Tag Archives: TLC Book Tours

Blog Tour: An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

An Uncommon Education-1“A young woman tries to save three people she loves in this elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut.

Afraid of losing her parents at a young age—her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed mother—Naomi Feinstein prepared single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. An outcast at school, Naomi loses herself in books, and daydreams of Wellesley College. But when Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it’s the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Naomi soon learns that college isn’t the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness—until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi’s introduction to Wellesley’s oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students. Naomi finally begins to detach from the past and so much of what defines her, immersing herself in this exciting and liberating new world and learning the value of friendship. But her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings irrevocable consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of growing up is learning that sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

An Uncommon Education is a compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations. Poignant and wise, it artfully captures the complicated ties of family, the bittersweet inevitability of loss, and the importance of learning to let go.”


An Uncommon Education is a deeply beautiful novel that collectively examines all that shapes and “educates” us throughout our lives culminating in who and what we become and why. From our earliest interactions and relationships such as those with our closest family members to later in life focusing on those individuals we choose to surround ourselves with and on down the line to our passions and those things that we choose to pursue and lose ourselves in by choice, the book speaks volumes about how each individual detail helps shape who we are to become.  It also begs to ask…how much control do we really have over what we encounter in life and how it will affect us? One of my favorite lines in the very beginning of the novel reads:

“The first phase of his life was so marked by trauma he was able to detach it almost completely from his later realities, his pain a faulty limb that had been cleanly removed, only to be remembered as a phantom sensation. But he was able to command the kind of joy that only those who have known deep unhappiness can summon.“

The line reflects how our past and/or early beginnings can shape who we become but again questions…how much choice or influence do we really have in the matter?

It all begs to ask what one means by the word education? What is an education? Is it a course of study we actively pursue or a series of lessons that we are taught regardless of choice. Not just our formal educations like the relationship of student to institution although Naomi’s relationship to Wellesley is a large part of this book but our relationships, life moments and everyday happiness all lend a hand to our life education. The book speaks to the idea that our “educations” are made up of everything we encounter from the moment we come into this world.  Naomi’s story is told from childhood on…showing how each and every moment helped to shape who she would become. Sometimes the lessons taught in childhood stick and become part of the end result and sometimes we learn and change what was earlier instilled.

Author Elizabeth Percer

It’s a tale of discovery and beauty as the details of the novel fall into place making the reader appreciate the flow of the story while also creating a very organic thought process that leads the reader to question long after the last word has been read. The book is one of easy readability on the surface but true depth just below. It’s definitely worth the read and the thinking that the reading will hopefully provoke. It’s a wonderful debut for Elizabeth Percer and I look forward to what she will do in the future. In her very first book she has truly mastered the art of creating an interesting story while also building a collective thought process that will lead readers beyond the plot and characters into something more. And now…you can get An Uncommon Education in paperback which makes it a great grab for easy summer reading on the go.

Feel free to check out the other stops on this TLC Book Blog Tour here.

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Blog Tour & Paperback Giveaway: Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

 One of The New York Times 100 Most Notable Books of 2012

” From Kathryn Harrison, one of America’s most admired literary voices, comes a gorgeously written, enthralling novel set in the final days of Russia’s Romanov Empire.

St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal.

Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.

Mesmerizing, haunting, and told in Kathryn Harrison’s signature crystalline prose, Enchantments is a love story about two people who come together as everything around them is falling apart.”


In some cases the story really begins at the end. Spanning the time immediately after Rasputin’s brutal murder and beyond the last days of the Romanov family, Enchantments gives a unique look into a time period of Russian history very well documented and yet still coveted in the fictional world of literature. This novel however is unlike the others I have read in that it gives a fresh look as it delves into Rasputin’s life as a family man, very rarely do you ever see it even mentioned that he had a wife and children much less see his offspring as the narrator of such a monumental time in history.

Masha as she was called was the oldest of Rasputin’s daughters and very much the favorite daughter who both respected and cherished her father. The Tsarina of Russia even felt that the young girl had inherited her father’s healing gifts although Masha never felt so herself and never pursued any of Rasputin’s practices. Nevertheless this belief allowed Masha and her sister access to the Romanovs that very few ever held.  Within her stories Masha gives a insider’s account of both Rasptuin the Monk’s life and that of the last royal family of Russia. She is truly a gifted storyteller and the accounts she gives create characters out of historical figures we have all read about.

While much of the novel is very well imagined and given in a abundance of fictional stories within it still lies the tragedy of the last Tsar of Russia and his family. Many of the stories told by Masha are clearly of a fantastical nature but they provide not only a enjoyable reading experience but also a deeper insight into a family lost. A relationship between Masha and Alyosha, gives  the son of Nicholay and Alexandra a life and history beyond his disease and death. Alexei truly becomes a person within this novel and that is something I have rarely seen in accounts of the Romanovs.

In the end while most of the the stories are purely fiction behind them lie real people whose story may never be able to be factually told. This novel at least gives them a past and life of some type in which to be real people and not simply notes in a history book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book from both a fictional and historical stand point. It truly flies by once you become entranced by Harrison’s unique storytelling style. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and those interested in the Romanovs specifically. I adored this novel when I first read it in 2012 and am so excited to be able to share it again with my readers in it’s new paperback release.

 Book Giveaway

Stiletto Storytime is excited to be able to offer a giveaway as part of this TLC Book Blog Tour Stop for Enchantments and a paperback copy of the book will soon belong to one very lucky reader. Giveaway ends midnight EST March 25, 2013. US/Canada addresses only please for this giveaway.

To enter: Simply share one of your favorite historical fiction authors and the time period that most appeals to you as a reader below in the comment section. I love getting new suggestions for my future reading and it seems there is always a work that I have passed by or not heard of . So share one…or share a few while entering to win a great addition to your own library.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

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Blog Tour: Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo

“On the surface, Lunch with Buddha is a story about family.  Otto Ringling and his sister Cecelia could not be more different.   He’s just turned 50, an editor of food books at a prestigious New York publishing house, a man with a nice home in the suburbs, children he adores, and a sense of himself as being a mainstream, upper-middle-class American.  Cecelia is the last thing from mainstream.  For two decades she’s made a living reading palms and performing past-life regressions.  She believes firmly in our ability to communicate with those who have passed on.
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It will turn out, though, that they have more in common than just their North Dakota roots.
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In Lunch with Buddha, when Otto faces what might be the greatest of life’s difficulties, it is Cecelia who knows how to help him.   As she did years earlier in this book’s predecessor, Breakfast with Buddha, she arranges for her brother to travel with Volya Rinpoche, a famous spiritual teacher — who now also happens to be her husband.”

Sometimes a book comes along just when you need it….just what the Doctor ordered as they say. This book turned out to be one such for me. As Otto Ringling searches for meaning after his beloved wife’s death along a spiritual journey he couldn’t have possibly predicted….so have I searched for meaning since my son’s descent into autism. It’s in our very nature to try to find meaning when things happen in our lives that impact us in ways we don’t understand or cannot make sense of. Especially those events that devastate us to the very core of our beings. Some find meaning in religion…others in philosophy or even simple ideas like fate. Otto finds his in the most unlikely of places as he makes a life changing journey with his serene his brother-in-law in a beat up old pick up truck. Within the pages of this book I found more of a spiritual search that perhaps I myself truly needed…not really specific to any religion in my personal opinion but more of a look into the divine in general. It’s both simple and magical at the same time. While I have not read the first novel Breakfast with Buddha, I did not find myself at a loss. This book stands very firmly on it’s own. However I will be reading the first novel as soon as I get a chance. I also look forward to the other works of Roland Merullo in the future.

The thing I have to say that I enjoyed most was how comfortable the writing was, even the book itself just felt peaceful. It’s almost like a warm second skin to slip into during a storm. The writing is straight-forward, not flashy or overly deep and yet it still reaches you in places that only truth can. It was the perfect book for a certain time in my life and I think it would resonate with many on multiple levels.

TLC Book Tours  Book Giveaway

I’m happy to be able to share a copy of this book with one lucky reader at Stiletto Storytime. To enter just comment below and share how you reach a place of peace in hard times. It may be through religion, meditation, a favorite quote?  Giveaway will end midnight EST December, 19 2012 and is available to a US/CAN addresses only. The lucky winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower of TLC Book Tours on Twitter

Tweet and/or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Blog Tour: Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

  ” I’m sitting on my couch, watching the local news. There’s Chloe’s parents, the mayor, the hangers on, all grouped round the pond for the ceremony. It’s ten years since Chloe and Carl drowned. You can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong. But I’m the one who knows straightaway that the mayor has found a body. And I know who it is.”

There’s nothing cheerful about the psychologically charged mystery that is Cold Light. In fact there is actually an undeniable coldness to the narrative, a detached almost nonchalant air to the unfolding of events that is at the heart of this novel. The way memory becomes present, past becomes in the moment and it all comes together in pieces to reveal the secrets of one series of events witnessed by many in varying ways. Young teen girls, an older man, an innocent…all pulled into a chain of events that are both chilling and dark.

At the heart of the story is Lola or Laura depending upon the time in which she speaks. An young girl from a dysfunctional family, at a young age she yearns for attention, acceptance and ultimately approval. More the anything she yearns for these things from her best friend Chloe. A kind of Queen Bee who attracts girls like Lola and Emma into her web of confidence and control then makes them compete for her attention and favor. However in this case Chloe also has a controller of her very own in the form of an older man, a man using a young girl for sexual favors while filling her head with ideas of boyfriends and girlfriends and something similar to what a young girl might think love would be like but at the same time horribly wrong and far from it. Disaster is the ending…chilling in its truth but the reader knows that from the very beginning….the only question is how the mystery will unfold and what truth will ultimately be revealed.

A skilled writer who excels at the dissection of relationships and their complex internal struggles and attached obligations, Ashworth has a knack for writing within her character’s minds. She fits easily into the mindset of her teen characters making them real and easily understood in their young mindset, needs, wants and reasoning. Lovers of British fiction will find the novel ultimately that in it’s tone and somewhat detached introspection. It is not uplifting, not happy in any way, shape or form but it is addictive. Making readers keep turning pages to fill the need to know what really happened….to know the truth that is so often just in front of them and then teasingly again and again pages away.

You can check out the book trailer for Cold Light here which is a perfectly chilling depiction of what the novel truly is about. You can also connect with author Jenn Ashworth on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to also check out all the other great blogs participating in this great tour.

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Blog Tour: The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

“The fateful first meeting of Enza and Ciro takes place amid the haunting majesty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the last century. Still teenagers, they are separated when Ciro is banished from his village and sent to hide in New York’s Little Italy, apprenticed to a shoemaker, leaving a bereft Enza behind. But when her own family faces disaster, she, too, is forced to emigrate to America. Though destiny will reunite the star-crossed lovers, it will, just as abruptly, separate them once again—sending Ciro off to serve in World War I, while Enza is drawn into the glamorous world of the opera . . . and into the life of the international singing sensation Enrico Caruso. Still, Enza and Ciro have been touched by fate—and, ultimately, the power of their love will change their lives forever.

A riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny, inspired by the author’s own family history, The Shoemaker’s Wife is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write.”

One of my absolutely favorite types of books is that of the family saga. It’s a tricky thing to get right as it takes so many different writing skills from the much needed intense character development to keep readers involved to a fantastic ability to keep a plot interesting and unpredictable for longer periods of time than most novels. To tell a story about a small group of characters and keep readers interested across not only various geographic locations but across time itself is a real feat especially when it’s done as well as Adriana Trigiani’s latest work The Shoemaker’s Wife.

One of the most attractive aspects of this work was the characters themselves. Trigani created two main characters that not only were like-able but downright love-able too. Both Enza and Ciro along with their families grab the heart of the reader and make them hungry to know what would happen to them as the book unfolds. While their love story soon becomes the focal point of the novel, readers will find themselves riveted to their tales long before when their stories are being told separately for the most part. The characters also had a some what old fashioned goodness to them that was captured so perfectly. They are characters that simply steal your heart and connect on a very personal and emotional level. You become invested in their lives, their dreams and ambitions, their love and their loss. It’s a novel that carries a lot of feeling and love which translates so well through the page and the written word. It’s impossible to put down once you meet them and begin their story. The love that the author feels shines through perhaps added to all the more because she based them on members of her own family.

Over the last few months I have found myself in a reading rut of sorts. Tackling being sick myself along with caring for my young son has made me not only exhausted but also distracted to the point that I have found it hard to concentrate on much of anything. Unfortunately for the first time in my life…reading simply could not put me at ease or take me to it’s usual place of escape that I have come to love and expect from it. I tried reading multiple books with little success. I even finished a few only to completely feel underwhelmed upon their completion. I needed just the right book to get me back on my feet and this one was just what the doctor ordered. I went from being unable to read more than a few pages at a time to devouring this book in just a few days. It’s a real treat for readers…the type of novel that doesn’t come along every day. It’s definitely one to be savored and remembered.

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Blog Tour: The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe

   “Macau: the bulbous nose of China, a peninsula and two islands strung together like a three-bead necklace.  It was time to find a life for myself.  To make something out of nothing.  The end of hope and the beginning of it too.”

 “After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land–a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets.  As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of a family have been shattered.  She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea.
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Grace opens a cafe, where she serves tea, coffee, and macarons–the delectable, delicate French cookies colored like precious stones–to the women of Macau.  There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family.  But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface.  Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghost to rest and to begin to trust herself.  With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaron baked.  Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.”
The sadness that comes with the loss of a dream- be whatever that dream may have been, can feel almost impossible to overcome for many individuals. When one has nothing else to cling to but the failure of what they most desired or what might have been- they often find themselves in a never-ending almost cyclical battle with depression and the ever present reality of constant reminders of that lost dream or failure. As a woman the idea of being infertile, never having the opportunity to become a biological mother or have a family of own’s own can be the most devastating reality of all. Not only can it be one of deep personal shame ( un-warranted but felt nonetheless) and a sense of unworthiness but also one of a shared nature in that as a female she feels she has not only kept herself from the most natural of experiences but also let her partner down in that aspect as well.
As Grace faces this reality for herself, she seeks distractions from her sorrow within the new city of Macau which she and her Australian husband now call home. But somehow even the excitement of exploring a new and  exotic locale is not even enticement  enough to get Grace out of the bed in the morning…she still needs more. More to invest not only her time but her love in. She needs that one thing into which she can pour her heart and soul into since the reality of motherhood appears to never be an actual possibility. And so she digs deep into her past and a treat that reminds her of a mother whose true story is often hard to determine. It is the delight of the macaron in which Grace immerses herself. A delicate french desert that brings back happy memories of childhood.
Richly detailed and dripping with sensual descriptions of everything from food, to passion and even people. The Color of Tea is a feast of the senses and yet also very deeply personal. It can be wrenching at times and emotionally evocative but still also a light and summery read that never goes too dark. It’s very character driven in nature and yet blurs the lines of also being a travel novel of an not often mentioned place. I found it enchanting and easy to read and surround oneself with. Although I must say the beginning of ever chapter describing a mouth-watering macaron made me hungry at times…wanting to literally taste the delights described within the works. Trader Joe’s frozen macarons may not be exactly what was described but I did pick up a box to enjoy as I read of Grace and her endeavors.
For me personally The Color of Tea came to me not only at a relevant time in my life but also touched me deeply as I shared many of Grace’s feelings of loss. As I am trying desperately  to deal with a devastating blow of my own and a search for an outlet through which to find purpose and the happiness and hope I once had in abundance. After the diagnosis of my son’s autism, I found myself lost. It was as if every dream I had ever had of being a mother had been suddenly stripped from me. Would I ever be able to truly know my child? Would I ever be able to enjoy those small moments most parents take for granted? Would my son every be able to share with me even the most simple things such as his needs, wants or even favorite color? In all this I have searched for an outlet beyond being an advocate for my child. Something to bring me personal joy, to keep my mind from the ever constant what ifs that haunt when things go silent. This novel touched me deeply in that way since I could relate to Grace’s despair and her need for something within her life to fill the void. I myself have filled my void with books and the never-ending search for what else I can do to help my son. In this way the book rings very very true to real life for me. It was a pleasurably read that I believe will attract many readers…those hungry for a good story and those just hungry for one deliciously delicate macaron.
You can follow the Blog Tour for The Color of Tea at TLC Book Tours and check out what others thought of the book. Have you read it ? If so please share your feelings in the comments. Let’s talk books! Haven’t read it yet? Want an opportunity to win your own copy…just enter to below.

TLC Book Tours  Book Giveaway

To enter just comment below and share something with which you have struggled to come to terms with and how you might have channeled your energy and time into an alternative thing or act that gave you peace in some way from the loss you felt. Not want to go that deep…just share your favorite dessert…perhaps even your favorite macaron flavor? Giveaway will end midnight EST August 7, 2012 and is available to a US addresses only. The lucky winner will be chosen by random number generator and contacted by e-mail. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Tweet and/or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Blog Tour: And Laughter Fell from the Sky by Jyotsna Sreenivasan

 “Still living at home despite a good career and financial independence, beautiful and sophisticated Rasika has always been the dutiful daughter. With her twenty-sixth birthday fast approaching, she agrees to an arranged marriage, all while trying to hide from her family her occasional dalliances with other men.

Abhay is everything an Indian-American son shouldn’t be. Having spent his postcollege years living in a commune, he now hops from one dead-end job to another, brooding over what he really wants to do with his life.

Old family friends, Rasika and Abhay seem to have nothing in common, yet when the two reconnect by chance, sparks immediately fly. Abhay loves Rasika, but he knows her family would never approve. Rasika reluctantly accepts she has feelings for Abhay, but can she turn her back on the family rules she has always tried so hard to live by? The search to find answers takes Abhay and Rasika out of their native Ohio to Oregon and India, where they find that what they have together might just be something worth fighting for.”

Indian fiction is one of my favorite genres. Readers of Stiletto Storytime usually catch on to this addiction pretty quickly as my love of books inspired by or relating to India is displayed on a regular basis. I’m always searching for the next read and it’s naturally become harder and harder over the years to feed my hunger as I have already devoured most of what’s available. It’s no wonder I was so excited to dive into And Laughter Fell from the Sky.

Within it’s pages readers are introduced to two young Indian-American characters trying to navigate the difficult waters of marriage in modern day America while still staying true to the beliefs and traditions of their families and their mother country. No two individuals could be more different than Rasika and Abhay but in many ways they are still united in this cultural pressure to appease their families with their major life choices. Although we learn quickly that they handle and view this responsibility very differently as shown by the way in which they live their lives.

What I found most interesting was the illusion that either character was really embracing a typical modern American lifestyle. Rasika, to me represented a character of extremes in many ways. While on one hand she is a successful banker, she also lives at home with her parents letting them monitor her every move as if she were a child and yet she has this side of her life where she makes rash decisions when it comes to men often leading to promiscuous behavior but sustaining no real relationships of any kind. Often coming across vain, materialistic and selfish- at times it was hard to even like Rasika much less root for her and her view of the world was very difficult to relate to. She almost used her culture’s strictness and traditional practices as a crutch to get what she wanted and what she haw herself as deserving without having to make those tough decisions or work things out for herself.

Abhay on the other hand seems to abhor many of the characteristics of modern society, he is always actively searching for a more simplistic way of life such as the one he sought out within the commune. While he seems unfazed by the demands made by his family in relation to status and career, we still find him limited by his culture when it comes to marriage because of his love for Rasika and how important this approval is for her. Abhay to me represented a very free individual making his own choices but that quickly changed once his feelings for Rasika developed. I often questioned what this man who sought natural beauty and believed so strongly in truth and simplicity saw in Rasika?

The whole work created a very intriguing paradox of this desire for the “American dream” and it’s financial stability and status while also still so strongly believing in the merit of such an outdated practice such as arranged marriage. The very characters themselves were a kind of off-setting paradox as well. Such extremes coming together in so many ways, it was very intriguing to say the least.

The characters of Rasika and Abhay were very interesting to me and only proved more so…the more I thought them though. I still question them and the novel. It still has me thinking. The novel kept me thinking throughout and on my toes while also questioning even after the last page was read. The work is also said to be inspired by Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth and I look forward to a re-read of that classic in the near future to compare and try to further my understanding of this work. 

Sound interesting? You can follow the official TLC Book Tour here. And make sure to tune in to Book Club Girl On Air on July 18th at 7pm EST to hear author Jyotsna Sreenivasan discuss And Laughter Fell from the Sky. You can also connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter.

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