Saturday, June 30, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 253: Tiffany Blues, by M.J. Rose

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

This week, I'm comparing 
two covers for the same book!

Tiffany Blues
M.J. Rose
Hardcover, 336  pages
Atria Books
(A Division of Simon & Schuster)
August 7, 2018
Art, Historical Fiction, Mystery, 

My Thoughts About These Covers

Well, move over, Gollancz! This totally LOVELY cover was created at Atria Books, which is a division of Simon & Schuster. I first came across it on one of my favorite blogs -- Musings of a Bookish Kitty, created and owned by Wendy, aka "Literary Feline". You can see that post HERE. (Just scroll down a bit.) 

There's a bit of a mystery regarding this cover.....Read on, and you'll see why.

On Amazon US, this cover is sold only for the audiobook. For the hardback, there's another cover, shown below. (See the link for the Audible audiobook HERE.) The cover shown above, which is for the hardback, is sold at Book Depository, which I have referenced above. The thing is, it seems that BD (it used to be known as TBD, but they've dropped the word "The" from their name) is the ONLY place you can get this cover -- on the hardback, that is. I would imagine that, when the book is released on August 7th, Barnes & Noble will also carry the one with the cover shown below.

So it looks like this is not a case of "US vs. UK covers", as Atria Books is based in NYC. Hm. Perhaps they have a UK branch? But if so, then why doesn't Amazon UK also sell the hardback with the cover shown above? Instead, they sell the one with the cover shown below. Me seemeth the plot thickens, Horatio...... Lol.

Of course you know by now which of these two covers I prefer, since I've been going on and on about the larger one. Lol. Plus, the very fact that I've chosen to make it larger than the second one is another, not-so-subtle hint that I prefer IT. I TOTALLY do!

Now, it could be argued that this second cover is very atmospheric, and thus, a perfectly fine cover, indeed. In fact, I think it looks like a 19th-century painting,  in the style of the Romantic movement. However, I MUCH prefer the first cover. 

What I like the most about that first cover is just how bold and upfront it is. Everything is just.....THERE. Interestingly, the very same image of the fountain with the Neoclassic statue is featured in both covers, although, in the first cover, the image has been turned so that the statue faces right, instead of left, as in the second cover. It's also been enlarged.

I love the way the young woman's profile has been rendered, and also how the fountain and trees in the background have been blended with her hair. The ripples form the lake next to the fountain are part of the image, and in the first cover, they extend below the young woman's neck. I like this, as well.

Then there's the title, which is done in a lovely, ornamented font that appropriately evokes Art Deco and the Jazz Age. This font does not really fit the second cover, with its 19th-century feel. This is yet another similarity between the two covers, but again, I don't think it works at all with the image of the second cover.

I also love the fact that, on the first cover, the same font has been used for the title and the author's name. This gives the cover a very pulled-together look that is totally lacking in the second cover.

I'm not saying that the second cover is not a nice one, because it is. However, it just doesn't pack the visual punch of the first one. Besides, it looks rather conventional, whereas the first one is, I think, more innovative.

Actually, the second cover wouldn't have been a bad choice for a classic like Jane Eyre, for instance. It just doesn't convey any feeling of the actual time period of the plot of Tiffany Blues, which takes place during the Roaring Twenties. Perhaps that was the intention of the person who designed this second cover -- a subtle reference to that great novel. However, I honestly don't think it works.

This is yet another case of not being able to find any information about either of these cover artists. The Amazon preview has not been any help at all, and I suppose that's because the book hasn't been published yet. Book Depository doesn't have this feature anyway, so I couldn't get any information through them, either......

I am very much interested in purchasing this book, precisely because it features art and artists in the plot. And, of course, when I do buy it, it will be from Book Depository, as I can't get over how BEAUTIFUL that first cover is! I'm so very grateful to Wendy for using THIS cover in her blog post!

What do you think of 
this week's covers?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 134: If I had an Instagram account.....

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

This Week's Question

Do you have an Instagram account? 
If so, do you 
only follow book folks? 

(Submitted  by Elizabeth @

My Answer

It's a little ironic that this question should follow the one from last week, I think. Why? Because, if I'm having a hard time balancing work and blogging, then it stands to reason that I would limit my social media involvement. Right? Yes, many bloggers tweet their blog posts, and publish them on Facebook, Google +, Instagram, and what have you. It IS necesary, after all, to make sure people know your blog exists. There's a paradox here, though; maintaining an active social media presence is pretty time consuming. I do publish my posts, mostly on Twitter, and sometimes on Google +. As for Facebook, I have a personal page, as well as a fan page for A Night's Dream of Books, but stopped publishing my blog posts there because Facebook expects people who have fan pages to PAY in order for FB to put post links in other people's feeds. Otherwise, you get VERY limited exposure. Well, this would make sense if I had customers, but I don't make any money from this blog, so I've just stopped posting on my FB fan page. I do continue to post on Twitter and Google +, but rather sporadically. 

As for Instagram, no, I don't have an Instagram account. I barely have enough time for the social media I've already mentioned! If I DID have one, though, I would not limit myself to following bookish folks. I'm also VERY interested in the arts, especially Fine Arts. Actually, I would be interested in following creative people -- whether writers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, sculptors, musicians, composers, or dancers. 

Of course, writers and painters would be at the top of the list. 

In the case of writers, I love several genres, from classics to literary fiction, to paranormal romance, to SF and fantasy, to Young Adult Fiction. So I would certainly have LOTS of great authors to follow!

Painters and sculptors? Absolutely! There are some contemporary artists that I wish I could meet in person..... just like I'd like to meet some contemporary writers in person.

Painters would be neck and neck with graphic designers, though, because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE beautiful book covers! So I would follow anyone who designs covers that make me want to sigh with utter bliss......

Photographers would come next. I ADORE beautiful photographs, too! There are many wonderful photographers out there.

Musicians would be next. Anyone who can handle a piano or violin concerto would qualify for me to follow them. In addition to classical music, I also love classic rock, progressive jazz, current pop music, and electronic music such as trance, progressive house and chillout. Meditation music also counts.

There are many terrific modern composers, especially of electronic music, so I would follow them, as well.

As for dancers, I'm not that familiar with this category of creative people, but I would follow classic ballerinas, as well as dancers of more modern music.

Last but most definitely NOT least are other book bloggers! We book bloggers are, of course, creative people, too! It takes creativity not only to write reviews and other blog posts, but also to design one's blog and posts. Plus, we also fall into the category of "bookish people". So YAAAAAY for book bloggers!!

So these are the types of folks I would follow if I had an Instagram account. IF. Maybe one of these days I will. Who knows? If I can somehow have more time for online activities, then I will certainly consider it! Lol.

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 67: The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!

This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings!
This is also where we excited book bloggers showcase future releases we're eagerly anticipating! 
For more information, 
please click HERE.

There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

 The Calculating Stars
(Lady Astronaut, Book 1)
Mary Robinette Kowal
Trade Paperback, 432 pages
Tor Books
     July 3, 2018        
Alternate History, Feminist Fiction, 
Science Fiction

Mary Robinette Kowal's science fiction debut, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning "Lady Astronaut of Mars."

Den of Geek―Best Science Fiction Books of June 2018
Omnivoracious―15 Highly Anticipated SFF Reads for Summer 2018

 On a cold spring night in 1952, a meteor decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the Earth inhospitable to humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs.  This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s efforts to colonize space, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part.

One of these new entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put a man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too—aside from some pesky barriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations about the proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may not stand a chance against her.

Why I can't wait for this one!

OMG!!!! This book was DEFINITELY written for me!! Lol When I was around 12 or so, my great ambition was to be an astronaut! Unfortunately, I was never athletic enough to ever go into astronaut training, and I must confess that I've always been afraid of flying....nor am I gifted in the sciences. But the whole concept of women in space was something that excited me from the very moment I first heard about the space program, back in the day! I knew I could never be part of that, and had to content myself with devouring SF books.....But I was certainly all in favor of other women getting involved! There were, and are, MANY qualified women out there! So I'm all gung-ho for them!! 
This book also caught my attention right away because I LOVE alternate history!! 
Another HUGE plus: the cover is SO BLUE!!!!

Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and her short story "For Want of a Nail" won the 2011 Hugo. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year's Best anthologies. She is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor Books,  2010) and Glamour in Glass (Tor Books, 2012).

Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, has performed for LazyTown (CBS), The Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures,  and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve. She also records fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi.

Mary lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters.

Amazon Author Page

What do you think of my
choice this week? 
Please leave a comment and
let me know!


Monday, June 25, 2018

Book Review/Giveaway!! Echo Moon, by Laura Spinella

Echo Moon
(Ghost Gifts, Book 3)
Laura Spinella
Trade Paperback, 428 pages
Montlake Romance
May 22, 2018
Fantasy, Magical Realism, 
Paranormal Fiction, Romance

A past life, a past war, and a past love. Peter St John can’t foresee a future until he confronts his past sins.
When photojournalist Peter St John returns home after a two-year absence, the life he’s been running from catches up. For years his mother’s presence, coupled with Pete’s own psychic gift, has triggered visits to 1917. There, he relives battles of the Great War, captures the heyday of Coney Island on canvas, and falls in love with an enchanting and enigmatic songstress named Esme. Present-day Pete still pines for Esme, and his love endures…but so does his vivid memory of killing her.

When he discovers family heirlooms that serve as proof of his crimes, Pete will have to finally confront his former life. He also meets a young woman—who is more than what she seems—with a curious connection to his family. As century-old secrets unravel, can Pete reconcile a murder from his past before it destroys his future?

I received a complementary copy of this 
compelling novel from TLC Book Tours, 
in exchange for my honest review, 
and I can honestly say that I loved it! 
All opinions are my own.

This riveting, well-crafted novel packs it all in -- paranormal events such as ghosts and time travel, mystery, suspense, and romance. Furthermore, all of these elements are seamlessly tied together, for the perfect, compulsive, until-three-in-the-morning read! The plot moves along beautifully, without missing a beat, with clues and twists that, while not always action-packed, do keep the story moving forward.

The fascinating background includes life in New York City right before and during World War I, following a troupe of traveling carnival performers led by one Oscar Bodette, their leader and impresario. We get to meet some of these performers, but the one most important to the story is Esmerelda Moon, ersatz psychic seer, whose true talent is singing. 

Peter St. John, the male protagonist, has been psychically tormented for years -- he keeps seeing visions of the moment in which he killed the woman he loved, back in 1917. That woman is Esmerelda Moon, whom he nicknamed "Esme", back in her time, when he was known as Phineas ("Phin") Seaborn, painter and photographer.

The story moves back and forth between the present day and the early 20th century, with Pete frantically attempting to discover clues to his horrible visions, which have kept him from living his present life to the fullest. In past years, he has escaped from the madness by immersing himself in his career; he is a photojournalist who has covered many important world conflicts. 

On a recent visit to his parents, the past catches up with him, and he realizes that he can no longer avoid facing it. A mysterious postcard -- what his mother, Aubrey, a powerful psychic in her own right, calls a "ghost gift" -- becomes a very important clue. Messages suddenly appear on this card, and Pete knows he must follow the clues.

The novel is full of very vivid characters, starting with Pete himself, and including his parents, Levi and Aubrey, Grace, his ex-girlfriend, whom he left because he was afraid to be in a relationship he might end up sabotaging, and, of course, Esme herself, whose beautiful spirit shines throughout the story. Then there's one Benjamin Hupp, who is obviously just as smitten with Esme as Phin is, but whose intentions toward her are rather dubious. All of these characters bring their various emotions and conflicts to the story, and all of them leave an indelible mark on the reader.

The story of Esme and Phin is a bittersweet, very romantic one, and I found myself wondering how on earth he could have killed her. I must admit that this put me off at first, since I don't like to get inside the head of any criminal, unless I'm fairly certain that said criminal will get his/her just desserts in the end. However, the more I read about Esme and Phin together, the more I doubted that he had, indeed, killed her. Yet, the evidence was all there.... So this added to the mystery and suspense.

I totally fell in love with Phin/Pete! (Heck, they even have the same initials -- P.S.) Whether in the early years of the 20th century, or the early years of the 21st, he was a wonderful character! Pete's integrity, his commitment to excellence (a trait he shared with Phin, his "alter ego"), as well as his relentless search for the truth about his life, while wanting to make sure that no one close to him suffered because of his outbursts (caused by his uncontrollable visions), made him a very appealing character. Furthermore, he was actually very romantic, both as Phin, with Esme, and as Pete, with the girl whom he ultimately met, later on in the novel.

Esme was just as wonderful! She fell head over heels in love with Phin, and she was a sweet, gentle soul who had been wronged by people who could have crushed her spirit. That they never managed to do so is a testament to her courage and strength, as well as her determination to succeed as a singer. She and Phin made a great couple, so my "trips" back to 1917 were full of wonderfully magical moments, although they were tinged by the oppressive feeling of the impending tragedy.... (And I kept thinking, "Please, don't let it be really Phin who did it, please.....")

I have always been fascinated by the topics of psychic phenomena and reincarnation, and it was great to see both combined into this novel! The topic of time travel is also a fascinating one for me. I thought that Spinella handled all three just right, making it very easy for this reader to get totally immersed in a captivating tale!

In addition to all of the above, this novel has a most unusual and totally original structure -- traditional chapter headings are used for the portions of the story that take place in the present time, while, for the parts that take place in 1917, the headings are those used for plays. For example, the book opens with "Act One, Scene I, Brooklyn, New York, 1917", which is then followed by "Chapter One". These alternate throughout the novel. I found this technique extremely interesting! These changes also made it very easy to know when one was in the early 20th or the early 21st century.

Summing up, I am giving Echo Moon five well-deserved stars! Spinella is simply a terrific storyteller! This is such a beautifully written work, with characters that become totally real, and events that capture the reader's attention to the end, that I simply could not give the book any less than the five stars!

Now I need to read the other books in this series! I know they will be just as fascinating!


Purchase Links

This giveaway is sponsored by TLC Book Tours. They will be giving 
the prize to the winner.
A Night's Dream of Books is only hosting this giveaway.

You can WIN a signed,
paperback copy 
of Echo Moon, Book 3 in the 
Ghost Gifts series!!

This giveaway starts at midnight today, 6/25/18, and ends at midnight on 7/2/18!


You must be 13 or older to enter,
and actually perform the action
for all the entries selected.

You will have 48 hours to reply to an
email notification of your win.
After that, another winner will be chosen.


These are the previous installments 
in this great series!! 
Click on the covers 
for the Goodreads pages!

Laura Spinella is the author of the Ghost Gifts trilogy—including Echo MoonForetold, and the #1 Kindle bestseller Ghost Gifts—as well as the highly acclaimed Unstrung and the award-winning novel Beautiful Disaster. She is a two-time RITA finalist who consistently receives reader and industry praise for her multifaceted characters, emotional complexity, and intriguing story lines.
Spinella lives with her family near Boston, where she can always be found writing her next novel. She enjoys hearing from readers and chatting with book clubs.

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!