Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Blast and Giveaway: "War and Me" by M.A. Wood

02_War and MeWar and Me
by M.A. Wood

Publication Date: September 26, 2013
eBook; 200 Pages

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction/Romance

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Flying model airplanes isn’t cool, not for fifteen-year-old girls in the 1940’s. No one understands Julianna’s love of flying model airplanes but her dad. When he leaves to fly bomber planes in Europe forcing Julianna to deal with her mother’s growing depression alone, she feels abandoned until she meets Ben, the new boy in town. But when he signs up for the war, too, she has to consider whether letting her first love drift away would be far easier than waiting for the next casualties.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Author03_M.A. Wood

Marcy Blesy is the author of several middle grade, young adult, and new adult novels and short stories. Her picture book, Am I Like My Daddy?, helps children who experienced the loss of a parent when they were much younger. She has also been published in two Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as various newspapers and magazines. By day she runs an elementary school library and enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.

Marcy is a believer in love and enjoys nothing more than making her readers feel a book more than simply reading it. She likes to connect with her readers via twitter (@marcyblesy), email (mablesy(at), or her blog(

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, February 15
A Chick Who Reads
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 16
A Holland Reads
CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, February 17
Beth's Book Nook Blog
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, February 18
A Book Geek
What Is That Book About

Friday, February 19
So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, February 22
Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, February 23
Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, February 24
The Reading Queen

Thursday, February 25
Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, February 26
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne


To win a $10 Amazon Gift Card please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

War and Me

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Book Blast: "The Vatican Princess" by C.W. Gortner

02_The Vatican PrincessThe Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia
by C.W. Gortner

Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Ballantine Books
Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook
400 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia.

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—assume an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, he’s obliged to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice—a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.



"Assiduously researched and expertly crafted . . . . This unholy plunge into Rome's darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing." - Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author

"A spider web of Renaissance intrigue with a legendary cast . . . Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization make for a fascinating read." - Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author

"Elegantly written and deeply researched . . . Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life. I’m captivated by this knowledgeable author’s take on the controversial Borgias." - Alison Weir, NYT bestselling author

About the Author03_CW Gortner

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner’s Newsletter for updates.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, February 9
Drey's Library
The Maiden's Court
CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, February 10
The Lit Bitch
The Never-Ending Book
A Dream within a Dream
What Is That Book About

Thursday, February 11
Laura's Interests
The Reader's Hollow
Flashlight Commentary

Friday, February 12
Let Them Read Books
To Read, Or Not to Read

Saturday, February 13
So Many Books, So Little Time
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Sunday, February 14
100 Pages a Day
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Monday, February 15
A Book Geek
A Bookish Affair
Puddletown Reviews

Tuesday, February 16
Just One More Chapter
Historical Fiction Obsession
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, February 17
Impressions In Ink
A Literary Vacation
The Country Bookworm

Thursday, February 18
The True Book Addict
Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, February 19
Passages to the Past
Kristin Un-Ravelle'd
Book Lovers Paradise

Saturday, February 20
Beth's Book Nook Blog
One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Sunday, February 21
Carpe Librum (Seize The Book)
Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, February 22
Broken Teepee
Book Drunkard
The Reading Queen

Tuesday, February 23
Teatime and Books
View from the Birdhouse
Historical Fiction Connection


To win a Borgia-Inspired Velvet Bag & Beaded Bracelet from C.W. Gortner please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Vatican Princess Book Blast

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: "To Be a Queen" by Annie Whitehead

From Goodreads:  This is the true story of Aethelflaed, the 'Lady of the Mercians', daughter of Alfred the Great. She was the only female leader of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom. It is the tale of one family, two kingdoms and a common enemy. Born into the royal house of Wessex at the height of the Viking wars, she is sent to her aunt in Mercia as a foster-child, only to return home when the Vikings overrun Mercia. In Wessex, she witnesses another Viking attack and this compounds her fear of the enemy. She falls in love with a Mercian lord but is heartbroken to be given as bride to the ruler of Mercia to seal the alliance between the two Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. She must learn to subjugate her feelings for her first love, overcome her indifference to her husband and win the hearts of the Mercians who despise her as a foreigner, twice making an attempt on her life. When her husband falls ill and is incapacitated, she has to learn to rule and lead an army in his stead and when he subsequently dies, she must fight to save her adopted Mercia from the Vikings and, ultimately, her own brother.

My Thoughts:  I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  I really like to read about periods in history that I'm unfamiliar with and this book really piqued my interest.

To Be a Queen has so many good characters.  It's hard to choose a favorite!  Teasel, as Aethelflaed is called, is a fantastic main character.  I was so impressed with her intelligence, poise and inner strength.  She made the best of her arranged marriage and she and Ethelred build a relationship based on mutual respect and eventually love.  Theirs was an unexpected but beautiful love story.  Besides Teasel, I loved Frith.  His faithfulness to Teasel was so endearing.  I also liked how, despite the fact that he was more of a secondary character, he was still very well-developed. 

It was fascinating to read about the battles, politics and customs of the Saxons and Mercians and to see just how devastating the Viking raids were.  The author provides a great deal of historical detail and does a really good job of weaving it into the story.  As I said above, I know nothing about this period and hadn't even heard of Mercia until reading this book.  It was a really interesting period to read about and I have added it to my growing list of things to research more. 

The only complaint I had is that the book was a little slow to start but once I got into the story, I was hooked.  I would highly recommend To Be A Queen to any fan of historical fiction.  4 stars.

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January 2016 Wrap Up

Blech! I'm so glad that January is over.  The whole month always feels like a giant holiday hangover and it just felt especially crappy this year.  I didn't even touch the blog because I was so burned out on everything.

In this post, I'm going to combine my #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks and #FitReaders wrap up since I've been pretty bad about updating. 

In January, I read 5 books toward my goal of 52 for the year so according to goodreads I'm right on track. It felt really slow to me because usually I read so much more in any given month.  I had a hard time focusing on books plus I'm taking a class this semester so even though I'm reading whole books, I am reading a lot of articles and book excerpts.

Out of the 5 books I read this month, only 2 were books I own and 1 was a re-read so I didn't do that great with reading my own books.  I am currently reading a ebook I own (a move in the right direction!) but after I'm done with it, I really need to get started on physical books.  We are hoping to move this year and I want to clear off my shelves!

In January I read:

1.) Tricky Twenty Two by Janet Evanovich
2.) Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood
3.) The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport
4.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
5.) To Be a Queen by Annie Whitehead

My January stats were:

-5 books read
   -1 non-fiction
   -2 historical fiction
   -1 review books
   -2 library books
   -2 books I own
   -5 ebooks

Let me start off by saying, I had every intention of getting back on track with regard to food and exercise in January but I failed miserably.  I fell down our wooden stairs at the beginning of the month and injured my tailbone so the only exercise I got was walking (anything else was pretty painful).  I managed to walk at least 3 times a week for the whole month but that was really about it.  I also did horribly with my eating.  January is a stressful month at my work (classes starting and the problems that go with that) so I pretty much ate everything in sight.  The last time I weighed myself was December 12 and I managed to gain 4 lbs between then and now. (insert sad face here)

So I'm re-committing to my goals in February.  I'm tracking my food in MyFitnessPal and have already gotten in 3 workouts this week.  We are visiting my family in California in six weeks and then start swimming lessons with Julia two weeks after that so I really need to drop some weight.  I'm feeling very motivated and excited for my pants to fit again!

I hope everyone has a great February!

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