Become an indieBRAG Reader!

indiebrag-trusted-sourse-banner

If you are an avid bookworm, we invite you to become part of the indieBRAG B.R.A.G. Medallion global reader team. In this program, you’ll tell us a bit about yourself and the genres you enjoy reading. We’ll then provide you with digital versions of self-published books (ebooks), using the gifting process at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, and ask for your honest evaluation.

Genres We Read:

Paranormal/Historical Fiction/Romance/Thrillers/Mystery/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Non-Fiction/Young Adult/Middle Grade/Horror/Children’s/Literary Fiction

Sign up here: HERE

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz

This is one of the books I am currently reading and its fantastic so far! I am an American Civil War Researcher and enthusiast of its history. Hardcore reenactors really fascinate me. From what I have read thus far, this story shows a bit of that and much more. I will wait to give you more of my thoughts when I finish the book.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

confederates-in-the-attic-dispatches-from-the-unfinished-civil-warAbout the book:

When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he’s put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart.

Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America’s greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.

In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of ‘hardcore’ reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison’s commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book’s climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the ‘Civil Wargasm.’

Written with Horwitz’s signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones ‘classrooms, courts, country bars’ where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War.

Bookish Delights and The Norm

The last week or so has been a bit crazy so my blogging has been off-if you will. I usually post Manic Mondays but posted a book review yesterday instead. Reality has gotten in the way of late and has created a pesky environment for me. Alas, I am doing everything I can to get back to the norm. Listing three books I acquired on NetGalley recently seemed like a good idea. One always enjoys discovering upcoming reads. Check these out. I hope to get them reviewed in time!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

**********

the-wolf-of-dalriadaThe Wolf of Dalriada by Elizabeth Gates

Pub Date 28 Nov 2016

It is 1793… As Europe watches the French Revolution’s bloody progress, uneasy Scottish landowners struggle to secure their wealth and power. And, in Dalriada – the ancient Kingdom of Scotland – fractured truths, torn loyalties and bloody atrocities are rife. Can anyone ride the maelstrom of these dangerous times? Only, it seems, Malcolm Craig Lowrie – the legendary Wolf of Dalriada.

In remote Argyll, people cry out to the young laird for protection against the evil of the Clearances. And there is also a beautiful Frenchwoman – staked as a child on the turn of a card – now living in thrall to her debauched captor, Sir William Robinson. But can the Wolf of Dalriada safeguard his people? Can the Wolf defeat enemies who, like the spirit of Argyll’s Corryvrecken Whirlpool, threaten to engulf them all?

Written with a blend of mysticism and intrigue, the psychological realism of the characters is exhibited in their reaction to tremendous cultural change. The Wolf of Dalriada is a truly fascinating historical novel that will be enjoyed by fans of Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel.

convictionConviction by Julia Dahl

Pub Date 28 Mar 2017

In the summer of 1992, a year after riots exploded between black and Jewish neighbors in Crown Heights, a black family is brutally murdered in their Brooklyn home. A teenager is quickly convicted, and the justice system moves on.

Twenty-two years later, journalist Rebekah Roberts gets a letter: I didn’t do it. Frustrated with her work at the city’s sleaziest tabloid, Rebekah starts to dig. But witnesses are missing, memories faded, and almost no one wants to talk about that grim, violent time in New York City—not even Saul Katz, a former cop and her source in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community.

So she goes it alone. And as she gets closer to the truth of that night, Rebekah finds herself in the path of a killer with two decades of secrets to protect.

From the author of the Edgar-nominated Invisible City comes another timely thriller that illuminates society’s darkest corners. Told in part through the eyes of a jittery eyewitness and the massacre’s sole survivor, Julia Dahl’s Conviction examines the power—and cost—of community, loyalty, and denial.

the-devil-and-websterThe Devil and Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Pub Date 21 Mar 2017

From the bestselling author of You Should Have Known and Admission, a twisty new novel about a college president and a student protest that mirrors today’s campus unrest.

Naomi Roth is the first female president of Webster College, a once conservative school now known for producing fired-up, progressive graduates. A former student radical herself, Naomi isn’t alarmed when Webster students, including her own daughter, begin an outdoor encampment to protest a popular professor’s denial of tenure, but when Omar Khayal, a charismatic Palestinian student with a devastating personal history, emerges as the group’s leader, shocking acts of vandalism begin to destabilize the campus. As the crisis slips beyond her control, Naomi struggles to protect her friends, colleagues, and family from an unknowable adversary. A riveting novel about who we think we are, and what we think we believe.

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

Book Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

these-shallow-gravesJo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

My thoughts:

My interest of late lies in 19th century America due to my own research and writing. I was looking for something light to read in this era and was delighted that, These Shallow Graves caught my attention. I read, A Northern Light by the author a few years ago, so I was even more curious about this story.

This story is truly atmospheric and captures the attitudes and traditions of the people during the era. Though I found the story to be a bit predictable, alas there was a surprise about two characters I did not see coming…  Having said that, the predictability doesn’t take away from the good story telling this author weaves. Not only that, I found each character to be unique and intriguing.

This story has a solid premise, a good build up, tension in all the right places and concludes with a strong ending.  I hope to see more stories like this from the author!

I rated this book three stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush: The Blackhouse by Peter May

Cover Crush banner

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

the-blackhouseThe Blackhouse

Pub Date: August 5, 2014

From acclaimed author and dramatist Peter May comes the Barry award-winning The Blackhouse, the first book in the Lewis Trilogy–a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.

When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that bears similarities to a brutal killing on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to the Outer Hebrides to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.

As Fin reconnects with the people and places of his tortured childhood, the desolate but beautiful island and its ancient customs once again begin to assert their grip on his psyche. Every step toward solving the case brings Fin closer to a dangerous confrontation with the dark events of the past that shaped–and nearly destroyed–his life.

From acclaimed author and dramatist Peter May comes the Barry Award-winning The Blackhouse, the first book in the Lewis Trilogy-a riveting mystery series set on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.

When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that bears similarities to a brutal killing on the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to the Outer Hebrides to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.

As Fin reconnects with the people and places of his tortured childhood, the desolate but beautiful island and its ancient customs once again begin to assert their grip on his psyche. Every step toward solving the case brings Fin closer to a dangerous confrontation with the dark events of the past that shaped–and nearly destroyed–his life.

**********

I’m all about reading more stories with male protagonist. Woman’s Fiction has flooded the market and I have been needing a serious change up of late. I stumbled across this book on Pinterest and made my way over to Amazon to check it out. I love mystery stories and ones that take place in Scotland, so this is right up my alley.

The title and cover go perfectly together! Adding this book to my to-read pile!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

**********

More Great Cover Crushes!

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court-Coming Soon!

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

Male Protagonist: Lord Wulfgar

 wulfgarWho is Lord Wulfgar?

Lord Wulfgar is the only child of Wulfric, who rules the Saxon tribe of the Wolf Sons – the ‘Wulfsuna’ of my book’s title. He is a ‘Seaxen’, for he carries the foot-long seax dagger, he is a Wolf Son and a child of the pagan god Woden. He is the singular heir to the Germanic dynasty, a prince or ‘Atheling’ as the Saxon’s would call him. He’s eighteen, which sounds young but in Early Medieval times you became a man at twelve, so he has been seen as an adult for some time.

At the beginning of my book we meet Wulfgar aboard his father’s long ship the ‘Hildwaeg’ or battle-wave, sailing towards the east fens of the land they call ‘Bryton’. He has left his mother behind as she was too ill to travel and she is in his thoughts, which briefly alludes to the sensitive nature he tries to hide. Sailing with him is his lifelong friend and Ealdorman, Sieghild, with whom he has a tight brotherly bond.

cs-moxen-hutWhat are his strengths?

He is deeply loyal, honourable and religious. Brotherhood is everything to him and you would do well to have him by your side in the shield wall. He is an accomplished, left-handed warrior, who has already seasoned his blade in battle before leaving Germania, and is an expert with a hand axe, a seax (foot-long dagger) and his sword ‘ice-blade’. He is a follower of Woden and calls regularly upon the pantheon of Norse gods to assist him through life, in peace and war.

He is brave and adventurous, willing to sail to another land with his father with the possibility they will never return to their homeland. Once their ship lands in Bryton, Wulfgar faces several obstacles that challenge him emotionally, mentally and physically. This journey is his veritable ‘right of passage’ into true adulthood.

cs-moxen-dwellingHis faults?

Wulfgar is impulsive and rarely plans his actions, which is something he must learn to amend for when he inherits leadership of the tribe. He also has a temper that can erupt swiftly, often with devastating consequences. Stand well back when he does!

Being so impulsive, Wulfgar usually learns everything the hard way and his lack of respect for the ways of his elders soon turns to bite him. One of the elder Thegns makes him realise the importance of his noble status and how it contributes to the stability of the tribe; he effectively forces Wulfgar to see the ‘bigger picture’.

He is strikingly handsome – not a fault you might say, but he unfortunately knows it only too well. He is tall for the time he lives in with long, blond curly hair, broad shoulders and a cheeky smile. The ladies love him and he adores being adored, although it can bring unwanted suitors from time to time!

cs-moxen-hut-iiWhat is your personal opinion of him?

I love him. He’s a rogue and a man’s man, but beneath the macho façade he is sensitive and holds a great love for many things. He is a pleasure to write as a character because you often don’t know what he’ll do next!

Out of all the characters in WULFSUNA I would say Lord Wulfgar evolves the most through the course of the book. For this, I admire him, because he constantly strives to be at his best in all things. Even though some evade him, he perseveres.

About Author

cs-moxon

Elaine writes Early Medieval historical fiction as ‘E S Moxon’. Her debut WULFSUNA was published through SilverWood Books on January 21st, 2015. It is the first in her Wolf Spear Saga series of Saxon adventures, where a Seer and one named Wolf Spear are destined to meet. She is currently writing Wolf Spear Saga 2, set once again in the ‘Dark Ages’ of 5th Century Britain and following on from the adventures of WULFSUNA. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and a contributing author on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog. You can find out more from Elaine’s website and she also runs a blog called ‘Writers’ Grove’. Elaine lives in Middle England, UK with her family and their chocolate Labrador.

Elaine’s Website

Writers’ Grove blog

SilverWood Books

Amazon.com/wulfsuna

About The Book:

9781781322734-Perfect.indd

AD433

Torn apart when Rome abandoned Bryton, the Wulfsuna are a disparate tribe. Twenty years on, two long ships sail for the east fens to honour their Warrior-Lord’s dream and reunite with lost kin. Soon after landing however, a murderous betrayal divides loyalties, some craving revenge and others indignant on pursuing their Lord’s dream. Blood and brotherhood are tested to their deadly limits.

The discovery of a young Seer adds to the turmoil. Expelled from her village after foretelling of an attack by blue painted savages, the Wulfsuna are equally wary of the one they call ‘Nix’. None fear her more than Lord Wulfgar, who refuses to believe an ancient saga bearing his name, is weaving the Seer’s destiny into his own. But a treacherous rival threatens their fate and Wulfgar must accept the Seer’s magic may be all that can save them.

Cover Crush: The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

Cover Crush banner

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

the-butterfly-sisterPublished August 6th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks

In The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen—a moving Gothic tale that intertwines mystery, madness, betrayal, love, and literature—a fragile young woman must silence the ghosts of her past.

Ten months after dropping out of all-girl Tarble College, Ruby Rousseau is still haunted by the memories of her senior year, a time marred by an affair with her English professor and a deep depression that caused her to question her sanity.

When a mysterious suitcase arrives bearing Ruby’s name and address, she tries to return it to its rightful owner, Beth—a dorm-mate at Tarble—only to learn that Beth disappeared two days earlier.

With clues found in the luggage, including a tattered copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, which Ruby believes instigated her madness, she sets out to uncover the truth.

**********

I love covers with pictures of luggage or traveling chest on them. Having said that I have to admit when I read the title my first thoughts were, “How does the picture go with the title?” Then I read the book description and it made more sense.

I’m adding this one to my reading pile!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

**********

More Great Cover Crushes!

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation 

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers