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Showing posts from March, 2014

Mini Reviews (6)

The Morning Star by Robin Bridges 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.

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam 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 surpris…

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 Porches

by Julie Dewey



Publication Date: November 1, 2013

CreateSpace

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 t…

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,…

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 …

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 Fr…

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 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 po…

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:
The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Anderson
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!

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…

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 jus…

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):

Serpents in the Garden by Anna Belfrage
From the Library:

The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam The Morning Star by Robin Bridges Alienated by Melissa Landers
I can't wait to read all of these!  What books did you get this week?