Tuesday, November 25, 2014

HF Virtual Book Tours: Davina Blake, author of Past Encounters

Today, I'm very excited to welcome Davina Blake here to A Bookish Affair!


The Long March of 1945


January and February 1945 were among the coldest months of the 20th century, and temperatures in wartime Poland dipped as low as -25 degrees. Blizzards whipped across the frozen roads, the wind cut like a sabre through the trees. After enduring years of starvation rations and without proper winter clothes or boots, Peter, and the other prisoners of war trudging through the countryside, were ill-suited to such appalling conditions. The march soon became a stagger.




In January 1945, close to the end of WWII the Soviet Armies advanced into Germany. It is still unknown whether the Nazis intended to use British prisoners of war as hostages, or whether they merely wanted to prevent their liberation by the Russians, but for whatever reason, the Germans marched the prisoners of war westwards in groups of two to three hundred. So many men died from the freezing conditions that it became known as the Lamsdorf Death March. 80,000 allied European troops were forced on the route through Poland and Germany in arctic conditions in a journey lasting for four months.


With no proper sanitation or hygiene, diptheria and typhus were rife. In addition the column of men was in the hands of panicking German guards who were terrified of being outflanked by the Soviets. The Soviets were rumoured to be even more barbarous than the Nazis, so the German guards shot those prisoners who could not keep up, or left them to freeze to death in huddled lumps by the roadside.


‘If someone died and their boots were better than yours you simply took them to help your own chances. It was expected. So many good men failed to make it.’  


So what makes a man carry on in such conditions when it could have been so easy to give up? Research has shown that it was thoughts of home, in particular the thoughts of wives or loved ones that kept men going. Friendship between men was enormously important. A friend’s support literally meant the difference between death and survival.


In Past Encounters, Peter is kept going by his sheer determination to get home to Rhoda, his fiancée, and by the friendship of Archie, a soldier to whom he was not instantly drawn, but one who he had to grow to love through their shared experiences.
Rhoda meanwhile has her own problems. Peter has been away for five years. In that time she has changed, and when the film crew arrives to film ‘Brief Encounter’ she finds herself falling for someone else….


Find out more about the Long March:
The BBC People’s War

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Saturday, November 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Sunday, November 16
Review at Library Educated
Monday, November 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, November 18
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, November 19
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, November 20
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, November 21
Review & Interview at Bookish
Saturday, November 22
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, November 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 25
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, November 27
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Monday, December 1
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Interview at Casual Readers
Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader’s Block
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry
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Monday, November 24, 2014

HF Virtual Book Tours Review: Past Encounters by Davina Blake

Title: Past Encounters
Author: Davina Blake
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: June 30, 2014
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours


What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "From the moment Rhoda Middleton opens one of her husband’s letters and finds it is from another woman, she is convinced he is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks her down, she discovers the mysterious woman is not his lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. 

There is only one problem - Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster. 

Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out how and why her husband, Peter, has kept this friendship hidden for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter’s wartime secrets she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For if they are ever to understand each other, Rhoda too must escape the ghosts of the past. Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, this is a novel of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive. "

My Two Cents:

In "Past Encounters," our main character, Rhoda, finds out that the past has a very interesting way of sneaking into the present. She opens one of her husband's letters and quickly finds out that she doesn't know everything about her husband's life during World War II like she thought she did. The narrative in the story goes back and forth between the past (1940s) and the present (mid-1950s) as Rhoda tries to unravel the mystery of why her husband has been hiding such a big secret from her.

Rhoda and her husband, Peter, definitely made the story very interesting for me. Their marriage is slowly unraveling when the book opens and Rhoda discovers that Peter might be hiding something really big from her. Peter spent many years in a German camp as a prisoner of war. He is haunted by his time there. Rhoda tries to be respectful and to not pry, partly because she has secrets of her own from the war that she does not want to come to light. It was so interesting to see how these two characters play off of each other. There is a love there but also a growing distrust as secrets begin to come to light. It's definitely an interesting juxtaposition.

The writing of the book is pretty good. I really liked how the author used two time periods to give us some different views of what was really happening to Rhoda and Peter and how their experiences during the war played out. There were a couple places where Rhoda and Peter were going around that I thought could have been slimmed down as the characters did not seem to be getting any further but overall, I enjoyed it.

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Saturday, November 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Sunday, November 16
Review at Library Educated
Monday, November 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, November 18
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, November 19
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, November 20
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, November 21
Review & Interview at Bookish
Saturday, November 22
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, November 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 25
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, November 27
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Monday, December 1
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Interview at Casual Readers
Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader’s Block
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry
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Dancing With Mistletoe Deal!

Looking for a good story to ring in the holiday season with? "Dancing with Mistletoe," a follow-on story to "Come Dancing" by Leslie Wells (which I really liked) is only $.99 right now and will be FREE November 28 - 30 on Amazon.com for your Kindle!





Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Mistletoe-Holiday-Leslie-Wells-ebook/dp/B00PB3BCK8/




Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour and Giveaway: While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

Title: While Beauty Slept
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Putnam
Publish Date: February 20, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.


What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. Those of humble birth suffer their heartbreaks and celebrate their triumphs unnoticed by the bards, leaving no trace in the fables of their time....
 
And so begins Elise Dalriss's story

When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a tale about a beautiful princess awakened by a handsome prince, it pushes open a door to the past, a door Elise has long kept locked. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered - and she is the only one left who knows the truth of what happened so many years ago.

As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back in to the magnificent world behind the opulent palace walls. Fleeing a hardscrabble existence and personal tragedy, she builds a new life for herself as a servant to the royal family and quickly rises within the castle hierarchy. As Elise proves herself a loyal confidante, she is drawn into the lives of an extraordinary cast of women: a beautiful queen who wakes each morning with tears on her pillow, an elderly spinster who in heartache shuts herself away, a princess who yearns to be free, and the ambitious and frightening sister who cannot accept the fact that she will never rule. Elise has guarded their secrets - and her own - for a lifetime. While Beauty Sleeps is her story."

My Two Cents:

"While Beauty Slept" is a wholly original fairytale retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Oh guys, I love a good fairytale retelling. I love seeing an old favorite story turned on its head into something new and fantastic. This book is definitely one of those. The story is told from the perspective of Elise, a servant in the household of the Queen and the King, who are fighting for their reign. Not all is happy in this world. The Queen seems to be potentially barren and it is imperative that she provide an heir for the kingdom or she and the King could lose their grip on the kingdom. The Queen starts conspiring with and consulting with Millicent (who you will of course remember as the witchy woman from the Sleeping Beauty fairytale). Action ensues.

This book has a historical feel but obviously there is a fantasy-type bend to the story with it being a fairytale. I loved the world that the author created. This is a world where who you know and who you are affiliated with can change your life. All of the matches between the different characters really pulled me in. When the Queen finally has a daughter, Millicent will do anything to get her hands (and her influence) on Rose, the now heir to the kingdom. We see how Millicent tries to work her own influence to get what she wants when it comes to Rose.

I loved that the story was told from the point of view of Elise. Although she is a servant, she is intimately involved in caring and protecting Rose, a job which she takes very seriously. Elise is a study in how a person who on the surface may seem of little consequence can save the day. Overall, I really enjoyed this story!



Giveaway:

Want to win a copy of While Beauty Slept? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. only)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Rest of the Tour: 


November 3
BookFinds—review
The Novel Life—review
November 4
Living Read Girl—review
Debbie’s Book Bag—review + giveaway
November 7
A Dream Within a Dream—review + giveaway
Books in the Burbs—spotlight + giveaway
Melissa’s Eclecitc Bookshelf—spotlight + giveaway
November 10
Midlife at the Oasis—review + giveaway
November 11
Red Carpet Crash—spotlight + giveaway
November 12
Bookish Things & More—review + giveaway
Teddy Rose Book Reviews—spotlight + giveaway
November 13
Grown Up Book Reviews—review + giveaway
November 14
My Friend Amy—spotlight + giveaway
November 14
To Read or Not to Read—review + giveway
Taking Time for Mommy—review + giveaway
November 17
CrazedMind—review + giveaway
November 18
Fresh Fiction—spotlight
November 19
Jean BookNerd—spotlight + giveaway
November 20
Cheryl’s Book Nook—review + giveaway
November 21
A Bookish Affair—review + giveaway
The Mod Podge Bookshelf—spotlight + giveaway
November 24
5 Minutes for Books—review + giveaway
November 27
Silver’s Reviews—review + giveaway
November 28
My 5 Monkeys—review

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giveaway: If I Stay

Gayle Forman's fantastic "If I Stay" is coming out on Blu-Ray and DVD. I'm watching my copy tonight (I am sooooo excited)!

Release Information:

FALL IN LOVE ALL OVER AGAIN WITH IF I STAY
ON BLU-RAY AND DVD NOVEMBER 18

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Experience more meaningful moments with the Blu-ray™ + DVD + Digital HD™ Combo, including an original music montage, free song download from the Soundtrack,
and a three-part immersive making-of experience featuring interviews with
the cast and author/executive producer Gayle Forman!

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 7, 2014) Live for love and music this holiday season with the ultimate
If I Stay fan experience on the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Combo and DVD November 18 from
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Based on
The New York Times best-selling young adult novel by Gayle Forman, director R.J. Cutler’s If I Stay is a must-have gift for fans and young adults alike this holiday season.

“Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley shine” (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune) in this romantic film based on the best-selling novel. Seventeen-year-old Mia Hall (Moretz) thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Blackley). But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate. Also starring are Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard as Mia’s parents, Kat and Denny, and Stacy Keach as Gramps.  Rounding out the main cast are Jakob Davies as Mia’s little brother, Liana Liberato as her best friend, Gabrielle Rose as Grandma, and Aisha Hinds as Nurse Ramirez. New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’
If I Stay hit theaters August 22, 2014.

R.J. Cutler directed the film from a screenplay by Shauna Cross based on Forman’s novel. If I Stay was produced by Alison Greenspan, with Denise Di Novi, Forman and Brad Van Arragon serving as executive producers.

Fans of the beloved book can see the story come to life like never before with compelling bonus features and deleted scenes. Celebrate the film’s music with an original “Never Coming Down” music video,
“I Never Wanted to Go” music montage, a free download of the song “Mind” from the soundtrack courtesy of WaterTower Music and music commentary by R.J. Cutler on songs from the movie. Then, dive deeper into the making-of the film with “Beyond the Page,” a three-part book, author and cast introspective.

If I Stay Blu-ray Exclusive Special Features
  • “I Never Wanted To Go” Music Montage
  • Beyond The Page featuring interviews with the cast, crew and Author Gayle Forman
    • The Love of Music
    • Adapting IF I STAY
    • An Out of Body Experience

If I Stay Blu-ray and DVD Special Features
  • “Never Coming Down” Music Video
  • Free download from the If I Stay Soundtrack of the song “Mind” courtesy of WaterTower Music
  • Deleted Scenes Commentary by R.J. Cutler and Alison Greenspan
    • Bookstore
    • Hospital Chapel
  • Audio Commentary by R.J. Cutler and Alison Greenspan
  • Music Commentary by R.J. Cutler
    • “Who Needs You”
    • “Until We Get There”
    • “I Want What You Have”
    • “All of Me”
    • “Promise”
    • “Never Coming Down”
    • “Halo”
    • “I Will be There”
    • “Mind”
    • “Morning”
    • “I Never Wanted To Go”
    • “Karen Revisited”
    • “Today”
    • “Heart Like Yours”
    • “Heal” (If I Stay Version)
    • “Suite No. 1 in G Major for Solo Cello, BWV 1007: Prelude”
    • “Cello Concerto in a Minor, Op. 33”
    • “Sonata in B Minor for Solo Cello, Op.”
  • Image Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

If I Stay Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Combo  
Street Date:        November 18, 2014
Prebook Date:        October 15, 2014
Screen Format:        Widescreen 16.9 (2.40:1)
Audio:            English 5.1 DTS-HD-MA/Spanish 5.1 DD/French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles:        English / French / Spanish
U.S. Rating:        PG-13
Total Run Time:        171 minutes
Closed Captioned:    Yes


If I Stay DVD
Street Date:        November 18, 2014
Prebook Date:        October 15, 2014
Screen Format:        Widescreen 16.9 (2.40:1)
Audio:            English 5.1 Dolby Digital/Spanish 2.0 Surround DD/French 2.0 Surround DD
Subtitles:        English / French / Spanish
U.S. Rating:        PG-13
Total Run Time:        123 minutes
Closed Captioned:    Yes

Giveaway:

Want to win your own copy of the "If I Stay" Blu-ray and a copy of the book so you can compare and contrast your favorite moments? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below (U.S./ Canada only).

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
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