book review

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

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  • 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

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
iTunes
IndieBound

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

 

Review: The Invention of Wings

  • The Invention of Wings
  • Written by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Published on January 7, 2014 by Penguin Group
  • 386 pages
  • Historical Fiction

18079776Synopsis:

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

Sue Monk Kidd has written a very powerful story of the Antebellum South where slavery is at its height and the abolition movement is in its infancy. The story revolves around two very different women; one a slave and the other a daughter of a prominent southern man. Both women live in bondage; but, of course, in different degrees. It is very hard to compare the two women as they make their own mark in the world.

Ms. Kidd’s depiction of slavery is incredibly honest and forthright. She doesn’t hide the abuse and violence that slaves faced on a daily basis. I really appreciated Handful’s perspective as a strong young woman who wants to be free. She doesn’t want to bow down to her owners and her loyalty to her family is incredibly strong. Her family is the only thing that keeps her going and she will do anything to protect them. Her relationship with Sarah is complicated. They can’t be friends but they feel a kind of kinship. They understand each other.

Sarah Grimke is a woman trapped in a time where she is expected to marry and have children. She is property that should be controlled by her father and then her husband. Throughout the story, she is conflicted about her role in life. She wants to be independent and have her own career. However, she feels the pull of the expectations of a southern woman. She must decide whether she is strong enough to break free from her own prison. Sarah’s intensely strong beliefs give her courage to make some very difficult decisions. She becomes a strong advocate for women’s rights and abolition.

The Invention of Wings is an incredible story that will leave you amazed at the strength of two amazing women. You want them to achieve their goals and be free. You, also, want others to be punished for their atrocious behavior. Either way, you will feel as you read this powerful book.

KinxsBookNookScore4

Review: Jane Austen’s First Love

JAFL Horizontal Graphic V4

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Jane Austen’s First Love
Written by Syrie James
Published on August 5, 2014 by Berkley
400 pages
Austenesque Fiction

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Jane Austen dreams of three things: doing something useful, writing something worthy, and falling madly in love. When she visits her brother in Kent to celebrate his engagement, she meets wealthy, devilishly handsome Edward Taylor – a fascinating young man who is truly worthy of her affections. Jane knows a match between her and Edward is unlikely, but every moment she spends with him makes her heart race – and he seems to return her interest. Much to her displeasure, however, there is another seeking his attention.

Jane Austen’s First Love is an exquisite piece of Austenesque fiction.  Ms. James really captured Jane Austen’s young life and the world she lived in which was immersed in propriety, duty and status. I recognized so many of Jane Austen’s novel all through this work; Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. I loved that I could identify Jane in each book.

Jane is a lovely, out-going young lady who strives for love and accomplishment. She so wants to be worthy; however, she involves herself in affairs that she has no business in. Her personality is so lively and her intentions are true that it is so hard to be cross with her. Ms. James wrote a wonderful character in Jane and I could clearly see her as a young lady trying to make her way.

Regency England is such an interesting time. Young ladies are trying to spread their wings but are still trapped by societal norms and taboos. For example, the theatrical that was performed seemed so scandalous by the older ladies; but was eventually accepted as fun entertainment. It is fun to see characters opening their eyes to new ideas.

However, class differences were still highly prevalent in Jane’s world. Her disappointments can be directly attributed to her lack of dowry and property. Her marriage possibilities were so limited which gave to such moving storylines in her novels. Knowing that Jane Austen never married, I always feel sad when I read about her romances and disappointments. It just breaks your heart.

Jane Austen’s First Love is a wonderful read for any Jane Austen enthusiast. Jane really comes alive thanks to Ms. James and you will love every page.

KinxsBookNookScore4

Review: The Lhasa Trilogy

The Lhasa Trilogy
Written by Gary D. Conrad
Published on February 12, 2012 by Rainbow Books
319 pages
Fiction

13408447Synopsis:

On a frigid night at Tibet’s Drepung Monastery, Lama Tenzin Tashi is awakened by a fervent knocking on his door. Quickly he realizes these raps are dreaded harbinger, one which will launch him on a quest to satisfy a vow, a blasphemous promise he wishes he had never made. But at this point, the lama has no other choice. The journey must be undertaken, no matter the cost.

Thus begins an odyssey that spans not only his life, but also the life of a man born near a small town of Davidson, Oklahoma. Who could comprehend how inexplicably intertwined their pathways would become as they pushed aside the veil that concealed the hidden secrets of death?

The Lhasa Trilogy is an intriguing tale of incarnation, karma and redemption; while at its heart is universal spirituality. Even though this book is a work of fiction, I found it incredibly thought-provoking and enlightening. I have always been intrigued by Buddhism and this book gives a nice glimpse into that way of life.

The story is broken up into three interlinked books. First, Matthew Walker Johnston has been dealt an absolutely horrid life. He faces so many tragedies and is not able to overcome them. His inability to overcome the sorrow in his life leads him to make horrid life-decisions that damage his soul and/or karma. His journey for redemption is at the center of this story. Matthew is very self-aware of how badly he led his life. However, he set in motion a way for him and his incarnation to redeem them.

Lama Tenzin Tashi is a wonderful character who also has flaws that must be overcome in order to reach total enlightenment. Throughout his journey to search for Matthew’s next incarnation, he questions his motives. However, it is this journey that helps him to release his imperfections and find nirvana. I enjoyed his flashback of his early life. His reflections gave the reader a real glimpse into the Chinese treatment of Tibet. It was and is a horrible time for Tibet. Through Tenzin’s eyes, you are able to feel all of the atrocities that Tibetans face on a daily basis.

The last piece to this puzzle is Wade Joshua Adams. It is his responsibility to accept what is before him and take his life to another level. Wade is everything Matthew should have been. Together they have a chance for redemption and to make the world a much better place. Wade, Todd, and Sonali, also, give the reader knowledge that the people you love never leave you. Your journey is not complete unless you your loved ones surround you.

The Lhasa Trilogy is a very spiritually-laden book that should not be overlooked. My main take-away is that there really isn’t religion, only spiritual well-being. But there is a God and it is never too late for forgiveness and redemption.

KinxsBookNookScore4

Review: The Book of Life

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
Written by Deborah Harkness
Published on July 15, 2014 by Viking Press
576 pages
Supernatural Fiction

16054217Synopsis:

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

The Book of Life is a marvelous conclusion to the All Souls Trilogy. Deborah Harkness gave the reader a book that resolves storylines plus a wisp of hope that the story isn’t over. I loved every page and I was so sad to see it end. Once again, Ms. Harkness weaves a magical tale of love; however, with The Book of Life, she shows us what it means to be a family.

Throughout The Book of Life, the definition of family and loyalty is put to the test. Diana and Matthew redefine family by calling witches, vampires and daemons all family. I loved how that family had evolved so dramatically since A Discovery of Witches. There was so much distrust and hatred. Now there is love, loyalty and acceptance. Race purity is an ignorance and ancient concept. The sense of family conquered that basic racism.

Diana and Matthew reached their full character potential. Diana became an incredibly strong woman, witch, wife and mother. In A Discovery of Witches, she completely denied who she was and who she could be. By the end, she fully embraces herself and becomes the anchor of her family. Matthew, also, reached his full potential on a different level. He was so cold and detached; now he opens up to Diana and his family. He recognizes his faults and will willingly accept help. He is no longer just Diana’s protector. They are full partners in life and love.

The Book of Life is, by far, my favorite book of the year. I’m hoping, that one day, Deborah Harkness revisits and tells more amazing stories of Diana and Matthew. I’m so not ready to say good-bye. By the way The Book of Life ended, I feel there is possibility that Diana and Matthew will not fade away.

KinxsBookNookScore5

 

Review: The Bone Church

The Bone Church_BlogTour Banner FINAL

  • The Bone Church
  • Written by Victoria Dougherty
  • Published on April 15, 2014 by Pier’s Court Press
  • 308 pages
  • Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense

02_The Bone ChurchSynopsis:

In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels.

But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions.

Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.

The Bone Church is a very poignant story of survival and love lost during and after World War II. Felix and Magdalena’s story seems heartbreaking at every turn. I wish I got say that love conquers all; everything but the Nazis and the Soviets.

There is so much passion in the book; passion for ways of life, country and spirituality. Felix really embodies all of that throughout the book. I love his spirituality and his ability to connect at different levels of perception. He receives at help from so many sources; real and mystic. He never gives up and his ability to survive does him credit in so many ways.

Of all of the characters portrayed in The Bone Church, Srut really stood out to me. He has such a strong sense of what is right and wrong; according to Srut. He is loyal to the people he trusts which are few. He will go to great length and sacrifice to save “his” people. He is a wonderful character and should be appreciated.

The Bone Church is a character in of itself. The author gave the reader some vivid images of what this church was. I loved how everything comes full circle at The Bone Church. Everything is resolved at the Bone Church.

The Bone Church is a wonderful book about a horrible time in the world’s history. But at its heart is survival and loyalty. It will stay with me for a long time.

KinxsBookNookScore4

About the Author03_Victoria Dougherty

Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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

The Bone Church Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, June 17
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, June 18
Excerpt at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Thursday, June 19
Guest Post at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Monday, June 23
Review at Based on a True Story

Tuesday, June 24
Review at Bibliotica

Friday, June 27
Review at Back Porchervations

Monday, June 30
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, July 2
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 3
Review at leeanna.me

Monday, July 7
Review at Library Educated

Thursday, July 10
Excerpt & Spotlight at Books and Benches

Monday, July 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, July 15
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Thursday, July 17
Guest Post at Savvy Verse & Wit

Friday, July 18
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Monday, July 21
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, July 22
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, July 23
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Thursday, July 24
Review at Mari Reads
Review at bookramblings

Monday, July 28
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at Good Friends, Good Books, and a Sleepy Conscience
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, July 29
Review at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, July 30
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, July 31
Review at From the TBR Pile

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