted and have the time. Eva writes honestly and with a great deal of honesty and love. Her candour or us refreshing an there is nothing pretentious about her. You’ll love her and feel for her.

And you will remember her because this is that sort of story.

                                        Read, learn, share and remember.

Hitler's Niece [Review]

I’ve read many reviews (on GoodReads) that sort of bashed the author of this book and of the story, which I admit had me going into this book with much hesitation. However, I decided to listen to myself and I read the book in several hours, for I enjoyed it. Well, I don’t know if ‘enjoyed’ is the proper word, because this is a book focused on Hitler. However, I am a bookworm and as such, I thought it best to give it a try.

The depravity of Hitler is all too apparent—you go in knowing that is was a sick individual, but as you’re drawn in more, you discover just HOW depraved he was. I have to praise the author for describing him and his actions so well. More than once, I had a shiver go down my spine or I felt physically sick. Geli had my sympathy except in the moments where she almost seemed like she was truly enjoying the attentions of her uncle, who is shown as socially inadequate, irritable, abusive and demented. His awkwardness with women is mind-blowing and when you see how he treats them is disgraceful. 

Though he is quite settled in his anti-semite ways, he has not achieved his full transformation yet. This is in the late twenties and very early thirties, when the world was still getting to know him. His love for Geli is absolutely terrifying and all consuming, yet everyone envies the attention and gifts he lavishes on her. It is not to say that Geli doesn’t enjoy the gifts he lavishes on her and the life and influence she gets, but as time passes, he becomes more involved in her life and it becomes apparent that all she longs to do is live her life and perhaps get married before she’s a spinster.

When it’s revealed Hitler’s molesting her, that is when his even more depraved side begins to show. By then, it’s too late for Geli to escape his grasp and no one, even if they wanted to, could have saved her.

However, when she meets her death, which, though I’m certain you know she dies (really, that’s not a spoiler!); I will not say how. You cannot help but feel terribly for her. It seemed as though everyone’s back was turned on her, leaving her truly alone with only Hitler there—the one person whose attention she didn’t want.

Even after her death, the loyalty to Hitler is undeniable and unchanging by most—including her own mother, despite the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death.

I give this 4 stars out of 5.