Publication Date: February 18, 2016
Paperback; 596 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
“Béla’s Letters” is a historical fiction novel spanning eight decades. It revolves around the remarkable life story of Béla Ingber, who was born before the onset of WWI in Munkács, a small city nestled in the Carpathian Mountains. The book tells of the struggles of Béla and his extended family to comprehend and prepare for the Holocaust, the implausible circumstances that the survivors endure before reuniting in the New World, and the crushing impact on them of their wartime experiences together with the feelings of guilt, hatred, fear, and abandonment that haunt them. At the core of the novel are the poignant letters and postcards that family members wrote to Béla, undeterred by the feasibility of delivery, which were his lifeline, even decades after the war ended.
About the Author
Jeff is a financial industry consultant, who previously held senior positions at Citibank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. His latest book is “Bela’s Letters,” a family memoir based on his parents, who were survivors of the Hungarian Holocaust. Jeff also has written a screenplay entitled “The Bank Examiners.” He lives with his wife in Jersey City, NJ.
To win a copy of Béla’s Letters please enter using the GLEAM form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
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(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Nelay never wanted to be queen.
Poised to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, Nelay doesn’t have time to become a pretty bauble for the king. She’s too busy saving her people from the invading army sweeping across her kingdom.
But in defeat after defeat, Nelay begins to realize a bigger power is at play than that wielded by mere mortals. Only she can stand between the cinders of her once-great nation and the vengeance of a goddess.
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]
One of the things that drew me to Summer Queen in the beginning was the idea that this was finally some different fantasy. In the beginning of the blurb it sounded pretty typical but then things quickly got good so I decided to sign up for the tour. And in the end I’m glad I did because Summer Queen is anything but typical.
We start off meeting our main character Nelay preparing to seduce a king. Not because she’s particularly interested in him or seduction in general but because she wants to distract him while she makes her move to escape. The king, Zatal, is not marrying her because she’s sooo beautiful or the usual tropes but rather because the High Priestess of the fire goddess has told him he must marry an acolyte of the goddess in order to save his crumbling kingdom that used to be an enormous empire. Naturally, Nelay was chosen because she’s a high ranking priestess who is quickly looking like she’s going to challenge Suka, the old High Priestess for her job. But Nelay really doesn’t want anything to do with this man (who is in love with his thoroughly unsuitable mistress, not her); she wants to find her family. So she hires the smuggler Rycus and escapes.
Nelay is a very resourceful character. Not only is her butt-kicking awesome but in general Nelay is very analytical and thinks things through before doing them. She can sometimes be impulsive but at least she can also come up with plans while she’s doing the impulsive thing. It’s really nice to have a strategic thinker as a main character, despite her flaws like arrogance and the occasional bouts of selfishness. All of her more strong emotions are tempered quite nicely by Rycus, who is very easy going and thoroughly attractive. In the beginning Nelay and Rycus aren’t exactly buddy-buddy but through all of their adventures in the desert, in the various towns under enemy occupation and in the last standing city in the Idaran empire they start to realize that maybe they’d make more than just a good fighting team.
The plot of Summer Queen is actually quite fast for a high fantasy novel but Amber Argyle never sacrifices background information for plot. She maintains a nice steady pace with frequent bursts of pure action but at the same time readers get a pretty clear picture of the history of her fantasy world. And the history we learn through Nelay’s eyes isn’t necessarily the real history as we find out later when other characters come clean. Let’s just say that assuming things in Indara aren’t all that they appear to be. This rings especially true throughout the final battle as Nelay takes on more responsibility than she ever thought possible and learns that sometimes you have to sacrifice a little of yourself to save your people and even then it might not be enough.
Basically, if you’re looking for some well written and diverse fantasy, I’d recommend Summer Queen. It’s a great departure from a lot of typical fantasy tropes and Amber Argyle has clearly done her world-building. Technically speaking it’s not the first book in a series but apparently all of the books in this series can be read separately with complete understanding, just like I did. This is the first book of Argyle’s that I’ve read but it was so good I know it won’t be my last. Just go try it out!
I give this book 5/5 stars.
Amber Argyle is the number-one bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. Her books have been nominated for and won awards in addition to being translated into French and Indonesian.
Amber graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people.
To learn more about Amber, visit her blog at amberargyle.blogspot.com
The Tour Hosts
6/15/2015- Curling Up With A Good Book– Review
6/16/2015- The Mad Reviewer– Review
6/17/2015- Arkham Reviews– Review
6/18/2015- In Love With Handmade– Review
6/19/2015- In Libris Veritas– Review
3 winners will receive the eBook bundle of The Faerie Queen Series. International!
In the Ice Kissed blog tour everyone who hosts a part of the tour gets the awesome opportunity to have a giveaway for their followers. Since I haven’t had a giveaway in a while, I figured having another one would be fun. So here are the rules:
1. You must live in the U.S to receive the prize of a print copy of Ice Kissed. Sorry guys, no international shipping this time.
2. My giveaway will run from today (May 6) until May 13 at 11:59pm MT. The winner will be announced the following day.
All you have to do to enter is:
a) follow my blog in some fashion (either email or through WordPress)
b) answer my question in the comments below.
Everyone who answers my question will be entered into a random draw for the prize of a print copy.
Here is the question:
If you could be any character in any book, who would it be and why?
Callie Jacobsen isn’t about to open her heart to just anyone. Not so very long ago, trusting someone changed her life forever—and not in a fun way. Now she’s better off focusing on her career, her friends, and her dog. So when former Marine Everett Silverton takes an interest in her, Callie’s more than a little wary. No matter how charming he is, men are a bad idea. In fact, she’s got the scars to prove it. But Everett isn’t convinced Callie should shut everyone out—especially not him. He may be a hero to the people of Rock Canyon, but he’s got his own demons, and he bets they’re not that different from Callie’s. Still, he knows it’s going to take more than chemistry to get her to let her guard down. Everett will do whatever it takes to show her she’s safe with him. All she has to do is take a chance, take a step … and take his hand.
An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy small-town contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.
“Looks like you could use a hand.”
“Son of a bitch!” Surprised, Callie spun around from her kneeling position so fast that she fell over, landing in the softening muck with a splat. She’d been too busy cursing the shredded tire and the pouring rain to hear Everett behind her until he spoke.
Callie shook her mud-covered hands and was sure she heard a snort of laughter from Everett over the pouring rain and Ratchet’s muffled barking inside the Jeep.
“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that sneaking up on someone is rude?” Callie glared up at Everett, who was holding his hands down to her. Even though he wasn’t smiling, she’d have to be blind not to catch the amused gleam in his eyes.
Ignoring his offer of assistance, she climbed to her feet, but her bruised pride earned her even more mud as her jeans were soaked through. She tried to wipe off the muck, but it just smeared.
“They have, which is why I didn’t sneak; I walked. I saw you huddled over and figured I could help.”
“Thanks, but I’ve got this,” she said.
Thunder erupted over their heads, and Callie felt like the sky was laughing at her too.
“You sure? You’re shivering like crazy, and I can have this changed in under four minutes. I’ll have you know I hold the Silverton family record for fastest tire change.” Lightning lit up the sky, highlighting his cheeky grin. “And I’ve been told more than once that I’m good with my hands.”
She didn’t want to smile at his gentle teasing, but she was cold and miserable, and he was offering her a way out.
“I was just going to call triple A for a tow—”
“It will be faster if I just change it; believe me. Here.” Everett reached around her and opened the door to the Jeep. “Hop in, and I’ll grab the spare from the back.”
Callie’s face burned with embarrassment. “It’s not there.”
“I meant to buy another one, but these suckers aren’t cheap and I just . . . I never got around to it.” She leaned her head against the door, laughing humorlessly. “Pretty stupid, huh?”
“Well, yeah, but there’s no use in me lecturing you when you already know.”
Callie glanced at him sharply. “Thanks a lot, Dad.”
“Come on; I’ll take you to Jose’s Tires, and we’ll get you a new one.”
“I told you; I can’t afford it right now—”
“I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”
“Um, no. I don’t like being in anyone’s debt.” She squirmed under his thoughtful gaze and added, “Thank you, but I must decline.”
“Well, I must insist. You can’t just sit here on the side of the road until payday, and triple A will ding you for using one of your get-out-of-trouble calls.” Another crack of thunder shook the sky. “Look, I get it. You don’t know me from Adam, but I can get you over to Jose’s and get you a line of emergency credit. That way, you won’t owe me anything, and I don’t have to stand out in the rain. Sound fair?”
Her insides churned, and she cursed. If she’d just gotten a new spare when she’d bought her last set, she wouldn’t be sitting in the rain at the mercy of a large former marine.
Who you can’t seem to get out of your head.
Well, I officially created the draw for the 2014 Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge winners. I won’t keep you guys in suspense, so here are the names of the winners as well as the challenge levels they completed:
Grand Prize: Camille of Girl Meets Books; Mad Reviewer
1st Runner Up: Naila of Reading Authors; Crazy Reviewer
2nd Runner Up: Jemima Pett; Crazy Reviewer
The only person who won for the second year running is Jemima Pett, so congratulations to her! And a huge congratulations goes to our winner, Camille, for both completing the Mad Reviewer level and for winning the draw. Those extra entries you get for the higher levels certainly do count. As well, congratulations are in order for Naila, who completed the Crazy Reviewer level of 52 books.
You guys all worked so hard and even if you didn’t win, you can look back on the fact that the challenge gave you extra motivation to write more reviews for your blogs.
Congratulations again to the winners! For your prizes, contact me via email (if you have my address) or through my Contact page. Then we can organize prize distribution.
Kira, a huntress plagued by dreams of fire and pain has worked tirelessly to rid her city of the scourge that has nearly destroyed it…nostvores, mythlend creatures with dark and vast appetites for blood and sex. She does this not only because they had killed so many people in her life, but also because she has an edge that no other human had…she has their abilities. The problem was, these abilities were killing her and she feared time was no longer on her side.So the moment she found out that Darius, a nostvore leader was threatening to awaken an indestructible species to help him enslave all humans and mythlends, and that she may be the key to his plan, she knew her only choice was to risk her life with the little time that she had left and join her enemy to find out why, and to make sure his plan failed.
If that wasn’t dangerous enough, the more time she spends with the Vanatre nostvore Emmerich, and the mooran Kuron, who she brings with her for protection, the less she wants to kill them. Instead, she feels an unexplainable attraction towards them both, and she fears surrendering to such desire with either is a deadly game to play, for she would not only be risking her life, but quite possibly her heart.
Kimberley lives by the idea that everyone should have a bucket list of things they want to accomplish in life, but not only to have a list, but attempt to mark off as many items as possible. One goal that was high on hers was writing a novel and having it published. This idea of writing a novel wasn’t new to her, but an inevitability, as her love of reading books and watching movies inspired her to create her own stories. When the day came that she finally did start to write, she realized that this was going to be something that she wanted to do more than once, emphasized by the fact that her first novel was to be book 1 of a trilogy, and that there are many more stories waiting inside her head ready to be created. Her hope is that not only for people to enjoy hers books, but that people are inspired by them as others have inspired her.
Kimberley was born in Sydney, Australia, and currently resides in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Series: Shadowcat Nation #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance (18+)
Giveaway: $20 Amazon G.C.
Andromeda Reynolds is being hunted. After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of a pack of wolf shifters, Andie has devoted her life to protecting her community of cougar shifters from a similar fate. But now, a greater threat lies within her own pack, and she must run. If she stays, Kyle Carstairs will force their mating, seeking the added political power their union would provide.
Andie would rather chew off her own foot than end up with Kyle. Though, knowing him, she won’t live long either way. Andie’s only hope of survival is to mate Jaxon Keller, the Alpha of the Keller Dare with which she is seeking asylum. But before she can get to him, Andie must first go through A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors. What Andie doesn’t realize is that A.J. has secrets of his own. All Andie knows is that the incredibly frustrating shifter insists on challenging her story, her skills, her trust…and her heart.
Award-winning author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.
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