Thursday, November 30, 2017

#CoverCrush: The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang

We all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in today's increasingly competitive market, a memorable jacket can make or break sales.

I am not a publishing professional, but I am a consumer and much as I loath admitting it, jacket design is one of the first things I notice when browsing. This appreciation for cover art is what inspired Cover Crush, a weekly post dedicated to those images that have captured my attention and/or piqued my interest. Enjoy!

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A novel rooted in the remarkable, but little-known, true history of the only secessionist town north of the Mason Dixon Line.

When escaped slave, Joe Bell, collapses in her father’s barn, Mary Willis must ward off Confederate guerillas and spies, Joe’s vengeful owner, and even her own brother to help the handsome fugitive cross to freedom.

Mary has always been an outcast, an outspoken abolitionist woman in a town of bounty hunters and anti-Union farmers. Helping runaways is the only thing that makes her life in Town Line bearable. As the countryside is riled by the drumbeat of civil war and the promise of an extravagant bounty for the wounded fugitive, Mary finds herself drawn to the stranger in forbidden ways. When rebels cross from nearby Canada intent on killing him, they bring the devastation of the brutal war to the town and the farm, and threaten to destroy all that Mary loves.
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I don't think I need to explain my attraction to The Hidden Light of Northern Fires
by Daren Wang. The texture of the design is simply stunning and I love how lantern light was utilized as a play on the title of the narrative. 

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Did this week's cover catch your eye? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

INTERESTED IN SEEING MORE?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Stephanie at Layered Pages

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#CoverCliche: A Quiet Moment

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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Out of the courts of twelfth-century England strode the legendary figure of Richard of England - leading his knights onto the Saracen battlefields - inspired by a vision of the Holy Land.

Here is the story of the Soldier-King and the Third Crusade - of his strange, ill-fated union with Berengaria, Princess of Navarre - of his mother, the She-Wolf, Eleanor of Aquitaine who loved her son with a frantic, possessive pride. And above all, here is the story of the minstrel whose life was linked with that of the King - the story of Blondel - the lute player...




Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridget Hodgson, hailed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as "one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction."

Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.

Bridget—accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson—finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?




Eleanor is young, high-spirited, supremely intelligent, heiress to the vast Duchy of Aquitaine - at a time when a woman's value was measured in terms of wealth. Her vivid leadership inspired and dazzled those about her. And yet, born to rule, she was continually repressed and threatened by the men who overshadowed her life. This is the story of a brilliant, medieval figure - of a princess who led her own knights to the Crusades, who was bride to two kings and mother of Richard the Lion Heart. It is the rich, incredible story of Eleanor Of Aquitaine.?





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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Monday, November 27, 2017

#WishList: November 2017

Like many readers, my TBR grows faster than it shrinks. I find a subject that interests me and titles start piling up one right after the other. With so many bookmarked, I thought it'd be fun to sort through and feature five titles a month here at Flashlight Commentary. 

I think it fair to say that November got away from me. It's been a busy month, I lost track of time, and nearly forgot to post my monthly wish list. As luck would have it, however, I managed to stumble over something rather brilliant and can't wait to dig into the following books about the women behind some of the most beloved classics of all time. 

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Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.




Louisa May Alcott can't believe it—her mother is leaving for the summer to earn money for the family and Louisa is to be in charge of the household. How will she find the time to write her stories, much less have any adventures of her own? But before long, Louisa finds herself juggling her temperamental father, a mysterious murder, a fugitive seeking refuge along the Underground Railroad, and blossoming love. Intertwining fact, fiction, and quotes from Little Women, Michaela MacColl has crafted another spunky heroine whose story will keep readers turning pages until the very end.




For the first time ever, a young adult novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman's place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister's stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren't a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn't sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.

But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother's plans for her, which threaten Maud's future — and her happiness forever.

What if you had to choose between your family and true love?

Jane Austen’s family is eager to secure her future by marrying her off. But Jane is much more interested in writing her novels and finds every suitor lacking in one way or another. That is, until the mysterious Mr. Lefroy arrives on the scene.

Much like the famous character Mr. Darcy, from one of the real-life Jane Austen’s famous novels, Mr. Lefroy initially seems arrogant and distasteful. But the more Jane gets to know him, the more she discovers his kind nature. Can it be that he’s the suitor for her? Before Jane can find out, her cousin is accused of aiding the French, England’s enemy, and Jane finds herself busy proving her family’s innocence, solving a murder, and facing a decision that might mean the sacrifice of her one true love.

When something is most important to me and I do not want to lose it, I gather it into a poem. It is said that women must employ the needle and not the pen. But I will be a Poet! That's who I am!

Before she was an iconic American poet, Emily Dickinson was a spirited girl eager to find her place in the world. Expected by family and friends to mold to the prescribed role for women in mid-1800s New England, Emily was challenged to define herself on her own terms.

Award-winning author Barbara Dana brilliantly imagines the girlhood of this extraordinary young woman, capturing the cadences of her unique voice and bringing her to radiant life.

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INTERESTED IN MORE WISHLISTS?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Stephanie at Layered Pages

Thursday, November 16, 2017

#CoverCrush: Plaint for Provence: 1152: Les Baux by Jean Gill

We all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in today's increasingly competitive market, a memorable jacket can make or break sales.

I am not a publishing professional, but I am a consumer and much as I loath admitting it, jacket design is one of the first things I notice when browsing. This appreciation for cover art is what inspired Cover Crush, a weekly post dedicated to those images that have captured my attention and/or piqued my interest. Enjoy!

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1152:Les Baux de Provence The Troubadours, Estela and her lover, Dragonetz, are embroiled in two rival claims for power as their feuding liege lords gather in Provence. If the peace fails, Dragonetz' sword will decide the winner and friends will die. 

Although Estela is reluctant to leave her idyll with her young child Musca, and her pursuit of Arabic medicine, she welcomes the chance to show her musical skills and to support Dragonetz, who must use his swordsmanship to play peacemaker.

The visit of the Comte du Barcelone to Les Baux sparks bitter memories of the recent civil war and Lady Etiennette des Baux has no intention of ceding to her overlord. Nor does she plan to remain a widow. With good friends on both sides, Dragonetz weaves a precarious path through the rival factions at court where an uneasy truce prevails behind the chivalry of hunt and tournament.

Meanwhile, Estela faces her own demons. Confronted with her childhood abusers, threatened and attacked, she confides in her friends. Unfortunately, one of those friends is Dragonetz' worst enemy and Estela has no idea of what he is capable.

In this third volume of the Troubadours Quartet, Jean Gill, the 'master of historical intrigue', continues to weave the gripping adventures of Dragonetz and Estela seamlessly into real historical events. Medieval France comes alive in all its facets, from healing with leeches to training a goshawk.
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I like cover that make me look twice and Plaint for Provence: 1152: Les Baux by Jean Gill certainly stopped me in my tracks. The embellishments are perhaps a bit much, but I love depth created by the layering behind it. 

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Did this week's cover catch your eye? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

INTERESTED IN SEEING MORE?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Stephanie at Layered Pages

Thursday, November 9, 2017

#CoverCrush: Tochter des Flusses by Dana Graham

We all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in today's increasingly competitive market, a memorable jacket can make or break sales.

I am not a publishing professional, but I am a consumer and much as I loath admitting it, jacket design is one of the first things I notice when browsing. This appreciation for cover art is what inspired Cover Crush, a weekly post dedicated to those images that have captured my attention and/or piqued my interest. Enjoy!

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An incredible gift.
A dangerous love.
A truth, greater than the legend.

Orphaned in a pirate attack, Leana comes under the care of the Landgrave, who raises her like a daughter in her own right. But years later, when he wants to send her to a monastery against her will, Leana flees. In the ruins of a legendary moated castle, she meets a stranger who fascinates her from the first moment: Jargo, a man from the mysterious river people. But the encounter is no coincidence. Old secrets lead Jargo into the moated castle - secrets that are inseparably interwoven with Leana's fate.

On Jargo's side, Leana uncovers her true origins and begins to fight: Not only against dark forces and a web of lies and hatred, but also for her love for Jargo ...
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The cover of Tochter des Flusses by Dana Graham makes me want to learn German. The book, which in English would be called Daughter of the River, is to the best of my knowledge not available in any other language, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating the cover design. Everything about this one works for me. The colors and the layering are absolutely flawless and I adore how the title is framed be the other elements of the composition.

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Did this week's cover catch your eye? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

INTERESTED IN SEEING MORE?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Stephanie at Layered Pages

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

#CoverCliche: Eyes on the Sky

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn't stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy's gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women Airforce Service Pilots - and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won't accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of "passing," of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one's racial heritage, denying one's family, denying one's self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.



Former wartime ace James Harrington has his sights set on being the first person to fly from Britain to Australia in a light aircraft.  With so much desert and ocean to cross, he's been told it can't be done.

Sarah Carson can help make his dream a reality, but only if he takes her with him.  So begins the flying adventure of a lifetime, until halfway across the world, the plane disappears.  Where in the world are they?  And what is really going on?

From Australia's master of the historical blockbuster comes this highly entertaining adventure-romance about an ambitious and heroic pair.  Glory Girl is an unforgettable story about the risks and sacrifices made for a chance of glory.


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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Sunday, November 5, 2017

#BookReview: Return to Ithaca by Glyn Iliffe

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The thrilling final instalment of the epic and bestselling Adventures of Odysseus
Odysseus has been to Hell and back. Deserted by the Gods, and now in bitter conflict with his friend Eperitus, times look bleak. He dreams of returning to his home; to Ithaca.

But back on Ithaca things look little better. His son Telemachus and wife Penelope are besieged by a gang of suitors, believing Odysseus to be dead and looking for her hand in marriage.

Odysseus and Eperitus have survived everything. But now they face a last test, perhaps the most difficult of all… Can they reclaim what has been lost?

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆   |   Obtained from: Netegalley   |   Read: July 12, 2017
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I struggled with Glyn Iliffe’s Return to Ithaca, but I want to be very clear in that I believe much of my difficulties stemmed from opting to read the series out of order. The books are six in number, but I picked up the final volume without so much as a glance at the novels that preceded it. I knew The Odyssey well enough to feel comfortable with the material and figured it wouldn’t matter, but the reality proved my assumption grossly misplaced.

Iliffe’s characterizations are firmly established at this point and while I respect the author’s creative choices, the tone and direction of the novel are not easy for readers who haven’t followed the retelling chronologically. I felt myself at a great disadvantage with this piece and caution others from following in my footsteps.

The action was well-written and I think the series boasts a unique degree of creativity, but it should be firmly understood the novels are not stand-alones. 

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"He pondered her words and know they were true. He was no longer the man who had conquered Troy or outwitted the Cyclops. His muscles had gone to waster and his stomach had seen too many easy meals. He lacked the courage to face the sea’s treachery or brave Poseidon’s anger…"
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

#CoverCrush: Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire

We all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in today's increasingly competitive market, a memorable jacket can make or break sales.

I am not a publishing professional, but I am a consumer and much as I loath admitting it, jacket design is one of the first things I notice when browsing. This appreciation for cover art is what inspired Cover Crush, a weekly post dedicated to those images that have captured my attention and/or piqued my interest. Enjoy!

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If A Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever. But what if he didn't love you, first? 

No-nonsense Liis Lindy is an agent of the FBI. Deciding she is married only to her job, she breaks off her engagement and transfers from Chicago to the field office in San Diego. She loves her desk. She is committed to her laptop. She dreams of promotions and shaking hands with the director after cracking an impossible case. 

Special Agent in Charge Thomas Maddox is arrogant, unforgiving, and ruthless. He is tasked with putting away some of the world’s toughest criminals, and he is one of the best the Bureau has to offer. Though, as many lives as he’s saved, there is one that is beyond his reach. Younger brother Travis is faced with prison time for his involvement in a basement fire that killed dozens of college students, and the media want a conviction. Travis’s only savior is his unusual tie to the mob. In a deal that will spare his brother, Thomas has agreed to recruit Travis into the FBI. 

Liis is stubborn, defiant, and yet somehow softens Thomas’s rough edges, making her the perfect agent to accompany him to the ceremony. Posing as a couple, they must travel to Travis & Abby’s beach vow renewal and give him the news, but when the pretending ends, she finds herself wondering if they were pretending at all. 
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Contemporary romance is decidedly outside my wheelhouse (if you understood the entirely of my romantic track record you'd know why), but the cover of Beautiful Redemption by Jamie McGuire is enough to tempt even my cold, cracked, and jaded heart. Optical illusions always jump out at me, I love how the feathers and the line of the wing were used to replicate the effect in this particular design. 

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Did this week's cover catch your eye? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

INTERESTED IN SEEING MORE?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Stephanie at Layered Pages