Monday, 31 October 2016

Spotlight! The Broken One - Christine H. Bailey


The Broken One
Christine H. Bailey
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
What becomes of the girl left behind after the tragic death of her best friend?
Sixteen-year-old Farris Sloan is picking up the pieces after the untimely death of her best friend Kelsey. But even one year later, Farris can’t seem to find “normal” again—not until Lane Evans pops back into her life and pushes her to face reality. When he offers her the chance to find out the truth about Kelsey’s death, Farris fears what will surface. Is it too much too soon or just what she needs to move forward? The Broken One explores a teen’s struggle to overcome loss and her hope to rediscover what it truly means to live and love.






Christine H. Bailey teaches creative writing and written composition at a private university in west Tennessee. Before teaching English, Christine worked as a journalist, a marketing/public relations writer, and a freelance editor. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website at www.cibailey.com.







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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Spotlight! Concealed - Christina Bauer


Concealed
Christina Bauer
(Beholder #2)
Publication date: October 25th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
As a Grand Mistress Necromancer, Elea’s a witch who commands the ultimate power over spirit and bone. It’s magic that she’ll need in order to stop the Vicomte Gaspard from killing her Sisters by draining their magic along with their life force.
To find and free her fellow witches, Elea must venture into some of the most dangerous places in the realm. What starts off as a rescue quest could easily turn into a suicide mission. And with the handsome warlock Rowan along to help, Elea may be risking more than her life. Her growing feelings for Rowan might put her heart on the line, too.




Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Zerto. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.




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Friday, 28 October 2016

Spotlight! ROMA AMOR: A NOVEL OF CALIGULA’S ROME - SHERRY CHRISTIE

ROMA AMOR: A NOVEL OF CALIGULA’S ROME
BY SHERRY CHRISTIE
Bexley House Books
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Marcus Carinna hears a voice whisper, “Your turn,” as he rides past his family tomb. An unseen presence also startles the Germanic priestess Aurima, whom he is bringing to Rome. But hardheaded Romans scoff at ghosts, and Marcus can’t believe it’s a warning from his brother, who killed himself three years earlier.
37 AD: To great acclaim, 25-year-old Caligula Caesar has become Rome’s new master. No one is more pleased than Senator Titus Carinna, who helped him succeed to the throne. It’s a shame the Senator’s older son–Caligula’s closest friend–committed suicide after being charged with treason. But that still leaves Marcus, his second son.
Headstrong and hot-tempered, Marcus would rather prove his courage by leading legions against Rome’s enemies than take his brother’s place. Yet when his father orders him to befriend Caligula, he has no choice.
Caught in a web of deceit, conspiracy, and betrayal, he will uncover a secret that threatens his family, the woman he desires, even his life… and may bring chaos to the young Roman Empire.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND


About the Author03_Sherry Christie

After earning a Phi Beta Kappa creative award in college for an early draft about a nobly born charioteer, Sherry Christie spent many years of research and revision developing ROMA AMOR into the story about fathers and sons that it wanted to be. It’s a joy to immerse myself in the lives of first-century Romans–and a distinct change from my day job as a . In addition to writing, Sherry is a professional copywriter. She lives on the coast of Maine with a native-born Viking and two cats.
For more information, please visit Sherry Christie’s website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, and Goodreads.



Please Pass The Books offers a spotlight of this book. You may follow the official book blog tour here:


Friday, October 28
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, November 1
Review at Bookfever
Wednesday, November 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, November 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, November 7
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, November 9
Review at Bookramblings
Review at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, November 10
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
Friday, November 11
Review at Beth’s Book Nook
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at The True Book Addict

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Spotlight! A Song of War: A Novel of Troy

A SONG OF WAR: A NOVEL OF TROY
by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield
Foreward by Glyn Iliffe
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Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.
A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.
A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.
A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.
A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.
A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.
A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.
A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.
Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

AMAZON | AMAZON UK | KOBO


About the Authors

CHRISTIAN CAMERON was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.
After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.
LIBBIE HAWKER was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.
After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.
KATE QUINN is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.
Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.
VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. The LA Times calls Cleopatra’s Moon, “magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” The Wall Street Journal called it “absorbing.”
STEPHANIE THORNTON is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
Her novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, and The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great, tell the stories of history’s forgotten women.
SJA TURNEY lives with his wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire.
Marius’ Mules was his first full length novel. Being a fan of Roman history, SJA decided to combine his love of writing and love of the classical world. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum – an attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome.
These have been followed by numerous sequels, with three books in the fantasy ‘Tales of the Empire’ series and five in the bestselling ‘Marius’ Mules’ one. 2013 has seen the first book in a 15th century trilogy – ‘The Thief’s Tale’ – and will also witness several side projects seeing the light of day.
RUSSELL WHITFIELD was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.
Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

Please Pass The Books offers a Spotlight of this novel. You are welcome to follow the official book blog tour here:


Saturday, October 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Sunday, October 16
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, October 17
Review at Leeanna.me
Tuesday, October 18
Review at A Book Drunkard
Wednesday, October 19
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, October 20
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, October 21
Review & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
Saturday, October 22
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Monday, October 24
Review at Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, October 25
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, October 26
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, October 28
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, October 31
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, November 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, November 2
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, November 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, November 7
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, November 8
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, November 9
Review at Historical Readings & Reviews
Friday, November 11
Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at The Book Tree
Saturday, November 12
Excerpt at The Reading Queen
Review at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Wangs vs. The World - Jade Chang

The Wangs vs. the World

Jade Chang

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.


Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.





Please Pass The Books Review:

I picked up Jade Chang's debut novel, The Wangs vs. The World, with a mountain of high hope. I mean, it has a Kirkus review, for heaven's sake! The blurb promised a laugh-out-loud road trip, and I secretly harbored hopes of an Amy Tan incarnation, complete with a cultural generation gap that makes a glorious and rocky—but ultimately enlightening and brilliant—full circle.

*Sigh*

Alas, I was bored at 7%. I pushed through, waiting for the rib-tickling humor promised in the blurb that never fully materialized. Waiting for characters that were too well developed to not have their loose strings tied up, left with their loose strings untied. Waiting for the story to actually unfold and for the "Aha!" moment, only to find there really isn't one.

The prose were sometimes fantastic, but mostly dredged out at slug-speed, forcing me to set the Kindle down more than I should've. The author is masterful at description and character development, but it's not enough to save The Wangs vs. The World from its "comedy"—and I use that word rather generously—that sometimes ventures into weird toilet humor and swearing that belittle prose that could be perfect. 

Could be. But they aren't because…

"Barbra had grown up in the college's employee quarters, a too smart girl with a too round face, who cursed under her breath in her parents native Hokkien but still learned to trill out the smooth hills and valleys of Mandarin as easily as she'd mastered driving the university's old Datsun and smiling at the college boys with just enough intention to keep them guessing despite her funny little nose."

Holy run-on-sentences, Batman! 

Here's the lowdown: I think a debut novelist was let down by her editor(s). The Wangs vs. The World could've been polished to a higher shine, but is instead let down by poor editing. A slow-moving plot and mediocre resolution is generally forgivable in a debut novel when the writing is great. Taken a paragraph at a time, Chang's prose and descriptions border on brilliant. But this isn’t a paragraph at a time, it's a whole book...and Chang desperately needed someone to help steer her and the Wangs into the correct lane.

THREE STARS

I'd like to thank Net Galley and the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which this certainly is.




Jade Chang's debut novel, The Wangs vs. the World, was published on October 4, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She is a journalist who has covered arts, culture, and cities and a recipient of the Sundance Fellowship for Arts Journalism, the AIGA/Winterhouse Award for Design Criticism, and the James D. Houston Memorial scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. 


Goodreads     Website     Twitter

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Spotlight! The Popish Midwife - Annelisa Christensen

THE POPISH MIDWIFE
BY ANNELISA CHRISTENSEN
Publication Date: July 14, 2016
The Conrad Press
Paperback & eBook; 454 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
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In seventeenth-century London, thirteen years after the plague and twelve years after the Great Fire, the restoration of King Charles II has dulled the memory of Cromwell’s puritan rule, yet fear and suspicion are rife. Religious turmoil is rarely far from tipping the scales into hysteria.
Elizabeth Cellier, a bold and outspoken midwife, regularly visits Newgate Prison to distribute alms to victims of religious persecution. There she falls in with the charming Captain Willoughby, a debtor, whom she enlists to gather information about crimes against prisoners, so she might involve herself in petitioning the king in their name.
‘Tis a plot, Madam, of the direst sort.’ With these whispered words Willoughby draws Elizabeth unwittingly into the infamous Popish Plot and soon not even the fearful warnings of her husband, Pierre, can loosen her bond with it.
This is the incredible true story of one woman ahead of her time and her fight against prejudice and injustice.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO



About the Author

Annelisa Christensen was born in Sussex, took a psychology degree at the University of Stirling in Scotland, then returned to the south to partner in a fashion design company with her childhood friend, Julia. They had fun selling to shops and in street markets all over London, but dissolved the business when children came along, both believing in putting their families first. Delighted to be offered the job of laboratory technician in the local secondary school, in which she had herself been Head Girl twenty years earlier, Annelisa simultaneously wrote a magical realism series (as yet unpublished). She wrote The Popish Midwife after falling in love with Elizabeth Cellier in some 300-year-old loose pages of a trial she bought on the internet. The more she discovered about Elizabeth Cellier, the more Annelisa wanted to share this amazing woman’s story. The Popish Midwife is the result of years of research and writing.
For more information, please visit Annelisa Christensen’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. Sign up for her Newsletter.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Spotlight! Come Next Spring - Alana White

COME NEXT SPRING
BY ALANA WHITE

Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Open Road Media
eBook & Paperback; 178 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-504034234
Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult
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It’s 1949 in Tennessee Smoky Mountain country, and everything in pre-teen Salina’s life seems suddenly different. Her sister is engaged, her brother is absorbed in caring for his sickly foal, and salina feels she has nothing in common anymore with her best friend. This novel for young people captures the insular spirit of the mountain people, the breathtaking country itself, and a girl’s struggle to accept the inevitability of change.

“An evocative first novel….the message is rounded out with lively characters, period details, and the sustained use of Salina’s childlike point of view.” – Kirkus
“. . . .A story as intricately patterned and multicolored as a practical, quilted coat—one that will warm readers, too.” -ALA Booklist Starred Review
“This finely crafted first novel engagingly depicts early adolescent feelings. All the events in the story occur between the first day of school and Christmas, in a year when Salina Harris moves beyond her concerns for popularity to an unfolding friendship with Scooter Russell, an unwelcome new-comer. . . .It is well paced, building to a dramatic climax; it creates a strong sense of time and place; and the novel includes a likable cast of characters and even a romance.” -Horn Book Magazine
“Salina is a wonderfully drawn character (who), with the help of loving parents and a teacher who challenges her to see a larger picture, realizes that change is inevitable, and that she will be able to accept it.” -School Library Journal

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback)


About the Author

Alana White is the author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers. Her most recent publications are the adult historical mystery novel, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin, set at the height of the Italian Renaissance in Florence, Italy, and Come Next Spring, a coming of age novel set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in the 1940s. She is also the author of a biography of Sacagawea, Sacagawea: Westward With Lewis and Clark. She is a longtime member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Nashville, TN.
Alana welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit her at www.AlanaWhite.com for more information. As well as HNS and SCBWI, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Author’s Guild, and the Women’s National Book Association.
For more information, please visit Alana White’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Leo Tolstoy: A Vegetarian's Tale - S. Pavlenko

Leo Tolstoy: A Vegetarian's Tale: Tolstoy's Family Vegetarian Recipes Adapted For The Modern Kitchen
S. Pavlenko

Step back in time and dine on the family recipes of Leo Tolstoy, one of the world’s preeminent vegetarians and the author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina.


Learn the recipes of one of history’s most famous writers and vegetarians in Leo Tolstoy: A Vegetarian’s Tale . Featuring the writer’s original recipes as interpreted by renowned modern-day chef, this book is guaranteed to provide you with some of the best-tasting meat-free meals you’ve ever cooked!

Leo Tolstoy was a trendsetter. He was one of the most important and prolific writers of his time—his novels, like Anna Karenina and War and Peace , are still being taught in schools and adapted for the screen. But he was also one of the first widely known vegetarians. Though a meat-eater early in his life, by the time he turned 50 he’d decided it was immoral for someone to kill on his behalf just so he could enjoy a slab of beef for lunch. He became an ovo-lacto vegetarian, but because of the time in which he lived it was up to him (and particularly his lovely wife, Sofia) to create vegan and vegetarian recipes that would both taste good and keep him healthy.

Now, for the first time ever, Tolstoy’s mouth-watering, meat-free meals have been collected in Leo Tolstoy: A Vegetarian’s Tale . This book features vegan and vegetarian recipes from Tolstoy’s wife. Sophia Tolstoy’s 1874 “Cookery Book”, which was compiled for her by her brother from her diaries, provides a rich tapestry of the Tolstoy family’s dining habits.

The recipes range from homemade Macaroni and Cheese to Potatoes a la Maître D’Hôtel, with plenty of tasty options in between (including family specialties you can’t find anywhere else, such as Tolstoy’s Herbal Liqueur). Many of the original versions of the recipes lacked exact descriptions of ingredients and cooking times, but the recipes were edited by chef de cuisine at some of Moscow’s best fine-dining restaurants to insert the missing elements to make the meals you prepare as delicious as possible. So whether you’re looking for a modern revision on a classic or the original recipe right from the 1800’s, you’re guaranteed to find a meal you’ll love.

The book contains not only original recipes from Tolstoy and his family; it also includes diary entries written by his wife Sofia, his children, and others who stayed at his estate. These fascinating passages help illuminate the famous writer’s day-to-day life.



Please Pass The Books Review:

An interesting peek into the former family cookbook of Leo Tolstoy's wife, Sophia.

The author has gone through the trouble of modifying Sophia Tolstoy's original recipes to suit today's ingredients and kitchens. That said, the recipes aren't really the highlight of this cookbook, and I didn't find one that stuck out as particularly appetizing or inspiring enough to warrant an attempt. Where this book holds its appeal is in the personal insight into Tolstoy's eating habits and preferences, which are interspersed between each recipe in the form of a family story. As a cookbook (and as someone who loves to cook myself), I'd probably pass this one up. But as a literary buff, I think this cookbook would make a delightful addition to the bookshelf of likeminded Tolstoy fans—and possibly prove useful for a themed dinner party.

FOUR STARS

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which this certainly is.



Thursday, 20 October 2016

Spotlight! One of Windsor - Beth M. Caruso

ONE OF WINDSOR: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICA’S FIRST WITCH HANGING
BY BETH M. CARUSO
Publication Date: October 29, 2015
Lady Slipper Press
eBook & Paperback; 358 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Alice, a young woman prone to intuitive insights and loyalty to the only family she has ever known, leaves England for the rigid colony of the Massachusetts Bay in 1635 in hopes of reuniting with them again. Finally settling in Windsor, Connecticut, she encounters the rich American wilderness and its inhabitants, her own healing abilities, and the blinding fears of Puritan leaders which collide and set the stage for America’s first witch hanging, her own, on May 26, 1647.
This event and Alice’s ties to her beloved family are catalysts that influence Connecticut’s Governor John Winthrop Jr. to halt witchcraft hangings in much later years.
Paradoxically, these same ties and the memory of the incidents that led to her accusation become a secret and destructive force behind Cotton Mather’s written commentary on the Salem witch trials of 1692, provoking further witchcraft hysteria in Massachusetts forty-five years after her death.
The author uses extensive historical research combined with literary inventions, to bring forth a shocking and passionate narrative theory explaining this tragic and important episode in American history and in the life of Alice (Alse) Young, America’s first witch hanging victim.

The best work of research-based historical fiction about the New England witchcraft trials to date, unearthing a little-known case with rich detail and skill.” – Lisa Johnson, Executive Director, Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington, CT
Caruso went deep into the archival sources to determine who the real Alice might have been and using detective-like skill revealed the probable story of Alice Young’s life. There are layers of mystery here, and as each gradually unfolds, the reader is treated not only to a richly imagined fictional world but to a well researched historical one.” – Katherine Hermes Ph.D, Chair, Dept. of History, Central Connecticut State University

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE


About the Author03_Beth M. Caruso

Author Beth M. Caruso grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent her childhood writing puppet shows and witches’ cookbooks. She became interested in French Literature and Hispanic Studies, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She later obtained Masters degrees in Nursing and Public Health.
Working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, she helped to improve the public health of local Karen hill tribes. She also had the privilege to care for hundreds of babies and their mothers as a labor and delivery nurse. Largely influenced by an apprenticeship with herbalist and wildcrafter, Will Endres, in North Carolina, she surrounds herself with plants through gardening and native species conservation.
Her latest passion is to discover and convey important stories of women in American history. One of Windsor is her debut novel. She lives in New England with her awesome husband, amazing children, loyal puppy, and cuddly cats.
For more information, please visit the One of Windsor website and Facebook page.