The Last Sacrifice by Joe Hart #Review @AuthorJoeHart

The Last Sacrifice cover

The Last Sacrifice is a tie-in to Hart’s Dominion Trilogy, telling the story of what happened to Janie Tenner. Readers of the Dominion Trilogy will recognize her as the sister of Chelsea Tenner, and will recall her relating the story of Janie’s abduction to Zoey in The Last Girl. In this graphic novel, we learn what happened to Janie after she was taken.

I’m the type of reader who always wants to know more, so I was excited to read Janie’s story. Knowing what happened to her satisfied my curiosity immensely, and rounded out the series nicely, in my opinion.

The artwork throughout is beautifully done, easily conveying Janie’s horror, fear, etc. and giving the written words far more depth than they would have had, alone. I was amused to see a character who had a very strong resemblances to a certain actor, but it definitely set the mood for that character’s actions, so it worked for me.

A word of caution: you really shouldn’t read The Last Sacrifice as a stand-alone story. I’ve seen many reviews with readers opining that it didn’t make sense, or was too vague about what happened previously, giving lower ratings as a consequence. I can understand the frustration these readers must have felt because if you read it as a story that stands on its own, it’s not going to make sense to you. This graphic novel was never meant to be read as a stand-alone, however, as it gives a small slice of a much larger story. In order to fully appreciate this story, you really need to read the series, as well—otherwise, you’re most likely bound to be confused and disappointed.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Goodreads Giveaways and the author.

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Authors: Joe Hart, Stuart Moore

Illustrators: Michael Montenat, Andrew DalhouseChris Summers

Title: The Last Sacrifice: The Graphic Novel

Series: The Dominion Trilogy

Genre: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Graphic Novel

Published: January 4th 2017 by Jet City Comics

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

Acclaimed novelist Joe Hart (The Last Girl) brings the engrossing dystopian paranoia of his popular Dominion series to the comics page in collaboration with award-winning comic book writer Stuart Moore (The Zodiac Legacy) and celebrated illustrator Michael Montenat (Clive Barker’s Hellraiser).

In the near future, with the world’s female population on the brink of extinction, teenager Janie Tenner is taken by the sinister National Obstetric Alliance. Desperate to escape and reunite with her missing sister, she finds an unlikely ally: grieving father Tom Vincent, whose own daughter has disappeared.

But will Tom lead Janie out of the darkness to the promised land…or into a fresh new hell on earth?

Other books in the series:

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About the Authors

Author Joe Hart
Author Joe Hart

Joe Hart was born and raised in northern Minnesota. Having dedicated himself to writing horror and thriller fiction since the tender age of nine, he is now the author of nine novels, including The River Is Dark, Lineage, EverFall, and the first two books in the Dominion Trilogy, on which this graphic novel is based. When not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising, exploring the great outdoors, and watching movies with his family. For more information on his upcoming novels and access to his blog, visit http://www.joehartbooks.com.

Author Stuart Moore
Author Stuart Moore

Stuart Moore is a writer, a book editor, and an award-winning comics editor. His recent writing includes EGOs, an original comic book series from Image Comics, and The Zodiac Legacy, a major Disney project created and cowritten by Stan Lee. His comics work includes Wolverine Noir, Namor: The First Mutant, Firestorm, and the graphic novels Earthlight, Para, Shadrach Stone, and Mandala. He also wrote the novelizations of Marvel’s Civil War comics series and Disney’s John Carter film. He contributed two series, Teach and Out with a Bang, to the launch of the online comics app Stela.

Michael Montenat graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and proceeded to play the fine art game for years. Now he has come back to what got him into art in the first place: illustration and comics. His clients have included IDW, Top Cow, Legendary, MonkeyBrain Books, Spacegoat, Darby Pop Publishing, BOOM! Studios, and Universal Studios Japan.

Author photos and bios via Amazon.

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He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly #Review @mserinkelly @MinotaurBooks

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If I were to describe this book in a single word, the word would be breathtaking… an apt description, indeed, as this He Said/She Said is chock full of surprising plot twists that will, well, take your breath away.

The story centers on Kit and Laura, eclipse enthusiasts whose lives were turned upside down after Laura witnesses a rape in progress. Despite the attacker’s proclamations of innocence, he is arrested and—thanks to Laura’s testimony—found guilty and sent to prison. Laura initially befriends the victim, a woman named Beth, until a series of frightening events leave them fearing for their lives and sends them into hiding. 15 years later, the couple are married, expecting twins, and living under assumed names when the consequences of that night comes back to terrorize them once more. What really happened that long ago night? Someone is lying… but who?

He Said/She Said is a slow burn that gradually builds to a magnificent blaze that will leave you gasping aloud at one shocking reveal after another.  Written from the dual perspectives of Kit and Laura, in alternating timelines, readers gradually learn what happened in the past while witnessing the psychological effect it has on both of them in the present day.

To say these characters and events are complex almost feels like an understatement. Every single time I thought I had a handle on what was going on—even feeling smug a time or two thinking I had it all figured out—I was humbled by an unforeseen twist that was intense in its ramifications, and left me to puzzle it out all over again.

Hint: I never figured out one damned thing before it happened. It was a glorious failure that left me highly impressed with Kelly’s inventive writing and her ability to weave a completely unpredictable story.

This is a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers! Trust me… you won’t be sorry. And while you’re at it, add Erin Kelly to your Author Radar. With skills like these, she’s an author whose work you won’t want to miss out on.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Minotaur Books.

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Author: Erin Kelly

Title: He Said/She Said

Genre: Psychological Thriller

To Be Published: June 6th 2017 by Minotaur Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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 Purchase Links

Macmillan | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

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About the Book

“A tour de force – a gripping, twisting, furiously clever read that asks all the right questions, and keeps you guessing until the very end. I loved it.” –Ruth Ware, bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.

But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person?

15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.

From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.

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About the Author

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Author Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. She read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998.

She has written for newspapers including the The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Express and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner #Review @jamielbrenner @littlebrown

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A broken engagement. A forbidden affair. The loss of a prestigious job. The announcement that her parents are getting divorced. What else could possibly happen to shake up Marin Bishop’s already wrecked life?

The final bombshell comes with the arrival of twenty-two year old Rachel Moscowitz—Marin’s half-sister—and the painful discovery that Marin’s beloved father isn’t really her father, after all. Shattered and in denial, Marin nevertheless agrees to travel with Rachel to the Beach Rose Inn in Provincetown, to meet their grandmother, Amelia Cabral. Against her wishes, Marin’s mother, Blythe, accompanies them. The group of women spend the summer getting to know one another as decades-old secrets are finally spoken, and the pain of the past confronted at last.

The Forever Summer is an enjoyable story with some surprising twists thrown into the mix. The characters were well written, with vivid personalities. There were times I found myself annoyed with some of the things Rachel did or said, but in hindsight I think it was because she’s a young woman doing/feeling what young women do, and I wasn’t able to identify with it at this time in my life. (I think I may have just insulted myself there, and inferred I was getting old? Yikes!)

My favorite characters were definitely Amelia and Kelly. Their backstory—as well as Blythe’s—was the most interesting part of the story for me. Nadine, Amelia’s daughter, was extremely unlikable, but she had her reasons for behaving the way she did. There were a few twists in the latter part of the book (some good, others not so good) that really surprised me.

I’m giving this one a solid 3.5 stars. I couldn’t decide between three and four stars, so 3.5 felt right in the end.

If you’re looking for books to add to your summer reading list, I would suggest adding this one to your list.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Little, Brown, and Company and Netgalley.

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Author: Jamie Brenner

Title: The Forever Summer

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published: April 25th, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐½

Purchase Link

Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

When a DNA test reveals long-buried secrets, three generations of women reunite on Cape Cod for the homecoming of a lifetime.

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it’s paid off: at twenty-eight she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and the hard-won admiration of her father. But one moment of weakness leaves Marin unemployed and alone, all in a single day. Then a woman claiming to be Marin’s half-sister shows up, and it’s all Marin can do not to break down completely. Seeking escape, Marin agrees to a road trip to meet the grandmother she never knew she had. As the summer unfolds at her grandmother’s quaint beachside B&B, it becomes clear that the truth of her half-sister is just the beginning of revelations that will change Marin’s life forever. THE FOREVER SUMMER is a delicious page-turner and a provocative exploration of what happens when our notions of love, truth, and family are put to the ultimate test.

Full of delicious descriptions of coastal New England and richly imagined characters, THE FOREVER SUMMER is an emotional, hot-topic page-turner and a summer must-read.

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About the Author

jamie_brenner
Author Jamie Brenner

Jamie Brenner is the author of The Forever Summer. Her previous novels include The Wedding Sisters and the historical The Gin Lovers (St. Martin’s Press), named by Fresh Fiction as one of the Top Thirteen Books to read in 2013, and Ruin Me, a coming-of-age story set in the art world. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters.

Author photo via Goodreads. Bio via publisher’s website.

Nest by Terry Goodkind #Review @terrygoodkind @skyhorsepub

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I’ve never read Goodkind before, but I sure picked a helluva book for my first. Just… WOW.

Imagine what your life would be like if you were able to know someone is a cold-blooded killer simply by looking into their eyes. What would such an ability do to your life as you know it? How would you manage to stay alive while being hunted by killers for the rest of your life? Would you let your life be taken from you, or would you fight to stay alive and save the lives of others by killing the killer you can so easily see? This is the life Kate Bishop suddenly finds herself living, and she knows she has to fight for survival, lest she meet the fate of others who had the same ability. With the help of Jack Raines, Kate begins to learn the skills she needs in order to survive. Soon, Kate will have to fight for her life, or face a horrific death, because the killers are coming.

Nest is like Criminal Minds, in a way. Gritty and disturbing at times, but far too engrossing to stay away from for long.

What I liked best about this book was the unique ability of the protagonist. Being able to know someone is a killer, simply by looking into their eyes? How brilliant is that?! Kate’s ability extends a bit further than that, actually, but I won’t go into that in this review. Suffice to say that, even among people able to do what she can do, Kate is special in a way that even Jack Raines—who knows a great deal about such abilities—can’t explain.

I hated to reach the end of the book, because there was so much more I wanted… no, NEEDED… to know. And there was a certain loose end left dangling that is just begging for a sequel, in my opinion. You know… for people like me, who want NEED to know what happened next!

As I said in the beginning, this is the first book by Terry Goodkind I’ve read… but it certainly won’t be the last.

I received a digital review copy of this book courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing.

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Author: Terry Goodkind

Title: Nest

Genre: Thriller

Published: November 15th 2016 by Skyhorse Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

 

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About the Book

#1 New York Times bestselling author Terry Goodkind reinvents the thriller with a provocative, page-turning walk among evil.

Kate Bishop thought she was an ordinary woman living and working in Chicago. But when she unexpectedly finds herself in the middle of a police investigation into a brutal murder, Kate makes a shocking discovery: she has the ability to identify killers just by looking into their eyes.

Trying to grasp the implications of this revelation, Kate is drawn deep into a world of terror. She is tracked down by Jack Raines, a mysterious author with shadowy connections to those who share her ability. He tells Kate that her unique vision also makes her a target, and only he can help her.

Now, hot on Jack and Kate’s heels are a force of super-predators, vicious and bloodthirsty killers who will stop at nothing until Kate is dead. But even as she fights for her life, Kate still isn’t sure if Jack is really her salvation, or another killer coming to slaughter her.

An explosive mix of action and suspense, Nest is a landmark new novel from worldwide bestselling author Terry Goodkind, and a complete reinvention of the contemporary thriller. Travel with Goodkind on a dangerous journey to the back alleys of the darknet, to the darkest corners of our minds, and to the very origins of what it is to be human.

 

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About the Author

terry-goodkind
Author Terry Goodkind
Terry Goodkind is a contemporary American writer and author of the best-selling epic fantasy series, The Sword of Truth, creator of the television show The Legend of the Seeker, and writer of the self-published epic, The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus (a prequel and origin story of the first Mother Confessor). He has over 20 million copies in print and has been translated into more than 20 different languages, world-wide.
Author photo and bio via Goodreads.

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#BlogTour My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach #TLCBookTours

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward cover

 

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward gives readers an intimate and often heartbreaking look into the lives of author Mark Lukach and his wife, Giulia. In their third year of marriage, Giulia suffered a psychotic break. Delusional and suicidal, she was confined to a psych ward for twenty three days before she was allowed to return home. In time, she recovered, and they welcomed their son, Jonah, into the world. Sadly, Giulia would suffer two more psychotic episodes over the next few years, and had to be confined to the psych ward, again, each time.

Giulia’s journey is often distressing to read about, as is the way it affected all those who loved her. Lukach tells how he felt as a husband—and later, as a father—as he watched his beloved wife slide into episodes of delusional thinking, and the terror he felt when Giulia became suicidal. He also writes about how the role of caretaker took a toll on him physically and emotionally, and is brutally honest about the anger he sometimes felt toward his wife, and how overwhelmed he became in trying to care for both his wife and son during these times.

It feels weird to say I enjoyed a book about so serious a topic as mental illness, but I did. It’s beautifully written, and I know I’ll be thinking about this book for quite some time.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy memoirs, and books dealing with mental health issues!

 

Author: Mark Lukach

Title: My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward

Genre: Memoir

Published: May 2nd, 2017 by Harper Wave

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

A heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.

Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.

Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But, soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown, and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended.

A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is, above all, a love story that raises profound questions: How do we care for the people we love? What and who do we live for? Breathtaking in its candor, radiant with compassion, and written with dazzling lyricism, Lukach’s is an intensely personal odyssey through the harrowing years of his wife’s mental illness, anchored by an abiding devotion to family that will affirm readers’ faith in the power of love.

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About the Author

Mark Lukach is a teacher and freelance writer. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Wired, and other publications. He is currently the ninth-grade dean at the Athenian School, where he also teaches history. He lives with his wife, Giulia, and their son, Jonas, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Find out more about Mark at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Instagram.

TLC Book Tours The Sky's The LimitTour Schedule

Tuesday, May 2nd: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, May 3rd: bookchickdi
Friday, May 5th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, May 9th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, May 10th: Back Porchervations
Thursday, May 11th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, May 15th: Stranded in Chaos
Tuesday, May 16th: Dreams, Etc.
Wednesday, May 17th: Wining Wife
Thursday, May 18th: Jathan & Heather
Monday, May 22nd: Book Hooked Blog
Tuesday, May 23rd: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Wednesday, May 24th: The Geeky Bibliophile

 

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The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer #Review @melodiewinawer @TouchstoneBooks

The Scribe of Sienna cover

Back in November, I received an email from Simon & Schuster offering a free ebook if I was willing to take part in a study to help them learn more about how readers engaged with their books. All I had to do was create a Jellybooks account, pick my freebie, and start reading. At the end of every chapter, I would click on a button that said ‘sync reading stream’… easy-peasy.  Of the five book choices, I had already read one of them, and had my request on Netgalley declined for another. Thinking I would choose the latter, I signed up. I had to read the blurbs for the other books—no self-respecting bibliophile would skip doing that, right?—and my mind was changed as soon as I read the blurb for The Scribe of Siena.

I’ll own up to the fact that it was the Outlander mention/comparison that made my choice an easy one. (If you know me, you know I am totally obsessed with love the story of Outlander, so you aren’t surprised in the least.) I think I would have chosen this book regardless, because the plot greatly appealed to me. I went into reading it a bit warily, though, because the last book I read that compared itself to Outlander—despite being a very good book—felt like false advertising, in that regard. After giving it some serious thought, I’ve come to decide that the The Scribe of Siena is worthy of the comparison. The stories, settings, and plots aren’t mirror images, of course. It is exactly like Outlander, however, in that it can’t be boxed into one single genre, but to a group of genres—specifically time travel, historical fiction, suspense, and romance. They are close enough in the ways that count to make it an acceptable comparison to me.

When books have historical settings, it’s important that everything fits the time and place;  dress, language, societal hierarchies… all of it has to be right, to feel right. Lovers of historical fiction are sophisticated enough to hone in on little details that don’t belong, and it can’t ruin the entire book for them when it happens. Thankfully, that didn’t happen with this book. Winawer clearly did the necessary historical research to bring this fourteenth-century medieval Italian setting to life, and it paid off beautifully in vivid characters, settings, and dialogue.

The conspiracy at the heart of the story was gripping, and my breath caught more than once as the conspirators set about committing their dastardly deeds. I enjoyed how it tied in to the research Beatrice’s brother did prior to his death, and why a particular person in the present day was so motivated to get his hands on that research.

As much as I loved the historical portions of the story, the present day story was equally enjoyable to read.  Most of the action understandably takes place in 14th century Siena, but Beatrice’s life in modern-day Siena had memorable moments, as well.

The love story between Beatrice and Gabriele was sweet. As is typical concerning lovers from different centuries, Beatrice ultimately has to decide whether to stay in his time, or go back to hers. The catalyst for this decision wasn’t something I’d foreseen, and that was a welcome surprise.

I absolutely adored this book, and I highly recommend it. I think fans of the Outlander series would really enjoy it, as well as readers who enjoy a good time travel story lush with historical detail, a healthy dose of romance, and a good batch of suspense added to the mix. The Scribe of Siena is a brilliant debut, and I’m fervently hoping to see more novels from this author in the future!

I received an advance reader copy of this book courtesy of Touchstone and Jellybooks.

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Author: Melodie Winawer

Title: The Scribe of Sienna

Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Romance

Publication Date: May 16, 2017 by Touchstone

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy—think The Girl with a Pearl Earring meets Outlander—debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

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About the Author

Melodie Winawer
Melodie Winawer (Photo © Dana Maxon)

Melodie Winawer is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. A graduate of Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University with degrees in biological psychology, medicine, and epidemiology, she has published forty-seven nonfiction articles and book chapters. She is fluent in Spanish and French, literate in Latin, and has a passable knowledge of Italian. Dr. Winawer lives with her spouse and their three young children in Brooklyn, New York. The Scribe of Siena is her first novel.

Author photo and bio via Simon & Schuster.

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