Friday, March 28, 2014

Mini Reviews (6)

This is the third book in the Katerina trilogy and I was a little disappointed by it.  I really liked the first two books but I just struggled to get into this one.  There was a lot going on and it was hard to keep track of things.   I did like the way the author wrapped things up between Katerina and Georgi but the whole thing just seemed kind of anticlimactic.  3 stars.

I really enjoy alternative histories as well as anything about Russia so I was really drawn to this book.  I love the idea of a surviving Romanov no matter how fictional the story may be.  This book is based on the idea that Nicholas and Alexandra had a fifth daughter who was spirited away from the palace and raised in Europe.  It bounces between past and present and I especially loved the parts of the story set in Imperial Russia.  The way the author set up the story of the fifth daughter was really interesting and I was pretty surprised by how it all managed to come full circle.  I did think that the story set in the present moved a little too fast so at times, it was confusing.  Otherwise, this was a fun read.  3 stars.

I have read several of Brandy Purdy's books and have enjoyed them and this one is no different. It is told from the point of view of Mary Grey and is about the trials and tribulations her and her sisters faced.  This is the second book I've read that features Mary as a main character and I really like reading about her.  There isn't a lot of information out there about Mary but I feel so bad for her because despite being born into privilege, her life must have been very sad and difficult.  This book is not the most historically accurate but it was still entertaining.  3 stars.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Blast: One Thousand Porches by Julie Dewey

HF Virtual Book Tours is thrilled to introduce you to author Julie Dewey's historical novel One Thousand Porches!

A heart warming story about family, love, and perseverance, One Thousand Porches chronicles the lives of tuberculosis sufferers and their family members at a sanatarium in Sarnac Lake, NY. A beautiful story that is meant to inspire and uplift readers through the cast of characters that are genuinely kind human beings, readers have called One Thousand Porches "illuminating" and "historically significant". Down the Kindle Ebook for FREE on March 20th!

In celebration of the release of One Thousand Porches we are giving away 2 paperback copies and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

One Thousand PorchesOne Thousand Porches

by Julie Dewey

Publication Date: November 1, 2013


Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Set in the majestic yet untamed Adirondack Mountains of New York more than a century ago, an extraordinary story unfolds about a little known town called Saranac Lake.

The town is home to a man with a disease known as consumption, white plague, or as some called it, the red death. It is here that Doctor Edward Livingston Trudeau finds a hopeful cure for tuberculosis in the form of open air. Trudeau’s patients vary in age, gender, class, and race, but they have one thing in common. They must all choose to embrace life, even in the face of death, if they wish to heal at the Sanitarium.

Christine, a woman at the helm of her family, has already lost two children to the dreaded plague. But when her daughter, Collette, contracts the disease, she is determined to keep her alive. Venturing into unknown territory, Christine risks her own health and that of her unborn child, as well as her marriage, to help her daughter seek a cure that to many is absurd. Christine embarks upon a life-changing journey as she moves from caregiver to patient. In the face of adversity she must find the courage to sustain herself. When Lena, a factory worker and mother of three, begins coughing up blood she is faced with a decision no mother wants to make. She either stays with her family and risks her own death, or leaves her loved ones behind while she goes off in hope of a cure at the Sans. Big Joe, once a strong man for a traveling circus, seeks a quiet place to live out his final days in hiding. When he is sent to the Sanitarium, he is terrified to learn he will be housed with fellow circus performers for he is a hunted man. Gaunt and thin, he can only hope no one from his past recognizes him in his current state. Little Amy, a six year old child, must care for her entire family of seven, all whom are afflicted with different forms of plague. When she is diagnosed with a very rare form herself, she is sent to the Sanitarium and put under the care of Dr. Trudeau. Alone and afraid, Amy faces her fears and allows herself to dream of a future.

With a cast of characters so vivid, One Thousand Porches is a heart warming and engaging story that will instill hope and faith in even the most pessimistic reader.

Read an excerpt

Chapter 1 Pittsford, NY 1885

The sputum most likely crossed the hearth of our large country estate in Pittsford, New York on the scalloped hem of my favorite green velvet dress.  The flattering ensemble with the well fitted bodice and bustle below my waist in the back.  I was told this by my husband, James Lyndon, who made me watch while he set the garment to burn in our grate, the embers coursed thru the fabric destroying the residue left from a lungers hacking.

Consumption was a poor man’s disease, it was inconceivable that it gained entry into our pristine home miles outside the village by any other means. James had no one else to hold responsible for his son’s suffering so the burden of blame was mine in his eyes.  I had ventured into town for groceries and fabric, as well as lunch with the ladies several times over the course of the month.  I dare not remind my husband, but he ventured far more places than I did.

My husband could not bear witness as his sons flesh was consumed, his lungs gurgling and dissolving as he gasped and choked for air.   All Henry’s strength and will were sapped from his body as he withered away in isolation.  His soul leaving us for heaven mere weeks before his 18th birthday celebration this October.  I was given no choice but to accept the guilt that Henry would never attend college, or marry and have children.  James placed the blame squarely upon my shoulders and defiantly closed me out from our bedroom and from his affections, punishing me for the death of our first born son.

Typically solid and stoic to a fault, James became maniacal for a short time immediately following Henry’s death.  Frenzied, he set off on a tirade where he emptied gown after gown from my closet along with dress coats, shoes, scarves and gloves, immersing them all in the raging blaze to be destroyed. James wasted no time, and stormed through the house ripping sheets and pillowcases off beds, kitchen aprons from hooks and even the old fraying rags under our sink that we stored for cleaning, were all set to burn.

“James, I beg of you, you cannot burn our entire wardrobes, we will have nothing left!”  I screamed in a panic, trying to get through to him, but knew I could not be heard for his empty eyes did not meet mine but instead flickered across the house, leaping from object to object  in search of anything else he missed, telling me in short, he was momentarily insane.

Amidst my pain and suffering I took great measures to prevent the bacteria from infecting the rest of us, beginning with scouring the house daily to an immaculate state until my fingers cracked and bled.  In the evenings my gentle daughters slathered my hands, one finger at a time, with petroleum jelly and wrapped them in strips of cotton in order to heal.   All of my remaining  dressing gowns, the ones set aside to be tailored that James missed as he ransacked the place, as well as Collette’s and Emma Darlings were hemmed to mid-calf so as not to risk contact with the ground. Lucas and Daniel, our two remaining boys wore trousers that did not drag but I feared the disease  and their fathers instability so intensely now that I made them take off their shoes on the porch and wipe the soles with rags dipped in boiling water the moment they got home from school. Then the rags were burned in our outdoor fire pit.

We were told the disease could lay dormant for months or years even, causing even more panic, and so the fires raged and our old shifts were ripped to make rags to use for boiling and cleaning purposes.

The disease known as consumption, white plague, the red death, or tuberculosis was especially harmful to anyone with an already compromised immune system, such as our Collette with her weakling lungs.  It was spreading like wildfire across the nation and was being touted as the most fatal disease known to man, far surpassing typhoid and scarlet fever in its death toll.  Taking nearly one in every seven Americans or four hundred souls daily.  It took no prejudice in who it afflicted either.  The elderly as well as children, men and women, black and white, poor and wealthy were disposed of but most often it was young adult males in the prime of their life, like our Henry, falling prey.

Doctors were perplexed by the spread of the disease, some believed it was developed based on the patient’s constitution, either physiologically or psychologically and therefore didn’t believe it could be spread.  Along the same lines other scientists and researchers believed it to be hereditary and therefore took no precautions against it.  Still others thought it was airborne spread from spitting, coughing, laughing, sneezing, and even talking.  It was thought it could also be transferred from bodily fluids such as pus and bowel discharge.  Doctors encouraged everything from wearing beards for the men to prevent the germ from entering their orifices, to eating nothing but diets rich in meat and dairy.

“I tell you Christine, this disease is contagious.  We must be vigilant over our hand washing, and we shall each bathe nightly in separate water.” James spoke to me through his fog of grief.

Praise for One Thousand Porches

"I greatly enjoyed the time I spent reading this book. Historically significant as well as heartwarming, One Thousand Porches is an engaging tale of family, friendship, hope and perseverance in the shadow of uncertainty." - Erin, Flashlight Commentary Blog

"This novel was fascinating. Of course I know of TB but to hear the history behind what Dr. Trudeau did for so many is remarkable. I think anyone interested in history and especially the history of TB and the development of the first sanitariums should enjoy this novel. I’ve read one other of Julie’s books and I find her writing to be very frank and real. I look forward to seeing what subject Julie tackles next!" - Dar, Peeking Between the Pages Blog

"One Thousand Porches is such a treasure. I learned so much about tuberculosis through the intertwined lives of Christine, Joe, Collete, Will, Amy, Daniel, and, of course, Edward Trudeau. Such inspiring lives these characters show us. As we advance in the 21st century, we can learn so much from those who lived, learned and loved over a hundred years ago. Thank you, Julie, for another illuminating look back in history." - Cindy Gorham-Crevelling

"Julie Dewey loves history...that is clear!!! And, as in her first book about the orphan trains of old, she has again chosen to write about a time in our past that few remember. She writes about tuberculosis, and shows us that TB did not discriminate! She introduces us to a cast of characters from all walks of life, from the very wealthy, the poor and indigent, to everything in between. This is a warm story about people making the best of their circumstances after they are torn away from their homes and families!! Because I live in New York state, I was particularly intrigued. I feel a visit to Saranac Lake and surrounding areas need to be on my "bucket list"! I also love that Julie Dewey wove her own personal history into the story, with the introduction of LENA!!! As per her dedication, Lena was her great Grandmother!!!" - Dr Michael A. Radz

Buy the Book

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Amazon (Paperback)

Amazon UK (ebook)

Amazon UK (Paperback)

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Book Depository

About the AuthorJulie Dewey

Julie Dewey is a novelist who resides with her family in Central New York. Her daughter is a singer/songwriter, and her son is a boxer. Her husband is an all-around hard working, fantastic guy with gorgeous blue eyes that had her falling for him the moment they met.

In addition to researching and writing she is an avid reader. She is also passionate about jewelry design and gemstones. She loves anything creative, whether it be knitting, stamping, scrapping, decoupaging, working with metal, or decorating.

Visit her at to get your reading guide for this book and to read an excerpt from Forgetting Tabitha, the Story of an Orphan Train Rider.

Author Links




Join Julie Dewey's Fan Club.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 17

Historical Tapestry

Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, March 18

Layered Pages

Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, March 19

West Metro Mommy

Turning the Pages

Thursday, March 20

Reading the Ages

Passages to the Past

Friday, March 21

Pages of Comfort

To Read or Not to Read

Saturday, March 22

Book Nerd

Reviews by Molly

Sunday, March 23

Carpe Librum

Books in the Burbs

Monday, March 24

A Bookish Affair

Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, March 25

Peeking Between the Pages

Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, March 26

CelticLady's Reviews

So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, March 27

Closed the Cover

HF Book Muse-News

Friday, March 28

Broken Teepee

A Bookish Libraria


To enter to win one of the following prizes, please complete the Rafflecopter form below.

2 – Paperback copies of One Thousand Porches

1 – $25 Amazon Gift Card

Giveaway will run from March 17-28. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on March 29 and notifiied via email.

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

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quick Review: "Empress of the Night" by Eva Stachniak

From Goodreads:  Catherine the Great muses on her life, her relentless battle between love and power, the country she brought into the glorious new century, and the bodies left in her wake. By the end of her life, she had accomplished more than virtually any other woman in history. She built and grew the Romanov empire, amassed a vast fortune of art and land, and controlled an unruly and conniving court. Now, in a voice both indelible and intimate, she reflects on the decisions that gained her the world and brought her enemies to their knees. And before her last breath, shadowed by the bloody French Revolution, she sets up the end game for her last political maneuver, ensuring her successor and the greater glory of Russia.

My Thoughts:  I was really excited to read this because I think Catherine the Great is a very cool historical figure.  I remember enjoying Stachniak's first book about Catherine, The Winter Palace, and was looking forward to the second.  Unfortunately, I was really disappointed.  The story is basically Catherine remembering her life after she has had a stroke which could be interesting but it wasn't.  It was told in the third person and there really was minimal dialogue.  It made the story hard to read and it was pretty boring.  It also seemed to drag on. There also was very little focus on her accomplishments as empress.  The story seemed to focus more on her relationships than it did on her reign.  Catherine did some amazing things during her tenure as empress and I hate when books sensationalize her liaisons and forget about everything else.  Overall, I was really unimpressed with this book as it had the potential to be really good.  2 stars.

I received this book from NetGalley.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: "Queen Elizabeth's Daughter" by Anne Clinard Barnhill

Synopsis:  Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses. Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

My Thoughts:

Characters:  Mary Shelton is the main character and is fairly likable.  I must say that I liked her a lot better toward the end of the book after she had grown up a bit.  The Earl of Oxford was a pretty good villain, Robert Dudley was his usual arrogant self and Elizabeth was kind of silly.  Seeing her flirt with all of the young men at court made me a little embarrassed for her.

Likes:   I enjoyed reading about Queen Elizabeth as a 'mother'.  The author portrayed her as a motherly sort of person who created this unique family situation with Robert Dudley and Mary Shelton.  A lot of books focus on Elizabeth as queen so it was nice to imagine her differently.  I really liked reading about all of the different 'characters' at court.  The secondary characters were all pretty interesting and I would have liked to know more about them.

I also enjoyed all the different settings.  The characters travel around to different palaces in different parts of the country and the author did a great job of describing these palaces and the sights and sounds within them.  My favorite parts of the story are when Mary and John aren't at court; they seemed the most 'real' at those times.

Dislikes:  The story was a little slow, especially in the beginning.  It took me a while to get into the story and I never really got to a point where I cared about the characters a lot.  It's not that I didn't like them, there just wasn't anything about them that really stood out to me.

Overall:   3 stars.

I received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Anne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants. Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.

For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out other stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on twitter:  #QueenElizabethsDaughterTour

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: "The Debt of Tamar" by Nicole Dweck

Synopsis:  During the second half of the 16th century, a wealthy widow by the name of Doña Antonia Nissim is arrested and charged with being a secret Jew. The punishment? Death by burning. Enter Suleiman the Magnificent, an Ottoman “Schindler,” and the most celebrated sultan in all of Turkish history. With the help of the Sultan, the widow and her children manage their escape to Istanbul. Life is seemingly idyllic for the family in their new home, that is, until the Sultan’s son meets and falls in love with Tamar, Doña Antonia’s beautiful and free-spirited granddaughter. A quiet love affair ensues until one day, the girl vanishes.

Over four centuries later, thirty-two year old Selim Osman, a playboy prince with a thriving real estate empire, is suddenly diagnosed with a life-threatening condition. Abandoning the mother of his unborn child, he vanishes from Istanbul without an explanation. In a Manhattan hospital, he meets Hannah, a talented artist and the daughter of a French Holocaust survivor. As their story intertwines with that of their ancestors, readers are taken back to Nazi-occupied Paris, and to a sea-side village in the Holy Land where a world of secrets is illuminated.

Theirs is a love that has been dormant for centuries, spanning continents, generations, oceans, and religions. Bound by a debt that has lingered through time, they must right the wrongs of the past if they’re ever to break the shackles of their future.

My Thoughts:  The Debt of Tamar was truly unlike any other book I have read.  The story itself and the characters' experiences are very unique which mad for an enjoyable read.  It is a really good debut novel that covered several interesting historical periods and introduced the reader to a number of fascinating characters.

I find the Inquisition to be a really interesting period in history and I enjoy reading books that cover this period and discuss the effects it had on the Jewish people living in the Iberian peninsula.  The story starts out in Portugal but quickly moves to other places.  Through the story, the reader is transported to Portugal, France, America and Turkey in different eras with different characters' perspectives and I thought the transition between different countries and periods was seamless.

I loved all of the characters in this story but I did think it was kind of funny that Tamar herself is such a minor character in the story.  Her 'debt' drives the whole story and yet I knew very little about her.  I also didn't really understand why she owed Murat anything; it wasn't her fault what happened and I kind of wish this would have been elaborated on more.  I also would have liked to know more about what happened to her after she was sent away from Istanbul.  Of the other characters in the story, I liked the character of Selim the best.  He was such a kind and gentle soul and I just felt very drawn to him

This was a very quick and engaging read that left me wishing for more!  The Debt of Tamar is beautifully written and definitely a story that any fan of historical fiction would enjoy.  3 1/2 stars.

I received this book from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

About the Author:

Nicole Dweck is a writer whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.
As a descendant of Sephardic (Spanish) refugees who escaped the Inquisition and settled on Ottoman territory, Dweck has always been interested in Sephardic history and the plight of refugees during the Spanish Inquisition. The Debt of Tamar, her debut novel, was a two-time finalist in the UK’s Cinnamon Press Novel Award Competition. It has also received an honorable award mention in the category of Mainstream/Literary Fiction from Writers Digest and was the highest rated book for two weeks running on the Harper Collin’s “Authonomy” website. It has claimed a #1 Bestseller spot in the Amazon Kindle Middle East Fiction category, a #1 Bestseller spot in Amazon Kindle Jewish Fiction category, and has been included as one of the “Hot 100″ Kindle bestsellers in the category of Historical Fiction.

Dweck holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters Degree in Global Studies with a focus on Middle East Affairs (NYU) . Her non-fiction articles have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including The New York Observer and Haute Living Magazine.

She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

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

 Check out other stops on the tour here! 
 Follow the tour on twitter:  #DebtofTamarVirtualTour 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Blast: "The Chalice" by Nancy Bilyeau

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


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

Watch the Book Trailer


Buy the Book


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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.

Author Links







Sign up for Nancy Bilyeau's Newsletter.

Nancy Bilyeau Gives an Inside Peek Behind THE CHALICE

Book Blast Schedule

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

Friday, March 21

A Bookish Affair

The Maiden's Court

Let Them Read Books

Historical Fiction Connection


To enter to win one of 10 copies of The Chalice please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway will run from March 17-21. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on March 22 and notifiied via email.
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mailbox Monday (11)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at To Be Continued and is a great way to showcase all the bookish goodies you receive each week!  Check it out here.

I only received one book this week but it's definitely a good one!

From NetGalley:


This is the third book in the series (I think it may be the last) and I can't wait to read it.  I loved the other two books and it's so interesting to think 'what if Anne Boleyn had a son?'

What books did you get this week?  Leave me a link in the comments so I can check out your haul!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn

From Goodreads:  WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.

My Thoughts:

Likes: I loved this book!  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it which is huge considering that I don't get a lot of sleep these days.  All the twists and turns made it impossible to put this book down.  I loved the odd small town setting and OMG, the whole story is just plain creepy.  Honestly, I don't  know where Flynn comes up with this stuff; her head must be a very weird place.  The end left me so shocked that I had to read it twice before it set in.

Characters:  This is the second of Flynn's books where I found her incredibly damaged main character to be endearing.  There was just something about Camille that made me want to give her a big hug.  She didn't always make the best choices but considering her past, it wasn't that surprising.  Adora and Ama are two of the creepiest characters that I have ever seen.  Good Lord, they freaked me out.  

Overall:  Read this book.  I know a lot of people didn't like Gone, Girl but don't let that deter you from reading this book.  I actually thought Sharp Objects was way better!  4 stars.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts (4)

1.) Julia has cut two teeth in the last two days!  This stuff happens so fast!

2.) I have the whole week off next week and I'm hoping to get some reading done.  I have 3 books to read between now and April 5 and I haven't been reading that fast lately.

3.) I'm going to experiment with a new review format.  I am not a good writer, I really struggle to write them and they are always just so forced.  I am going to try to have them be more 'me' and less what I think a 'review' should be.

4.) I think I'm going to keep this blog going a bit longer.  I'm definitely going to be a bit more discerning about review books but I'm not ready to let go yet.

5.) The weather has been gorgeous lately!  I love Spring and I'm hoping it will be a long time before Summer is here.

6.) We're going on almost 3 weeks of really bad baby sleep at my house.  People say 'it gets easier' when referring to babies but I don't know if that's true.  It just gets different.

7.) I just finished reading a book that I didn't expect much from but actually wound up loving.  I can't wait to write my review of it.  It was so good!

8.) I gave up sweets for Lent and for me that is HUGE.  I have a massive sweet tooth.  I haven't had sweets in a week, only five to go.

I hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mailbox Monday (10)

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at To Be Continued.  Check it out here!

I haven't gotten any new books in a while but this week was quite the doozy!  All of my Interlibrary Loan requests came in a the same time so I have a ton of reading to do now!

From HFVBT (for review):

From the Library:

I can't wait to read all of these!  What books did you get this week?
Imagination Designs