Dragon fan? Book Promo: The Long Way by Michael Corbin Ray & Therese Vannier

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Title: The Long Way
Author: Michael Corbin Ray & Therese Vannier
Details: Paperback, E-Book 262 pages
Publication Date: October 2nd 2013 by Baaa! Press
Genre: Fantasy/ Historical Fiction

Synopsis:
Take flight to China’s Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century in this epic historical fantasy. Young orphan Leung Chi-Yen, born into the seedy world of Canton brothels, finds an opportunity to escape her fate during the chaos of British attacks on her country. Along with an unreliable monk from the fallen Temple of Seven Dragons, she journeys to North America at the time of the gold rush, the Indian wars, and the taming of the Wild West. Can she forge a new life for herself in this strange, dangerous world? And what about that mysterious Chinese dragon that has followed her so far from home?

What People are saying about The Long Way:

A fine historical fantasy tale featuring a memorable, tenacious protagonist.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“I don’t think there’s a summary in the world that could have done The Long Way justice.”
– Hollie, Goodreads

“The only thing missing from this book is a sequel, as I was very sad to see it end.”
– Debby, Goodreads

Meet the Authors:


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Michael Corbin Ray and Therese Vannier have been friends since the mid-’90s, when they worked together at a series of imploding newspapers. After the death of journalism, they founded and ran a small marketing business for a number of years before falling for the siren call of Hollywood and screenwriting. Their first project was inspired by a bad dream, which should have been a warning to them.

While they share a love of stories, they come at it from different angles. Therese was raised on a diet of schlocky horror and martial arts movies from the ’70s, while Michael served time as an English major and occasionally aspires to commit literature. Their writing process often devolves into an argument over how much blood is too much blood.

They also share a fascination with the sciences, biology in particular. Therese studied marine biology and spends as much time in the water as possible. Michael has a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, but prefers to keep his feet dry. They find common ground in birds.

After many years educating themselves on the long odds of ever getting a screenplay produced (anybody have a few spare tens of millions of dollars lying around?) they decided to switch to books. They now have a big backlog of stories to tell in this newfangled format. The Long Way is their debut.

Get Your Hands on a Free Copy!

NetGalley members can read The Long Way right now here.

Or you can enter the Goodreads giveaway here.

Saying Goodbye to Warsaw by Michael Cargill

18464101Like any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains.

In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish.

Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital.

Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?

Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is a surprisingly light read given the subject matter. It centers around the Nussbaum family of Abbie, her brother Leo, and her mother Chana who are imprisoned in a bombed-out ghetto in Warsaw in the midst of WW2.

Much of the book describes the squalor and poverty that has been thrust upon them, their fear of the German soldiers and the uncertainty of their future – however protagonist Abbie is a carefree, daydreamer who can see beauty and excitement in almost anything, giving the story a light-hearted, innocent tone.

I liked Abbie as the protagonist for that reason but I also felt like the main crux of story was being overlooked – the truth of their plight. Eventually we’re introduced to Alenka who is part of an underground resistance group which Leo has joined.

All of a sudden the innocent, light tone is replaced with a growing sense of impending doom and that’s the part of the story that shone for me. And I loved how much Abbie’s character changes throughout this book.

As for the things I didn’t enjoy – there were only a few. I found the start of the book quite slow and the writing didn’t flow easily for me but after a couple of chapters it seemed to improve. And I wished we’d met Alenka a lot sooner.

Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is a slow-burner but I thought the journey was totally worth it.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Yep, I received a copy from the author in exchange for an HONEST review. (THANKS)
Title: Saying Goodbye to Warsaw
Author: Michael Cargill
Details: Paperback, 170 pages
Publication Date: Published September 8th 2013 by Createspace
My Rating: 4/5
If you like this try: The Book Thief.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it: The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton

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During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.

The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world. Image and synopsis from Goodreads (Click the Image to go there).

The Secret Keeper is another winner from Kate Morton. She has found a definitive style that suits her perfectly and creates beautiful, engrossing drama and decade-spanning mysteries. So, if it’s not broke don’t fix it right?

Usually I’m not a huge fan of shifting timelines but Morton does it so well. We start in the 1960’s when our protagonist Laurel is a teenager and witnesses her beloved mother stabbing a random man. We’re then propelled foward to the present where poor mum is approaching her 90th birthday and on her deathbed. With Laurel back to take care of her she aims to find out for once and for all what exactly happened that day. The mystery emerges bit by bit in true Morton style – by following Dolly (Laurel’s mum), through War-time London and beyond.

This is a hard book to review without just relaying the story. So much goes on but so little of it seems important without seeing the bigger picture, so it’s hard to pick out certain elements. One of my favourite things though was the description of London during the raids. The characters weren’t fazed by it because they’d become so accustomed to it. It’s funny how you can just get used to something so awful. They almost seemed immune to death and destruction which definitely helped put Dolly’s story in perspective. I also really enjoyed the family dynamics, especially Gerry, he was a lovely, complicated and quirky character.

I can’t say I was gripped the whole way through, but I certainly was for the most part. On numerous occasions I thought I knew exactly where the story was going and what the secret would be and whilst part of it was easy to guess, the final blow definitely wasn’t which made for an excellent read.

If you’ve never read any Kate Morton, I definitely recommend her work. I haven’t read every single one of her books on account that they sound so similar to each other, but the ones I have read have been really pleasant surprises.

Details:Paperback, 602 pgs. Published May 9th 2013 by Pan Books.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Unicorns
Is it a keeper? As much as I enjoyed it, I know I’ll never read it again so no. I have added it to my Book Swap List. (UK only, soz!)
If you liked this try: The House At Riverton