book review

Review & Giveaway: The Towers of Tuscany

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  • Publication Date: January 23, 2014
    New Arcadia Publishing
    388 pages
    Historical Fiction


Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.

In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.

The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe’s most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.

The Towers of Tuscany is a very powerful story about a woman’s passion for art and independence. Sofia is a wonderful character who will face any obstacle to remain true to herself and her true passion. Since her birth, Sofia has been surrounded by art. Her father taught her the intricacies of frescoes and panels. He taught her to look at the world differently. She took all of his lessons to heart and attempted to make a world for herself.

I really loved the way Ms. Cram used flashback conversations between Sofia and her father to really enhance how Sofia looked at life. Her father really made Sofia into who she was. I’m not sure it was really fair to her due to the fact that being a woman in medieval Italy was extremely limited. Sofia had to hide her talent and passion to paint. She sacrificed everything to achieve her dream.

Ms. Cram’s description of the medieval art world was so descriptive and detailed. You feel that you are actually in a workshop smelling and seeing the creation of a panel or fresco.

There are some characters that I really didn’t like which was, I believe, the author’s intent. Sofia’s love interests started out to be so hopeful and optimist; but in the end, both men wanted her to give up her life as an artist and become basically their wife in servitude. It was so sad to see Sofia’s heart break each time. Ms. Cram really captured the misogynistic tone of medieval Italy.

The Towers of Tuscany is a wonderful book about passion and courage. The backdrop of medieval Italy was beautiful and so vibrant. You could picture Sofia’s world in your mind. You could feel her passion and pain. This book just makes you feel.


About the Author

Carol Cram

Carol M. Cram has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at  Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and  authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications  and software applications. She holds an MA in Drama from the University  of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh,  Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she  can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with  an arts twist.

She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.

Author Links

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14 Review at Historical Novel Reviews Tuesday, April 15 Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook Wednesday, April 16 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Thursday, April 17 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages Friday, April 18 Review at A Chick Who Reads Guest Post & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter Monday, April 21 Review at CelticLady’s Reviews Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time Tuesday, April 22 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book Guest Post at Kincavel Korner Wednesday, April 23 Review at Flashlight Commentary Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book Thursday, April 24 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views Interview at Flashlight Commentary Friday, April 25 Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Barefoot Saturday: The Prince’s Breakfast

The Prince’s Breakfast

theprincesbreakfast_w_9Jaunty text and vibrant illustrations take a fussy prince on a global adventure in search of foods that he will eat. With story CD narrated by Hugh Bonneville!
• MULTICULTURAL JOURNEY: The royal trip around the globe introduces foods and mealtime practices of many cultures
• PICKY EATERS: Perfect for families struggling with mealtimes
• LESSONS FOR LIFE: Joins The Prince’s Bedtime to address common frustrations for families with small children

Ages 3 to 7 years
Written By: Joanne Oppenheim
Illustrated By: Miriam Latimer
Narrated By: Hugh Bonneville

The Prince’s Breakfast is a wonderful new book published by Barefoot Books written by Joanne Oppenheim and Illustrated by Miriam Latimer. In fact, its the sequel to The Prince’s Bedtime which happens to be one of my favorite children’s books. The Prince’s Breakfast is about a little boy who refuses to eat nothing but dry toast and hot chocolate. The king and queen decide to introduce to him foods from around world to try to get him to eat. Their travels take them to India, Mexico and Zambia. In each amazing place, the Prince refuses to try anything. However at the end of their travels, a man brings a simple bottle of something yummy for the Prince to try. Well, it worked and the Prince will now try anything as long as he has his special bottle of yumminess.

This book has so many things for your child to enjoy. First, the illustrations are so beautiful. I love Ms. Latimer’s art work. Every page is so vivid and bright where a child will be caught up in the story. Second, the words of the story flow so nicely and the rhyming scheme is very fun. It’s a fun way for a child to be more familiar with rhyming words. And last, your child will be able to visit some amazing countries and learn about food from that country. In India, we are introducted to  idlees and dahl, in Mexico, it’s tortillas, fried eggs, avocado and salsa and finally, in Zambia, it’s plantains and other amazing fruits. Your child’s tummy will definitely rumble with hunger after reading The Prince’s Breakfast.

The Prince’s Breakfast is a wonderful to read to your child or for her to read on her own. My younger daughter loved it!


Review: Darkfever

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever, #1)
Published in 2006
342 Pages
Urban Fantasy
Purchased from Amazon for Books, Babes and Booze


When MacKayla’s sister was murdered, she left a single clue to her death, a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone. Journeying to Ireland in search for answers, Mac is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to master a power she had no idea she possessed – a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae.

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho…while at the same time, the ruthless V’lane – an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women – closes in on her. As the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: to find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book – because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of both worlds in their hands.

I found Darkfever to be a very good start to this urban fantasy series. It is dark, full of the disgusting Fae, and a good female heroine in Mac. At times, I thought Mac was a bit annoying but she made some serious changes that redeemed her in the end.

Usually, I don’t read a lot of Fae urban fantasy because I’m not a huge fan of the Fae. However, I did like this story. I like the concept of the sidhe-seer; maybe because it’s a lot like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think there can be a lot of comparison made between Mac and Buffy Summers. Like Buffy, Mac starts the story as a spoiled, prissy girl; however, she ends the story with a whole lot of new skill and confidence. I really liked at Ms. Moning developed Mac throughout the story.

Now, Jericho Barrons is very mysterious. He’s not quite human. What is he? Whatever he is, he is a good match for Mac. Their unlikely partnership is fun and full of caustic banter. I’m thinking opposites attract but I need to keep reading the series to find out.

Overall, Darkfever is a fun and action-packed book with lots of sexual tension. I love urban fantasy which means that I have found a new series to get lost in. I can’t wait to start reading Bloodfever.





Review: The Cats of Savone

The Cats of Savone
Written by David-Michael Harding
Published in November 2013 by Q&CY Books
260 pages
Short Stories
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
18462357The Cats of Savone is a compilation of eight extremely moving short stories. Each one is unique with its own message of strength and compassion; and one has hint of the supernatural. I enjoyed each story and couldn’t wait to start the next one.

Cats of Savone tells the story of how a cat can bring hope and humanity to a group of inmates who are lost in the brutality of prison life. It is so very true how an animal, whether it is a cat or a dog, can soften a person’s heart. Gretchen, the prison’s cat, becomes an integral part of prison life. The loyalty and love she receives from her inmates is quite touching.

Black Men in Bright Blue takes place during the Civil War where aiding runaway slaves can bring grave consequences. Rachel Justice, a ten-year little girl, who happens to be the daughter of a plantation and slave owner, is confronted with the inhumaneness of slavery. She digs deep and finds a very brave heart within her little body. She figures out, with the help of her mother, what is right and what is wrong. This story is a very powerful depiction of life on a plantation and one little girl’s coming to terms with it.

Forever Beneath the Celtic Sea is a sad story about decisions; one captain’s bad decision that started a war with the United States. This is a good depiction that just following orders has serious ramifications and can haunt you forever.

The History of West Texas According to Henry Brass is one of my favorite stories. I really enjoyed reading about his life and adventures in West Texas. Henry is a true Texian and proud of it. I, also, appreciated Henry’s need to pass on his life lessons to a younger generation. Whit truly valued Henry’s life and benefited from his brief friendship with Henry. Even though theirs was a very short friendship, it still had lasting effects.

St. Alden’s is my other favorite story of this collection. I love the supernatural and this story had a touch of it. It is full of good versus evil; light versus darkness. It is also about acceptance and forgiveness; and one young couple taking up a magical mantle that is very hard to believe and accept. This story is full of mysticism with a great all-out fight between the powers of good and evil. It will keep you riveted.

The Junket is a nice little story about a mentally challenged man looking for “painted ladies” in Vegas. At its heart, it’s a tale of loneliness and acceptance with two very unlikely people finding each other. Their desperation to overcome isolation and rejection, they find a connection that you grow to companionship.

My Boo Radley is an interesting little baseball which reminded me a little bit of The Sandlot. I love sports stories that promote the love for the game. However, this story is quite sad that is full of regret. The E-man is viewed as a monster due to a tragic accident. But he loves baseball and he teaches a young baseball player how to throw a screw ball. The young man feels tremendous guilt over not doing more for the E-Man when he gave him so much. Life is full of rejection and regret which is the core of this story.

The Jazz Bridge wasn’t my favorite story and that’s why I’m talking about it last. I really don’t have a lot to say about it. It didn’t really touch me that way the other stories did.

Overall, The Cats of Savone is a wonderful book of stories. Each one is so different and you want to read more from each one.


HFVBT: The Collector of Dying Breaths


  • Publication Date: April 8, 2014
  • Atria Books Hardcover; 384p
  • ISBN-10: 1451621531

The Collector of Dying BreathsFrom one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a  passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn  back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating  fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s  perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is  occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose:  the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath,  to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated  him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s  when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s  loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her  treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between  the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of  passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne  Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

The Collector of Dying Breaths is a wonderful book of intrigue, sensuality and  deadly passion. This totally mesmerized me and I couldn’t put it down. I was caught in its fire and I couldn’t put it down.

In the beginning, Jac is in denial and pain. She isn’t able to accept her abilities or her life. However, by trying to fulfill her brother’s  experiments she is able to finally accept who she is and not live her life in fear. She has found her passion again and it is a deep and sensual passion. Her connection with Griffin is incredibly passionate and romantic. It is timeless.

Rene is an excellent and moving character. I love the scents he seemed to create. Ms. Rose’s description of each fragrance seemed to real and vivid. Each fragrance brought so much passion!

Now, Melinoe is a great villainous character. She is obsessive and broken. Her live revolves around her collections and her obsession to remain with them. She cares not for people; only her prized possessions. Her brother, Serge, knows of her character and still remains by her side. Their life is so tragic; beginning, middle and end.

The Collector of Dying Deaths is a must read for any true romantic. It is full of love, hate, obsession and finally fulfillment. It is to die for. I will end with my favorite line of the book:

The secret, which is not so secret after all, is that people who we love live in our hearts, in the beat of our blood.


Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths

“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.” – B.A.Shapiro, New York  Times bestselling author of The Art Forger

“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” – Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author

Buy the Book

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About the AuthorM.J. Rose

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She  has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and  on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse  University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the  Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing  company for authors – The television series PAST LIFE,  was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one  of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug  Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


Review: Hidden – A Child’s Story of the Holocaust

Written by  Loïc Dauvillier,  Marc Lizano (Illustrations), Greg Salsedo (Ink), Alexis Siegel (Translator)
To be published on April 1, 2014 by First Second
80 Pages
Graphic Novel – Historical
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.

Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II  ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.

Hidden is a beautifully written and illustrated book about a horrific time in our history. I felt extremely comfortable for my eight-year-old to read it as well. It is a perfect introduction for a young minds without scarring them and giving them nightmares.

However, as an adult, I felt all the pain and humiliation that was portrayed in Hidden. Dounia had an amazing journey during the war. So many people risked their lives to save hers. This book depicted her incredibly scary journey in fairly simplistic terms to make sure that a child like Dounia could feel her fear and uncertainty.

I loved that Dounia began her story with her granddaughter on her lap. It brings in a younger generation who have no idea what happened during the Holocaust. I really love multi-generational stories where the older generation tells their life story to the younger generation. There is so much wisdom, and sadness to their stories. It breaks your heart while at the same time, heals it.

I really can’t wait to share this book with my daughter. I feel she’s not quite ready for Diary of Anne Frank; but Hidden is a great way to introduce a very scary time in our history. I will give her a good sense of what happened so they will never forget; because the millions of people who were murdered CANNOT be forgotten.


Review: The Penny Thief

The Penny Thief
Written by Christophe Paul and translated by Jennifer Adcock
Published 2013
386 pages
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review


…and if someone was robbing a bank cent by cent without anyone realizing it…

Paris, Montmartre and La Defense, the ultra-modern business district with their skyscrapers. Henri Pichon is a quietly sharp programmer  whose daily routine is altered by a fortuitous accident from which will change the fate of everyone around. A different crime/detective: a story of love, hate, greed, murder…and a refreshing touch of black humor. How far are you willing to go for the money?

The Penny Thief is a wonderful depiction on what greed can do to a human being. Greed can absolutely destroy and that was shown extremely well throughout the book. The story flowed well and was full of fast-paced action and intrigue. The race to find the money will definitely make your skin crawl due to the wickedness of greed.

I felt that Henri was a great anti-hero; he’s definitely not perfect. He begins as a victim but as the story unfolds his character becomes very complex; so complex it is very hard to view him as a hero. At times, I found him a little bit disturbing but likeable as well.  I really enjoyed the romantic side of Henri. His expressions of love were so creative. Mr. Paul wrote a very interesting character in Henri Pichon.

Jean-Phillippe Maillard is another interesting character who doesn’t fit into one definitely archetype. I rather liked him; even with his greedy shortcomings. His love for his daughter, Tash, redeemed him. I’m not sure if he deserved his ending. It was incredibly harsh.

Of course, there are true villains in The Penny Thief. Pierre Gabriel turns into a complete ogre due to his greed. In the end, he would do anything to get all the pennies; no matter who got hurt. He is a prime example of what can happen when greed totally overwhelms you.

Besides the greed and betrayal, there are so aspects of true kindness in this story. Marcel, Etienne, Yvette and Valerie gave the story a sense of compassion that balanced out the awfulness of greed. Their characters gave the story more texture and emotion where you won’t drown in the corruption of money.

The Penny Thief is full of intrigue and suspense. It is, also, very intelligent and will keep you engaged until the very end.


Review: Divergent

Written by Veronica Roth
Published in 2011
487 pages
YA Dystopian Fiction
Purchased from Amazon for Books, Babes and Booze


In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue – Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year –olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is – she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During a highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are – and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves…or it might destroy her.

Divergent is another Young Adult (YA) book based on dystopian themes. First of all, I’m not a fan of all the dystopian fiction that’s out there. As mother, it is extremely difficult reading about kids hurting and even killing each other. I don’t find it fun to read or entertaining.

I think I know why young people enjoy this type of fiction. It gives them some sense of the control and independence. They can overcome the control of the authority, win their independence and live life on their own terms. I wonder if the hovering parent encouraged this? I don’t know. But it kind of disturbs me that such violence can be so popular. But I guess that is our current societal norm.

Now I will spend some time about the actual the book and it’s character. I actually like Tris. I like how she overcomes her fears, or is able to control them. She has a strong sense of character; even if she doesn’t think so. I, also, like Four. I thought he compliments Tris well. He is tough but has strong principles. He’s interesting with some complexity. I like that.

The antagonists in Divergent are the typical villains. I thought they were pretty predictable. All they want is power and control. There is nothing unique about them.

Divergent is a really quick read for which I am thankful. Otherwise, I don’t think I could have gotten through it. Overall, I liked the main characters but all of the brutality and cruelty toward young kids really got to me. I won’t be reading any more of this series.


HFVBT: Between the Cracks

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Between the Cracks

Written by Carmella Cattuti

Published on August 20, 2013 by Three Towers Press

324  pages

Historical Fiction

Received from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review

18388553Join Angela Lanza as she experiences the tumultuous world of early  20th century Sicily and New York. Orphaned by the earthquake and  powerful eruption of Mr. Etna in 1908, Angela is raised in the strict  confines of an Italian convent. Through various twists of fate, she is  married to a young Italian man whom she barely knows, then together with her spouse, immigrates to the U.S. This novel is an invitation to  accompany the young Angela as she confronts the ephemeral nature of life on this planet and navigates the wide cultural gaps between pre-World  War II Italy and the booming prosperity of dynamic young America. Join  Angela Lanza as she traverses the tumultuous landscape of Sicily and New York.

Between the Cracks is a powerful story of ongoing tragedy but also one of continued hope. What I found so amazing is that this book is semi-biographical; taken from life the of the author’s great-aunt. I can’t imagine someone experiencing all of that tragedy and still remain sane. One would think by reading about tragedy, the story would be become incredibly depressing and tiresome. But not this book. It will keep you engaged and wanting to know about more about this family.

Angela and Franco make an interesting couple. First of all, their marriage was basically arranged. No love; but wanting to get away or find the right kind of person. Both had their motives for wanting to marry a complete stranger. I found that to be so intriguing and so different from what I know. They spent their entire marriage trying to get to know each other. There were so many times that I thought they were complete strangers to each other, even when they had been married for many years. But in the end, their bond was extremely strong.

The tragedy that Angela faced seems so incredible to me. Plus that she was able to overcome and survive just amazes me. I loved watching her grow from an insecure little girl to a strong, confident woman who takes care of her family. She ended being the backbone that everyone came to for help. She was their savior. Your heart will break as Angela’s continues to search for her lost sister. Loss after loss, Angela was still able to endure and maintain her home.

Franco frustrated me at times; but he was a good man. He faced his own turmoil and did his best to deal with his life. The frustrating times for me were when kept he himself ignorant over his little sister’s situation. He wouldn’t interfere until it was too late. I found that to be so incredibly sad.

Between the Cracks is a very special book about a young woman’s journey to overcome tragedy and loss and find a place in a new world. Please read and be prepared to be overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions.



About the AuthorCarmela Cattuti

Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a journalist for the  Somerville News in Boston, MA. After she finished her graduate work in  English Literature from Boston College she began to write creatively and taught a journal writing course at the Cambridge Center for Adult  Education As fate would have it, she felt compelled to write her great  aunt’s story. “Between the Cracks” has gone through several incarnations and will now become a trilogy. This is the first installment. To  connect with Carmela email her or leave a comment at

For more information please visit Carmela’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Visit the Between the Cracks Facebook page.

Follow the Tour

Monday, February 10 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 11 Review at Kinx’s Book Nook Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, February 12 Review at History & Women Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, February 13 Guest Post at Broken Teepee

Friday, February 14 Review at Just One More Chapter

HFVBT: Sebastian’s Way

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Sebastian's WayPublication Date: October 3, 2013
Paperback; 370p
ISBN-10: 1491708964

In a dark age of unending war and violence, one young warrior opposes a mighty king to forge a new path to peace…

During the savage Frankish-Saxon wars, the moving force of his age, Karl der Grosse, King Charlemagne, fights and rules like the pagan enemies he seeks to conquer. But in the long shadow of war and genocide, a spark of enlightenment grows, and the king turns to learned men to help him lead his empire to prosperity.

One of these men is the unlikely young warrior Sebastian. Raised in an isolated fortress on the wild Saxon border, Sebastian balances his time in the training yard with hours teaching himself to read, seeking answers to the great mysteries of life during an age when such pastimes were scorned by fighting men. Sebastian’s unique combination of skills endears him to Charlemagne and to the ladies of the king’s court, though the only woman to hold his heart is forbidden to him. As the king determines to surround himself with men who can both fight and think beyond the fighting, Sebastian becomes one of the privileged few to hold the king’s ear.

But the favor of the king does not come without a cost. As Charlemagne’s vassals grapple for power, there are some who will do anything to see Sebastian fall from grace, including his ruthless cousin Konrad, whose hatred and jealousy threaten to destroy everything Sebastian holds dear. And as Sebastian increasingly finds himself at odds with the king’s brutal methods of domination and vengeance, his ingrained sense of honor and integrity lead him to the edge of treason, perilously pitting himself against the most powerful man of his age.

This fast-paced adventure story brings Charlemagne’s realm to life as the vicious Christian-pagan wars of the eighth century decide the fate of Europe. Filled with action, intrigue, and romance, Sebastian’s Way is a riveting and colorful recreation of the world of Europe’s greatest medieval monarch.

Sebastian’s Way is an inspiring story of a young man’s journey during a time of great violence and ignorance. The story takes place during the early reign of Charlemagne. Life was so hard during that time. War defined a man; not his desire to learn. Sebastian thrived to rise about expectations and live a life he can be proud of.

Mr. Steger has written a very rich and engaging piece of historical fiction. He was able to give the readers a vivid picture of life during the 700s. It was dark and dirty but also full of hope of what could be. Sebastian represented that hope of growth and improvement.

Charlemagne is a larger than life character. He is passionate, intelligent and powerful. At times, he can be very compassionate. He is a great king but with a few flaws; like winning at all costs. However, in the end, he was able to listen and make decisions that benefit everyone; all with Sebastian’s wise counsel.

Sebastian’s Way is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. It is full of historical detail and I loved every page!



About the Author George Steger

A native of Louisiana, the author followed a long tradition of young men  from the Deep South by seeking to improve his prospects in the military. From a green second lieutenant in the famed 101st Airborne Division to  battalion command in Vietnam, Colonel Steger spent most of the rest of  his military career in four European tours as an intelligence officer  and Russian foreign area specialist, working on both sides of the Iron  Curtain during the Cold War. He traded sword for plowshare in a second  career in academia and is now Professor Emeritus of history and  international affairs at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth,  Kansas. The motivation to write Sebastian’s Way came from his  experiences in both war and peace, from fourteen years in Germany and  Eastern Europe, and from his love of teaching medieval and other  European history courses.

Steger is an avid hiker and trail biker, and much of the story of  Sebastian came out of time spent in the woods and fields of eastern  Kansas. In memory of Mary Jo, his wife of many years, he and filmmaker  son Ben spent a recent summer trekking across Spain on The Camino de  Santiago, one of Europe’s oldest pilgrimage trails. He lives and writes  in rural Kansas and has four other grown and gifted children.

For more information please visit George Steger’s website. You can also find him on Facebook.

Tour Schedule

Monday, January 13 Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, January 14 Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, January 15 Review at Impressions in Ink Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, January 16 Giveaway at Layers of Thought

Tuesday, January 21 Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday, January 22 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Thursday, January 23 Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, January 24 Giveaway at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Monday, January 27 Review at The Most Happy Reader

Tuesday, January 28 Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Wednesday, January 29 Interview & Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader

Friday, January 31 Review at Book Nerd

Monday, February 3 Review at Closed the Cover

Tuesday, February 4 Guest Post at HF Connection

Wednesday, February 5 Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, February 6 Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, February 7 Review at Sir Read-a-Lot Review & Giveaway at Reading the Ages Review & Giveaway at Cynthia Robertson Blog


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Kendal's bookshelf: currently-reading


Kendal's to-read book montage

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Where Are the Dinos?
Lydia Bennet's Story: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Cold Blooded
Bristol House
My Notorious Life: A Novel
Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind
Long Live the King
To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Bad News for a Ghost
The Next Pendragon
Caroline Bingley
My Beloved World
Royal Mistress
My Dear Sophy
The Wild Girl
To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started
Hades: Lord of the Dead
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen

Kendal's favorite books »

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