he Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012.
Luckily, Billy from The Coffee-Addicted Writer has relaunched the Book Blogger Hop. Each week the hop will start on Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt just like before. The hop’s purpose will remain the same as it will give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.
Q: Do you request notifications of new replies when you post a comment on a blog post? (submitted by Elizabeth)
A: Depends if I would like a reply to my comment. Usually I’m just complimenting a blogger on a review. However, if I ask a specific question I will ask for a reply.
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
Q: Tell us about a book character you’d trade places with – Suggested by Escaping Within Pages
A: That is a really difficult question to answer. In most urban fantasy novels, the heroine faces some serious crap which I wouldn’t want to do. I pretty much like an even keel kind of life (which is why I read fantasy in the first place – to escape safely from my even keel life). If I had to pick someone, I think I would go to someone in the Austenesque genre. How about Anne Elliot from Persuasion? She is a wonderful character who marries one of the most dashing of the Austen heroes., Captain Wentworth.
Written by Anne Girard
Published on August 26, 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
Received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review
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.
Buy the Book
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.
Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read
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
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
Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner
The Invention of Wings
Written by Sue Monk Kidd
Published on January 7, 2014 by Penguin Group
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.
Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well…you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! Hosted by Book Journey.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Madame Picasso by Anne Girard
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman. During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty. Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.
Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally – is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student – and learning magic herself – to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.
The Trojan War threatens Troy’s allies and the Greek supply raids spread. A young healing priestess, designated as future queen, must defend her city against both divine anger and invading Greeks. She finds strength in visions of a handsome warrior god; will that be enough when the half-immortal Achilles attacks? Hand of Fire, a tale of resilience and hope, blends history and legend in the untold story of Achilles’s famous captive, Briseis.
What are you reading this week?
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1914 Paris half the city expects war while the other half scoffs at the possibility.
With knowledge gained from his role at the War Department, Henri Noisette fears that Germany may soon attack Paris. He therefore sends his wife, mother and two younger children to Beaufort, a small village in northern France. By late 1914, instead of a safe haven, Beaufort is less than twenty miles from the front.
As war unfolds, Henri’s daughter, Helene, grows up quickly and in 1917 falls in love with Edward Jamieson, a young Canadian soldier.
The novel examines love and loss, duty and sacrifice and the unexpected consequence of lies.
Praise for Lies Told in Silence
‘Dramatically depicts the horror and heartbreak of war, while also celebrating the resilience of the human spirit.’ – SHARON KAY PENMAN author of A King’s Ransom
‘An intricate, well-researched novel of life forever changed by WWI yet still sweet with the tender innocence of the age.’ – DONNA RUSSO MORIN author of The King’s Agent
‘M.K. Tod is a powerful new voice in the historical fiction genre.’ – AMY BRUNO Historical fiction blogger at Passages to the Past
‘An absorbing and rewarding historical read .. depicting the ruinous impact of war on human lives across the generations.’ – MARGARET EVANS PORTER author of The Proposal
‘A compelling read right up to its taut page-turning ending.’ – RICHARD LEE founder of the Historical Novel Society
Buy the Book
M.K. Tod has enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in her early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. During her twenties, armed with Mathematics and Computer Science degrees, she embarked on a career in technology and consulting continuing to read historical fiction in the tiny snippets of time available to working women with children to raise.
In 2004, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband and no job. To keep busy Mary decided to research her grandfather’s part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand her grandparents’ lives blossomed into a full time occupation as a writer. Her debut novel is UNRAVELLED: Two wars, Two affairs. One Marriage. LIES TOLD IN SILENCE, her second novel, is set in WWI France and tells the story of Helene Noisette who featured in Unravelled. Mary has an active blog – www.awriterofhistory.com – which discusses all aspects of historical fiction and includes author and reader interviews. Additionally, she is a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Mary lives in Toronto where she is happily married with two adult children.
Lies Told in Silence Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule
Thursday, July 31
Book Blast at Royalty Free Fiction
Saturday, August 2
Book Blast at Mythical Books
Friday, August 8
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, August 13
Review at The Writing Desk
Sunday, August 17
Book Blast at Brooke Blogs
To win a copy of M.K. Tod’s Lies Told In Silence please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 19th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
The Lhasa Trilogy
Written by Gary D. Conrad
Published on February 12, 2012 by Rainbow Books
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.
The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
Written by Deborah Harkness
Published on July 15, 2014 by Viking Press
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.
The Bone Church
Written by Victoria Dougherty
Published on April 15, 2014 by Pier’s Court Press
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.
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
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
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
Tuesday, July 29
Review at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, July 30
Review at Luxury Reading
Thursday, July 31
Review at From the TBR Pile
Murder by Misrule
Written by Anne Castle
Published on June 8, 2014 by Capital Crime
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.
Buy the Book
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.
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Wednesday, June 4
Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den
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
Thursday, June 12
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Friday, June 13
Book Blast at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Wednesday, June 18
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Saturday, June 21
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Tuesday, June 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, June 25
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing
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
Friday, July 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views