Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: "Sisters of Treason" by Elizabeth Fremantle

From Goodreads:  Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Freemantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for.

My Thoughts:  I am really enthralled by the Grey sisters and Sisters of Treason is now one of my favorite books about them.  It was so well-written and kept my interest from beginning to end.  It very quickly pulled me out of my reading slump!  This book focused on Catherine and Mary in the aftermath of their sister, Jane's, execution and I loved the way the author portrayed both sisters.  Actually, I loved everything about this book.  Catherine and Mary were well-developed characters and the author really made me care about them.  Mary was definitely my favorite.  I really wish more was known about Mary Grey because it seems like she lived a really interesting life.

Ms. Fremantle portrays Frances Grey as a loving mother who had a good relationship with her daughters and I thought it was a nice change of pace.  Frances is usually vilified and I liked imagining her in a more positive light.  I had a really hard time with Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth because neither one of them were very nice people and they treated the Grey sisters so badly.  It's easy to understand why they behaved that way but jeez, I wanted to smack them at times.

Levina made this story so unique.  I liked that she was part of the story as a friend and guardian to the Grey girls but she also got to have her own story as well.  The reader sees a lot of the story through her eyes and I liked the perspective she brought to the story.  Because she was a painter, it was like she could see things about people that others couldn't and she had a front row seat to daily court life so she seemed to always be in the know.

Overall, this was a great portrayal of the Grey sisters' lives.  Fremantle's version of events made for a wonderful story and thanks to her author's note, it's obvious that she did a lot of research.  If you have even a smidge of interest in this period in history, you should definitely read this book.  4 stars.

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

Friday, June 27, 2014

Quick Review: "Growing Up Duggar" by Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar

From Goodreads:  In this delightful and very personal book, the four oldest Duggar girls share their hearts and their core beliefs, explaining that it's all about relationships!

Relationship with self: The girls share their own personal journeys to self-acceptance and navigating the difficult stage of adolescence.

Relationship with parents: You'll find revelations about how Jim Bob and Michelle keep the lines of communication open with their children.

Relationships with siblings: Here, you'll get a peek into the Buddy system, how the siblings handle conflict, and how the loss of little Jubilee (their sister) affected their relationships with each other.

Relationships with friends: You'll find principles on how the Duggar kids deal with peer pressure and how they interact with friends outside their family.

Relationships with boys: You'll learn the Duggar view of dating and courtship, and these four sisters will address the often-asked question of when one of them will get married.

Relationship with God: And woven throughout the book, the girls talk about their most important relationship of all their relationship with God and their own personal faith and beliefs.

This candid look into what Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger believe and why they believe it will give you practical insights into your own life and will inspire you to evaluate principles that will work for you.

My Thoughts:  The Duggars are kind of my guilty pleasure.  They are kind of like watching a train wreck...I just can't look away.  I've read their other books and had no problem with them but this book is so bad.  They seem like such nice girls on television but OMG, this book made me so angry.  There was a section where they discussed dressing modestly (which I have no problem with) but they basically say that girls should dress modestly so that boys don't get the wrong idea.  I wish I had written down the quote but it was something like 'boys should get their heads out of the gutter but girls shouldn't dress in a way that teases/entices them'.  WTF?  Why would their publisher let them say something so offensive?  I lost a lot of respect for them after that.  They also talked about how they spend a lot of time doing their hair and makeup because it is more pleasing to God when they look their best.  Really?  It seems really shallow to use God as an excuse for your grooming habits.  I had to laugh when they said their favorite places to shop were thrift stores; that's just silly and seems like propaganda that their parents make them say.  I could go on and on about how ridiculous this book was.  Overall, it was just plain bad.  Read at your own risk.  1 star.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review and Giveaway: "The Summer Queen" by Elizabeth Chadwick

From Goodreads:  Eleanor of Aquitaine is a 12th century icon who has fascinated readers for 800 years. But the real Eleanor remains elusive.

This stunning novel introduces an Eleanor that all other writers have missed. Based on the most up-to-date research, it is the first novel to show Eleanor beginning her married life at 13.

Overflowing with scandal, passion, triumph and tragedy, Eleanor's legendary story begins when her beloved father dies in the summer of 1137, and she is made to marry the young prince Louis of France. A week after the marriage she becomes a queen and her life will change beyond recognition . . .

My Thoughts:  

Likes:  I have read a lot of books about Eleanor of Aquitaine but what makes this book unique is that it focuses on her life before she became Queen of England.  Most books gloss over this period in her life so I really enjoyed the unique view Ms. Chadwick provides of Eleanor's early life.  Her early life as Queen of France is presented in great detail and I felt like it gave me a better understanding of the person that she became later in life.  She is referred to as Alienor in this story as this is what she would have been called.  I also loved how Ms. Chadwick had Alienor interact with her contemporaries; the dialogue in this book is great and all of the characters seemed to come to life.  

Ms. Chadwick described the period when Alienor and Louis went on Crusade and I think that was my favorite part of the book.  I know very little about that period in her life and I found it fascinating.  I especially liked how she detailed Eleanor's relationship with her uncle Raymond of Antioch in an effort to put the incest rumors to rest.

As I've mentioned many times before, authors win major brownie points with me when they include detailed author's notes with their books.  I love knowing what was true or not and what sources were used while the author was researching the book.  Ms. Chadwick did an extensive amount of research for this book and I think it is reflected in the quality of the story.

Characters:  Alienor was smart and tough and seemed to have a better grasp of political issues than her husband. She was an admirable character that you couldn't help feeling sympathetic toward.  Louis was a ridiculous jerk; I did kind of feel sorry for him because he just seemed so unprepared for life in the real world but he was still a jerk.  Petronella was a really interesting character.  I liked her in the beginning but was surprised to see her slowly fall apart as the story went on. I wish there was more information out there about her because she piqued my interest.

Dislikes:  The only thing I didn't like about this book was that it was kind of slow moving at times.  The story is very detailed and sometimes it felt like things kind of got bogged down.

Overall, this is a great book for those interested in Eleanor's/Alienor's life prior to her reign as Queen of England. 3 1/2 stars.

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

About the Author:

Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 20 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, The Outlaw Knight, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Blast: "Murder by Misrule" by Anna Castle

HF Virtual Book Tours proudly presents Anna Castle's Blog Tour & Book Blast for Murder by Misrule, the first book in her Francis Bacon Mystery Series.  Please join her as she tours the blogosphere from June 2 - July 4.

02_Murder by Misrule Cover
Publication Date: June 8, 2014
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

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A Kirkus Indie Books of the Month Selection for July.

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.

The Francis Bacon Mystery Series

This series of historical mysteries features the philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon as a sleuth and spymaster. Since Francis prefers the comfort of his own chambers, like his spiritual descendent Nero Wolfe, he sends his pupil, the handsome young Thomas Clarady, out to gather information. Tom loves the work, not least because he meets so many interesting people, like Lord Burghley, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Christopher Marlowe. Murder by Misrule is the first book in the series.

Praise for Murder by Misrule

"Though the plot keeps the pages turning, the characters, major and minor, and the well-wrought historical details will make readers want to linger in the 16th century. A laugh-out-loud mystery that will delight fans of the genre." - Kirkus Starred Review

"Murder by Misrule is a delightful debut with characters that leap off the page, especially the brilliant if unwilling detective Francis Bacon and his street smart man Tom Clarady. Elizabeth Tudor rules, but Anna Castle triumphs." - Karen Harper, author of Mistress Shakespeare

"Well-researched... Murder by Misrule is also enormously entertaining; a mystery shot through with a series of misadventures, misunderstandings,
and mendacity worthy of a Shakespearean comedy." - M. Louisa Locke, author of Bloody Lessons

“Historical mystery readers take note: Murder by Misrule is a wonderful example of Elizabethan times brought to life.” — D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Buy the Book


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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

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mailbox Monday (20)

It's a new week and that means another Mailbox Monday post!  Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at To Be Continued.  Check it out here.

This past week was a bit calmer and I actually got some reading in so it wasn't half bad!  

Here are the books I got this week:

From NetGalley:

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

For Review (from the author):

Picnic at the Iron Curtain by Susan Viets

What books did you get this week?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: "Successio" by Alison Morton

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

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository


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






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


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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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review and Giveaway: "Winter Fire" by Kathy Fischer-Brown

Synopsis:  When Ethan Caine pulled the unconscious woman from the half-frozen creek, he had no idea that his world was about to explode. Dressed in quilled doeskin of Iroquois design, she stirred up dark secrets from his past. At the same time, she was everything he desired. But she was more Indian than white, and on the run for murder. He needed to know the truth. He needed to find it within himself to trust her.

Banished by the Seneca Indians who adopted and raised her, ostracized by the whites in the settlement, Zara Grey wanted only to be accepted. “Ethancaine” treated her with kindness and concern. It was easy to trust him. But her Indian ways disturbed him, and in her heart she would always be Seneca.

My Thoughts: 

Likes:  I don't typically read a lot of historical fiction set in the United States but Winter Fire made me rethink that.  It was beautifully written and I think the author did a wonderful job of drawing the reader in.  I don't know very much about this period in American history but I was fascinated and found myself really taken with Zara's story.  It seemed like the author must have done a significant amount of research to be able to include some of the native language as well as customs.  I was shocked by the treatment of Zara and how the sheer fact that she had lived among the Native Americans made her suspect regardless of her background.

Characters:  Zara was amazing.  I loved her from the very beginning and she was such a well-developed character.  You could almost feel her pain and confusion as she tried to acclimate to life among white people.  I also really liked Ethan.  He was so kind and gentle with Zara but had his own demons to deal with as the story progressed.  Watching him come to grips with his past and make tough decisions about his future made me like and respect him as a character.  I also enjoyed watching Zara and Ethan fall in love despite their best efforts not to. 

 Dislikes:  The only thing I really disliked about the story was how rushed it was at the end.  Everything wrapped up pretty quick and it left me wanting more.

Overall:  This was a pretty unique story and I think any fan of historical fiction would find it an engaging read.  3 1/2 stars.

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

About the Author:

As a child Kathy wanted to be a writer when she grew up. She also wanted to act on the stage. After receiving an MFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts and playing the part of starving young artist in New York, she taught theater classes at a small college in the Mid-West before returning home to the East Coast, where over the years, she and her husband raised two kids and an assortment of dogs. During stints in advertising, children’s media publishing, and education reform in the former Soviet Unions, she wrote whenever she could.

Her love of early American history has its roots in family vacations up and down the East Coast visiting old forts and battlefields and places such as Williamsburg, Mystic Sea Port, and Sturbridge Village. During this time, she daydreamed in high school history classes, imagining the everyday people behind all the dates and conflicts and how they lived.

Claiming her best ideas are born of dreams, Kathy has written a number of stories over the years. Her first published novel, Winter Fire, a 1998 Golden Heart finalist in historical romance, was reissued in 2010 by Books We Love, Ltd., which also released Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, Courting the Devil, and The Partisan’s Wife.

When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, photography, playing “ball” with the dogs, and rooting on her favorite sports teams.

For more information visit Kathy Fischer-Brown’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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


Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: "Love and Treasure" by Ayelet Waldman

Synopsis:  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.

My Thoughts:

Likes:  I am beyond fascinated with World War II so this book appealed to me immediately.  What I really loved is that it was set in Hungary; so many books about WWII are set in Germany or Poland so it was nice to read about how the war affected other parts of Europe. I have never heard of the Hungarian Gold Train before so that's another thing to add to my 'research more' list.  The first section of the book really focuses on the gold train; it was heartbreaking to read about all the items that had been confiscated from the Jews of Hungary   I also liked that the first section of the story was set in post WWII Hungary as it was interesting to see the characters cope with the aftermath of such horror. 

Characters:  There were a lot of main characters in this book some of which I liked more than others.  I liked Jack the best.  He was such a conflicted character and the fact that he was not perfect made him even more likable.  He wanted so badly to do the right thing in regards to the gold train but his position in the military made it impossible.  I felt bad for him in regards to Ilona.  He seemed to truly be enamored with her but the feelings did not appear to be mutual even if she gave him the impression they were.

Dislikes:  I wasn't a huge fan of the last section of the story.  While interesting, I found myself wanting to know more about Ilona and Jack and I didn't care as much about Mrs. E.  I understand why the section was included but the way the story was broken up into three sections made it seem more like I was reading three separate stories.  They were all connected but didn't feel cohesive.

OverallLove and Theft is an unusual story and the perfect read for anyone with an interest in World War II and it's aftermath.  3 stars.

About the Author:
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.

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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mailbox Monday (19)

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

This past week was the week from hell but I did get some great books!

Purchased (for kindle):

(I've been wanting to read this for awhile and it was only $1.99 so I couldn't resist!)

Purchased (for nook):

(Woohoo!! It's finally here!)

From the Library:

(I've never heard of this book before but it sounds really good.)

What books did you get this week?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mailbox Monday (18)

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at To Be Continued.  You can check it out here!
I only picked up one book this week because I am gearing up for the release of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.  I have to finish my current book today so that I can jump right in!  Can't wait!!
From the Library:
What books did you get in the past week?

Review and Giveaway: "Roan Rose" by Juliet Waldron


Loyalty Binds Her.

More like a gangland war for turf and loot than chivalry, the War of Roses disrupted the life of the English commoners for hundreds of years. Roan Rose is the story of one of them, a girl born on the Yorkshire dales. When the Countess of Warwick decides to take sturdy, gentle Rose to Middleham Castle to be companion and bed-time poppet for her youngest daughter, Anne, her fate is changed forever. Rose bears intimate witness to the passions, betrayals, battles and all the reversals of fortune which will shape her lady’s life—and her own. Anne Neville will briefly become a Queen, and Richard, Rose’s secret love, will become a King, one whose name has become synonymous with evil. When her King is betrayed and slain at Bosworth Field, Rose returns to a peasant’s hard life. She has one final service to perform.

My Thoughts:  

Likes: I really like reading about the Wars of the Roses so I was very intrigued by this book.  I liked that it featured Anne Neville as a main character because the story was told from a different perspective than most books that are set in this era.  It was fascinating to get to see Anne's experiences through Rose's eyes; from her marriage to Edward of Lancaster and it's aftermath to her marriage to Richard, Ms. Waldron provided a completely different view of the the historical events of that era.  I also really liked how Ms. Waldron wove the role of the 'wise woman' into the story; Rose wasn't just Anne's companion, she was also a very capable healer and midwife and added to her depth as a character.  There was also kind of a fun little twist at the end of the story that added a little something extra to it.

Characters: I liked Rose a lot and enjoyed watching her relationships with both Anne and Richard.  I didn't always like Anne and Richard but because Rose loved them, they seemed a little more likable.   I also liked Hugh.  He was by no means perfect and at times was not a nice person but he really loved Rose and I felt bad for him because she didn't feel the same way as him.

Dislikes:  I had a hard time with Rose and Richard's relationship.  It just seemed so unhealthy for Rose and it always felt (to me at least) that he was just using her.  I wanted to feel like it was so romantic, but I just couldn't.  It also bothered me that she would choose Richard over her husband and children.

Overall, I think this was an entertaining read that provided a unique perspective on the period of the 'War of the Roses'.  3 stars.

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

About the Author:

“Not all who wander are lost.” Juliet Waldron earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Thirty years ago, after the boys left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for herself–and for her readers. She loves her grand-girls and her kitties, likes to take long hikes, and reads historical/archeological non-fiction as well as reviewing for the Historical Novel Society. For summer adventure, she rides behind her husband of 50 years on his “bucket list” (black, and ridiculously fast) Hyabusa motorcycle.

You can find more information at or connect with Juliet on Facebook.



To win a $20 Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on July 1st and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: "All Fall Down" by Jennifer Weiner

From Goodreads:  Allison Weiss has a great job...a handsome adorable daughter...and a secret.

Allison Weiss is a typical working mother, trying to balance a business, aging parents, a demanding daughter, and a marriage. But when the website she develops takes off, she finds herself challenged to the point of being completely overwhelmed. Her husband’s becoming distant, her daughter’s acting spoiled, her father is dealing with early Alzheimer’s, and her mother’s barely dealing at all. As she struggles to hold her home and work life together, and meet all of the needs of the people around her, Allison finds that the painkillers she was prescribed for a back injury help her deal with more than just physical discomfort—they help her feel calm and get her through her increasingly hectic days. Sure, she worries a bit that the bottles seem to empty a bit faster each week, but it’s not like she’s some Hollywood starlet partying all night, or a homeless person who’s lost everything. It’s not as if she has an actual problem.

However, when Allison’s use gets to the point that she can no longer control—or hide—it, she ends up in a world she never thought she’d experience outside of a movie theater: rehab. Amid the teenage heroin addicts, the alcoholic grandmothers, the barely-trained “recovery coaches,” and the counselors who seem to believe that one mode of recovery fits all, Allison struggles to get her life back on track, even as she’s convincing herself that she’s not as bad off as the women around her.

With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, All Fall Down is a tale of empowerment and redemption and Jennifer Weiner’s richest, most absorbing and timely story yet.

My Thoughts:  It's been a long time since I read a Jennifer Weiner book but I think I need to start reading more of what she's written.  This book gave me all the feels.  I can't even describe how much I loved this book.  As a stressed-out working mom, the main character and her struggles really touched me and made me think a lot about my own life.  

Allison is one of the most 'real' characters I have read in a long time.  She's dealing with a busy job and crazy family life and is the kind of person who carries her family's problems on her shoulders.  Her child was a challenge, her husband had a lot of employment issues and her parents were having health issues and she was just treading water, trying to make everyone happy.  I just felt so much sympathy for the Allison. The author did a great job of making Allison relatable; regardless of Allison's specific issues, it was easy for me personally to relate to all of the things she was juggling in her life.  I must say, I really wasn't a fan of her husband.  He seemed kind of self-centered and I wanted to shake him and yell 'pay attention!'  He kind of redeemed himself in the end, but for most of the book he really got on my nerves.  

It seemed like Ms. Weiner must have done an extensive amount of research on drug use, addicts and rehab because it all seemed so realistic.  Allison's need for more pills, all the lying and sneaking around, and her belief that she wasn't really an addict were the same thing that a real-life addict would do.  There was quite a variety of characters in rehab with Allison and I loved how they all got together and put on a musical centered around the rehab center.  It was actually pretty funny.  

I loved the way the story ended.  I was worried that it would be all wrapped up and everyone would live happily ever after, but it wasn't like that at all.  The ending was perfect and very believable.  Overall, this is one of the best books I've read in a long time.  4 stars.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Jennifer Weiner is going to be on tour promoting All Fall Down.  Check out her tour dates/locations here!

All Fall Down is available for pre-order now!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: Love at Pemberley series by Reina M. Williams

Please join Reina M. Williams on her Love at Pemberley Series Book Blast from May 12-June 13.

About Most Truly

01_Most TrulyPublication Date: December 15, 2013
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 88 pages

Heat level: Sweet

Colonel James Fitzwilliam is home. The war has left him weary, battle-scarred—and a free man of fortune ready to find a wife. He travels to Pemberley, his second home. There he meets Kitty Bennet. Her unexpected charms soon have him questioning his familial duty and his expectations. A fight looms on the horizon when his aunt—Lady Catherine de Bourgh—and his parents arrive with their own plans for his future.

Kitty Bennet has found happiness. At Pemberley, she has improved herself and formed true friendships with her sister Lizzy and Georgiana Darcy. Kitty is captivated by the gentlemanly Colonel Fitzwilliam. But she will not be silly over a redcoat again, and she will not risk her happiness—or his family’s displeasure—for his attentions. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, Lizzy, and Georgiana have their say, and Kitty learns a new lesson—love will find you at Pemberley.

About Miss Darcy Decides

Miss Darcy DecidesPublication Date: January 21, 2014
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 77 pages

Heat level: Sweet

Miss Darcy Decides is a light, sweet Pride and Prejudice novella, book two in the Love at Pemberley series.

While visiting a young woman—who was not so fortunate as Miss Georgiana Darcy in escaping the persuasions of a rogue—Georgiana meets Sir Camden Sutton, whose reputation causes Georgiana to wonder as to his motives. Her wondering soon turns to a different feeling when Sir Camden comes to stay at Pemberley, showing himself to be a very different man than was rumored.

While Sir Camden struggles with his past and his commitment to his future, as well as the ill intentions of haughty Caroline Bingley, Miss Darcy must decide whether to listen to others, or the words written on her heart.

About Miss Bennet Blooms

03_Miss Bennet BloomsPublication Date: 4/25/14
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 70 pages

Heat level: Sweet

Miss Mary Bennet is the last unmarried Bennet sister. She believes she will live out her days as a maiden aunt, seeking quiet in the libraries and parlors of her father's and brother-in-laws' homes. On a visit to Pemberley, the estate of Fitzwilliam Darcy, her sister Lizzy's husband, Mary begins to feel more is possible than her planned life of solitude. Among new friends and with new confidence, Mary opens to new feelings when she meets Mr. Nathaniel Bingley.

Nathaniel Bingley, at the insistence of his cousin Charles Bingley, finds himself at Pemberley. After Nathaniel's years in the West Indies studying its intense flora, he is ready to seclude himself to compile his work into a book. But Nathaniel could not say no to Charles, who was one of Nathaniel's few kind relatives after the deaths of his beloved parents. Soon, Nathaniel also finds it difficult to say no to his own feelings about the lovely Miss Mary Bennet.

Can Mary and Nathaniel look beyond their plans and accept the grace of love at Pemberley?

Buy the Novellas

Barnes & Noble
Kobo Books

About the AuthorReina M. Williams

Reina M. Williams loves period dramas, sweet reads, fairy tales, cooking and baking. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two boys, who hope to someday take a research trip to England with their mom.

For more information please visit Reina M. Williams's website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Book Blast Schedule

May 12: Kincavel Korner
May 13: Hardcover Feedback
May 15: Peeking Between the Pages
May 16: A Bookish Girl & The Lit Bitch
May 20: CelticLady's Reviews
May 21: Historical Tapestry & To Read, Or Not to Read
May 22: Book Nerd, & Historical Fiction Obsession
May 24: Passages to the Past
May 26: Mari Reads
May 27: Long Ago Love
May 28: Kinx's Book Nook
May 30: Flashlight Commentary
June 1: Literary Chanteuse
June 2: History From a Woman's Perspective
June 4: She is Too Fond of Books
June 5: So Many Books, So Little Time
June 7: A Bookish Affair & Griperang's Bookmarks
June 8: The True Book Addict
June 9: West Metro Mommy
June 11: Book Lovers Paradise, Historical Fiction Connection, and The Tower of Babel
June 13: Carole's Ramblings & The Mad Reviewer


To win one of the following prizes please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally.

  • 2 eBook Sets of Love at Pemberley Trilogy

  • 2 Audio Books of Most Truly

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 14th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May Wrap Up

Ugh, I am so glad May is over.  It was a ridiculously busy month both at work and at home and frankly, I'm exhausted.  I didn't read much this month and just wasn't feeling anything I did pick up (for the most part).  I read 5 books in May which puts me at 33/50 for the year.  I am 13 books ahead of schedule so I'm sure I'll meet my goal, I'm just glad I haven't upped it yet.

June is looking to be a busy month; Julia is turning 1 and we are having a big party for her.  I can't wait!  I will definitely be sharing pictures of the things I'm working on as it gets closer.  Hopefully I can get out of my reading slump this month though I'm not sure how much time I'll have to read.

Here is what I read in May:

1.) The King by J.R. Ward
2.) Growing Up Duggar by Jill, Jana, Jessa and Jinger Duggar
3.) Winter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown
4.) Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
5.) All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

What did you read in May?  How are you doing with your reading goals?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mailbox Monday (17)

Mailbox Monday is a great place to share all the great books you received in the past week.  Check it out here!

Last week was a really slow reading week for me but I did get a couple of good books!

Purchased (kindle ebook):

  To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild

This was a kindle daily deal last week and I couldn't resist. I've read Hochschild's book on Stalin and really enjoyed it so I'm looking forward to this one.

From the Library:

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I have been meaning to read this for the longest time and am finally going to make time for it.

What books did you get this week?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Blast: "The Lost Duchess" by Jenny Barden

Please join author Jenny Barden as she tours the blogopsphere for The Lost Duchess from May 26-June 20.

The Lost DuchessPaperback Publication Date: June 5, 2014

Ebury Press

Paperback; 448p

Add to GR Button

An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan's rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep...

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; 'The Lost Duchess' explores what might have happened to the ill-starred 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke.

Buy the Book

Amazon (AUS)

Amazon (UK)

Book Depository

About the Author

I've had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan 'lost colony' of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I've written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the 'Get Writing' conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers' Association, the Romantic Nevelists' Association and the Society of Authors. I'll be co-ordinating the RNA's annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I'm not so keen on coming down!).

Author Links




Jenny Barden's Blog

English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Also by Jenny Barden

Mistress of the SeaPublication Date: June 20, 2013

Ebury Press

Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Add to GR Button

Mistress Cooksley may be a wealthy merchant's daughter, but she blushes at my words and meets my eyes look for look. Yet I cannot hope to court her without fortune, and a dalliance with a pretty maid will not hinder me from my path.

Captain Drake's endeavour might bring me gold, but I, Will Doonan, will have my revenge.

The Spaniards captured my brother and have likely tortured and killed him. For God and St George, we'll strike at the dogs and see justice done.

I thought I'd left Mistress Cooksley behind to gamble everything and follow Drake, and here she is playing the boy at the ends of the world. She's a fool with a heart as brave as any man's. Yet her presence here could be the ruin of us all...

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 26

Book Blast at Reading the Ages

Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Book Blast at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, May 27

Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary

Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, May 28

Review at Carole's Ramblings and Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Thursday, May 29

Book Blast at The Maiden's Court

Book Blast at Cheryl's Book Nook

Book Blast at Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Friday, May 30

Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Book Blast at Curling Up by the Fire

Saturday, May 31

Book Blast at From L.A. to LA

Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Sunday, June 1

Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads

Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, June 2

Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast

Book Blast at The Bookworm

Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, June 3

Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Book Blast at West Metro Mommy

Book Blast at bookworm2bookworm's Blog

Wednesday, June 4

Review at The Wormhole

Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Book Blast at Kelsey's Book Corner

Thursday, June 5

Book Blast at Books and Benches

Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, June 6

Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Book Blast at Kincavel Korner

Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Saturday, June 7

Book Blast at Royal Reviews

Book Blast at History Undressed

Sunday, June 8

Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, June 9

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Book Blast at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Tuesday, June 10

Review at She Reads Novels

Book Blast at Just One More Chapter

Book Blast at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, June 11

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Book Blast at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, June 12

Book Blast at Big Book, Little Book

Book Blast at Historical Fiction Notebook

Friday, June 13

Review at Susan Heim on Writing

Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Saturday, June 14

Book Blast at Hardcover Feedback

Book Blast at One Book at a Time

Sunday, June 15

Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 16

Review at Layered Pages

Review at Starting Fresh

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 17

Review at The Lit Bitch

Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks

Wednesday, June 18

Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Book Blast at Princess of Eboli

Thursday, June 19

Review at A Bookish Affair

Review at Little Reader Library

Book Blast at Girl Lost in a Book

Friday, June 20

Review at Broken Teepee

Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

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