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Showing posts from April, 2013

Review: "11/22/63" by Stephen King

From Goodreads:  If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped? Jake Epping 35 teaches high school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries reading the brain-damaged janitor's story of childhood Halloween massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock n roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life? My Thoughts:  I can't believe I waited sooo long to read this!  I honestly think I was a little intimidated by how big it is whi

Review: "The Inquisitor's Wife" by Jeanne Kalogridis

From Goodreads: In 1480 Seville, Marisol, a fearful young conversa (descendant of Spanish Jews forced to convert to Christianity), is ashamed of her Jewish blood. Forced into a sham marriage with a prosecutor for the new Inquisition, Marisol soon discovers that her childhood sweetheart, Antonio, has just returned to Seville and is also working for the inquisitors. When Marisol’s father is arrested and tortured during Spain’s first auto da fe, Marisol comes to value her Jewish heritage and vows to fight the Inquisition. When she discovers that her beloved Antonio is working to smuggle conversos safely out of Spain, she joins him and risks her life on behalf of her people; a passionate romance follows. Unfortunately, Marisol does not realize that her supposedly kind and gentle inquisitor-husband has been using her all along to lead Antonio and her fellow conversos to their doom... My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I fin

Stacking the Shelves (43)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews . I got so many awesome books this week!  I just want to lock myself in my house and read nonstop! Purchased (ebook):   Isabeau by N. Gemini Sasson From NetGalley: Surrender to Sultry by Macy Becket t From the Library: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare Received (from Simon & Schuster and HFVBT) Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith I participated in a blog tour for Anne Easter Smith a few months ago and I completely forgot that they were going to send a copy of this book.  It was such a great surprise! That's all I got this week!  What books did you get?

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon April 2013- MASTER POST

It's that time again!  I am thrilled to be participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon again!!  I had big plans for the day but my to-do list has continued to grow so I am going to have to figure out a balance between work and reading.  I am definitely not going to staying up all 24 hours (I'm pregnant and tired, yo!) but I will be trying to sneak in some extra reading throughout the day.  Hopefully I can get through at least one book if not more. I have 3 short books that I have set aside for the Read-a-thon and I think I'm going to start with Surrender to Sultry.  It's only fitting since I read Sultry with a Twist during the last Read-A-Thon.  Check back throughout the day as I will be posting updates here!  Hour 1-Introductory Questionaire 1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I am in Kansas where it's raining this morning but supposed to be a sunny 65 this afternoon. 2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forwar

Review: "Seduction" by M.J. Rose

Synopsis:  From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost journal of novelist Victor Hugo, awakening a mystery that spans centuries. In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed. Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey—where Hugo conducted the séances—hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different—Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher. What fol

Review: "Margaret Fuller: A New American Life" by Megan Marshall

    Synopsis:  From an early age, Margaret Fuller dazzled New England’s intelligent elite. Her famous Conversations changed women’s sense of how they could think and live; her editorship of the Dial shaped American Romanticism. Now, Megan Marshall, whose acclaimed The Peabody Sisters “discovered” three fascinating women, has done it again: no biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving. Marshall tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover; wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and gave birth to a son. When all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller’s 40th birthday, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by

Review: "Starvation Heights" by Gregg Olsen

From Goodreads: In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, came to a sanitorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, waiting for death. They were not the first victims of Linda Hazzard, a quack doctor of extraordinary evil and greed who would stop at nothing short of murder to achieve her ambitions. As their jewelry disappeared and forged bank drafts began transferring their wealth to Hazzard’s accounts, Dora Williamson sent a last desperate plea to a friend in Australia, begging her to save them from the brutal treatments and lonely isolation of Starvation Heights. My Thoughts:  I found this book by accident at Half Price Books about a year ago and finally got around to reading it

Stacking the Shelves (42)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews .   I am really looking forward to reading the books I got this week but I think I will save them for the read-a-thon next weekend.  They are both pretty short so I should be able to get through them. From the Library:     Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp What books did you get this week?

If You Want to Read About...Tudor England

Since I read so much historical fiction, I started coming up with lists of my favorite books from different regions and/or historical periods.  I thought I might share them on my blog over the next couple weeks. This week's list focuses on Tudor England.  There are a ton of books out there that are set in Tudor England; at times, I definitely feel like I need a break from that era.  Also, because there are so many books set in Tudor England, there are a lot of books out there that aren't very good.  Below are some of my favorite books set in Tudor England: The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir - I enjoyed this book because it focused on Elizabeth's life prior to becoming queen and was very different from other books about Elizabeth. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir -This is my favorite book about Lady Jane Grey.  I have read several about her and none can compare. The Queen's Pleasure by Brandy Purdy -Robert Dudley's wife is the main focus of this book but I lik

Quick Review: "The Mirrored World" by Debra Dean

From Goodreads:  Born to a Russian family of lower nobility, Xenia, an eccentric dreamer who cares little for social conventions, falls in love with Andrei, a charismatic soldier and singer in the Empress's Imperial choir. Though husband and wife adore each other, their happiness is overshadowed by the absurd demands of life at the royal court and by Xenia's growing obsession with having a child--a desperate need that is at last fulfilled with the birth of her daughter. But then a tragic vision comes true, and a shattered Xenia descends into grief, undergoing a profound transformation that alters the course of her life. Turning away from family and friends, she begins giving all her money and possessions to the poor. Then, one day, she mysteriously vanishes. Years later, dressed in the tatters of her husband's military uniform and answering only to his name, Xenia is discovered tending the paupers of St. Petersburg's slums. Revered as a soothsayer an

Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is 'Top Ten Tuesday Rewind' so I picked: Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read 1.) The Odyssey/Iliad by Homer -I don't know how I made it through high school and college without reading this but some how I did.  2.) The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman - I have seen nothing but rave reviews of this from historical fiction fans and feel like I can't call myself a true historical fiction fan until I read this. 3.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King -I was so excited for this book to come out and I got it for Christmas a year ago and just have never read it.  I know I'll love it, I just haven't picked it up! 4.)  If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster- It's so weird that I love Jen Lancaster and have read all of her memoirs but I have never read any of her works of fiction. 5.) A History of Russia by Nicholas Riasonovsky - I was a terrible grad

Quick Review: "Bright Young Things" by Anna Godbersen

From Goodreads:   The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: Flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties. Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star.... Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined — and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for...and someone will. The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets. My Thoughts:  I did

Stacking the Shelves (41)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews . Well, I really shouldn't have received any new books this week but I saw two books on NetGalley that I had to read.  I need to slow it down on the review books but it's so hard to say no!  I also need to start saying no to any nook deals.  I can't resist books that are only $1.99! From NetGalley: The Inquisitor's Wife by Jeanne Kalogridis The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian Purchased (ebook): The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley   What books did you get this week?

Review: "Flesh" by Khanh Ha

Synopsis:  The setting is Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. A boy, Tai, witnesses the beheading of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his head and then to find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. On this quest, Tai's entire world will shift. FLESH takes the reader into dark and delightful places in the human condition, places where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy may bring you the most comfort. In that emotionally harrowing world, Tai must learn to deal with new responsibilities in his life while at the same time acknowledging his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew--his father. Through this story of revenge is woven another story, one of love, but love purchased with the blood of murders Tai commits. A coming-of-age story, but also a love story, the sensuality of the author's writing style belies the sometimes brutal world he depicts. My Th

Review: "Tully" by Paullina Simons

From Goodreads:   The time is the late 1970s. The place is the windswept heartland of America. The woman is Tully-- defiant young rebel with an agonizing secret, devoted friend faced with a shattering betrayal, impassioned lover haunted by a man whose touch is more powerful than all her pain. But in the years to come, beyond the torments and marvels of adolescence, into a world where men will vie for her and lie to her, Tully will dare to win everything, and risk losing it all, in one raw, reckless gamble of the heart. From Paullina Simons comes an astonishing novel about passion and loss, love and revelation; about friendship that endures through lifetimes, and even beyond death; and about one unforgettable woman named Tully, struggling to make sense of it all. My Thoughts:  This is a really hard book to review because I am not still not 100% sure how I feel about it.  I do know that I love Paullina Simons' writing and this book is another example of how great of a

Review: "City of Lights" by Melika Lux

Synopsis : What would you risk for the love of a stranger? Ilyse Charpentier, a beautiful young chanteuse, is the diva of the 1894 Parisian cabaret scene by night and the unwilling obsession of her patron, Count Sergei Rakmanovich, at every other waking moment. Though it has always been her secret desire, Ilyse’s life as “La Petite Coquette” of the Paris stage has turned out to be anything but the glamorous existence she had dreamt of as a girl. As a young woman, Ilyse has already suffered tragedy and become estranged from her beloved brother, Maurice, who blames her for allowing the Count to drive them apart. Unhappy and alone, Ilyse forces herself to banish all thoughts of independence until the night Ian McCarthy waltzes into her life. Immediately taken with the bold, young, British expatriate, Ilyse knows it is time to choose:  will she break free and follow her heart or will she remain a slave to her patron’s jealous wrath for the rest of her life? My Thoughts:  This wa

Quick Review: "Lover at Last" by J.R. Ward

From Goodreads:  Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another.... Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand. Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions... but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal dang

Stacking the Shelves (40)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews . When I started writing this post I had only one book to showcase but then I got sucked into Barnes & Noble's 50% off ebook sale.  I shouldn't be buying books but I just couldn't resist! Here is what I got this week: For Review (From Historical Fiction Book Tours): Purchased (ebooks): Do you ever get sucked into book sales?  What books did you pick up this week?

Guest Post by Julie K. Rose, author of "Oleanna"

I am so excited to welcome Julie K. Rose, author of Oleanna, to the blog today! I'm always fascinated by the little details that make a time and a place come alive, the traditions that express a sense of culture and history. One fantastic way to connect with history is through clothing, and in Norway, the most important expression of culture through dress is bunad . Bunad are special occasion wear based on the folk clothes of centuries past. Norwegians like Oleanna at the turn of century, and Norwegians today, wear bunad for weddings, important events, holidays, and Constitution Day (May 17) to show pride in their country and respect for their history. Below are two fabulous images of the bunad worn at Jølster in Sunnfjord (western fjord Norway), where Oleanna and her family lived. This is the kind of bunad Oleanna and Elisabeth would have worn, inspired most likely by the clothing they'd seen their grandmothers wear. Image courtesy of