Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lone Star Book Blog Tours - Book Blitz - Storms of Malhado by Maria Elena Sandovici

Genre: Historical Fiction / Ghosts
Publisher: Independently Published
Date of Publication: March 26, 2020
Number of Pages: 252

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Galveston Island, Texas, September 2008 Katie doesn’t believe in ghosts. And she certainly doesn’t believe the rumors that her family’s home is haunted, despite its tragic history: two young women who lived there in different eras died in hurricanesone during Hurricane Carla in 1961, one during the Great Storm of 1900, the greatest natural disaster to befall the United States. But that was the past, a fact Katie reminds herself of when she returns to Galveston to await Hurricane Ike with her parents and boyfriend in her family’s Broadway mansion, hoping to rekindle her flailing relationship.

While Katie is not afraid of the ghost stories she’s heard, she is afraid of the monster storm approaching. As even die-hard Islanders evacuate, her fears grow
—fear of the looming hurricane, fear that she’s talentless as a painter, fear that her relationship with her boyfriend is already over. As Katie struggles against her fears, the past whispers to her of the women who died there and the haunting similarities they share with Katie’s own life. 

Through three different timelines, Storms of Malhado weaves a story of Galveston’s past, underscoring its danger and isolation, as well as its remarkable resilience, and its capacity for both nostalgia and reinvention. Full of contradictions, at once insular and open to the world, Galveston Island is as much a character of the novel as Katie, Suzanne, Betty, their lovers, and their confidantes.


“Taking place entirely on a beautifully moody Galveston Island, Ms. Sandovici weaves three simultaneous stories with ease. With a timeless tale, ethereal language, and complicated characters, readers will be entranced by this modern ghost story. How many times can the past repeat itself? How do we recognize people through generations? The author tackles this topic amid a backdrop of violent nature and intangible dreamscapes." 

—Courtney Brandt, author of The Queen of England: Coronation, Grand Tour, Ascension

”Three women, three great storms, and one house, haunted by forbidden love and frustrated ambition. Get ready to be swept away by Sandovici’s foray into Galveston Island’s tempestuous history in this tale of lives intertwined across time.”
—Donna Dechen Birdwell, author of Not Knowing

Excerpt from Storms of Malhado
By Maria Elena Sandovici
“Galveston 1961 – Are You Happy, Miss Betty?”

Betty went back upstairs, actually went all the way up to the third floor, where the servants’ quarters had been back when the house was inhabited by a wealthy family, and sat at her drawing table. The table was a wooden rectangle with uneven legs that required balancing with matchbooks. It wouldn’t have been remarkable in any way, except for its sturdiness, a quality at odds with its wobbly nature, a paradox Betty found endearing, as if this large and unwieldy furniture item, undoubtedly left up here by former inhabitants because it was too much trouble to move, were a hippopotamus with a limp, or a massive heifer with a vertigo problem. Betty loved the discoloration of the surface, the circles of wood underneath the worn veneer, the warmth and porousness of it. This table, to her, was like a friend, and the third floor where it resided, her place of refuge. She was grateful for this old abandoned object, a feeling that eluded her about most other things in life, including the privilege of living in the house itself. She supposed that one good thing about Galveston was that nobody wanted to be here. They could afford a mansion if they wanted to, although it was a mansion in disrepair, and sometimes Betty wondered if newer houses with better insulation and fewer ghosts were not indeed more expensive than this ancient carcass Carl had surprised her with.

Her mother thought it strange that Betty liked to go to the third floor. Her mother thought that must be the most haunted part, she’d heard it somewhere, and that a sensible girl would steer clear. But for all the talk going around, Betty had not so much as been startled by an unaccounted-for draft of air. She’d been in other houses on the island where she could feel a presence. But not here. And she was sensitive – as observant of currents of air or unaccounted for energy as she was of light and shadow, of particles of dust floating in rays of light, shiny like snowflakes, or of the subtle changes in color as the Island sky churned the golden hour into the blush of dusk.

Perhaps an actual supernatural presence would have been easier to bear than a vast mansion that was haunted in a different, metaphorical way. For it wasn’t actual ghosts that bothered Betty here, but the thought of the imposing old home as a symbol of days gone by. It was its testimony of an era of affluence wiped out unexpectedly, the Island’s perpetual nostalgia for its own wealth and glory, lost in the violence of the Storm of 1900. With its grand entrance, tall ceilings, dramatic staircase seconded by humble back stairs meant to lead servants seamlessly from the kitchen to the third floor where their rooms were, the house served as a constant reminder that Galveston’s past would forever outshine its precarious present and uncertain future. Betty wasn’t sure it was healthy to live with this much nostalgia. And yet, her domain was the abandoned third floor, the now redundant servants’ quarters, where at the old wooden table which at some point must have been used for more practical tasks she sat for hours and stared at blank sheets of paper.

Carl didn’t bother to come up to the third floor, and Betty had made sure Edna understood that this part of the house was to be excluded even from the more thorough cleanings. Edna had seemed disappointed. Or perhaps Betty had misread her expression. It didn’t matter, anyhow. She’d rather have dust bunnies pile up in the corners of the room, than suffer even a benevolent intrusion. Solitude was the greatest luxury. She could leave her sketches lying around. She could leave books open, photographs scattered, still lives in place. Nobody would bother her workshop. Betty loved having a place that was entirely her own. Yet she knew that there was something amiss with her desire for isolation. For one, it meant the absence of criticism. It was a weakness that she craved this so. It reminded her that she had dropped out of art school, dropped out during her first semester, and not just because she couldn’t make ends meet. Like the old house, she was a creature whose most ambitious hopes lay buried somewhere in the past.


Maria Elena Sandovici is a full-time writer, artist, and gallery owner living in Houston, Texas. After obtaining a Ph.D. in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2005, her curiosity led her to Texas, where she taught at Lamar University for fourteen years. She felt attracted to Galveston Island from her first visit and lived there part-time for three years before her artistic career took her to Houston. 

Sandovici is a 2008 graduate of John Ross Palmer's Escapist Mentorship Program, a program that teaches artists business skills. She resigned from her tenured academic position in December 2018 and opened her own private gallery space. Her previous works of fiction are Dogs with Bagels, Stray Dogs and Lonely Beaches, Lost Path to Solitude, The Adventures of Miss Vulpe, and Lone Wolf. She is also the author of Stop and Smell the Garbage, a volume of poetry in the voice of her dog, Holly Golightly. You can follow her daily adventures on her blog
ONE WINNER receives a signed copy of Storms of Malhado
MAY 21-31, 2020
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Teen Unicorn Book Feature - The Unicorn and the Whirling Wizard By Charlotte D'Aigle

Sybrina's Unicorn Book Pick

For Teen Readers

 Today's Unicorn Book Feature is

The Unicorn and The Whirling Wizard

by Charlotte D'Aigle

Kyle returns from school to find his home a burned out pit and his uncle-guardian missing. He mets Lornan, a healing unicorn, who tells him his uncle was not only murdered by wraiths but expunged, a dreadful process that erases one’s ancestors. The wraiths have threatened to return for Kyle. To keep him safe, Lornan must enlist the powers of the mysterious She. Kyle and Lornan set out to find She, through the Jagged Hills, over the Melting Marsh, to the Crystal Cave. On their way, they link fates with the manifesting artist Rendell, whose father is the feared wizard Geomorg. With a mesomorph cat and a rogue moorrat along, the company battles sorcery, a deadly marsh, a werebird, and the fearsome whirling wizard on their dangerous journey.

Get It At Amazon.

If you read any of the books found here, remember to take the time to say a little something about the book or at least give it the stars you feel it deserves. Of course, a well thought out review would be even better.  Comments and stars, especially in this day and age, really help other potential readers make informed decisions.

Unicorns!  How we love them. . .

Luckily for all of us unicorn lovers there are hundreds of unicorn books available for all age groups.  I have gathered information about as many as I can find and have placed them here for you on my blog.

You can also find hundreds more for all ages at Sybrina's Blue Unicorn Book Store.

Find Unicorn Gifts For Teens,YA and Older Readers At Sybrina's Book Store, Too!

This blog post was brought to you by Unicorn Author and Entrepreneur, Sybrina Durant.  Visit her Sybrina Blue Unicorn Book website for unicorn books, Unicorn Reader Tees, Unicorn Writer Journals and Notebooks, Unicorn Reader Book Sleeves and many cool unicorn gifts.  Sybrina writes The Blue Unicorn Books. If you enjoyed reading The Hobbit, Alice In Wonderland or even Watership  Downs, you might just love this purely fanciful anthropomorphic fantasy novel.

Journey To Osm - The Blue Unicorn's Tale by Sybrina Durant is an enchanting escapade about a metal-horned tribe of space-faring unicorns stranded a universe away from their home world of Unimaise. It is full of magic and adventure with walloping dashes of pseudosciencey stuff sprinkled throughout. It also offers a thought-provoking look into love and war amongst the other denizens of MarBryn. . .including Magh, the sorcerer who wants to kill all unicorns.

Browse Sybrina's Blue Unicorn Book Store

In all, you'll find thousands of books and gifts for your favorite unicorn lover at Sybrina's Unicorn Book Store. Sybrina has spent countless hours researching, finding and cataloging these books to make it easy for others to find what might become their next favorite book.  

Sybrina is an Amazon Associate and 
Influencer, so you can feel safe making a purchase from her online store because each link goes directly to the book's Amazon page. At this point you may be wondering...why not just go straight to Amazon.  The reason is simple.  Sybrina accepts no money for advertising so you can be assured that the books you see in her online store are not simply limited to who pays the most to have their book up front. You will be amazed at what you will find there. 

And if you don't find a particular book that you feel should be there, just send Sybrina an email with the book title and author's name.  She will accomodate almost all requests to include a new (or old) unicorn book in her online store.

Where you'll find unicorns, more unicorns and nothing but unicorns! Visit now.

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