25/08/2016

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: POLDARK IS BACK - ARE YOU IN FOR SOME MORE CORNISH DELIGHTS AND BITTERSWEET DRAMA?

Autumn usually brings new series and new shows on TV.  Summer is going to end soon, this means we must get ready to some excitement. Are you waiting for anything in particular? Excited for any of the coming-soon shows? 

I'm writing about mine, ok? What about sharing yours in the comments section? Too many question marks here! To the point! 

What about Poldark series two? Isn't that something worth some enthusiasm? After the cliffhanger we were left with at the end of series one, I can't wait? Have you read the books meanwhile? Or re-watched the episodes of the first season? 

Too many question marks again! Time for real news, now. Here is some info from the BBC Press Media Center website. Beware of some spoilers!

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as his wife Demelza are back on BBC One this September 4 at 9pm . The debut series peaked with 9.4 million viewers across TV and iPlayer, generating phenomenal media interest and devotion from viewers which culminated in it winning the Radio Times Audience Award at this year’s Baftas.


23/08/2016

BOOKS & MORE BOOKS - 'ME BEFORE YOU' AND 'AFTER YOU' BY JOJO MOYES


Prologue

I did it again. It was around the end of the school year in May. I saw one of my students fully-immersed in the reading of a book during the break and asked: "What is it that you are so eagerly reading?”
Her answer was a big smile and “So beautiful, prof.! You must read it. “ And then she showed me the book cover with the title.
“In English?”
“Yes, it is not out in Italian yet”
“A romance?” I suspected it from the cover and the title.
 Her answer came after a while: “ Not exactly … not only … it’s pretty special”
That  was enough to made me curious. I googled it, saw there was a movie coming soon starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, read the synopsis and … promised myself I was definitely not going to read it! Not another cheesy romance my students loved which was going to make me cry!
But then, while on holiday in Scotland,  I happened  to enter a bookshop with books half-price all over and I came out with not only “Me Before You” but its sequel too! I must be crazy, you say? Must be, since I not only bought those books,  I even read them. Well, worse even: I not only read them but also liked them.
Why did I start this post with "I did it again"? It ‘s not the first time I read books or watch movies recommended by my students and find them not so bad.  Did I say cheesy, somewhere above? Well, it wasn't. It isn't. Aren’t I a lucky teacher? ;-)

22/08/2016

BOOKS UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT


New books under the spotlight, ebooks to be more precise. The latest downloaded in my iPad and added to my TBR list. A book for each of my favourite genres. Number 1 is romance, number 2 historical fiction. 

1. The Full Brontë is a light-hearted novella set around a beautiful Yorkshire manor house which is being used to film the latest version of Jane Eyre. 

Gayle Hargreaves has never read a Brontë novel so, when a film crew descends on her small Yorkshire town and her life is thrown into disarray, she isn’t impressed. 
And she’s even less impressed when the handsome actor playing Mr Rochester starts flirting with her. But she can handle it, can’t she? After all, she just isn’t the sort to fall for a man in period costume... 
Set in the beautiful landscape so beloved of the Brontë sisters, The Full Brontë is a light-hearted novella. 

19/08/2016

READING ITALIAN: FABIO STASSI & ALESSANDRO D'AVENIA

    Fabio Stassi,  La lettrice Scomparsa  (2016)


La Lettrice Scomparsa (The missing reader) is a literary mystery. A book which contains an entire shelf of good books (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, John Fante, Jorge Amado, Luigi Pirandello, Honoré de Balzac, George Simenon among others),  an investigation on fiction and life, a novel wondering how much life and fiction interfere with each other. Can fiction help men and women endure life? Can life, real life, make it to a good book page? Can reading a novel be therapeutic?

Fabio Stassi is a writer I truly appreciate and whom I have already mentioned and reviewed here at FLY HIGH! His latest novels are set in Rome and deal with fragile characters coping with the harshness of reality. They are watched and described through the lens of poetry, music and fiction,  which are Stassi’s solid background.

The protagonist is one of my unlucky colleagues, one who has lost his position after being a temporary teacher in several different schools for years. Now middle-aged and unemployed, Vince Corso has to reinvent himself and to find a way to survive.  Bibliotherapy is the first thing that comes to his mind: as a teacher of literature and a book lover, book counseling is an activity he thinks he can be successful at.

15/08/2016

HAVEN BLOG TOUR - SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY


About the book

Haven (Chronicles of Warshard #1) is the 2nd place winner of World's Best Story!

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven's neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia's shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven's only home. Haven must make a choice; take her people and flee to the foreign Republic across the sea or lead a last stand against a powerful dictator.

14/08/2016

SCOTLAND, AT LAST!

Loch Lochy, the Highlands, Scotland

After an exciting experience it is not easy to go back to your everyday life. After a journey, you download, order and archive the pictures you’ve taken and look at your travel notes: all those beautiful moments flew at the speed of light and left you astonished,  with beautiful memories but also the awkward impression that you dreamt and have just woken up. Maybe writing can help you fix them somewhere in a safer place and make them somehow more real.

Scotland, at last!


Eilean Donan Castle 

Scotland is the 3-M land: the land of magic, mist and myth. How could one resist its charms? I simply couldn’t.  Last year, after a very brief visit,  I had to promise myself I would soon go back to see more of it. I did it in July and here I am,  back from an incredible tour,  which has been as magical, misty and mythical as Scotland in my dreams.  In our 10-days’ schedule an unforgettable series of fantastic sites, a variety of wonderful places, which I had the opportunity to visit  in the company of four of my anglophile friends.

One of the themes of our  tour was Outlander, the best-selling saga set in Scotland written by Diana Gabaldon,  as well as its TV adaptation.   We managed to visit a few of the main locations they used in seasons one and two or important sites mentioned in the books.

02/08/2016

RAGE BLOG TOUR - A SPECIAL EXCERPT FROM A GREAT THRILLER


... dark – and darkly humorous – European crime fiction at its best... (Reader Dad Blog)

Rage is a book by Poland’s number one crime writer, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, which has been released just yesterday in English.  It became one of the bestselling books in Polish literary history when it came out last year.

Zygmunt Miłoszewski is the biggest name in Polish crime fiction, his addictive, gritty novels have been compared to the Scandinavian crime masters. The first two novels Prosecutor Szacki series (A Gain of Truth and Entanglement) have been made into films and BBC Radio 4 are currently in the process of dramatizing Grain of Truth for radio. His books have been translated into over 13 different languages. 


Here’s a special excerpt for you,  readers of FLY HIGH! 

Chapter Two


For a while Szacki was lost. He remembered Olsztyn’s Warszawska Avenue as a wide road leading out of town past the university, but it turned out to have an uglier sister—a short extension lined with scruffy little tenements right next to the Old Town. He had to turn left by Jan’s Bridge. The hospital was located opposite something that called itself the “regional beer center.”
He showed the guard his ID and found a parking spot between the buildings. This had once been the German garrison hospital, probably of lesser importance, as the buildings of immortal red brick looked much smaller and more modest than the neo-Gothic blocks of the city hospital. Part of it looked neglected, and part had been renovated, with a modern interior that was nicely integrated with the German architecture. The place had the atmosphere of a building site, arising from the fact that Olsztyn’s university medical faculty had only been up and running for a few years. In a short time a squalid military hospital had been transformed into a clinical marvel. Szacki had been to see Żenia’s mother here last year and had realized that on the whole it had quite a human dimension, compared with the various medical monstrosities he had seen in his career. That had been during a hot spring, when the chestnut trees were flowering among the buildings, and the old brick walls exuded a pleasant chill.

30/07/2016

BOOK REVIEW - HOUSE OF SHADOWS BY PAMELA HARTSHORNE

What if the life you were remembering wasn’t your own?

Pamela Hartshorne knows how to intrigue her readers. This is the fourth of her time slip, historical fiction novels I’ve read, and each time I've found myself hooked from the first lines and wanting to go through the pages as quick as possible to uncover the mysteries surrounding the protagonists. I was travelling through Scotland (the book is set in Yorkshire, in the North of England) while reading House of Shadows and I longed to open my copy on any possible occasion and was late at night to go on reading.

It is a haunting story shifting constantly and twistingly between two time lines, from  a present-day reality to the alluring Tudor Era,  but with only one place as its heart: Askerby Hall, the house of shadows.

The central character, Kate Vavasour, wakes up from a coma in a hospital bed and the reader can follow her confused, uncertain steps back to life from right inside her mind, where she is convinced she is someone else, Isabel Vavasour, and where there is no sign of recognition of any of the worried people surrounding her.

She can vivdly remember Isabel’s life, her love for her handsome husband, Edmund,  and the overwhelming tenderness she felt becoming the mother of their son, Kit. Kate realizes she is not Isabel, especially because that young woman lived under the reign of the other Queen Elizabeth, and   perfectly knows that all she sees around her belongs  to a totally different present. Still her mind goes on working very oddly and Isabel is a constant haunting presence.  Kate find herself incapable of feeling anything for her own son, Felix, nor she recalls mourning her late husband, Michael. She has no memory of  them, she has forgotten the feelings she  felt for them and, definitely, she can’t explain why she climbed up Askerby tower, from which she  fell down and only miraculously survived.

27/07/2016

NANETTE LITTLESTONE, IF WISHES WERE HORSES




What’s your wish?

When I was a girl I wished for a pony. My wish was impractical as I lived in the city, had nowhere to keep a horse, and no means of caring for it. But that didn’t stop me from wishing. I loved palominos, so I imagined a beautiful, small palomino that would be mine, all mine. And every birthday I was disappointed. After 10 years of wishing I gave up.

What I didn’t know then was that wishing is only part of the equation. A wish is a dream that your heart has. But to make that dream a reality requires effort. The first step is to visualize what you want. Then you put your dream into action. You take the appropriate steps to reach your goal. If I’d really wanted a pony, I would have visited a horse farm or two. Talked to the owner about caring for a horse. Understood the requirements for feeding, veterinary care, the needs of the horse. Researched places for boarding a horse. Spent time mucking out stalls and oiling saddles and hefting hay bales to see if that was really something I wanted to do.

So what’s your wish? Do you want to write a book? Get your book published? Be part of a collaboration? Create a book launch on Amazon?

It’s time to dust off your wish box. You can see your dream come true if you follow these steps: 

15/07/2016

LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES BY FARAH OOMERBHOY - BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY

Last of the Firedrakes Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy

 A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic. 

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad. Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear. With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.


   amazon get it

13/07/2016

SUMMER READING LIST: 5 GREAT BOOKS TO READ THIS SUMMER

  


(by guest blogger Cassie) 

Summertime is a beautiful season and what better way to spend it than sitting back in the sunshine with a good book. There are hundreds of summer reading lists out there, but for fans of Jane Austen and classic literature, we’ve compiled five incredible stories that are bound to tickle your fancy. 


They are all easily purchasable for Amazon's Kindle, making them perfect to take away with you. However, particularly if you're buying while abroad, it's wise to make sure you're using the right tools to keep your details. Check out this post by Secure Thoughts on Kindle security for more information.

Ready for some recommendations?


08/07/2016

NORTHERN RAIN BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - NICOLE CLARKSTON, THORNTON MEETS MARGARET AT HELSTONE


Are you a North and South fan like me? You can't miss this new variation by Nicole Clarkston! Read the vignette she has gifted us with and get your chances to win a copy in the rafflecopter form below. Enjoy reading and ... good luck!

The following is a very nascent idea which popped up in the initial story development of Northern Rain. It did not survive long- it is fanciful and not at all plausible, but it was a fun, romantic concept to return to for the afternoon. In North & South, both Thornton and Margaret pay visits to Helstone, but at different parts of the story. This short vignette explores the very unlikely possibility that their visits might have coincided. We find Margaret just as she learns she is to be an heiress, and John as he is pining for the woman he never expects to see again. One wonders if they would even need words, after so unexpectedly happening upon one another in such a remarkable setting.

 Nicole Clarkston

The Rejected Scene



“Margaret, my dear, are you well?”
The young woman’s eyes had become somewhat glazed, and she appeared quite out of breath as she sat sedately by the old man’s side. She gasped, still in shock. “You cannot leave me everything, Mr Bell! Surely, there is some other, someone who might know what to do with it all!”
Thomas Bell laughed softly and patted Margaret’s hand as they sat together on their makeshift bench. “No, Margaret, there is not. You and Frederick are all I have left, and he is quite well taken care of. My wish, my dear, is that you will make better use than I did of everything I leave to you. I have no doubt that you shall bestow your goodness on those- or perhaps on one at least- who is deserving of your care.”
She shook her head, still dazed. “But it is so much,” she objected humbly. “Surely, there can be no need for you to sign it all over now. What about you?”
“Never fear, my child.” Bell allowed his gaze to drift over the simple stone cottage which had once been his old friend’s parsonage. Even the picturesque little Helstone home lacked the serenity of former days, and, like his dear friend Hale, Bell had found that the world no longer had a place for him. He sighed, blinking, then looked back to Margaret.

07/07/2016

INTRUSION BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR'S GUEST POST: ADVICE YOU'D GIVE TO PEOPLE LOOKING TO PUBLISH SHORT STORIES

The world of the short story is a varied and fascinating place right now. Experimental collections, flash fiction, connected stories that read like novels --all these can be found on the shelves of bookshops and libraries. A check of current on-line journals will show that published stories can be complex prose poems or traditional narratives with conventional plot, characters and story arc.  There’s a place for every kind of story.
Where does the novice start? First - read.  Read stories in new collections, on-line zines and literary journals and decide if your particular style of story fits comfortably anywhere.  It’s important to read at least one edition of a journal before submitting.
Then- check guidelines and submission periods. Some respected literary journals have a short submission window.  Submit outside of that time frame and your carefully crafted story will be ignored.  If there is more than a token fee to submit, think carefully before paying it, particularly if the journal does not pay writers. (The same applies to competitions: if the prize money is small it may not be worth paying a hefty fee to enter.)  
The market has shrunk in recent years for women’s fiction but some magazines still consider unsolicited submissions.  Try: – My Weekly, Woman’s Weekly, Take a Break, Best and Yours.

02/07/2016

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - CHASING FIREFLIES BY TAYLOR DEAN

Chasing Fireflies Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean 

 My sisters think I’m crazy. But, I’ve never forgotten the mysterious woman from my childhood who told me Paul is the name of my one true love. She told me to search far and wide for him. I haven’t stopped looking ever since. When I stumble across an article about a successful American entrepreneur named Paul who lives and works in China, I’m intrigued. When the opportunity to teach English in China presents itself on the same day, I know it’s not a coincidence. It’s destiny. My sisters say I’m chasing a dream. Just like the fireflies we tried to catch on the warm summer evenings of our youth, the dream seems beyond my grasp. Will my quest for the elusive Paul always be just short of fulfillment? My sisters tell me it’s a fool’s errand. Until I remind them of the day we saw the Red Bird. The memory silences them. The Red Bird Incident remains inarguable—and proves my search for Paul is not a silly fantasy. I will find Paul . . . I will.

  amazon


Praise for Chasing Fireflies

It was like Taylor Dean left a trail of chocolate chips leading to a plate of delicious cookies at the end. Yummy! I had to eat every single one and now I’m full and feasting on the satisfaction of a well written story. -Author Charissa Stastny Taylor Dean is such a creative and skilled author that she has the ability to make the unusual and the unthinkable seem real. -Lisa, Goodreads Reviewer As always I loose myself in Taylor’s books, experiencing rather than reading the story, from that first glance and butterflies in my belly, to the inevitable heartache, to the amazingly captivating events that lead us to the blissful happily ever after. - Mylissa's Reviews and Book Thoughts.

21/06/2016

BEST CAREERS FOR TECH LOVERS



(by guest blogger Vera Reed)  It’s a good time to be a tech lover because trends show that the demand far outpaces the supply when it comes to well-paying job positions in the information technology space.

In fact, the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide 2016 notes that employers on the North American continent often have to wait several months after they post ads for IT-related jobs. The reason? There is a lack of candidates, and the reason for  this is that skilled IT workers often end up on the receiving end of multiple job offers -- complete with higher-than-usual pay, flexible work schedules, and other perks -- which leaves some companies with vacant positions.

These jobs have loads of growth potential, and they definitely pay well, for the most part. While money isn’t everything, it does count for a lot, and you might as well be compensated well for your hard work.

So if you’d like to get into the promising tech sector after completing business school, then read up on the best careers for tech lovers.

18/06/2016

BOOK REVIEW - NICOLA CORNICK, HOUSE OF SHADOWS


London, 1662 

There was something the Winter Queen needed to tell him. She fought for the strength to speak.

‘The crystal mirror is a danger. It must be destroyed – ‘

He replied instantly. ‘It will’.


Ashdown, Oxfordshire, present day
Ben Ansell is researching his family tree when he disappears. As his sister Holly begins a desperate search, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to an ornate antique mirror and to the diary of Lavinia, a 19th century courtesan who was living at Ashdown House when it burned to the ground over 200 years ago.
Intrigued, and determined to find out more about the tragedy at Ashdown, Holly’s only hope is that uncovering the truth about the past will lead her to Ben.

*******************************

I'm back reviewing and blogging after a while with a book I liked very much: House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick ( Harlequin Mira UK, 2015). It is fast paced, intriguing, well written and thoroughly researched and it includes all the elements to make it my “cup of coffee” (yes, I like coffee more than tea): fascinating historical eras, beautiful English landscapes, gripping plot and,   last but not least, passionate romance.
Three parallels narrative threads  unroll in  three different time settings keeping  the reader hooked and,  little by little, interweaving to form the tapestry that is the solution of the initial mystery: the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of  Ben Ansell.

Nicola Cornick’s  new time-slip novel champions three beautifully written heroines:  Elizabeth Stuart, James I’s daughter and queen of Bohemia, the 17th century "Winter Queen” ; Lavinia Flyte, a 19th-century courtesan who wrote a memoir,  and  Holly Ansell, a present-day woman in distress to whom is truly easy to relate. Holly is desperate after  her brother disappears and her long-lasting relationship with Guy wrecks.  

14/06/2016

STORYTELLING QUOTES OF GREAT WRITERS


(from guest blogger Lucy Adams) 

We easily notice the changes new technologies bring into our world. But do we think about their origin? Obviously, we don’t.  But so do writers – true idea generators who faster than others feel the nature of impending changes…Among the many writers who left a rich legacy, there are many of those who gave us a new vision.

The history knows a lot of great writers who formulated new ideas and eventually created an intellectual and – perhaps even more important – an emotional support of the future. The mighty of this world see challenges and opportunities in ordinary things; they often expose already existed but unnoticed before problems, point out smoldering conflicts, help us to understand the new challenges of the time and give us new hopes.

20/05/2016

4 TIPS ON MAKING A SHORT MOVIE


(by guest blogger John Montana) Making a short film, or any film for that matter can be a lot of amazing fun. But most of the time, making a movie is very stressful and filled with problems. I recently made my most recent short film called HUNGRY…a wicked, humorous, little piece on the greed that is rampant at Christmas. I was able to shoot it in early February 2015. And I have to say… even tho I had prepared for everything, or thought I had, the shoot was very rough. Here are the major issues that came up and what I learned from it for my next shoot.

1.         Location

Location needs to be your first consideration when shooting your film. My film took place in a used clothing store, and I wanted the store to give the impression it had been there for many, many decades. So I set out to find the perfect shop. It took me about a week of driving around L.A. and looking at close to 15 shops. There were 2 that I thought “might do”…but nothing that reached pout and grabbed me. Until I happened upon the shop I ultimately shot in. It is an amazing location, one that I knew immediately was “The One”! So take your time and really look for the location that you want. Don’t settle for less, unless you absolutely have to. 

15/05/2016

CAN'T DECIDE BETWEEN MR ROCHESTER AND MR DARCY? MR RUSHWOOD, THEN! SPOTLIGHT ON ...LORD BACHELOR BY TAMMY L. BAILEY + GREAT GIVEAWAY

“Damn. His perfect posture and arrogant smile had her so flustered, she’d forgotten why she was there. She knew after meeting him she’d imagine him as either Mr. Rochester— or worse, Mr. Darcy— while reading her English Lit assignment.” –Abby Forester, Lord Bachelor

Edmund Rushwood was born July 21, 1990 at Danwick Manor to Lord and Lady Rushwood, a privileged family outside of London, England. As an only child, Edmund spent most of his time “watering” his mother’s flower garden and torturing Danwick’s butler, Timmons.
Edmund also spent many days trying to obtain his father’s attention. Unfortunately, before his death, Lord Rushwood had little time for his son, except to read to him, on rare occasions, from Danwick’s vast library. This began Edmund’s love of books, and as he grew older, he gravitated towards the classics from Austen and Bronte. With them, he found some solace and a few romantic passages that he used to charm the opposite sex.

Well known by all, Edmund possessed Hollywood good looks and selfish tendencies. He obtained what he wanted without exerting much energy or caring about the opinions of others. It wasn’t until he was faced with an ultimatum that he was forced to care about someone besides himself.   

“It is in your father’s will, Edmund, that you must marry both wealthy and well, or, at least provide the name of the affluent bride before your twenty-sixth birthday, or everything you are determined to squander on women will be lost.”

06/05/2016

CHOOSE THE BEST CAREER FOR YOUR GOALS AND PERSONALITY


Did you know that work can make you happy? At least, it’s one of the major factors in determining overall happiness, and a large part of how happy work makes you is determined by the career you choose. Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding on a career.

1) How do you enjoy interacting with people?


If you’re very much a “people person”, you may enjoy a career that allows you to constantly meet new people and, in many cases, solve their problems. This can be anything from standing on stage as a public speaker to helping people with research as a librarian.

If you prefer to have somewhat limited contact with other people, look for a career where you’ll be able to work as part of a small team instead. You may never need to deal with more than a few individuals, but you will be able to form steady, ongoing relationships with the people you know.

Humans are inherently social beings, and it can be hard to be happy when we’re totally isolated. That’s why your career should include a way to interact with others in a way that’s comfortable for you.

29/04/2016

THE WINEMAKERS BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR GUEST POST, FAVORITE WINE GADGETS BY JAN MORAN & GIVEAWAY



Every wine aficionado has favorite cache of tools, so I thought I’d share mine on this stop on The Winemakers 
novel tour, though none of the high-tech gadgets were available in the 1920s or 1950s when the story takes place. I’ve had my share of frustrating moments wrangling corks and fishing floaters from fine wine, or stashing and rotating white wine in the freezer for a quick chill. With these implements, those trials are a thing of the past.



So, what are my favorite wine-related gadgets and accoutrements? Here’s a list of items I can’t live without: 

1. The Vertical Rabbit wine bottle opener, fast and easy, and lovely in red 
2. Soft-sided wine botas for the beach, such as GSI Outdoors Soft Sided Wine Carafe 
3. Vinnebago or Corkcicle chilled wine holders, great for poolside 
4. Wine gems or wine pearls to freeze for pretty, ice-free instant chilled whites 
5. Erasable wine pens, such as Schmancy pens, to label guest wine glasses  
6. Coravin for those who like to savor one fine glass with dinner, and that’s all 

22/04/2016

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: 7 REASONS TO LOVE GRANTCHESTER - SERIES 2 DVD IS OUT!

James Norton as Sidney Chambers in Grantchester 

Canon Sidney Chambers

I don't know what it is with Mr Chambers (James Norton) when it comes to women (aside: including me). It's a mystery  (aside: no, it isn't, if you take a proper look at the pictures above and below) . They all fall for him, while he barely notices them or their interest in him. Canon Sidney Chambers is so distant from the archetype of vicars we've had on TV so far: he is lovely, clever, good-looking. His strength is his compassion, his distinctive sign is that he is a good man in a bad world.  He isn't flawless, he has a temper, drinks a lot of whisky, loves jazz and a game of cricket,  is haunted by his war memories and tormented by an impossible love. To cut it short, we have a romantic hero wearing a clerical collar, instead of a funny caricature with false teeth and a silly voice. (aside: I have a crush on James Norton's voice and accent).  


"We're talking about wine, and crime, and love. Sometimes I think there is nothing we cannot say to each other."

21/04/2016

JULIAN FELLOWES' BELGRAVIA PROGRESSIVE BLOG TOUR - RECAP & REVIEW OF EPISODE 3: FAMILY TIES + GIVEAWAY!


Released in 11 weekly installments, each episode of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia will conclude with twists, turns and cliff-hanger endings popularized by the novels of Dickens, Gaskell and Conan Doyle in the nineteenth century. Delivered directly to your cell phone, tablet or desktop via a brand new app, you can read the text or listen to the audio recording narrated by acclaimed British actress Juliet Stevenson, or jump between the two. In addition, you will have access to the exclusive bonus features available only through the app including: history, fashion, food & drink, culture and more that will frame the story while immersing you into the character’s sphere.

Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia is  the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode. Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is people by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's new legendary ball, one family's life will change forever.

I’m really honoured to be part of this progressive tour promoting Fellowes’ Belgravia project. I loved Downton Abbey and have been missing all the beautiful characters in it since it ended with the last Christmas special on 26th December 2015. Reading Belgravia is something  new and different , of course, but it is a way to experience similar emotions.  Join us in this awesome tour, discover more about the story and the characters in Belgravia, leave your comments to enter the grand giveaway contest.

19/04/2016

BOOK REVIEW - CALL TO JUNO, A TALE OF ANCIENT ROME BY ELISABETH STORRS

Book Blurb
Four unforgettable characters are tested during a war between Rome and Etruscan Veii.
Caecilia has long been torn between her birthplace of Rome and her adopted city of Veii. Yet faced with mounting danger to her husband, children, and Etruscan freedoms, will her call to destroy Rome succeed?
Pinna has clawed her way from prostitute to the concubine of the Roman general Camillus. Deeply in love, can she exert her own power to survive the threat of exposure by those who know her sordid past?
Semni, a servant, seeks forgiveness for a past betrayal. Will she redeem herself so she can marry the man she loves?
Marcus, a Roman tribune, is tormented by unrequited love for another soldier. Can he find strength to choose between his cousin Caecilia and his fidelity to Rome?
Who will overcome the treachery of mortals and gods?
Call to Juno is the third book in the series A Tale of Ancient Rome, which includes The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice.

"Remember how you once told me Rome and Veii are like two unrequited lovers? Only twelve miles apart across the Tiber. They are but a god's footstep away. Both desires to possess the other - only Rome wishes to be the husband and make Veii submit as the wife." 
Book review

Tales of Ancient Rome is a historical fiction series set in the early Roman Republic and the little known civilization of Etruria. The saga follows the lives and loves of three women; Caecilia, Pinna and Semni, who must survive a ten year siege between two bitter enemies with courage, wit and wiles.

13/04/2016

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD - WELCOME BACK, OUTLANDER, THOUGH ... THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY


One more review

I know we are all a bit dizzy having moved from droughtlander to this flood of new inebriating images, events, stories from the Outlander world, but let me add my own musings to the general euphoria,  will you? I promise I’ll be brief.  As brief as a talkative English teacher + enthusiastic  fan of the series can reasonably be. The following ramblings will make sense only if you’ve seen episode one of series 2. So... spoilers ahead, I’m afraid.

11/04/2016

MY KIDS GROW UP AND THEY ARE PRETTY SPECIAL: VERONICA & THE BEST CONSEQUENCE OF STUDYING

Veronica and her Erasmus mates in Innsbruck
To grow up and find your own place in the world is never easy, especially because that is something you start doing when you are a teenager, which is a very complicated moment in everybody’s life. Well, complicated as well as exciting.  This series of posts dedicated to my former students and their after-school experiences has the aim to help my present students to become more aware of what expects them out there once they leave the safe environment of high school and to give them suggestions and advice on how to brace themselves.

Today it is Veronica’s turn. She’s had quite a brilliant academic career so far. She can be a model,  an inspiring example with her will strength and unsatiable curiosity. Recently, she was even awarded a very special prize by the President of the Italian Republic,  Sergio Mattarella. 


Hi! I’m Veronica and Mrs Spila was my English teacher, though only during my last year at grammar school. I spent a nice period there and I was really satisfied. My school career was quite brilliant and I got my degree with the highest grade… but not because I love studying… just thanks to my willpower.
In my life I’ve often changed my mind about what I wanted to do in the future. When I was in  middle school, my dream was to become an archaeologist. This is why I chose grammar school. But I loved also literature, reading good books and writing, too. So I thought “why not a journalist?”. Yes, good idea. But I loved cinema, as well. So I decided I might have been a film critic.
 Actually,  I’ve always loved lots of things,  but none was my “true love” and, in short, after leaving high school, I decided to study Economy at University.
You maybe wonder why. At that moment it was a very simple decision actually, because I knew exactly what I wanted in my life: I wanted to be a manager. Not an easy goal, but that  was my ambition.

10/04/2016

BOOKS, BOOKS & MORE BOOKS - 2016 ROMANTIC TIMES (RT) CONVENTION & INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR VICKI LEIGH


A giant book fair is a dream come true for book lovers. Books, books and more books! Authors, events, chats, gadgets, meetings: it's going to be amazing. RT Book Lovers Convention and Fair 2016 will be held at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas from April 12  to 17. There will be a special Teen Day on Saturday 16th when teenagers and young readers will have the chance to meet their favourite YA authors, play games and if under-18 win a bag staffed of awesome gadgets. 


Vicki Leigh, YA and NA author, will be one of the hundreds awesome writers participating in the events and ready to meet their fans. She accepted to answer five quick questions about her latest release and her expectations for the upcoming RT event. 

1. What inspired Catch Me When I Fall?

 When I first began to brainstorm this book, I pulled on my own experiences with nightmares. There had already been so many fantastic books written about angels, so instead I asked what-if questions: What if those who guarded us weren't angels but people who'd sacrificed themselves to save others? And what if nightmares weren't in our heads but actual creatures that fed off our fears? From those two questions—and research the Native American lore on dreamcatchers—my story was born!

2. Even though Catch me When I Fall is paranormal fantasy do you find you bring personal experiences into your writing at all?

08/04/2016

ALL THEIR MINDS IN TANDEM - INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DAVID SANGER


Hello David and welcome to FLY HIGH! I’ve got so many questions for you but, don’t worry, I know I must cut my interview short. What about 10 questions? The first one is: how do you feel at being promoting your debut novel? Have you always wanted to be a writer? 

Hello and thanks for having me! I feel a mixture of excitement and strangeness. I worked in publishing for just over six years so it’s odd to be on the other side of things right now and promoting my book instead. I gave my parents headaches with the amount of different careers I wanted – animator, journalist and actor to name a few. Then I wrote something whilst at university and in one way or another it seemed to embody the other career choices. It took a few more years before I started writing full time but when I did I realised it was something I couldn’t do without.


I’m fond of historical fiction, period movies and costume drama series. But, what about you? How does it come that you started with a novel set in the past? 

I too love historical fiction and movies. I think there’s something extraordinary to stepping into a world that could easily be science fiction – far flung politics, clothes, food, attitudes, etc. – yet it’s something we have a faint purchase on; it’s in our collective past. If someone asked me to write a contemporary novel about 30-somethings today, even though I am one, I would struggle. I find a comfort in the past and the interest the research provokes is its own motivation.

07/04/2016

BOOK UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: PHAEDRA PATRICK, 'THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER' + GIVEAWAY



Out today! A delightful and poignant debut that is poised to be a global sensation with foreign rights sold in 15 countries and 13 languages.

Perfect for fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

A Joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.




If you followed  Harold Fry on his unlikely pilgrimage or you shed a tear at the opening scene of the film Up, get ready to join Arthur Pepper on a search to know his wife and a journey to find himself. 

Sixty-nine year old Yorkshireman Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets up at 7.30 am, just as he did when his wife of 40 years, Miriam, was alive. He eats his breakfast, waters his plant, Frederica, and doesn’t speak to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. But on the first anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes.

When he finally makes himself sort through Miriam's wardrobe Arthur finds an unfamiliar gold charm bracelet. Upon closer examination, he finds a telephone number on the underside of a gold elephant charm and on a whim, he picks up the phone. 

05/04/2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... A FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT BY CHRISTINE WARNER + GIVEAWAY


About the Book


A Friendly Engagement (Friends First - Book 1)
by Christine Warner
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Length: 298 Pages

What's a little engagement between friends?

Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan...

Okay, so it wasn't exactly Devi's plan to become her friend's fake fiancée. Lies aren't her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise - enough to track down the missing father she's never known - and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax...

This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and...well, something more, Devi realizes she's made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend - falling for her fiancé.