Book to Picture :: The Tale of Mally Biddle {2}

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Book to Picture is my project where I match an image to a scene in one of my books. I’m very excited to showcase the artist or photographer’s work as well as share some of my writing. I always link to the artist’s website or prominent social media page so you can discover more of their stunning work.

mally biddle_booktopicture2

Art by David & Myrtille

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THE TALE OF MALLY BIDDLE is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Books on Parade ~ The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

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books on paradeFeaturing books that have caught my eye — welcome to Books On Parade! If you are an author and would like your novel featured in Books On Parade, click here to find out how.

The Art Forger

The Art Forger

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.

Praise

The Art Forger is the real thing.” —USAToday.com

“[A] highly entertaining literary thriller about fine art and foolish choices.” —Parade

“An intelligent, cleverly plotted page-turner.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune 

 

 

This or That with Lita Stump

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This or That Challenge for The Tale of Mally Biddle. I figured Lita would have the most fun with this sort of interview.

Character’s Point of View: Lita Stump

A bit of a bio: Lita is Mally’s best friend. She is 18 with sandy blonde hair that she keeps in a long braid down her back. She has worked in the castle for a year, is terrified of heights (so she always weasels out of dusting the chandeliers), loves to annoy the cook, and will steal sweets off platters when no one is looking. She dislikes using the servant passages as they are ‘dreary’. Lita is upbeat, prefers laughing over scowling and sunshine over rain.

Vanilla or chocolate?

Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Why would anyone not pick chocolate?

Edward or Jacob?

Who? Are they friends of yours? I suppose I’ll go with Jacob because I knew an Edward once. He once put slugs under my pillow. You don’t look very repulsed. What’s that? You have slugs too? How big are they? I’m asking because the ones around the marshes are as long as my finger. I know! He was a disgusting idiot. My aunt always said he liked me and that was why he did it. Stupid fool. I got back at him the first chance I could. Scorpion in his boot.

Hockey or soccer?

Dear Lenzar! What are those? Candy? I would love to try a hockey. Do you have one on you?

Ebook or paper?

Don’t you mean parchment?

Salty or sweet?

Sweet. I think I gave that away with the chocolate. Have you been to the Lone Candle? No! You must go! You can’t visit Bosc without stopping at the Lone Candle! They have this spectacular drink–oh, you’ll think you’ve died. It’s called almond toffee. Tell them you know me. They’ll give you a free glass. It’s the best dessert around, but don’t tell Archie I said that.

Beach or mountains?

I’ve always lived by the coast. I grew up near Bosc, actually, so I know all about fish head soup, but I’d love to see the mountains.

Dog or cat?

I’d love a dog, but servants aren’t allowed pets. Cats are just a little too opinionated, if you know what I mean.

Messy or neat?

I’m horribly messy! It must be from having to clean up after those knights all day. When it comes to me, I just don’t care!

Ninjas or pirates?

I’ve never met a ninja. They sound delightful! But I’ve heard of pirates. They always have their shirts unbuttoned, don’t they? And I hear that there’s so much hair. Who’s up for a sailing trip?

Book to Picture :: The Tale of Mally Biddle {1}

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Book to Picture is my project where I match an image to a scene in one of my books. I’m very excited to showcase the artist or photographer’s work as well as share some of my writing. I always link to the artist’s website or prominent social media page so you can discover more of their stunning work.

mally biddle_booktopicture1

Art by David & Myrtille

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THE TALE OF MALLY BIDDLE is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Melissa Reads :: Aesop’s Secret by Claudia White

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Aesope's SecretSynopsis:

Melinda and Felix Hutton are just an ordinary pair of siblings, until their parents confess that they have all inherited the talent of metamorphosis, a revelation that begins to unravel the children’s world. Ten-year-old Melinda embraces her Athenite heritage, but her efforts often end up leaving her freckled face attached to feathered body with a twitching rat’s tail. Her older brother Felix doesn’t greet this new reality as something to celebrate. Wishing he were normal, Felix resents becoming parts of the myths and fables he’s read. But there’s a threat rising just as the children are learning of their talents, and a powerful enemy will use every trick and tool he has to keep the family from letting slip the secret of their gifts. With only the help of Melinda’s pet rabbit Aesop, who has begun acting awfully strange lately, Felix and Melinda determinedly fight back against the suffocating grasp of those who want to drive the Huttons and their kind back underground.

Thoughts:

Let’s take a moment to talk about the cover. Just look at it. Adorable, creepy, simplistic — it grabbed me right from the get go. (Though cover Melinda and book Melinda look a good bit different, it still hooked me.)

Now let’s talk about the story. Cute, charming and fun. I love it when writers give their characters unique, quirky names and White did fabulous here. Melinda, Felix, Aesop, Stumpworthy — White clearly thinks the same as me. If you’re going to name a character, make it fun! I loved Melinda’s awkward transformations. Showing up for breakfast with rabbit ears — wonderful.

My only wish was that there was more depth to the story. It’s a short one — just a little over 100 pages. Nothing wrong with that. There have been many a book I’ve read that needed a major trim, but Aesop’s Secret needed expansion. I wanted more details. I wanted a fuller experience. I wanted more dialog. I wanted to get inside the characters’ skin. The story moved so quickly that I felt I was more skating over the surface rather than diving deep. For instance, I expected Melinda to explore and experiment with transforming into animals. Think about it. If you were ten (or really, any age) and suddenly realized you could become ANY animal what would you do? Try out a lion? Zebra? Alligator? Peacock? Heck, python? Melinda only tries to become a horse, a rabbit, a squirrel, a mouse, and a very large frog. So, to be fair, she does experiment. I just wanted something a bit more bold. There was so much potential to really have some crazy, outrageous fun. Why not rhino! Having said that, White has made the book a series, so it’s likely that the characters will continue to develop and there will be more opportunities for some fun animal transformations.

In conclusion, Aesop’s Secret is a fun read for both children and adults.

Favorite Lines

A breeze brushed her curly brown hair into her eyes, a reminder that she was simply a short, slightly pudgy ten-year-old girl with freckles playing connect the dots across her face.

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“For centuries we have been forced to live secret lives, never letting anyone know who and what we really are. We are different and therefore at risk.”

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Melinda’s eyes sprang open. Her room was dark except for a sliver of moonlight that shone in through the slit in her curtains. She was wide awake and knew that she would have trouble falling back to sleep, but she didn’t care. She was happy to have left that dream behind.

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I want to thank Rosie’s Book Review Team and Claudia White for the free copy of Aesop’s Secret.

Melissa Reads :: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

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Life After LifeSynopsis:

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

My Rank: 4 cups of coffee

My sister handed me Life After Life saying, “It’s like a video game.” Though that statement might make you blink in bemusement, it is downright true.

This is a book about rebirth. About doing over. About trying to get it right. Ursula keeps dying. But that doesn’t get her down. She just comes right back, born once again on a snowy night in 1910. As she (repeatedly) grows up, she sometimes unknowingly, sometimes purposefully, makes different choices that change her future, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.

I really liked it. The story lagged a bit in places, but the writing was deliciously witty and the characters were masterfully crafted. There is a good deal of jumping through time which was rather annoying, but once I figured out where we were in Ursula’s life, I was fine. The ending is one that leaves you with a mixture of feelings. Disturbed, confused, bittersweet? That sounds scarier than it was. It’s just hard to explain without giving too much away, so I’ll leave you with this: if you are fascinated with English history (especially WWII) and enjoy magnificent prose, pick this one up. (It’s like a video game.)

Favorite Lines

Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness, a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve.

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“I feel as if I’m waiting for something dreadful to happen, and then I realize it already has.”

—-

“He was born a politician.”
No, Ursula thought, he was born a baby, like everyone else. And this is what he has chosen to become.

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“Why is everything an ‘adventure’ with you?” Sylvie said irritably to Izzie.
“Because life is an adventure, of course.”
“I would say it was more of an endurance race,” Sylvie said. “Or an obstacle course.”

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Book to Picture :: The Unicorn Girl {3}

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Book to Picture is a new project I’m working on where I match an image to a scene in one of my books. This is much the same as my Monday Book Lines, but so much better. And I’m very excited to showcase the artist or photographer’s work as well as share some of my writing.

From THE UNICORN GIRL:

unicorn_girl_booktopicture3

Art by Alessandro Andreuccetti

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THE UNICORN GIRL is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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In more Unicorn Girl related news, the book received a beautiful review from OnlyBooksAndHorses.

Free eBooks // The Unicorn Girl

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It is the day after my birthday and The Unicorn Girl giveaway is in full swing. I wanted to go ahead and thank each and everyone one of you lovely readers (in the thousands) who have downloaded my debut novel. I am always floored by the number of people who pick up my book when I do these promotions. THANK YOU! If you haven’t yet scooped up your copy, don’t fear. You’ve got until July 29th before it goes back to $2.99.

I also received one of the best gifts a writer can get on her birthday. A reader told me that I’m her favorite author. It doesn’t get better than that.

unicorn girl birthday giveawayIf you download The Unicorn Girl and enjoy it, let me know!

Cheers!

Melissa

 

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