31 Mar 2017

Book beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 #2

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.
Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 
The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.
Today the book on display is:

by Jennifer Rose McMahon


Like a punch in the face, eighteen-year-old Maeve O'Malley's visions knock her off her path. The pirate queen stalking Maeve in her dreams killed her mother years ago and now, the villain is coming for her. Maeve's decision to ditch Boston College takes everyone by surprise as she packs her bags, leaves America, and heads to the west coast of Ireland to chase her dreams – and end them.

Maeve uncovers an ancient family curse that refuses to remain silent until she accepts her predestined role in what many thought was only a legend. Her Irish history professor – a man she shouldn’t be falling for – is the only person who understands the origins of her torment.

Maeve's journey becomes a medieval treasure hunt through Ireland’s castles and ruins as she tracks the wrathful pirate queen who has her marked for vengeance.

Book beginning:

Clawing up the steep hill, slipping on loose gravel, I cursed the new rip in my favourite jeans as I vanished into the town cemetery.

The Friday 56:

"Did she attack yeh?" Paul's eyes were wide.
I rubbed my hands together to dry them. 
"No. It was only when she locked her eyes with mine that I knew she wasn't going to hurt me. But the feelings that shot through me – it was an overload of rage and grief, love and vengeance. It was everything. And then nothing."

Did you like these excerpts? What are you reading at the moment?  Please leave your comments and links below.

27 Mar 2017

Goodreads Monday #3

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren @ Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and link up to the inlinkz so others can see what you picked!

This week I'm reading a YA fantasy novel, Bohermore by Jennifer Rose McMahon.  
Here's another YA fantasy I'm planning to read:

(Lumatere Chronicles #1)
by Melina Marchetta


At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

Which book did YOU feature in your GM post today?

25 Mar 2017

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway – Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister

Title: Girl in Disguise

Author: Greer Macallister

Publication Date: March 22, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

ISBN: 9781492635222 

Summary: Inspired by the real story of investigator Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective's rise during one of the nation's times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.

With no money and no husband, Kate Warne finds herself with few choices. The streets of 1856 Chicago offer a desperate widow mostly trouble and ruin―unless that widow has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind. In a bold move that no other woman has tried, Kate convinces the legendary Allan Pinkerton to hire her as a detective.

Battling criminals and coworkers alike, Kate immerses herself in the dangerous life of an operative, winning the right to tackle some of the agency's toughest investigations. But is the woman she's becoming―capable of any and all lies, swapping identities like dresses―the true Kate? Or has the real disguise been the good girl she always thought she was?

My Thoughts:

Rating: 4/5 stars

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Girl in Disguise was a positive surprise for me. It exceeded my expectations, because I confess I thought it would be no more than a well-written, enjoyable but all-in-all average detective novel. That’s what I believed I’d get after having read Greer Macallister’s previous novel, The Magician’s Lie. I was mistaken. Greer Macallister did a very good job with her second novel.

There isn’t much data left for us that would give information about Kate Warne’s – the first female Pinkerton detective’s – activities and when I googled her name looking for pictures of her, I only found one or two photographs of a young man. The captions suggest the person on these pictures might be her, but I’m not convinced (was she that masculine? Well, who knows...).

Given the lack of information, Greer Macallister had an awful lot of freedom with this book, which she took advantage of and wrote something that can capture the attention of those who are interested in 19th century American history and also easily captivates the ones who like reading about female pioneers.

The first thing Kate Warne – our heroine – had to do after getting the job at the Pinkerton Detective Agency was to get herself accepted, that’s for sure. In the story most of the men don’t think it was a the greatest idea of Pinkerton to hire a woman and I have the feeling this wasn’t any different in reality.

Kate had to show she had skills that were needed for the job and she had to hammer some generalizations out of the male detectives’ head; for example, that women are too fragile or that they break down in every situation that generates emotions in them. The writer handled Kate’s early difficulties very well, these problems were interlaced with the earlier cases, through which Kate proved her professionalism to her peers.

The story isn’t told in one tight narrative; a period of Kate’s life is shown to us through the cases she dealt with. To tell the truth, for a while I didn’t believe it would build up to anything, but in the end I got a whole picture and I was satisfied.

The biggest cohesive chunk in the book was the Civil War part and that was the one I enjoyed the most (other than the parts with Lincoln in it. Did you know Kate Warne helped prevent an earlier assassination attempt against Lincoln? She practically smuggled the soon-to-be president from Baltimore to Washington D.C., so he could be inaugurated. Yeah, she was that cool).

During the Civil War the Pinkertons gathered intelligence and that was the most dangerous thing they ever had to do. Kate fought in her own way in the salons and dining rooms of suspected enemy spies, pretending, knowing if she got caught she would be in real trouble.

The romance that evolved between two agents in the story was unexpected, but welcomed from my part. A well-inserted and cleverly executed romance can never ruin a book.

There were only two things I wasn’t happy about. One was how Kate reacted when she found out that one of the detectives was gay. Could it really be that some adult people were that naïve and ignorant in that time they didn’t know gay people existed? Maybe, unfortunately I can imagine that. For her it seemed unnatural and she didn’t understand why the guy ‘did it’, which is a shame, but let’s attribute it to ignorance, shall we?

However, what I couldn’t tolerate for the life of me was when she decided to involve the same guy in a case in which he had to seduce a woman and she deliberately asked Pinkerton to send him. He was the best looking agent and therefore fit for the job, although I can’t help but think she wanted to ‘cure’ him somehow with this little affair and that was unsettling to say the least.

If I don’t count the character’s above mentioned flaw, I would say I liked Kate. However, for some reason with Macallister’s novels I always feel there is a transparent wall between me and her characters. I see them, I like what they do, I can even take a liking to their person, but I can never get close enough. If she writes another book, I’d like to see that wall shatter.

Overall, there was a lot of action, fascinating detective work, a good amount of travelling... it was a thrilling adventure from start to finish.

The Author’s note says this novel is a love story between a woman and her work and I couldn’t agree more. Kate Warne is a historical character that can inspire people, especially women and I’m glad I was introduced to her through this book.

Praise for Girl in Disguise

"The best book I read in 2016 hasn't been published yet. Historical fiction at its best... a rollocking tale." – Publishers Weekly

"Electrifying... a rollocking nineteenth-century thrill ride." – Amy Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of Girl Waits with Gun

"An exciting, well-crafted historical novel. Loaded with suspense and action, this a well-told, superb story." – Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

"You're going to devour GIRL IN DISGUISE." – Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue

"A celebration of a singual woman's life that's guided by facts but features some inviting imaginings". – Kirkus

"Macallister's story is a rip-roaring, fast-paced treat to read, with compelling characters, twisted villains, and mounds of historical details adeptly woven into the tale of a courageous woman who loves her job more than anything or anyone else." - Booklist

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2kZhRXu
Books a Million: http://bit.ly/2kxpkzn
Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2kxs001

About the Author:

Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist whose work has appeared in publications such as The North American Review, The Missouri Review, and The Messenger. Her plays have been performed at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. She lives with her family in Brooklyn. 

Social Media Links:
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2kFpk0y

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 3 Copies of Girl in Disguise + The Magician’s Lie.   Runs March 1-31 (US & Canada only)

23 Mar 2017

Showtime – NBC Timeless

It's time to dive into the sea of TV shows. 

 From time to time I'll write about shows I like in the hope you'll fall in love with them as well, so I'll have people I can discuss them with... Basically you're invited to co-fangirl with me, if you're up to such a thing :)

If you already know the show, please, don't be shy, comment away, and if you don't, give it a try (if you like the premise) and come back to tell me what you think of it.

I'll always give book recommendations as well, after introducing the TV show, featuring books I think those who liked the show should pick up.

Ready? Steady? Showtime!!!

Today the spotlight is on:

I know that there are countless TV shows out there about time travelling but for some reason I really warmed up to this one. Timeless is an NBC show, the first season is already out and at the moment all the fans are waiting for NBC's decision about renewal.

I haven't finished season one yet, I'm on episode 12, but I'm already in love with it.

Trailer for the first episode:


IMDB's description about the show:

'An unlikely trio travel through time in order to battle unknown criminals and protect history as we know it.'

How I would introduce it:

Someone invented a time machine at last, hoo-haaa. Too bad that a mysterious criminal nicks it right away, duh. But they still have an earlier, less shiny prototipe that works just as well (luckily!). All is not lost. And of course the government quickly involves some competent people who are ready to follow the stolen vessel and the bad guy. Thus the chase begins through time to save history and the world as it is.

Meet the 'unlikely trio'!

Lucy Preston played by Abigail Spencer

Lucy is an adorable history professor who gets chosen for the mission because of her expertise. She knows A LOT about American history and her knowledge guides the team in every historical era.

I like her wit, that she always comes up with an idea when it is needed. Time travelling is challenging for her, because she tries to hold on to history as she knows it, but very soon she realises that reading about things is not the same as living them and Flynn's meddling cannot always be stopped either, so she has to try to adapt to the new circumstances eventually.

Favourite Lucy episode: The World's Columbian Exposition

Rufus Caril played by Malcolm Barrett 

Rufus pilots the 'Lifeboat' (their time machine) and his practical skills pull the others out of many tight situations. He has it the worst on most of the adventures, since the colour of his skin makes him a targeted person in most eras.

His character developement is very sweet; Rufus is extremely shy in the beginning and thinks little of himself, but the missions bring the best out in him and he becomes more and more confident as they go.

Favourite Rufus episode: Stranded

Wyatt Logan played by Matt Lanter

The soldier guy, the handsome one. He is pretty cheeky and soon you'll ship him with Lucy (believe me...).

He has lost someone who was very close to him and he's trying to come to terms with his loss.

Hotheadedness, thy name is Wyatt.

Favourite Wyatt episode: The Alamo

And let's not forget the dangerous time bandit the're set against:

Garcia Flynn played by Goran Višnjić

The one with the 'Desperate times call for desperate measures' philosophy. I won't lie, I have a soft spot for Flynn. Yes, he is a murderer, he disrupts history, tries to change things, but when you learn why he does what he does and whose activites he tries to sabotage, suddenly everything becomes a lot more complicated. He fights for a noble cause for personal (selfish?) reasons and he doesn't let anyone get in his way.

And uhmm, he is also obsessed with Lucy.

Favourite Flynn episode: The Capture of Benedict Arnold

Why do I love the show?
  • I learn a lot about American history while I watch it. I studied US history at uni, but this show goes into details that interest me and I always enjoy learning new things. They travel to a different time period in every episode and they always run into some famous people they gush over (like I would :)

  • It is funny. The character interactions make me smile very often (e.g.: Wyatt keeps calling Lucy ma'am, even though he knows she hates it) and there are hilarious misunderstandings sometimes when they especially Rufus and Wyatt talk to people from the past.
Arnold: Let's stop here. The horses need water, and I could use a thunder mug.
Rufus: That sounds good! What do you drink from a thunder mug?
Arnold: You urinate in it. 
  • A show cannot win me over if it doesn't have lovable characters, not even if the story is good. I adore the team and hell, even the baddie earned my support. Go figure!

That's it about the introduction. For history buffs it's a must, and for everyone who enjoys entertaining telly. Have you already watched the show? Please let me know, so we can talk about it. If not, are you interested in it?

Click on 'Read more' to see my time travelling book recommendations!