Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Today’s Young Women Can Learn from Annie Oakley: A Guest Post from Jeffrey Marshall

Please welcome the author of Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley’s World as he shares with us today what we can all learn from the famed sharpshooter.
"Annie Oakley c1880" by Baker Art Gallery -
Heritage Auction Gallery.
 Licensed under Public Domain via 
Wikimedia Commons.

1.       Your background may be a hurdle, but it’s not a barrier. Annie grew up dirt-poor in a log cabin, to a Quaker family who had migrated west to western Ohio. Her father died when she was very young, and her mother remarried twice more. They were subsistence farmers, like so many others around them, and Annie competed for attention with six other siblings.

Annie took it upon herself to learn how to shoot, to bring game home for the family table; before long, she was selling what she shot – birds, squirrels, rabbits – to a local purveyor of meats. From there, she continued honing her skill and broke into competitive shooting.

If Annie had been born into a well-to-do family, it’s unlikely she would have taken up shooting, and especially the world of competitive target shooting, which was almost entirely ruled by men.

2.       Persistence and practice are vital in any profession. It’s unclear exactly how Annie developed the jaw-dropping skill she had with firearms (some of it certainly involved extraordinary hand-eye coordination), but she must have spent many hours honing that talent when she was quite young. Even when she was shooting professionally before large crowds with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, she was practicing and adding new elements to her act. The famous trick in which she shot a target while looking at a mirror and sighting behind her was something she and her husband, Frank Butler, added to her act only after she had done it often enough to be sure of her accuracy. The same was true of such tricks as shooting from the back of a pony or twirling a rope while she shot.

3.       Find a specialty that satisfies you and appeals to others. Obviously, Annie’s specialty was target shooting, but she did it so spectacularly that she became a star. In that era, the women who rose to fame were often performers, like Annie – the singer Jenny Lind and actresses Lillian Russell and Sarah Bernhardt chief among them. And Annie was quite a performer, by all accounts: despite a general shyness, she included crowd-pleasing elements like blowing kisses to the crowd, curtseying, and stomping her foot if she missed a shot. It’s unlikely that anyone could ever emulate what Annie did, but she showed that finding a niche and cultivating it could lead to tremendous success.

4.       Work on developing traits like courage, modesty and integrity. Annie’s ascent into the shooting sports firmament took a good deal of courage, especially when she was in her teens and competing in local events where the other contestants were all men and the crowds were betting against her. Later, when she was touring and came out as a performer each day, she had to block out everything, overcome any butterflies (it’s likely she had some when she first shot before royalty) and – like a stage actress, which she briefly was – give it her best.

By all accounts, Annie was modest about what she did – but not too much so. She thought she deserved top billing, and when it happened, she didn’t lord it over the other performers. Yet when a series of newspaper articles mistakenly attached her name to a theft, she launched a series of libel actions – the most extensive in American history to that date. Her name and reputation were extremely important to her and she refused to have them sullied.
Annie also showed a number of instances of real physical courage. She was injured in accidents in 1901 and 1922, both of which required extensive rehabilitation, but she refused to let them keep her from her livelihood.

5.       Give back to others. When she had the opportunity, and especially after she retired from active touring, Annie set up classes to teach people – especially women – how to shoot. She didn’t spark a huge surge of interest in the sport, but she stayed with the instruction because she truly felt it conferred important qualities like independence and self-reliance – and to her, it was fun. Even in her late 50s, she was teaching shooting in Pinehurst, NC.

Annie also was always conscious of the station she had earned, and tried to help others who also had been disadvantaged. In her later years, she gave generously to orphanages and charities for the needy, and reportedly paid for the schooling of as many as 20 young women who would otherwise been unable to afford an education.

About the book:
Little Miss Sure Shot: Annie Oakley's WorldLittle Miss Sure Shot is a fictionalized account of the life of Annie Oakley, drawing heavily on the real timelines and events of her life. However, the book is not a biography - it invents situations, people she meets, and a myriad of conversations. Moreover, while the book is presented chronologically, apart from the prologue, it skips certain periods and attempts to focus on those that are especially vital, such as the early years Annie spent with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, including the tours through Europe. A special feature of the novel is the framing of Annie's loving marriage to fellow sharpshooter Frank Butler, whom she married at sixteen and remained married to for 50 years until her death. Frank was far more than just her husband - he was her manager (he gave up his own shooting for that role) and her constant companion. The novel closes with an epilogue in Frank's voice, presenting an overview of their lives together and the circumstances of her death in 1926.


Jeffrey Marshall is a writer, poet and retired journalist. Little Miss Sure Shot is his first novel but third book, having published a business book on community reinvestment more than 20 years ago and a volume of collected poetry, River Ice, in 2009. He has an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley

All I have to do is drop into a foreign country, aid and train members of the ever-growing Resistance movement, sabotage railways, travel the country on a bicycle while concealing top-secret information, blow things up, and try not to get killed.

Violins of Autumn
That sounds pretty exciting, right? Sounds like a story I should love. Truth is, despite dedicating three days to it, I couldn't make it past the 50% mark. But I paid for it, so I'm going to post my two cents.
The 411: You got a 17-year-old American female who has lied about her age, joined the British SOE, and has jumped into occupied France to save the people.

It's been done before and it's been done better. Check out Becoming Clementine by Jennifer Niven. Or for a better story of a heroine helping the French Resistance: Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson.

My quibbles: I was expecting her to train members of the resistance, maybe blow up train tracks...gee, I wonder why I got that impression?...but in the first half of the story she does nothing but ride around on a bike and seem lost and do things that are just too stupid for words. I'll get to that. If there's any intense action, it comes very late in the tale.

She is 17, claims she's 22, and acts 11. That could be because this book is marketed toward the younger crowd, but still....she's supposed to be an agent/spy.

There's supposed to be some love triangle and as soon as I got a "whiff" of one of the participants (Pierre) I was rolling my eyes and dreading it. What did she see in him? He's rude, doesn't even like her, isn't remotely kind. 

There's a war on but the characters are like children playing war games. Everything is really too preposterous. In Nazi-occupied France, an American airman is NOT going to merely sit on a parachute and pretend to be picnicking, nor is he going to be able to walk the streets of Paris without anyone asking for his papers, not when every single able-bodied man in France has been sent to Germany to work in factories. His haircut and height alone will be a dead giveaway. Be real. 

And what kind of idiots sing American songs for all to hear?

And to just peddle up to a Nazi factory and began taking pictures? Is this girl for real? And get offered a tour to boot? No, no, no. The author made things way too easy for this so-called agent. Easy to the point, the story lost its seriousness.

I bought this on Amazon. It simply wasn't for me.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman Contains More than Just Fisticuff Fights

The Fair Fight: A Novel
...they'll say whatever they will to please themselves, and you'll not stop them. But you can stop them from hurting you...

I thought this was going to be about ladies boxing in 18th-century England. While it contains some boxing amongst females, only a very small amount of the story actually focuses on the subject. Most of the story seems to center around a theme of addiction and dependency. Gambling addiction. Alcohol addiction. Dependency on both the mentioned vices and on other people. Laziness--unwillingness to make do for oneself--seems to be another theme as it's common amongst almost all the characters.

Ruth is the toughest one, the one who despite the fact she comes from a house of ill repute, learns to make her fortune using her fists rather than her...well, you know. And I greatly admired her despite the fact she is mostly under Mr. Dryer's thumb until she's left to her own devices without food or water and then becomes a shell of herself. She can't look after herself at all, can't find help, look for work, gather stuff for burning. When not fighting she's useless and dependent. HOWEVER, in the end I was really impressed with her once again. She is by far my favorite character. Just like people in real life, the characters in this novel face set-backs.

Charlotte is raised to be a lady but had the pox and now lives with a man who doesn't care for her at all. She imprisons herself in an alcoholic haze of being miserable and picking at her scars. (What a gross and weird habit). She replaces one addiction (or two if you count the picking at herself) with another: fighting. As a matter of fact, when Ruth and Charlotte began training together--that's the best part of the book, in my opinion. But it isn't till the end. Regardless, Charlotte, too, impresses me in the end. Besides being about addictions and fighting, this is a story of women making the best of their situations in a male-dominated world.

George is a dandy with the gambling addiction, completely dependent on Perry, another dandy (and alcoholic dependent on a fortune left to him and unable to care for himself) and Charlotte's brother, for everything but the air he breathes. This is my number-one issue with the book. What is the point of George? While he nicely fills in the blanks between Charlotte and Ruth's bits, as to what's happening, I feel the book would have been a lot better had it just stuck to Ruth and Charlotte's POVs. I disliked George immensely and felt his POV did not add to the story at all but rather detracted.

Then there's Mr. Dryer, not a POV, just a character and a major one, dependent on the fists of others for his fortune and Tom dependent on Mr. Dryer and another lady, Ruth's sister, also dependent on Mr. Dryer. When you look at all the dependency here, it's like a circle of dependency, one person unable to live their life without the other and so on...

I feel like I'm missing something here, some moral, some food for thought. The theme of dependency just keeps striking out at me. Are any of us really "tough" whether we fight with our fists or words? Or are we all dependent in some manner on others? Are we all in some way or form using someone else?

And if I come off as complaining, I'm actually not. Though not what I expected, I found this book very engrossing and it completely transported me to another time and place. I took away new words I'd never read before--I now know what a catch-fart is! I had a few good chuckles despite the darkness of the stories.

Have you a padlock on your arse, that you've to shit through your teeth?

And the lady boxing, when the story finally truly focused on it, was fabulous, gritty fun. And the characters...though at times I was disgusted with them and had a hard time understanding their actions or lack of actions, they were real. I felt I knew them regardless of my personal feelings toward them.

I received this via Amazon Vine.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Boca Undercover (Dirty Harriet, #4) by Miriam Auerbach: Trouble in Rehab

Boca Undercover (Dirty Harriet, #4)...people keep coming to me with killings. I guess it's like being a doctor. You might be a pediatric podiatrist, but that doesn't stop people from asking your advice on their pathological prostates.

Harriet is a P.I. Her thing is scams. But people keep bringing her murders...and that's no exception in book four of this Dirty Harriet series. Her former flighty Boca babe friend is in rehab to get clean from a coke addiction. While in there, she's certain that teenagers are being murdered daily... At first Harriet thinks her friend has lost her marbles, but a visit to the clinic has her checking in herself (and her inner vigilante).

And don't think for a second that Harriet's being checked into a clinic means she doesn't manage to get a little help from her friends and our favorite characters: Enrique, her new stepdad, the Countess...

And who knew Lana the alligator had a great nephew?

I felt like this one was a little shorter than the other books, but that could just be me. I get so engrossed in these funny, witty stories with this tough, kick-butt heroine, I really never want the books to end. The humor, though tamer this time around, was still rampant--more in sarcasm and observations from Harriet than actual happenings. The book has mystery, anticipation (she really sorta needs to get this thing solved in 24 hours so she can see her sexy karate (Crav Magna?) instructor, humor, and this time around we also get to see a more vulnerable side to Harriet as her situation brings back things from her past.

I figured out the mystery before Harriet did, but I must give the author points for a totally new idea. I can honestly say I've never read a situation like this one. It's def unique and intriguing. I think my only complaint about this story is...the setting. Harriet is usually out riding her hog and getting into all kinds of trouble. But in this tale, she's confined to the rehab clinic. This bothered me for some reason. But it was certainly bothering Harriet too, so maybe we're intended to feel that way along with her!

Fans of the Dirty Harriet series won't want to miss this one. New readers to the series should read book one first.

Seeing scams everywhere is an occupational hazard for a Scam Buster. Kind of like seeing assholes everywhere is an occupational hazard for a proctologist.

I received this digital ARC via Netgalley.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Reading Radar 12/27/2014

Spotted on GR Giveaways and on my wishlist: The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour by David Ebsworth.
The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour
She had simply been Marie, or maybe Anne, back at the beginning. But by the time both she and the Revolution were three years old, the name Marianne had come to symbolise the entire Republic. The folk of Provence sang of "Marianne’s Cure", a hymn to Liberty and Reason. And there were legends. About the woman of the barricades, wearing red cap and clogs, pike and musket in hand, leading the common people to their destiny.

On the bloody fields of Waterloo, a battle-weary canteen mistress of Bonaparte’s Imperial Guard battalions must fight to free her daughter from all the perils that war will hurl against them – before this last campaign can kill them both.

I've decided to acquire Jane by Robin Maxwell. Not sure why I didn't add it before, but I spotted it on Goodreads this week. It was listed as one of those "Readers also enjoyed" things when I was looking at another book.

Cambridge, England: 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat, dissecting corpses, than she is in a corset and gown, sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of travelling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientific hero, Charles Darwin.

When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father on an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Rising to the challenge, Jane finds an Africa that is every bit exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined. But she quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Jane is the first version of the Tarzan story written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. Its 2012 publication will mark the centennial of the publication of the original Tarzan of the Apes.


A maybe for me...first spotted on Shelf Awareness: A Fireproof Home for the Bride by Amy Scheibe.

A Fireproof Home for the Bride: A NovelEmmeline Nelson and her sister Birdie grow up in the hard, cold rural Lutheran world of strict parents, strict milking times, and strict morals. Marriage is preordained, the groom practically predestined. Though it’s 1958, southern Minnesota did not see changing roles for women on the horizon. Caught in a time bubble between a world war and the ferment of the 1960’s, Emmy doesn’t see that she has any say in her life, any choices at all. Only when Emmy’s fiancé shows his true colors and forces himself on her does she find the courage to act—falling instead for a forbidden Catholic boy, a boy whose family seems warm and encouraging after the sere Nelson farm life. Not only moving to town and breaking free from her engagement but getting a job on the local newspaper begins to open Emmy’s eyes. She discovers that the KKK is not only active in the Midwest but that her family is involved, and her sense of the firm rules she grew up under—and their effect—changes completely. A FIREPROOF HOME FOR THE BRIDE has the charm of detail that will drop readers into its time and place: the home economics class lecture on cuts of meat, the group date to the diner, the small-town movie theater popcorn for a penny. It also has a love story—the wrong love giving way to the right—and most of all the pull of a great main character whose self-discovery sweeps the plot forward.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Last Stop Klindenspiel: A Dark Circus in Post World War II Poland

I'm always up for a circus novel.  That's why I downloaded Last Stop Klindenspiel from Amazon.  The last circus fiction I reviewed here on Book Babe was the YA paranormal romantic circus novel Girl on a Wire.  You can find that review here .  Last Stop Klindenspiel by Marta Tandori is very different in tone.  It's supposed to be a historical prequel to what looks to me like a contemporary Los Angeles noir  mystery series.  I haven't read the series, but the Kindle edition of Last Stop Klindenspiel contains several excerpts from the Kate Stanton series.  In the series timeline it is  established that Kate Stanton was once Katya Holberg.  I don't know how fans of the Kate Stanton series react to the revelations in this novel, but I found that the prequel stands very much on its own.


My identification with Katya made this a tough read because she experienced so many traumatic events during and after World War II.  I had to take frequent breaks from the book in order to cope with its raw intensity.

 Many readers will not have heard of the Nazi Project Lebensborn.   This was as effort to increase the number of  so called "pure Aryan" children.   The term Aryan originally referred to a linguistic group, not a race. Katya was brought into the world as part of the Lebensborn Project.  Her father, a self-absorbed Nazi officer, had a sexual relationship with Sonia Holberg, a Norwegian woman who became Katya's mother.  After World War II the women who participated in Lebensborn suffered in the backlash against anyone associated with the Nazis, and so did their children.  Before reading Tandori's novel,  I was aware of the Lebensborn children, but had no real awareness of their post-war persecution.   This is an aspect of the post-war environment that should be more widely known.

The circus Klindenspiel was supposed to be a haven for Katya.  She would be able to exhibit the skills as a contortionist that she had learned from her mother.  Yet the young performers at Klindenspiel  were submerged in a miasma of fear and antagonism toward their superiors and each other.  Katya wanted to understand why there was so much negativity.   She idealistically wanted to improve the lives of everyone at Klindenspiel, and she received unexpected support from some very unlikely sources.

If you are looking for circus lore or vocabulary, you won't find that sort of thing in Last Stop Klindenspiel , but you will find some very realistic descriptions of training and choreography for acrobatic routines.  The vocabulary seems to originate from the world of gymnastics, and I have some familiarity with it.

What I appreciated about this book was the history, the character relationships, the suspense, the surprising plot twists  and the imaginative concept.  Marta Tandori did everything right in this book.

I'm still mystified about how Katya Holberg eventually became Kate Stanton, but I was completely satisfied by the resolution of this particular chapter in her life. 


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Woman with a Gun by Phillip Margolin

Woman with a GunI zipped through this novel in almost a day. I love a good mystery. I love being kept in suspense. I love the idea of this story. At first it starts in 2015. A young wanna-be writer is inspired when she walks through another woman's art gallery. She determines she's going to write a book based on an unsolved murder on the coast of Oregon.

Then it goes back to 2005. Megan Cahill is found carrying a gun, staring out to sea on the beach by a photographer. The famous photo is taken, shooting the photographer to amazing career heights. Megan's husband is dead in the house behind them. Her ex-husband is found dead later that week. Everything seems to surround Megan. Surely she has something to do with it all...

It also takes us back about five years before this murder, and delves into the connection between a prosecutor investigating the Cahill case and the photographer/witness who had a drug problem.

It seems everyone is tied into the mess in some way, even if they don't realize it--a former prosecutor, a former pro football player, all kinds of interesting characters. I'd like to add that characterization was superb. Despite all the people involved and changing POVs, I always knew who was who by their distinctive personalities.

I confess I knew whodunnit a lot sooner than I would have liked, but the story still managed to keep me in suspense. While I knew who the main culprit was, I honestly thought others were involved too and was constantly trying to pinpoint just who was involved and how it was all done.

And though I really enjoyed this novel and mystery, I did find a few things that bugged me. 1. The lack of emotion/feeling/description. This was almost too much telling, not enough showing. I found it kind of funny when the novelist in the story thinks, "What did the wind off the ocean feel like when Megan Cahill stood on the shore looking out to sea? What did the sand feel like as she walked across the beach from her house?..." The writer in the book seems to realize she needs those details while the actual writer didn't.
2. It's almost 2015 now, as I write this, just a week to go...and I'm just your average computer user--nothing fancy--but even I know how to flip and reverse photos in Paint program. We have a professional photographer here who has never heard of PhotoShop or Paint? Seriously? Though I'm willing to give benefit of the doubt as she isn't that much of a pro in 2005 (programs were available then, however), by 2015 she'd def be familiar with that stuff, what with her career taking off. Just noticed this and thought it weird. It made for an odd ending that left me unsatisfied.

P.S. I love that this novel was actually inspired by a photograph--Woman with a Gun.

I received this digital ARC from Edelweiss.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Light Mystery, Heavy Laughs in Paw and Order by Diane Kelly

Paw and Order (K9, #2)When I'd completed my "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" and returned my arm to my side, Brigit lifted her head and licked the remaining drops of holy water from my fingertips. I half expected a heavenly glow to erupt from her anus.

I was very excited about this, the second book in this series following a tough woman cop and her German Shepherd sidekick. Though the mystery was really tame and not very climatic, the humor is just fabulous and I do love a good chuckle.

The first one was more exciting, to be honest, as it followed this crazy "tunabomber" and it made me laugh out loud more. This one follows this slightly OTT twenty-one-year-old girl--come to think of it, from what I've seen of the younger generation, maybe this chick isn't so OTT after all...LOL--who feels she entitled to all the finer things in life and doesn't want to work for any of it. She wants to steal it. And she chooses the rodeo for her playground, which happens to be where Megan and Brigit the dog are patrolling.

I enjoyed the funny narrative, the thoughts everyone has, especially Brigit's, but even the bad girl's. Every single page had me smiling or chuckling or relating to some funny remark or thought.

I do dislike one thing. I hated knowing who the bad "guy" was. I like mysteries that force me to think about how it could be. Book one had it down pat. Even though it went into the perp's mind, we didn't know who the perp was, who Megan was associating with or questioning that could be the perp. In this book, Megan doesn't even run into the perp until the end and we, the readers, know it all along. The lack of connection between Megan and the perp makes for a lackluster mystery. There really is no mystery.

And some things were just off. Even Texas does background checks when you buy a gun.

While I didn't enjoy this as much as the first, I did enjoy it and plan to read book three. I can't wait to see if Megan makes detective and I hope we, the readers, go along for the ride. Dog lovers, this is one series you won't want to miss. For romance fans, there's also a very mild romance.

I received this via Netgalley.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oracles of Delphi: Who Will Control The Oracle?

 photo ec5f59b6-9624-43ae-96ca-082f70baaadc.png

Publication Date: October 15, 2014
Blank Slate Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 324

Series: Althaia of Athens Mystery
Genre: Historical Mystery

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9780989207935-Perfect.inddAll Althaia wants on her trip to Delphi is to fulfill her father’s last wish. Finding the body of a woman in the Sacred Precinct is not in her plans. Neither is getting involved in the search for the killer, falling for the son of a famous priestess, or getting pulled into the ancient struggle for control of the two most powerful oracles in the world. But that’s what happens when Theron, Althaia's tutor and a man with a reputation for finding the truth, is asked to investigate. When a priest hints that Theron himself may be involved, Althaia is certain the old man is crazy — until Nikos, son of a famous priestess, arrives with an urgent message. Theron's past, greedy priests, paranoid priestesses, prophecies, and stolen treasures complicate the investigation, and as Althaia falls for Nikos, whose dangerous secrets hold the key to the young woman’s death, she discovers that love often comes at a high price and that the true meaning of family is more than a bond of blood.


I've read previous books about the Oracle of Delphi in both fiction and non-fiction.  So I was aware that  according to legend it was a site sacred to the Earth Goddess Gaia that was taken over by the Sun God Apollo. I did find one scholar who apparently thinks that this myth shouldn't be taken literally.  Her name is Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood and she wrote in a 1999 article called "Myth As History: The Previous Owners of the Delphic Oracle" that this legend represents a symbolic defeat of dark chthonic (underworld) forces by Apollo.  She states that Delphi wasn't an active sacred site during the Mycenaean period.  I only read a summary of this article, so perhaps Sourvinou-Inwood cited archaeological evidence for her argument and perhaps she neglected to do so.  Not being an authority on ancient Greece myself, I have no way of evaluating her scholarship.

  I have never previously read a novel taking place in the transition period when there was a Gaia Pythia and an Apollo Pythia present in Delphi's Sacred Precinct with the priests and priestesses opposed to one another. I would have thought that a conflict of that nature would have taken place much earlier than the 4th century BCE which is when the events of Oracles of Delphi occurred. Sites that I have consulted online place the transition during the mythic "archaic era".  The only one that I could find which gave specific dates when it may have happened was Pagaian Cosmology which is a website belonging to Australian feminist scholar Glenys Livingstone who states that the transition would have occurred between the 11th and 9th centuries B.C.E. if not earlier.   I would certainly have imagined that this conflict had already been resolved by the 5th century B.C.E. Golden Age of Athens when Socrates taught his students to ask uncomfortable questions.  Yet let us suppose that this struggle between the priestesses of Gaia and the priests of Apollo was taking place when Alexander the Great's father, Phillip, ruled in Macedon as Marie Savage contends in this novel.  I am certainly willing to entertain such a premise for the sake of a good story.

The main advantage of setting this story that late is that there can be a central character who has received some fairly scientific oriented training from a priest of Amun-Ra in Egypt.  I should mention that Althaia would definitely have been a pioneer of these techniques in ancient Greece.  The earliest Greek anatomist that I found online is Herophilos who dissected cadavers in Alexandria, but he was born some twenty years after The Oracles of Delphi took place.  I find this credible because, as a woman, Althaia would always keep a low profile about doing autopsies. She knew that it wasn't acceptable for an Athenian woman to have such skills.  So she wouldn't have been part of the historical record.

I really liked Althaia, her mentor Theron and both her slaves.  They were all sympathetic while also having some degree of complexity.   Yet I was struck by how many of the characters who lived in Delphi were actively engaged in criminal activities.  It was as if the nature of  Delphi as a place where people went for assistance and advice encouraged the convergence of thieves and confidence men prepared to take  advantage of them.  There were also many valuable objects within the Sacred Precinct that seemed to invite theft.  Sincere and honest people seemed relatively scarce in what was supposed to be a spiritual environment.  This meant that Althaia and Theron's investigations had no shortage of suspects. 

There was an element of romance in this novel. The sentimental side of me was pleased by the thoroughly HEA ending, but the realistic side of me wondered how HEA could last for Althaia in particular given her circumstances.  I imagine that the author is setting her up for continuing conflict in her personal life in future books of the series.

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About the Author

02_Marie Savage_Author PhotoMarie Savage is the pen name of Kristina Marie Blank Makansi who always wanted to be a Savage (her grandmother’s maiden name) rather than a Blank. She is co-founder and publisher of Blank Slate Press, an award-winning small press in St. Louis, and founder of Treehouse Author Services. Books she has published and/or edited have been recognized by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), the Beverly Hills Book Awards, the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction, the British Kitchie awards, and others. She serves on the board of the Missouri Center for the Book and the Missouri Writers Guild. Along with her two daughters, she has authored The Sowing and The Reaping (Oct. 2014), the first two books of a young adult, science fiction trilogy. Oracles of Delphi, is her first solo novel.

For more information visit Kristina Makansi's website and the Blank Slate Press website. You can also follow Krisina Makansi and Blank Slate Press on Twitter.

Oracles of Delphi Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 8
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, December 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, December 10
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 11
Interview at The Maiden's Court
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, December 15
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, December 16
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, December 18
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Monday, December 22
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, December 23
Review at Book Babe

Monday, December 29
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, December 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Book Binder's Daughter

Thursday, January 1
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, January 2
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, January 5
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, January 6
Review at Book Drunkard

Wednesday, January 7
Review at bookramblings
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, January 9
Review at Book Dilettante

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Firebird's Feather by Marjorie Eccles

The Firebird's FeatherThis is a light mystery set in 1911 London. Actually, the word "light" is probably wrong. After all, a woman is shot to death in Hyde Park. That's serious stuff. But the telling of it all, the lack of emotions from the characters gave it a light feel.

Except for a nervous Bridget (the niece) and a flighty sister, the women in the story were like robots: the assistant, the daughter. The men seemed to be fleshed out a little more, namely the beau and the nephew. (The husband didn't seem as affected as I would expect.) I guess that would be my main quibble with the book and I'll just get that out of the way. The characterizations were presented to us in such a way that while we're given lots of details (some of them impertinent to the story) about each character, we never come to care for them at all. At least I didn't.

The story itself, the plot, is really somewhat exciting. A wealthy married woman who writes racy romances in her free time and has a male companion (not her husband) taking her to shows and riding with her in the park is just shot dead one day. There's missing property, Russian connections, and strange secrets about her popping up here and there during the investigation.

At the heart of it all is the possible beau who really wants the woman's daughter, the robotic daughter, a bluestocking niece, a flighty sister, a husband with a missing gun, and a mysterious assistant as well as a nephew who runs a controversial newspaper. The story throws just enough details at you to throw you off and keep you guessing. What does one have to do with the other? Is this even relevant, you wonder as you read and pick up clues.

But it's rather slow and on top of my above quibble, I also grew irritated at the "jumping" around. Example: The scene is on Marcus. He is about to go visit the newspaper. Scene ends. Then it goes to the daughter and Marcus shows up to visit her. I thought he was going to the paper? Then he sits down to tell her about his trip to the paper and we jump to that scene.... I'd prefer it be in chronological order. There was also something off with the historical aspect. It's a historical setting--with horses, dresses, rules and etiquette, and a coronation, but I never felt transported as I tend to do with good historicals.

I received this via Netgalley.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dreaming Spies: So How Was Your Trip To Japan, Mary Russell?

I love Mary Russell.  This mystery series is Laurie R. King's revision of the Sherlock Holmes mythos that includes a female apprentice who later becomes his wife.  She  co- investigates cases with Sherlock Holmes, she is a capable fighter, excellent at playing a role, knows many languages and studies religion at Oxford.  Some would call her a Mary Sue, but she isn't perfect by any means.  She has a traumatic background that has given her nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD-- particularly in Locked Rooms.  Yet Mary Russell is a strong survivor.

So I prioritized the ARC of  Dreaming Spies when I was approved for it at Net Galley.  This is the most recent novel in the Mary Russell series which will be released in February 2015.


Dreaming Spies is the much anticipated Japan novel.  Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel to 1920's Japan simply because they have never been there.  Since I truly relish novels that delve into Japanese culture, I had high hopes for this book.   One of the characters is a very capable female ninja.  We learn that female ninjas are called kunoichi. There are further revelations about ninjas, and their role in Japanese culture.  It should have been very exciting.

I really did like the Japanese cultural content and the female ninja.   As a lover of fiction that contains martial arts, I enjoyed the inclusion of a kendo scene with wooden practice swords known as shinai. I liked seeing Mary Russell at Oxford at a research library in the final section of the book that took place in England.    

 Alas, Dreaming Spies doesn't rank with my favorite Mary Russell novels.  I found it relatively low key.   There is a tragic death in this book, but I felt distanced from it.  This is because we have barely been introduced to the victim when his life comes to a sudden end. It was also much less suspenseful than I would expect from a mystery.  In the first 60% of the novel, the main focus of suspense is whether Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes will get to a meeting on time.  The protagonists do lots of traveling in Japan, but don't accomplish very much.  This is the kind of book that is more about the journey rather than being about arriving at a destination.  There are some great scenes in the novel, but I'm not sure that this sort of narrative is compatible with the mystery genre.

Many other reviews have complained that Dreaming Spies is slow.  How slow is it?  Let's just say that it literally put me to sleep twice.  The first time I was on a bus and discovered I'd missed my stop when I woke up.  I kept on hoping that Laurie R. King would deliver, so I persisted.   Eventually, I was rewarded when the investigation goes into high gear starting at 66%.  Still I felt that I didn't get enough of a payoff.  The real mystery wasn't the perpetrator in the blackmail plot.  It was a secret document.   The Japanese characters were so dedicated to making certain that the contents of this document are never made public, but the reader doesn't even get a clue  about the secret that they are risking their lives to defend.  So when I closed the book I felt cheated. What was it all about? Was it worth all the danger?  I wish I knew.        


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Different Types of Sisterhood...Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway

Sisters of Heart and SnowThis is a very engrossing tale that shows the different types of sisterhood: that which we choose (of the heart) and that which we're born with. They are bonds of equal strength.

There are two stories here: late 1100s Japan, following a woman soldier (samurai) and her sister of the heart, her lover's wife. The women are very different, one being of home and hearth, one being a fighter. The modern story follows two sisters struggling to find themselves late in their middle age and let the past be in the past. Their childhood has molded them into people they don't always want to be.

We're kept in a lot of suspense with the modern tale. What secret did their mother keep all those years? What is their dad going to use to blackmail Rachel into giving up power of attorney? (Her mother has dementia and is in a home). Will Rachel and her dad make amends? What is going on with Rachel's daughter? This kept me reading even though at times I felt the story dragged. Don't get me wrong; I liked the book, but at the 3/4 point, I just wanted to get the answers and move on. For me the book was longer than it needed to be, for the story it contained.

I especially enjoyed the theme about control. Controlling everything and everyone isn't the answer.

I do have some quibbles.

I think the historical tale...there wasn't enough time spent on it, while the modern tale was way too drawn out. I was apparently supposed to feel this great bond between Yamabuchi and Tomoe, but I really didn't. Their bits were too short for me to really grasp any closeness between them.

The fact that Rachel's parts were first-person present tense, Tomoe's parts were third-person, past tense, and Drew's parts third-person, present tense was very jarring.

Except for Rachel, I didn't find these women very strong. They all submit or lose themselves in a man. After the way that bratty child spoke to Drew at the carnival and the way the kid's father pandered to the child, I'd have run away, fast, not subjected myself to more of that behavior. Quincy is obsessed for a man. Tomoe may be great with a sword but she's weak for a crazy man who doesn't treat her well. She always does his bidding even when she doesn't agree with him. Yamabuchi is somewhat strong now that I think on it. She faces a lot of crap and even though she's in a life she wasn't trained or ready for, she tries her best. Rachel and Drew's mother...I'm not even touching that one. Some things were still not clear to me about her in the end. I get she sold her soul to the devil to have a better life, but why be such a horrid, negligent mother? And I realize she was holding part of herself out of shame, but still...this woman was hard for me to comprehend.

Rachel bucks up in the end, once she finally stops giving her father the power to affect/hurt her. In my eyes, Rachel had the strongest story and moral and strength.

Don't give people the power to hurt you and they can't. At some point in life, you must be able to brush their words off, see them for what they are.

Despite my quibbles, I enjoyed the book and found it well written. The characterizations were distinct and consistent, something not easy to do when writing about five or six different women.

I received this via Amazon Vine.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How Quilts Are More Than Blankets: A Guest Post from Leah Zieber, Author of Libby Morgan: Reunion

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Publication Date: September 7, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 283
Series: American Heritage Quilt Series
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction

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03_Libby Morgan Reunion CoverComing from a long line of seamstresses, Libby has yet to sew anything more than the rudimentary button or hem, but on a visit to Connecticut she learns more than just how to sew patchwork. Set in 1855 New England and London, this tender story, Libby Morgan: Reunion, follows tenacious Elizabeth (Libby) Jane Morgan through her thirteenth summer of new adventures at home and abroad. She is given a birthday gift of sewing tools and fabric, as well as old family letters to use as templates for making her first quilt. Her decision to first read the letters results in questions that only her Grandmother Morgan’s stories can answer—stories of true love, horrible loss and family connections to London nobles. Her keen eye and inquisitive nature draws her family into a mysterious investigation that tests their faith, challenges their ability to forgive, and results in a resurrection and reunion of lost hearts.

*****Guest Post from Leah Zieber*****

Book Babe asked, "Did your own family history inspire this story or anything in it? If not, is there something in your family history that would be of interest to readers?"

Quilting is only one of the many forms of needlework that are longstanding, traditional pastimes in my family, pastimes that shaped my childhood and gave significance to my adult life. My writing draws from the many memories I have of my great Aunt Ruthie who was my pseudo grandmother growing up – my own grandmother being estranged from the family. I spent many summers with her, watching television while she sewed on the applique quilts she loved to make. I formed a close connection with Aunt Ruthie, as hers was the home I would seek refuge in during my own family’s struggles. Much of Mother Morgan’s character is based upon Aunt Ruthie and her sewing abilities.  She was an incredible seamstress, like her mother before her, and she was fascinating to watch; she sewed, crocheted, tatted and knitted tirelessly and seemingly without effort. She patiently taught me to embroider and crochet and she sparked in me an interest in quilting I did not foster until later in my adult life.
When I first began to make quilts, I always felt like there was part of the equation I did not posses and therefore felt my quilts lacked substance. I loved selecting fabric, cutting it to bits and putting it all back together in an esthetically pleasing pattern, but something told me there was more to making a quilt than what I knew. I struggled to figure out what was missing and it wasn’t until I joined a quilt history group that I found the element I lacked. In many of the antique and vintage quilts I examined, there was a story that equated to more than just random bits of cloth sewn together. The quilters of the past had worked meaning into their projects – meaning that could be found in their fabric choices as well as the images and the symbolism they sewed into their bedcoverings. Sometimes the meaning was political, sometimes religious, sometimes just for sentiment’s sake, but nearly always I found that the antique and vintage quilts portrayed something special for the maker or the receiver or both.
I wanted to know the history that was hidden in the quilts I studied – and not just the history of the people who made them, but the history of the fabrics, the threads, the battings and most importantly the reasons why the quilts were made. This search for understanding pushed me further into studying American quilt making and the history of textiles in America. And as I began to purchase antique quilts for my own collection, I earnestly sought to know my new possession’s provenance in hope of finding out what stories might be hidden in the folds of it’s past. This revelation - that a quilt has it’s own history – is what brought new depth to my quilt making and inspired me to write the story of Libby Morgan and her family.
Unlike some of the 19th century quilt stories available today, the quilt traditions talked about in Libby Morgan: Reunion are based upon provable, factual evidence. Significant research was done on the 19th century quilts and the other textile subjects in the story; for example, English paper piecing with letters, the bits of fabric in the ledgers at the Foundling Hospital in England, the Godey’s Lady’s Book references, and the tools used by the characters are all historically accurate. And though none of the early quilts referenced in this first book are from my family, as the series progresses, much will be drawn from the pieces of my collection that were made by my own ancestors.  
I want to share with young girls and women historically accurate stories of American quilting traditions and help them to understand that quilts can be more than just utilitarian blankets. I hope the reader will come to know that the stitches and fabric and time spent making a quilt is truly a gift to posterity that can one day be looked upon with meaningful understanding of the past. Through my stories I hope to give an accurate and factual glimpse at the history behind America’s love of quilt making and bring readers closer to an understanding of all that a quilt can and does represent.

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About the Author

02_Leah Zieber AuthorLeah A. Zieber is a quilt historian and quilt maker from Temecula, California, specializing in American quilt history and reproduction quilts from the nineteenth century. Her quilts have been exhibited across the country in quilt shows, museums and historical societies and were most recently published in Stars: A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts. Leah has worked closely with Southern California collectors, cataloging, managing, and independently researching their textile collections. Her own collection of antique quilts and related textile items spans one hundred and eighty five years, and she shares her knowledge of American quilt history using her collection in lectures and workshops. Libby Morgan: Reunion is her debut novel and the first in her American Heritage Quilt Series.

For more information please visit Leah Zieber's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

The Secrets of MidwivesI was expecting more of a historical tale to this. When I hear "midwife" I think of Call the Midwife or of women running from one log house to another in the last 1800s to assist with a birth. There's none of that in this book. It's about modern midwives, about how they are still doing their thing, while facing nursing boards threatening to provoke licenses and arguing with doctors who think they know it all. I found this read very insightful about the lives and careers of modern midwives and what they believe about mother and baby bonding and all that.

Despite it being different from what I expected, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the women I met within its pages. I zipped through this in two days, dying to know what was going to happen next. There's hospital drama, marital drama, and secrets from the past. There's spousal abuse--a kind I never thought of. There's mother/daughter relationships and above all a strong moral: love is love. Biology has nothing to do with it.

It's very well written too, not overly descriptive or boring or long winded. It is a very good first novel. I'm impressed.

A quick recap for those who need it: Floss was a midwife in the fifties. She has a big secret she's been keeping from her daughter and granddaughter and now partner. It's holding her back from really enjoying her life. Grace is too pushy with her daughter, Neva. This makes Neva steer clear. Grace's drama is about her license, the board. Through her we see some of the hostility between hospital doctors and midwives and the difference in their beliefs. Neva is a modern midwife who toes the line between both worlds by working in a birth center attached to a hospital. She's pregnant and refuses to name the father. Why?

As I said above, very suspenseful, but I confess I had Floss's story figured out around page 100. Yet, Neva, I couldn't quite get it. But this is also where my quibble comes in. While kept in suspense as to who the father of Neva's baby also felt too Jerry Springish as Neva decided first one man then another must be the dad. I mean, just how many men are you bedding in the course of a month, lady? Dang.

That just sort of put me off. I'm all for women taking what they want, when they want, but a nurse should have some more smarts than this. So she doesn't think she's likely to get preggers, I get it, but there are diseases out there. Hello? I'm amazed a woman in the medical profession is that dumb. I really am. To bed miscellaneous men without protection.

My only other quibble is I'd have liked more of the relationship between Floss and Lily. As it was, I had to wonder why Lily was even in the book. There was way too little to make it count.

I received this via Amazon Vine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Agnes Canon's War

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Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Formats: eBook, Trade Paperback
Pages: 300

Genre: Historical Fiction

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“I saw a woman hanged on my way to the Pittsburgh docks..”

02_Agnes Canon's WarAgnes Canon is tired of being a spectator in life, an invisible daughter among seven sisters, meat for the marriage market. The rivers of her Pennsylvania countryside flow west, and she yearns to flow with them, explore new lands, know the independence that is the usual sphere of men.

This is a story of a woman’s search for freedom, both social and intellectual, and her quest to understand what freedom means. She learns that freedom can be the scent and sound of unsettled prairies, the glimpse of a cougar, the call of a hawk. The struggle for freedom can test the chains of power, poverty, gender, or the legalized horror of slavery. And to her surprise, she discovers it can be found within a marriage, a relationship between a man and a woman who are equals in everything that matters.

It’s also the story of Jabez Robinson, a man who has traveled across the continent and seen the beauty of the country and the ghastliness of war, as he watches his nation barrel toward disaster. Faced with deep-seated social institutions and hard-headed intransigence, he finds himself helpless to intervene. Jabez’s story is an indictment of war in any century or country, and an admission that common sense and reasoned negotiation continue to fail us.

As Agnes and Jabez struggle to keep their community and their lives from crumbling about them, they must face the stark reality that whether it’s the freedom of an African from servitude, of the South from the North, or of a woman from the demands of social convention, the cost is measured in chaos and blood.

This eloquent work of historical fiction chronicles the building of a marriage against the background of a civilization growing – and dying – in the prelude to civil war.


I loved Agnes. Had the entire tale followed Agnes and stuck to Agnes, I'd have been an overjoyed reader. She's a terrific woman and character. The things I admired about her: her stance on slavery, her desire for independence, the fact she obtains this independence and later marries without really giving up who she is.

But I didn't care for the hero. And as much of the book focuses on him and his opinions (he's a secessionist), I got a bit tired of it and began skimming. He lost even more favor with me when he bought a pair of slaves. I don't care that he never beats them. I was already struggling with his character. He comes across as a know-it-all too and I didn't find this very romantic.

However, I must say, I like how the story showed us that even if a woman is independent and has a mind of her own, people (townsfolk) don't necessarily see it that way. I felt for Agnes as the town shunned her because of her husband's views to the point she gets kicked out of church. The story also tells the history of Missouri before the Civil War. I have read about the Kansas situation before, but not Missouri, about the war--and trust me, it's a nasty battle, on both sides--as the abolitionists from the north and the slave owners from the south duke it out on what was supposed to be neutral territory.

It's a very historically informative novel. I could have, however, done without the nasty brothers. *shudders* But violence happened and this story really does tell it like it was.

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About the Author

03_Deborah Lincoln AuthorDeborah Lincoln grew up in the small town of Celina, among the cornfields of western Ohio. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan. She and her husband have three grown sons and live on the Oregon coast.

Of her passion for historical fiction, she says: “I’m fascinated by the way events—wars and cataclysms and upheavals, of course, but the everyday changes that wash over everyday lives—bring a poignancy to a person’s efforts to survive and prosper. I hate the idea that brave and intelligent people have been forgotten, that the hardships they underwent have dropped below the surface like a stone in a lake, with not a ripple left behind to mark the spot.”

Agnes Canon’s War is the story of her great great-grandparents, two remarkable people whose lives illustrate the joys and trials that marked America’s tumultuous nineteenth century.

For more information on Deborah Lincoln please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Agnes Canon's War Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 8
Review at Forever Ashley
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, December 9
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Wednesday, December 10
Review at Too Fond

Friday, December 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Monday, December 15
Review at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, December 17
Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, December 18
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Friday, December 19
Review at Boom Baby Reviews
Interview at Layered Pages

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sewing Can Be Dangerous: Stories with the Threads

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Publication Date: December 16, 2013
Mockingbird Lane Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback, Audio Book
Pages: 276
Genre: Historical Fiction/Short Stories

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02_Sewing Can Be Dangerous CoverThe eleven long short stories in “Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads combine history, mystery, action and/or romance, and range from drug trafficking using Guatemalan hand-woven wallets, to an Antebellum U.S. slave using codes in her quilts as a message system to freedom; from an ex-journalist and her Hopi Indian maid solving a cold case together involving Katchina spirits, to a couple hiding Christian passports in a comforter in Nazi Germany; from a wedding quilt curse dating back to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, to a mystery involving a young seamstress in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; from a 1980’s Romeo and Juliet romance between a rising Wall Street financial ‘star’ and an eclectic fiber artist, to a Haight-Asbury love affair between a professor and a beautiful macramé artist gone horribly askew, just to name a few.

*****MY REVIEW*****

The first story...I'd really like the author to turn it into a novel, one of those dual-time-period stories. It's about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and a Jewish girl who has big dreams and must overcome difficult circumstances. The modern story is great too, reminding us to always do what's right and learn from the past.

The second story takes us back to the Salem witch trials. I didn't like this one as much--because something confused/bugged me (if the lady wanted to break the curse, why did she sit there and sew that pattern in the first place?) but I learned something I didn't know before: that Nathianel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, was actually related to a Hathorne who judged the Salem trials. Out of shame, Nathianel added the W. Interesting!

I like that the third tale featured a deaf slave who stitched maps of sorts in quilts, enabling other slaves to escape. I found it slightly preposterous though. I mean, I know how hard it is to lip read and all, and her not being able to read and write before her Well, it's possible, but not in southern slave environment. It's not like they had the time. But moving on...

The fourth tale had me on the edge of my seat for a bit--WWII, Germany, very intense--but there were also parts that didn't contribute to the actual story and that threw me off. Yet I liked it a lot better than the next two, which weren't really historical. One was an 80s version of Romeo and Juliet and one was a doctor trying to do right and paying a price for it. And then came a story that though historical, had the kind of dialogue I loathe--thees and thous and whatnot. I skipped that one, I'm ashamed to say.

There's a mystery and then a Zodiac killer story--I didn't see how this tied into sewing. Then a pleasant, if somewhat unlikely, tale about a Native American and a woman making peace between their people through her sewing obsession.

Conclusion: The historical stories were my favorite. I'm still especially impressed with the first one. The more modern, the seventies and forward, I didn't like so much, but that's a personal preference.

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Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads is now in AUDIO!!! Listen to narrator, Suzie Althens, breathe life and depth into these stories!

About the Author

03_S.R. MalleryS.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life.

First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy. Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.

“Unexpected Gifts”, her debut novel, is currently available on Amazon. “Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads”, her collection of short stories, Jan. 2014, both books by Mockingbird Lane Press.

For more information please visit S.R. Mallery’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 1

Review at Unshelfish

Tuesday, December 2

Review at Bibliotica

Wednesday, December 3

Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, December 4

Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews and More

Friday, December 5

Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Monday, December 8

Review at WV Stitcher

Tuesday, December 9

Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, December 10

Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, December 11

Review at Book Nerd

Friday, December 12

Review at Based on a True Story

Monday, December 15

Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, December 16

Review at Book Babe

Wednesday, December 17

Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, December 19

Review at Book Drunkard