historical fiction

Review: The Bone Church

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  • 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

Review: Murder by Misrule

 

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Murder by Misrule
Written by Anne Castle
Published on June 8, 2014 by Capital Crime
348 Pages
Historical Mystery

02_Murder by Misrule CoverSynopsis:

Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray’s Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon’s powerful Uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man’s legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss – and in danger – until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.

Murder by Misrule is a highly entertaining story about murder, the law and politics; where none of which mix well together. This book is definitely a page-turner with very colorful characters. The storyline keeps you thinking to the very end.

I found Francis Bacon to be a tad tedious. His ongoing “ill health” made him very trying at times. However, his legal mind made him a terrific detective. I really enjoy when historical figures are made into fictional detectives and Ms. Castle had Bacon into a very intelligent detective. However, it is a good thing that Ms. Castle included Thomas Clarady in the story. He really brings life to it.

Thomas Clarady is quite a character. He is full life, love and gusto; plus underneath it all, he has a strong mind. I think Bacon and Clarady will make a good partnership for later books in the series. They are two sides of the same coin. Tom can effectively maneuver and persuade to get what he wants. If Bacon lacks finesse, Clarady definitely makes up for it. I look forward to more interaction between the two in later books.

The supporting characters were also very amusing. Ben and Trumpet have interesting storylines and I would very much like to see them more developed and involved with Bacon and Clarady.  They all make for a very interesting quartet.

Overall, Murder By Misrule is a very engaging mystery and sets up this new series nicely. I’m really looking forward to the second installment.

KinxsBookNookScore4

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About the Author03_Anna Castle

Anna Castle has been a waitress, software engineer, documentary linguist, college professor, and digital archivist. Historical fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.

For more information please visit Anna Castle’s website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Mari Reads

Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, June 4
Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Friday, June 6
Review at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at A Dream Within a Dream

Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Sunday, June 8
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 9
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 10
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy

Wednesday, June 11
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Thursday, June 12
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, June 13
Book Blast at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, June 16
Book Blast at Closed the Cover
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Tuesday, June 17
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Book Blast at A Book Geek

Wednesday, June 18
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 19
Review at Bibliotica
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, June 20
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview at All Things Girl

Saturday, June 21
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, June 23
Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, June 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, June 25
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, June 26
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, June 27
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, June 30
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Starting Fresh

Wednesday, July 2
Review at Kincavel Korner

Thursday, July 3
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Guest Post & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, July 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

 

Guest Post: Antonia Hodgson

The Devil in the Marshalsea_Tour Banner_FINAL

My debut novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, is set in a debtors’ prison in London, in 1727.The Devil in the Marshalsea

On discovering this, most people ask me why. (It is a reasonable question.) The early eighteenth century is comparatively neglected by historical novelists, which is one answer to the question. I am drawn to neglected things.

I fell in love with the period in part because of the people I met there. They were familiar to me. Take John Grano, for instance. A talented musician who played trumpet in Handel’s orchestra, Grano was also terrible with money. A “live for today, pay for it tomorrow” sort of fellow. Inevitably, he ended up in debt. In 1728 he was thrown into the Marshalsea debtors’ prison and languished there for over a year.

Grano would have fallen out of history unremembered—but he happened to write a diary of his time in the Marshalsea, and it survived.

GP 2 Pic

 

A page of John Grano’s diary, edited by John Ginger.

 

Grano is not a great stylist or thinker. His spelling is interesting. (Eighteenth-century spelling is rather fluid.) He’s not a very good judge of character either—he makes friends with all the wrong people, has endless squabbles with his cell mates, and fails to realize that the jail’s keeper, William Acton, could be dangerous and cruel. (Acton was later tried for murder.)

But Grano is endearing precisely because he is flawed. He drinks too much and suffers terrible hangovers. He worries about his friends and gets sulky when they neglect him. He sends somewhat passive-aggressive begging notes to his hardworking sister. He becomes gloomy, then rallies himself. He finds solace in music and the company of ladies.

He is human, in other words, and beyond the obvious differences of time and place, very familiar.

There are some wonderful Georgian historians—scholars such as Lucy Worsley and Amanda Vickery. There are the contemporary novelists—Swift, Defoe, Fielding. There are the wise, clear-eyed, and witty paintings by Hogarth.

But nothing quite beats a primary source—and this period is rich with them. This was the age of pamphlets, broadsheets, ballads, and sermons. The birth of newspapers. Criminals waiting to be hanged wrote their memoirs. Courtiers wrote mischievous accounts of palace life. Travellers sent outraged letters about the debauched, drunken, foul-mouthed citizens of London.

And an impoverished musician wrote a diary to keep himself occupied in one of the worst places on earth.

In every one of these personal stories there is something strange and something familiar. There is an old saying: times change, and we change with them. But in our hearts, in the things that really matter—like love and betrayal, family and friendship—I don’t think we have changed at all.

And that, perhaps more than anything, is why I love discovering people like John Grano. And why I love writing historical fiction.

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About the AuthorAntonia Hodgson

Antonia Hodgson is the editor in chief of Little, Brown UK. She lives in London and can see the last fragments of the old city wall from her living room. The Devil in the Marshalsea is her first novel.

For more information please visit Antonia Hodgson’s website. You can also find her on Goodreads and Twitter.

The Devil in the Marshalsea Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 10
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, June 11
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, June 12
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 16
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, June 20
Interview at Reading the Past

Monday, June 23
Guest Post at Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday, June 25
Review & Giveaway at Book Nerd

Monday, June 30
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Tuesday, July 1
Review at Mina’s Bookshelf

Thursday, July 3
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Monday, July 7
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, July 8
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, July 9
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, July 11
Review at Princess of Eboli
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

 

Book Blast: Successio

Follow Alison Morton’s Book Blast for SUCCESSIO, the third book in her Roma Nova Series, from June 16-27 for a chance to win your own autographed copy and bookmark!

SuccessioPublication Date: June 4, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Alternative Historical Thriller

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Roma Nova – the last remnant of the Roman Empire that has survived into the 21st century – is at peace. Carina Mitela, the heir of a leading family, but choosing the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, is not so sure.

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun at the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

Praise for Successio

“If there is a world where fiction becomes more believable than reality, then Alison Morton’s ingenious thrillers must be the portal through which to travel. Following in Caesar’s footsteps, she came with INCEPTIO, saw with PERFIDITAS – and has well and truly conquered with SUCCESSIO!” – Helen Hollick, author and Managing Editor Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews

“Alison Morton has done it again. SUCCESSIO is the latest in her series of powerful tales of family betrayals and shifting allegiances in Roma Nova. Once again, I was gripped from start to finish.” – Sue Cook, writer and broadcaster

Watch the Book Trailer

Roma Nova Series

Book One: Inceptio

Book Two: Perfiditas

Book Three: Successio

Buy the Book

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About the AuthorAlison Morton

Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French, German and Economics, a masters’ in history and lives in France with her husband.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…

INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, was shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award and awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion® in September 2013. The next in series, PERFIDITAS, published October 2013, has also just been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®. Alison is currently working on the fourth book.

Connect with Alison Morton

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon UK Author Page

Amazon US Author Page

INCEPTIO Facebook Page

PERFIDITAS Facebook Page

Follow the Successio Book Blast

June 16: Flashlight Commentary & Princess of Eboli

June 17: Kincavel Korner, Mina’s Bookshelf, & Literary Chanteuse

June 18: Kinx’s Book Nook & Svetlana’s Reads and Views

June 19: So Many Books, So Little Time, The Lit Bitch, & West Metro Mommy

June 20: Historical Fiction Obsession

June 21: A Bookish Affair & Broken Teepee

June 22: Just One More Chapter

June 23: The Little Reader Library & The True Book Addict

June 24: A Bibliotaph’s Reviews & Historical Fiction Connection

June 25: Historical Tapestry & The Maiden’s Court

June 26: Book Nerd & Passages to the Past

June 27: CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

To win an Autographed copy of SUCCESSIO & Bookmark please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 28th and notified via email.

Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Review: Dreaming For Freud

Dreaming For Freud
Written by Sheila Kohler
Published on May 28, 2014 by Penguin Books
256 pages
Historical Fiction

18667786Synopsis:

Sigmund Freud’s motives and methods in taking on the seventeen-year-old daughter of one of his former patients seem highly questionable: what does he know about women’s psychology in the first place, and about adolescents, in the second? The outcome seems a preordained disaster.

From the day I was asked to review this book I was intrigued. I loved the cover and the storyline sounded fascinating. I have read other pieces of historical fiction that focused on Freud and I found those to be engaging and enjoyable. However, I was disappointed with Dreaming For Freud and it did not meet my high expectations.

First, I didn’t think the characters of Freud and Dora (the seventeen-year-old patient) were completely developed. I found it difficult understand the bond between doctor and patient that was supposed to be there. At one point, Dora felt totally dependent on Freud. However, I don’t know how she got there. Throughout the book, she seemed resentful towards Freud; far from being dependent. I would have liked to know how she became so enamored of him. I only felt her anger and bitterness for Freud’s lack of understanding of her problems.

The same thing can be said for Freud’s character. He seemed very self-absorbed and not digging very deep to help his patient. He was obsessed with dreams; whether they helped his patient or not. I would like to have read more about his theories and how he truly helped his patients. He seemed very detached. So, when he became very attached to Dora I found it a little perplexing. It didn’t make sense.

The ending seemed a little haphazard. In order to have resolution of the characters, the narrative kept bouncing back and forth between past and present. Dora’s adult life didn’t really fit with how she was as a teenager. I think this is where more development was needed to better explain Dora’s life. I felt Dora’s adult life was too disconnected from her teenage life to be plausible.

The one thing I did like about this book is the cover. It is beautiful and really grabs your attention. It makes want to open the books and start reading. However, I wish the story matched the cover. I don’t regret reading this book but I do wish it had a little more depth to the characters.

Review: Love & Treasure

04_Love and Treasure_Tour Banner_FINAL

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Knopf Publishing Formats: Ebook, Hardcover, Audio

  17842038Synopsis:

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

A story of brilliantly drawn characters—a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart—Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman’s finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past.

Love & Treasure is a beautifully written story that will not leave your mind easily. Ms. Waldman weaves her story through several time periods; pre and post WWII and the present. She is able to interweave all the time periods into one amazing story.

I thought Ms. Waldman really captured the aftermath of WWII with honesty and intensity. Americans were not the knight in shining armor coming to rescue the Jews from imprisonment. Instead she writes of corruption, prejudice and depression. I found it so heartbreaking on how the survivors were trying live their lives after so much tragedy. The Jews didn’t have many friends or supporters. They had to create their own support system. The initials stages of the creation of Israel was incredibly interesting; but also depressing. It was so sad how other Jews thought of and treated the prison camp survivors. It seemed the survivors were expendable in order for the rest to regain their homeland. You wished for unity but its just not there.

The present day is all about forgiveness, redemption and rebirth. There is pain as there was in the past; but to different degrees. WWII veteran Jack Wiseman has put all of his guilt into one piece of jewelry. The pendent represents what he lost during the war and the corruption he witnessed. For him, returning the pendent to its rightful owner will relieve him of his burdens. His story with Ilona was incredibly sad. I wish Ms. Waldman included a bit how Ilona lived her life. Did she survive? Did she live a full life?

I wasn’t that attached to Natalie as I was to Ilona. However, I liked her tenacity to solve a mystery and fulfill her grandfather’s wish. It was nice that she was able to find love as well.

I really enjoyed how Ms. Waldmen ended her story. At first, I thought it was a bit disjointed but by the end it fit perfectly with the overall storyline. Nina and Gizelle made for a very tragic story in of itself. I would love to know more.

Love & Treasure is a wonderful book and should be read by anyone who loves WWII history.

KinxsBookNookScore4

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About the Author02_Ayelet Waldman Photo Credit Reenie Raschke

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”

For more information please visit Ayelet’s website. Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.

Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 27
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, May 28
Guest Post at Passion for Novels

Thursday, May 29
Review at Mari Reads

Friday, May 30
Review at She Reads Novels
Review at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, June 4
Review at Seaside Book Corner

Thursday, June 5
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Friday, June 6
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Monday, June 9
Review at Closed the Cover

Tuesday, June 10
Interview at Closed the Cover

Wednesday, June 11
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, June 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, June 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, June 18
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, June 19
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, June 20
Review at Curling Up with a Good Book

Monday, June 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, June 24
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, June 25
Review at Lit Nerd

Thursday, June 26
Review at The Little Reader Library

Friday, June 27
Review at Man of la Book

Monday, June 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Layered Pages

Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, July 2
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review at Mina’s Bookshelf

Thursday, July 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

 

Book Blast: Curses & Smoke

Curses and SmokePublication Date: May 27, 2014
Arthur A. Levine Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Genre: YA Historical

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master’s injured gladiators. But his warrior’s heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag’s owner, doomed by her father’s greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she’s been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air…

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them — to Lucia’s father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

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About the AuthorVicky Alvear Shecter

Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of the young adult novel, CLEOPATRA’S MOON (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.

Author Links

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
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Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 12
Bibliophilia, Please
bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

Tuesday, May 13
Broken Teepee
Passages to the Past
In the Hammock Blog

Wednesday, May 14
CelticLady’s Reviews
The Most Happy Reader
I’d So Rather Be Reading
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, May 15
Kinx’s Book Nook
A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, May 16
Booktalk & More
The Mad Reviewer
Book Lovers Paradise

Saturday, May 17
SOS Aloha
Reading the Ages
Kelsey’s Book Corner

Sunday, May 18
Giant Squid Books
WTF Are You Reading?

Monday, May 19
Caroline Wilson Writes
So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, May 20
West Metro Mommy
The True Book Addict
The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Wednesday, May 21
Book Nerd
Tower of Babel
Hardcover Feedback

Thursday, May 22
Paperback Princess
Bittersweet Enchantment

Friday, May 23
History Undressed
Historical Fiction Connection

Saturday, May 24
Literary Chanteuse
Just One More Chapter

Sunday, May 25
A Dream within a Dream
The Little Reader Library

Monday, May 26
Pages of Comfort
Griperang’s Bookmarks
Raizza’s Book Blogging Adventure

Tuesday, May 27
Princess of Eboli
Ageless Pages Reviews
The Musings of a Book Junkie

Giveaway

To win a copy of Curses & Smoke or a $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 28th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: 1066: What Fate Impose

1066_Tour Banner _FINAL

 

Publication Date: March 4, 2013
Matador Publishing

1066 What Fates ImposeKing William then utters the following words to the room: ‘I appoint no one as my heir to the Crown of England, but leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am and who orders all things. For I did not attain that high honour by hereditary right, but wrested it from the perjured King Harold in a desperate bloody battle.’

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold.

Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

1066: What Fates Impose is an incredibly researched and poignant novel. I kept getting lost in all the political intrigue and wondering who would come out on top. I kept wanting desperately for Harold to win the day; but, alas, I know history was not kind to him or his family.

I have not read a lot of historical fiction of the time period; therefore, I am pretty ignorant on the facts on how William the Conqueror obtained the throne of England or of his predecessors. The depiction of Edward really surprised. After reading several chapters, I did some quick research and realized he was Edward the Confessor. He did not seem so saintly in 1066. He was so easily manipulated and incredibly stubborn. Like William, Edward failed to name a heir to the throne and caused so much of his own troubles which ultimately ended with the Battles of Hastings.

The Godwin was the ultimate power climbing family in England during this period. By marrying his daughter to Edward, Earl Godwin was able to ensure his family had substantial power that was resented by many. Harold really continued that power but to his ultimate demise. Harold would have been a good king if not for William. I wonder what the world would be like if Harold was the victor at Hastings, instead of Williams. Interesting question, isn’t it?

1066 is a wonderful novel depicting a dark and dangerous time in England and Europe. It is full of intrigue and power struggles. I highly recommend picking this one up; especially if you love historical fiction.

KinxsBookNookScore4

About the Author

I have been interested in history since I was a boy, which I suppose explains why, when I came across a degree course in HistoryGK Holloway and Politics at Coventry University that looked tailor made for me, I applied right away.

In my first year at Coventry I lived in the halls of residence within a stone’s throw of the Leofric Hotel. In the opposite direction, just a short walk from my halls, is the bell tower that houses a clock, which when its bell chimes the hour, produces a half size model of naked Lady Godiva riding a horse for the titillation of tourists. Above her, Peeping Tom leans out of a window for a better view. In all of the three years I was there, it never once occurred to me that I would one day write a book featuring Earl Leofric and his famous wife, as key players.

After graduating I spent a year in Canada before I returned to England to train as a Careers Officer in Bristol. Later, I lived and worked in Gloucestershire as a Careers Officer and then in Adult Education as an Education Guidance worker.

After I met my wife, I moved back to Bristol to live and I worked at Bath Spa University as a Student Welfare Officer for a number of years. It was about this time I read a biography about King Harold II which fascinated me so much I read more and more about the man and the times. I found the whole pre-conquest period of England so interesting I couldn’t understand why no one had written a novel about it. So, I decided to write one myself. Now, after many years of study and time spent over a hot keyboard, I have finally produced thatnovel.

1066: What Fates Impose is the result of all that study and hard work and is the first book I’ve written. I am now working on a sequel.

Virtual Tour and Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 14
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, April 15
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, April 16
Review at Svetlana’s Reviews and Views
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Thursday, April 17
Book Blast at Closed the Cover
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Friday, April 18
Book Blast at Time 2 Read
Book Blast at The Bookworm

Monday, April 21
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Tuesday, April 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, April 23
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, April 24
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Reading the Ages

Friday, April 25
Review at Impressions in Ink
Book Blast at Ink Sugar Blog
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Monday, April 28
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, April 29
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Book Blast at Historical Readings and Reviews

Wednesday, April 30
Review at Historical Tapestry
Book Blast at Book Nerd

Thursday, May 1
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, May 2
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at Layered Pages

Review & Giveaway: The Towers of Tuscany

The Towers of Tuscany_Tour Banner _FINAL 2 (1)

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

21424121Synopsis:

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.

KinxsBookNookScore4

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.

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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

HFVBT Book Blast & Giveaway: The Chalice

The new novel The Chalice, by Nancy Bilyeau, sends readers on a page-turning historical quest. Set in Henry VIII’s England, the story is driven by plot twists, deceptions, spiritual searching and romantic tension. Readers fall in love with protagonist Joanna Stafford, a Catholic novice forced to leave her priory and find her answers. “She is strong and determined and very likable,” says one blogger. “Exhilarating,” says Good Housekeeping, and “The novel is riveting and provides fascinating insight into into the lives of displaced nuns and priests, with fully realized characters,” says RT Book Reviews. Launching in paperback on March 18 and available in ebook too.

The ChaliceThe Chalice

by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: March 18, 2014

Touchstone Publishing

Paperback; 496p

ISBN-10: 1476708665

Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Two

Genre: Historical Mystery

READ AN EXCERPT.

Between the crown and the cross stands one woman…

IN 1538, ENGLAND is in the midst of bloody power struggles that threaten to tear the country apart. Aristocrat-turned-novice Joanna Stafford knows what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment when she is caught up in an international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom, are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies…

Praise for The Chalice

“A brilliant and gripping page-turner…A fascinating blend of politics, religion, mysticism and personal turmoil. Well-researched and filled with sumptuous detail, it follows Joanna’s early life from Bilyeau’s début novel, The Crown, but this book easily stands on its own. Bilyeau fills in the blanks from her earlier work while leaving the reader both wanting to read the first book and eagerly awaiting the next. This is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction.” – Free Lance-Star

“English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau’s richly detailed sequel to The Crown.” – Parade

“The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages.” – RT Book Reviews, (Top Pick)

“The human and political battles of Henry VIII’s reformation are brought to exhilarating life in The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau.” – Good Housekeeping UK, April 2014

“Bilyeau sends her plucky former novice back into the intrigue-laden court of Henry VIII.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna’s character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader’s interest on every page . . . history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller.” – Historical Novel Society

“Joanna Stafford is a young novice caught up in power struggles familiar to readers of Hilary Mantel and C.J. Sansom, but with elements of magic that echo the historical thrillers of Kate Mosse.” – S.J. Parris, author of ‘Heresy,’ ‘Prophecy’ and ‘Sacrilege’

“[A] layered book of historical suspense.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The Chalice is an engrossing mix of the complicated politics of the Reformation with the magical elements of the Dominican order, and Joanna–fiery, passionate, determined to honor what she thinks God wants her to do–is a fascinating character. Fans of historical mysteries, Tudor politics and supernatural fiction will all be pleased by the broad scope, quick-moving plot and historical integrity of Bilyeau’s second novel.” – Shelf Awareness

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About the Author
Nancy Bilyeau

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013.

Some earlier milestones: In 1661, Nancy’s ancestor, Pierre Billiou, emigrated from France to what was then New Amsterdam when he and his family sailed on the St. Jean de Baptiste to escape persecution for their Protestant beliefs. Pierre built the first stone house on Staten Island and is considered the borough’s founder. His little white house is on the national register of historic homes and is still standing to this day.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

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Book Blast Schedule

 

Monday, March 17

Bibliophilia, Please

Book-alicious Mama

HF Book Muse-News

Flashlight Commentary

Confessions of an Avid Reader

So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, March 18

A Book Geek

Kinx’s Book Nook

Passages to the Past

Book Lovers Paradise

To Read or Not to Read

Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, March 19

Closed the Cover

A Chick Who Reads

The True Book Addict

A Dream within a Dream

Thursday, March 20

CelticLady’s Reviews

Ageless Pages Reviews

She is Too Fond of Books

Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, March 21

A Bookish Affair

The Maiden’s Court

Let Them Read Books

Historical Fiction Connection

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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
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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
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