Review: Murder By Disputation

Death By Disputation (A Francis Bacon Murder Mystery Book 2)
Written by Anna Castle
Published on December 21, 2014 by Anna Castle
Historical Fiction; 312 pages

24083300Synopsis:

Thomas Clarady is recruited to spy on a group of radical Puritans at Cambridge University. Francis Bacon is his spymaster; his tutor in both tradecraft and religious politics. Their commission gets off to a deadly start when Tom finds his chief informant hanging from the roof beams. Now he must catch a murderer as well as a seditioner. His first suspect is volatile poet Christopher Marlow, who keeps turning up in the wrong places.

Dogged by unreliable assistants, chased by three lusty women, and harangued daily by the exacting Bacon, Tom risks his very soul to catch the villains and win his reward.

Death By Disputation is the next foray is a very fun series by Anna Castle. I enjoyed her first immensely; however, I found this book a little disappointing. I still enjoyed it but not as much as the first. The story begins as a murder mystery, then quickly transitions to a political mystery and finally a potential romance. All three stories seemed to be major plotlines. I would have liked to focus on one major plotlines and then the others would be minor plotlines. I felt that the murder mystery was just an afterthought instead of a true mystery that needed to be primary focus.

But don’t get me wrong! I still enjoyed the book. I love Ms. Castle’s portrayal of all the characters. Tom is such a fun and lively character. I liked the conflict that we was feeling throughout the story. I found the religious politics very interesting; especially as Tom got deeper and deeper into the Puritan community. His conflict between is mission and having empathy for his targets made for some really good reading. Furthermore, I loved Ms. Castle’s naming of her characters. The names of the Wingfield family were just perfect!

A great minor character that is quickly turning into a major character is Trumpett. She is just amazing; fun, brash, and quick-witted. She provided some needed levity to the story. I really look forward to how her and Tom’s relationship develops.

Even with a few plot issues, this book was a fun read with lots of political and religious intrigue. The characters are fun and lively. I look forward to Ms. Castle’s next Bacon adventure.

3BookRating

Review: Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies
Written by Liane Moriarty
Published in 2014 by Putnam
458 pages
Literary Fiction

19486412Synopsis:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Liane Moriarty has written a gem in Big Little Lies. She has made parents and school politics very provocative and deadly. And what is sad, I can see this story play in any elementary school in America. There are so many aspects of this book that are universal…rape, domestic violence, divorce, snobbery, prejudice…just to name a few.

All three of the woman in Big Little Lies are wonderful characters with her own unique issues to face. The pain of each woman is so real and you hoped that each one would come out in one piece, mentally and physically. Ms. Moriarty tackled some very serious issues with these women. Madeline, Celeste and Jane make up a trio of broken women and Ms. Moriarty told their stories with complete honesty and truth. I always find it amazing how a woman can hide her pain from everyone; and, in the reverse, not digging deep in another’s pain. Ms. Moriarty captured this perfectly. Another thing she captured was the notion of female solidarity. When push comes to shove, women will rally and take care of their own.

Big Little Lies passed an ultimate test for me. To be considered a great (in my lowly opinion), when I read the last page I don’t want the story to end. I want to know more about the characters and what comes next. That is what happened here. I was so disappointed when I got to that last page. I didn’t want the story to end. I wanted to know more which to me says Big Little Lies is a great book.

5BookRating

Review: Persuasion

Persuasion
Written by the amazing Jane Austen
First Published in 1818
Audiobook (June 6, 2006)
Read by Greta Scacchi

208705Synopsis:

At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.

Persuasion is my most favorite book of all time. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it. So, that being said, I decided for my book club (Books, Babes and Booze) selection that Persuasion would be a great pick. Not everyone is my club has read, or even likes, Jane Austen; if they had, only P&P (maybe). I really wanted to share my favorite book with my besties. I told them upfront that Persuasion is my favorite book ever; I really didn’t bear any criticism.

Since I’ve read the book so many times, I wanted to get a different perspective and decided to listen to the audiobook version. This version was read by Greta Scacchi who I really like as an actress. I picked the perfect version; she was absolutely wonderful as the narrator. She brought so much life to Anne Elliot. Her voice reflected her heartbreak, the frustration and embarrassment with her family, and the love of her friends. I loved listening to every second of it. I think you really need to take a leap of faith when listening to your favorite book. The wrong reader can completely ruin a book and, on the flipside, a reader can completely make a book. Ms. Scacchi made this audiobook; she was fantastic. She continues my belief that Persuasion is the greatest ever written (bold statement?!).

Back to my book club. Throughout the month I got text messages on how much someone loved the book. It made my heart go pitter patter. I don’t think there is anything better than sharing your favorite book with your friends and they liked it too. Of course, as modern women we had a difficult time identifying with that age. We all decided we wouldn’t do well. After all, we are all very strong and independent women! I found that many in my book club found this book surprising. Ms. Austen’s perspective on life had definitely changed since her first novel, Sense and Sensibility. In Persuasion, her writing was more mature and accomplished (did I say accomplished?).

I have one last bold statement to make about Persuasion. Captain Wentworth has to be the most romantic hero of all of Jane Austen’s novels. Mr. Darcy who? I absolutely love him! He is proud but also loyal to his friends and to Anne. Plus, he wrote the most perfect love letter of all time. “You pierce my soul!” Can you imagine someone writing those words to you. Just melt my heart!

If you need a truly romantic novel that pierces your soul, please pick up Persuasion. I promise you, you won’t regret it!

6a00e554e8195d883301287775a2e6970c

Review: The Crown

The Crown (Joanna Stafford #1)
Written by Nancy Bilyeau
Published on January 10, 2012 by Touchstone
409 pages
Historical Fiction
Purchased from Amazon

Synopsis:

The CrownJoanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.

While Joanna is in the Tower, the ruthless Bishop of Winchester forces her to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may possess the ability to end the Reformation.

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must decide who she can trust so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story set in Tudor England melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past.

The Crown is a wonderful depiction of Tudor England. Henry VIII has broken away from Rome in order to produce an heir. By doing, he has selfishly destroyed so many lives that depended on the Catholic church for survival. Joanna Stafford is one such person. She only wanted to live a peaceful life as a bride of Christ. But that life was cruelly taken from her. Nancy Bilyeau has a written a tale that takes the reader through Joanna’s turbulent life. It is a tale that depicts a woman’s life that has so few choices and very little power.

Joanna is a remarkable heroine for this story. She is highly educated which was very rare for that time. She is intelligent, strong-willed and a true believer of the Faith. Her Faith is what carries her through each brutal event in her life. Ms. Bilyeau brings her to life with such intensity and richness. Joanna is not weak and she will fight for beliefs and the people she loves.

Ms. Bilyeau has also vividly brought to life the bloody times of Tudor England. By destroying the Catholic Church in England, he basically started a civil war. Conspiracies ran everywhere. Henry VIII executed thousands to protect his new church reign. His paranoia and selfishness runs rampant. I find it so amazing how ugly and brutal religious war can be. So much torture, blood and betrayal in the name of God. It’s too bad we can’t learn from the past. There are never any winners in a religious war. Furthermore, the political intrigue is dizzying. Cardinal Gardner plays both sides to increase his power. Joanna is caught in his vicious web.

The Crown is a piece of historical fiction that needs to be savored. This is a wonderful being to a series that will be full of intrigue and suspense. I look forward to see how Joanna Stafford is able to find her place in this new world of hers.

KinxsBookNookScore4

Review: The Ripper’s Wife

Please join Brandy Purdy and HF Virtual Book Tours for The Ripper’s Wife Blog Tour from October 27-November 14.

The Ripper's Wife

 

Publication Date: October 27, 2014 | Kensington Books | Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
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A suspenseful, spellbinding novel of love, jealousy, and murder, The Ripper’s Wife re-imagines the most notorious serial killer in history through the eyes of the woman who sealed his fate.

“Love makes sane men mad and can turn a gentle man into a fiend.”

It begins as a fairytale romance–a shipboard meeting in 1880 between vivacious Southern belle Florence Chandler and handsome English cotton broker James Maybrick. Courtship and a lavish wedding soon follow, and the couple settles into an affluent Liverpool suburb.

From the first, their marriage is doomed by lies. Florie, hardly the heiress her scheming mother portrayed, is treated as an outsider by fashionable English society. James’s secrets are infinitely darker–he has a mistress, an arsenic addiction, and a vicious temper. But Florie has no inkling of her husband’s depravity until she discovers his diary–and in it, a litany of bloody deeds…

My Review:

The Ripper’s Wife is a compelling look into how a repressive society can completely turn people into fiends and psychopaths. On it’s face, Victorian society is all manners and civility. However, behind closed doors you have addiction, affairs, violence and abuse. It is hypocrisy at its best.

I found all the characters in this book to be completely insane; but at different levels. Florie lives in her own little girl world; she wants to grow up but no one will let her. In my opinion she really doesn’t want to face reality. However, she is forced to when she has to face what her husband has become. At times, I found it hard to reconcile the young Florie with the woman who narrated the story. They seem to be two completely different people. But leading a life full of death and regret can do that.

James Maybrick makes for a very believable Jack the Ripper. Furthermore, his entire family are completely depraved and insane. Edwin is such plain creepy without any moral sensibility. James complete break from reality is pure hypocrisy. He can philander all he wants but God forbid that his wife does the same. However, he must maintain the illusion of his sweet and innocent wife. In the end, he created a woman that could take his own fate into her hands.

The Ripper’s Wife is a riveting tale of the dark side of Victorian life. It is dark, depraved and completely insane. Getting a glimpse into Jack the Ripper’s mind is not a pretty experience; but it makes for a wonderful story.

KinxsBookNookScore4

Praise for the Novels of Brandy Purdy

“Recommended for readers who can’t get enough of the Tudors and have devoured all of Philippa Gregory’s books.” —Library Journal on The Boleyn Wife

“Purdy wonderfully reimagines the behind-the-scenes lives of the two sisters.” —Historical Novel Reviews on The Tudor Throne

“I love Brandy Purdy’s books, she does thorough research into the lives of the people in the Tudor era and it shows in her writing style. Very descriptive, engaging characters makes The Queen’s Rivals a page turning novel. If you are a fan of the Tudor era like I am, then this book is a must.” -CelticLady’s Reviews on The Queen’s Rivals

“The writing is inviting, intense and flawless, rich with the flavor of English country life as well as court life. The political machinations, the tragedy to befall the Dudley family and the mystery surrounding Amy’s death were weaved to captivating detail and the end result is a mesmerizing work of historical fiction that puts Brandy Purdy on my “must read” list.” -Psychotic State Book Reviews on The Queen’s Pleasures

Buy the Book

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository

About the Author

Brandy Purdy is the author of several historical novels. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading or watching classic movies. She currently lives in Beaumont, TX. Visit her website at http://www.brandypurdy.com for more information about her books. You can also follow her via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com/ where she posts updates about her work and reviews of what she has been reading.

The Ripper’s Wife Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 27

Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, October 28

Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, October 29

Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, October 30

Review at Book of Secrets

Friday, October 31

Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 3

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Interview & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, November 4

Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book reviews

Interview at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, November 5

Review at JulzReads

Thursday, November 6

Review at History & Women

Friday, November 7

Review at A Book Geek

Monday, November 10

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 11

Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, November 12

Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Thursday, November 13

Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Friday, November 14

Review at Girl Lost in a Book

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Review: The Stuart Vampire

Please join Andrea Zuvich as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Stuart Vampire, from October 13-24.

02_The Stuart Vampire

Publication Date: October 31, 2013

Self-Published

eBook; 215p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror/Paranormal

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Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest brother of King Charles II is a handsome man with sound principles. When the twenty-year-old prince contracts smallpox in 1660, however, his life takes a decidedly sinister turn. Obsessed with Henry from afar, Contessa Griselda di Cuorenero – one of the Devil’s concubines – turns him into a vampire and plunges him into the world of night. But Henry soon discovers that not all horrors are of the paranormal kind…

In the unnaturally close village of Coffin’s Bishop, Henry encounters a severely abused young woman – a woman who has suffered under humans who are more monstrous than vampires. Could love save them from the evil they have known? And at what cost?

Henry must choose between his humanity and his monstrous, insatiable desire for human blood.

From the author of “His Last Mistress,” The Stuart Vampire is a dark gothic tale in the vein of The Monk.

My Review of the Stuart Vampire:

The Stuart Vampire is a nice blending of historical fiction and supernatural fiction. It is, also, a really good start to new series of books that I really look forward to reading. It is dark and full of vampire lore. However, the author, Andrea Zuvich, has put a unique twist to the traditional vampire story.

In Ms. Zuvich’s vampire world, vampires are initially begotten by the Devil himself. But the Heavens don’t give up and reclaim many who have been unjustly begotten. I really enjoyed the conflict between the two sides. It is a true good versus evil story. This sets up a really interesting battle that will evolve in future books.

Henry and Susanna are a wonderful hero and heroine. They represent all that is good; but human flaws as well. Henry was turned against his will and must try to overcome what he has become. Susanna reminds him is humanity and what he must do to reclaim his soul. Susanna is an incredibly strong character who has faced and survived some serious horrific acts. But her love for Henry keeps her alive and strong.

The true villain of this story is Griselda. She is a nasty piece of work. She is psychotic and perfect for this book. She’s obsessive and truly insane. She will do anything to keep Henry to herself.

If you like supernatural fiction, then this book is a must read. It is dark, brooding and romantic. It will keep you engaged until the very last page; which I might add is quite the cliffhanger. I can’t wait to get the second installment. Thank you Ms. Zuvich for giving us a new vampire series that we can really sink our teeth into.

KinxsBookNookScore4

Praise for The Stuart Vampire

“An intriguing historical with a darkly gothic twist, I enjoyed The Stuart Vampire and would recommend it to anyone with a taste for period horror.” – Erin Davies, Flashlight Commentary

Buy the Book

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author03_Andrea Zuvich

Andrea (aka The Seventeenth Century Lady) is a 17th-century historian, historical consultant, and historical fiction authoress. His Last Mistress – a biographical fiction novella about the Duke of Monmouth and Lady Henrietta Wentworth was published by Endeavour Press, London in 2013. She received double BA degrees in History and Anthropology from the University of Central Florida, and continued her History studies with the University of Oxford and Princeton University. Zuvich has been filmed for NTR television in The Netherlands, talking about William III, and was recently on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour discussing Queen Anne. She was one of the original developers and leaders on The Garden History Tours at Kensington Palace, London. Zuvich lives in Windsor, England.

For more information please visit Andrea’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Stuart Vampire Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 13

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, October 14

The Stuart Vampire Launch Party @ 12:00pm-2:00pm EST

Wednesday, October 15

Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, October 16

Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, October 17

Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, October 20

Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, October 21

Review at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, October 22

Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, October 24

Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

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Review: The Vintner’s Daughter

The Vintner’s Daughter
Written by Kristen Harnisch
Published on August 5, 2014 by She Writes Press
342 pages
Historical Fiction
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Vintners-DaughterSynopsis:

Loire Valley, 1895. When Sara Thibault’s father is killed in a mudslide, her mother sells their vineyard to a rival family, whose eldest son marries Sara’s sister, Lydia. But a violent tragedy compels the sisters to flee to America, forcing Sara to put aside her dream to follow in her father’s footsteps as a master winemaker.

Meanwhile, Philippe Lemieux has arrived in California with the ambition of owning the largest vineyard in Napa. When he learns of his brother’s death in France, he resolves to bring the killer to justice. Sara has travelled to California in hopes of making her own way in the winemaking world. When she encounters Philippe, they are instantly drawn to one another. But Sara knows he is the one man who could either return her family’s vineyard to her – or send her to the guillotine.

Kristen Harnisch has written a remarkable novel that takes us deep into the wonderful world of winemaking. She has empowered her main character, Sara, to chase her dream and nothing will stop her. Sara is a character that the reader can connect with and admire.

At the center of The Vintner’s Daughter is the making of wine. I have always found this world to be so fascinating. Ms. Harnisch has done a wonderful job of capturing it and making it come alive. Wine represents such passion and romance which matches the passion and romance of Sara and Philippe. Their relationship is not just their attraction for each other; it is their quest to create and sell the perfect bottle of wine.

Philippe makes for a wonderful hero in this story. He is driven but compassionate. He is loyal to his family but he is also able to see their faults. Basically, he is a very good man. He is the exact opposite from his older brother and father. They are driven, but unlike Philippe, they are cruel and will stop at nothing to get what they want. It doesn’t make who they hurt or destroy. Their cruelty makes Philippe’s character stand out more for his kindness.

Sara is a strong young woman with a dream that really should be possible for a woman during the late 19th century. She is incredibly brave to face her fears and take responsibility for her family. Ms. Harnisch has written a wonderful female character in Sara Thibault. She doesn’t expect to be saved by a knight in shining armor. She expects to work hard for her dreams. She is very hard on herself and takes too much blame at times; but I found her to be very engaging and resilient character.

The Vintner’s Daughter is a wonderful first novel from Kristen Harnisch. You will definitely lose yourself in the tantalizing world of winemaking. It’s a world full of passion, love and need. It’s a remarkable read.

KinxsBookNookScore4

Review: Death Sentence

Death Sentence
Written by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling
Published on July 22, 2014 by Titan Comics
192 pages
Graphic Novel
Purchased from Amazon

untitledSynopsis:

SEX, SUPERPOWERS AND SIX MONTHS TO LIVE!

Verity: Frustrated artist

Weasel: Struggling guitarist

Monty: Rogue media icon

Three people infected with the G+ virus, which grants them incredible powers – but which will kill them in six months.

Death Sentence is a crazy intense ride that you will not likely to forget. This book is not for the faint-of-heart in that it takes sex, drugs and rock n roll to new levels of depravity. If you liked The Watchman, then this graphic novel will be right up your alley. It’s dark and there is no defined hero; let along a superhero.

This book is a great example of when society loses any grasp of what’s right and wrong; when moral depravity as taken control and won’t let go. Also, it shows how easily society can be enslaved to one man’s debauched agenda. People can be so easily persuaded to satisfy their own base desires without a care to the consequences. All it needs is a single match to light everything on fire. Monty is that match. He is able to turn the world into his playground. It is really disgusting and titillating at the same time.

The images in Death Sentence are incredibly graphic (pardon the pun). At times, those images really make you feel uncomfortable and that’s the point. They are there to grab your attention and make a point. Sex, blood, guts and gore are seen throughout the story. I have still some of the cells tattooed in my brain. Some of those images you will be able to forget.

Verity and Weasel are interesting characters and fulfill the role of the antiheros. They have very few redeeming qualities. Both are broken and sad and they have to decide how to live their lives now that they have been infected with G+. Will they rise to the occasion and fulfill their full potential or will they crater and die alone and dejected? What choices will they make? It’s hard to say whether they made the right ones.

Death Sentence is a dark commentary on what our society could quickly become. Everyone has a choice and that choice could and will affect society. I’m very interested how this series will develop and where it will lead the reader. I will definitely be looked the second installment when it’ released.

KinxsBookNookScore4

 

 

 

Review: Bitter Greens

Bitter Greens_Blog Tour Banner_FINALv2

 

  • Bitter Greens
  • Written by Kate Forsyth
  • Published on September 23, 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books
  • 496 pages
  • Historical/Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retellings
  • Received from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review

02_Bitter GreensSynopsis:

The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in the breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love.

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Soeur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens…

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Lionelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young many does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy-tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

Bitter Greens is a wonderful retelling of a classic fairy tale where three strong women must find their way in a very dark world. They must survive with their minds, bodies and souls somewhat intact. Each makes their own decisions to overcome their own individual circumstances and survive.

In my opinion, Kate Forsyth has a written a very insightful book about the treatment and limitations of being a woman during the Renaissance. It may seem a romantic time for some; but for the women who lived it, there will few options. A woman could either be “a nun, a wife or a whore.” The witch Sibilia made that very clear to Selena. Each created its own kind of prison with very little chance of escape. By using Selena, Margherita, and Charlotte-Rose, Ms. Forsyth really brought to life how awful the world was to a woman.

I found that this book so easy and fast to read. I was totally caught at the first page. The characters really popped and I could really immerse myself in the lives of these three women. As I read, I ran through a gamut of emotions: anger, sympathy, empathy, disgust, fear. I could not put it down. Plus, Ms. Forsyth really knows how to capture the period. You could see France and Italy in your mind. It was truly amazing.

As you can tell, I really loved this book and I really hope that you will as well.

KinxsBookNookScore5

 

 

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound

About the AuthorKate Forsyth 1

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.

Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called ‘The Wild Girl’, which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, ‘The Wild Girl’ is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.

She is probably most famous for ‘Bitter Greens’, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. ‘Bitter Greens’ has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’, and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award.

Her most recent book for children is ‘Grumpy Grandpa’, a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem.

Since ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with ‘The Gypsy Crown’ – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, ‘The Lightning Bolt’, was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.

Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, ‘A Mother’s Offering to her Children’. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

For more information please visit Kate Forsyth’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Bitter Greens Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 16
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review & Giveaway at Bookish

Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Literary, etc
Review & Giveaway at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at Build a Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, September 19
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Review & Giveaway at Icey Books

Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, September 23
Review at Book Dilettante
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at SurLaLune

Wednesday, September 24
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at Ink Gypsy
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, September 25
Review & Giveaway at No BS Book Reviews
Interview & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter

Friday, September 26
Review at The Gilmore Guide to Books
Review at Must Read Faster

Monday, September 29
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at Bookworm Blues

Tuesday, September 30
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Review & Excerpt at Books-n-Kisses
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, October 1
Review at One Book at a Time
Review at Book-alicious Mama
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 2
Interview at Layered Pages
Review & Giveaway at Oh Magic Hour

Friday, October 3
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Review & Giveaway at Gone Pecan

Sunday, October 5
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, October 6
Review at Book Babe
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Harlequin Junkie

Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at The Pretty Good Gatsby

Wednesday, October 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at My Friends Are Fiction

Thursday, October 9
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, October 10
Review at Mel’s Shelves
Review & Giveaway at No More Grumpy Bookseller
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, October 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Layers of Thought

Tuesday, October 14
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Beth’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Crossroad Review
Review at My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

Thursday, October 16
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, October 17
Review at Mary Gramlich
Review at She Reads Novels

Monday, October 20
Interview & Giveaway at The Reading Frenzy

 

Review & Giveaway: Madame Picasso

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Madame Picasso
Written by Anne Girard
Published on August 26, 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
432 pages
Historical Fiction
Received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review

??????????????????Synopsis:

When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can’t help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso’s life.

With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

Madame Picasso is a wonderful novel that takes us to a time where Pablo Picasso is taking Paris by storm. Anne Girard did an amazing job capturing Picasso’s self-absorbed and manic personality. Further, Eva was a remarkable woman who I felt whose wings were clipped by a frenzied artist. The entire book is from her perspective and you are able to get some insight in the life of Picasso.

Eva is portrayed as a very brave young woman who ran away from a single country life and sought independence in The City of Lights. She finds her way as a thriving costumer and seamstress. She makes new friends and is living her life as she sees fit…until she meets Picasso. In the beginning, she tries to refuse his attentions but eventually gets caught in his passionate web. I felt that her character was so strong and you really wanted her to succeed on her own. However, she fell passionately in love with Picasso and she would do anything to make him happy.

Anne Girard portrayed Picasso in a very honest light. He was self-absorbed, incredibly superstitious, and guilt-ridden over his past. Plus, he is the sun that everyone should revolve around; especially his women. Picasso has never been one of my favorite artists; however, Ms. Girard really captured his passion for art and women. I appreciated that she included some of his history that explained who he was. There was so much pain and guilt in his past that he was almost virtually impossible for him to have a healthy relationship with anyone, let alone a woman. I believe he truly loved Eva. I found it very interesting that he never painted her. His only reference to her is “Ma Jolie” that he put in several paintings. Was he trying to keep her to himself? Or was he protecting her from his crazy world?

Ms. Girard gave us a wonderful glimpse into the life of a complicated man who desperately wanted someone to share his life. He wanted a partner and Eva wanted to be that partner. But in the end, life got in the way and Picasso loses his first love.

KinxsBookNookScore4

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About the Author03_Anne Girard

Anne Girard was born with writing in her blood. The daughter of a hard-driving Chicago newsman, she has always had the same passion for storytelling that fueled his lifelong career. She hand-wrote her first novel (admittedly, not a very good one) at the age of fourteen, and never stopped imagining characters and their stories. Writing only ever took a backseat to her love of reading.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UCLA and a Master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a chance meeting with the acclaimed author, Irving Stone, sharply focused her ambition onto telling great stories from history with detailed research. “Live where your characters lived, see the things they saw,” he said, “only then can you truly bring them to life for your readers.” Anne took that advice to heart. After Stone’s encouragement twenty years ago, she sold her first novel. When she is not traveling the world researching her stories, Anne and her family make their home in Southern California. When she is not traveling or writing, she is reading fiction.

Anne also writes historical fiction under the name Diane Haeger. For more information, visit www.dianehaeger.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, August 26
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Notebook

Thursday, August 28
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, August 29
Review at Scandalous Women
Review at Curling Up by the Fire

Monday, September 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, September 3
Review at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read

Monday, September 8
Review at Book of Secrets
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, September 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, September 10
Review at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, September 11
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, September 12
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Monday, September 15
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Tuesday, September 16
Review at She is Too Fond of Books

Wednesday, September 17
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, September 18
Review at One Book of a Time

Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 23
Review at The Librarian Fatale

Wednesday, September 24
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner

Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner