Monday, August 25, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: Revenge & Retribution

02_Revenge & Retribution
Author: Anna Belfrage
Title: Revenge and Retribution
Publication Date: July 1,2014 SilverWood Books Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip Series: The Graham Saga
Book Blurb: Revenge and Retribution is the sixth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham. Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure – as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them. Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. Even worse, it’s Matthew’s brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points finger at her. Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex’s entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them – there is no longer any ‘if’ about it. On a sunny May afternoon, it seems Philip Burley will at last revenge himself on Matthew for every single perceived wrong. Over the course of twenty-four hours, Alex’s life – and that of her family’s – is permanently changed. As if all this wasn’t enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons. Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex’s arms to begin a new life in the wilderness. How is Alex to survive all this? And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?

  Add to GR Button

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014)
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

Review:  Revenge and Retribution is the 6th book in the Graham Saga. I would recommend reading the other books before jumping in to this one, because it really is a series that you need to read in order. I reviewed Serpents in the Garden, earlier this year and loved it, so I was excited to continue on with the story of Alex and Matthew's family in colonial Maryland.

This go around, Alex is accused of being a witch by her own brother in law. Not a good thing at all during this time period. And Phillip Burley is back and that's never ever a good thing. This man is pure evil and he wants to see Matthew pay for the slights he's done him.

The Graham family really go through their share of struggles. OK, more than there share of struggles, but that's what keeps you interested. And each book seems to get better.

What I really like about these books is how Alix is so comfortable in the past. There are references to the modern world, but she's not praying to go home, like you see in many time travel novels.

You want to compare these books to anything the Outlander series would probably be a good place to start.

Rating: 5 flowers


Anna BelfrageAbout the Author

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction. I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred. I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream. For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Friday, August 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 18
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 19
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 20
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Friday, August 22
Review at Layered Pages
Monday, August 25
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, August 27
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Friday, August 29
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, September 1
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, September 3
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Thursday, September 4
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 5
Guest Post at Kincavel Korner
Guest Post at bookworm2bookworm's Blog


 photo c61f8eb2-a52b-4cea-9d7f-4174b919371b.png

Book Junkie Promotions Book Review: To Live Forever





Author:Andra Watkins
Title: To Live Forever
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: World Hermit Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: General Fiction/Paranormal
Book Blurb: Is remembrance immortality? Nobody wants to be forgotten, least of all the famous.

Meriwether Lewis lived a memorable life. He and William Clark were the first white men to reach the Pacific in their failed attempt to discover a Northwest Passage. Much celebrated upon their return, Lewis was appointed governor of the vast Upper Louisiana Territory and began preparing his eagerly-anticipated journals for publication. But his re-entry into society proved as challenging as his journey. Battling financial and psychological demons and faced with mounting pressure from Washington, Lewis set out on a pivotal trip to the nation’s capital in September 1809. His mission: to publish his journals and salvage his political career. He never made it. He died in a roadside inn on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee from one gunshot to the head and another to the abdomen.

Was it suicide or murder? His mysterious death tainted his legacy and his fame quickly faded. Merry’s own memory of his death is fuzzy at best. All he knows is he’s fallen into Nowhere, where his only shot at redemption lies in the fate of rescuing another. An ill-suited “guardian angel,” Merry comes to in the same New Orleans bar after twelve straight failures. Now, with one drink and a two-dollar bill he is sent on his last assignment, his final shot at escape from the purgatory in which he’s been dwelling for almost 200 years. Merry still believes he can reverse his forgotten fortunes.

Nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney is the daughter of French Quarter madam and a Dixieland bass player. When her mother wins custody in a bitter divorce, Emmaline carves out her childhood among the ladies of Bourbon Street. Bounced between innocence and immorality, she struggles to find her safe haven, even while her mother makes her open her dress and serve tea to grown men. It isn’t until Emmaline finds the strange cards hidden in her mother’s desk that she realizes why these men are visiting: her mother has offered to sell her to the highest bidder. To escape a life of prostitution, she slips away during a police raid on her mother’s bordello, desperate to find her father in Nashville.

Merry’s fateful two-dollar bill leads him to Emmaline as she is being chased by the winner of her mother’s sick card game: The Judge. A dangerous Nowhere Man convinced that Emmaline is the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Judge Wilkinson is determined to possess her, to tease out his wife’s spirit and marry her when she is ready. That Emmaline is now guarded by Meriwether Lewis, his bitter rival in life, further stokes his obsessive rage.

To elude the Judge, Em and Merry navigate the Mississippi River to Natchez. They set off on an adventure along the storied Natchez Trace, where they meet Cajun bird watchers, Elvis-crooning Siamese twins, War of 1812 re-enactors, Spanish wild boar hunters and ancient mound dwellers. Are these people their allies? Or pawns of the perverted, powerful Judge?

After a bloody confrontation with the Judge at Lewis’s grave, Merry and Em limp into Nashville and discover her father at the Parthenon. Just as Merry wrestles with the specter of success in his mission to deliver Em, The Judge intercedes with renewed determination to win Emmaline, waging a final battle for her soul. Merry vanquishes the Judge and earns his redemption. As his spirit fuses with the body of Em’s living father, Merry discovers that immortality lives within the salvation of another, not the remembrance of the multitude.

READ AN EXCERPT.

Buy the Book
Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Barnes & Noble (Paperback)


Review: First of all, don't judge this book by its cover. If you do, you might pass it over and this is not a book that you want to miss. Trust me.

Its part historical fiction, part paranormal fiction with some magical realism tossed in for good measure.  It was definitely something out of my normal comfort zone of reading, yet the book pulled me in, right away.

Meriwether Lewis is stuck in Nowhere and he has a final shot at redemption. This pits him as a rather unlikely guardian angel for Emmaline, whose mother is about to sell her to the highest bidder.

Yikes.

And it gets crazier from there.

This book is definitely a wild and wacky ride, fast paced and easy to read. As Merry and Emmaline try to find her father, you meet quite a few people from Merry's past.

I love the mixture of history of the old world with the modern world.

Definitely a must read.

Rating: 4 flowers






About the Author

Hey. I’m Andra Watkins. I’m a native of Tennessee, but I’m lucky to call Charleston, South Carolina, home for 23 years. I’m the author of ‘To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis’, coming March 1, 2014. It’s a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809.

I like:

hiking eating (A lot; Italian food is my favorite.) traveling (I never met a destination I didn’t like.) reading (My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.) coffee (the caffeinated version) and COFFEE (sex) performing (theater, singing, public speaking, playing piano) time with my friends Sirius XM Chill yoga (No, I can’t stand on my head.) writing in bed candlelight

I don’t like:

getting up in the morning cilantro (It is the devil weed.) surprises (For me or for anyone else.) house cleaning cooking

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Retro Reads Romance Book Review: The Fatal Crown

Author: Ellen Jones
Title: The Fatal Crown
Publisher: Open Road
Publish Date: Jan 19, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Against the seething political intrigues of twelfth-century Europe, two royal heirs will surrender to passion as they vie for the most glittering, treacherous prize of all: the English throne

At nine, Maud, an English princess, was sent to Germany to become the bride of the Holy Roman Emperor—a political alliance with a man her father’s age. At twenty-five, the widowed Maud must marry once again, this time to fourteen-year-old Geoffrey Plantagenet. But it is with Stephen of Blois, Maud’s fiercest rival for the British throne, that the headstrong princess discovers the true meaning of desire. Stephen, a descendant of William the Conqueror, believes absolutely in his God-given right to rule. Torn between his illicit passion for Maud and his own towering ambition, he knows he must choose. Stephen’s decision will wrench him from the arms of the woman he loves, ignite civil war, and lead to a shattering act of betrayal that, decades later, will come full circle and change the course of English history.


Review:  I love novels of the kings and queens of Europe. Maud is one that I haven't read much about. The Fatal Crown probably wouldn't have been the book I would have chosen to learn more about this remarkable lady.

Ellen Jones does a great job of bringing the period and characters to life, but she also added a fictional love affair between Maud and Stephen, which though it may or may not have happened, it just didn't feel right. I couldn't see the women, who was so learned, thanks to her first husband, Hennerick, that she would fall for Stephen, who was quite a womanizer and not even a very nice guy, though not quite as nasty and manipulative as her father, Henry I.

To me, a woman that would throw a country into civil war to gain the throne of England for 15 years, wouldn't have entered into an affair and acted like a giddy young girl. The love scenes are a bit much too.

However don't read this expecting a total romance, because that isn't what this book is. It is more a historical re-imaging. Not quite up to par with the greats, like Plaidy or Gregory, but definitely one that is entertaining if not somewhat lengthy. (550 pages made this book drag quite a bit).

Historical accuracy suffers a bit here and there, but for the most part, the story stays true to Maud's timeline. I wish she would have used Maud's escape in a coffin from her own capture. That would have added some excitement to the story.

A good read for those who love European historical fiction.

Rating: 4 flowers


Friday, August 22, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Left Turn At Paradise

Author: Thomas Shawver
Title: Left Turn At Paradise
Publisher: Alibi
Publish Date: August 26, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley & TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: 
Michael Bevan is barely scraping by with his used bookstore and rare book collection when he discovers a timeworn journal that may change everything. Dating back to 1768, the tattered diary appears to be a chronicle kept during the first of legendary seafarer Captain James Cook’s three epic voyages through the Pacific islands. If it’s as valuable as Mike thinks it is, its sale may just bring enough to keep his faltering used bookstore afloat for another year.

Then he meets a pair of London dealers with startling news: Adrian Hart and Penelope Wilkes claim to possess the journal of Cook’s second voyage. Is it possible a third diary exists? One which might detail Cook’s explosive final voyage—and his death at the hands of native Hawaiians? Together, all three would be the holy grail of Pacific exploration. But before Mike can act, the two journals are stolen.

Chasing them down will sweep Michael, Adrian, and Penelope across the globe—past a dead body or two—and into a very sinister slice of paradise. High in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, in a remote and secretive Maori compound, a secret rests in the hands in of a man daring enough to rewrite history . . . and desperate enough to kill.

Review: Left Turn At Paradise is the second book in the A Rare Book Mystery. If you are so inclined The Dirty Book Murder is the first book, and an awesome mystery as well. However, you can jump in with this book an not be confused or disappointed.

It was a little slower in pacing for me, which right now isn't a good things, as I have the attention span of a fruit fly on pot.

But I still love the idea of a series of mysteries based on rare books. Really, how cool is that? And Michael Bevan isn't a cozy mystery sort of sleuth. He's really not all together likable, but you do root for him to solve the mystery.

His quest to find the two stolen books does make you wonder, considering his shop isn't doing all that well, but hey, this is fiction and anything can happen. (And it usually does)

I didn't like this one quite as much as the first, but it was still a fun read.

Rating: 3 flowers


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Sex Lies and Snickerdoodles


Author: Wendy Delaney
Title: Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles
Publish Date: July 22, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Great Escapes Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: 
Everybody’s got a secret.

A secret crush. A secret liaison. A secret recipe. And for a deadly few, a secret murder.

Port Merritt’s favorite bad boy, Russell Falco, was a seasoned veteran of secret liaisons. But after his body washes up on the shore of Merritt Bay, Deputy Coroner and human lie detector, Charmaine Digby, suspects one of those liaisons got Russell killed.

Secrets. Lies. Cookie-baking rivals. And a dead guy. Char’s on the case and is determined to find the killer . . . if the killer doesn’t find her first!



Review: This mystery is so much fun and the cover is an absolute hoot! I always discover a new cozy series a few books in. I'm glad this is only book two, so that I don't have too much catching up to do. (And yes, I already bought the first book so I can!)

Charmaine and Steve are a great kinda couple and her mom and gram are a riot.

Why don't I have these kinds of crazy people in my family?

I really liked how the mystery started almost instantly. I hate waiting for a body to show up in some of the cozies that I read. It isn't that I don't love the small town bits too, but sometimes I just want the action to happen.

That's not the case here.

You've got your dead guy, Russell, and he was quite a character, and Charmaine jumps right in. Really jumps in. She's gung-ho about solving the crime, even before they are sure that there's even a crime.

That makes this a fast paced and funny novel that I couldn't put down.

I loved that it wasn't easy to figure out who the killer was too. It was definitely a surprise to me.

Definitely worth the read.

Rating: 5 flowers


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: Bianca's Vineyard


Please join Teresa Neumann as she tours the blogosphere for Bianca's Vineyard with HF Virtual Book Tours from August 11-26, and enter to win a Kindle eBook!

Author: Teresa Neumann
Title: Bianca's Vineyard
Publication Date: November 12, 2010
All's Well House Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: Bianca Corrotti’s vineyard is more than a piece of mouth-watering real estate in Tuscany. It’s an inheritance; a storehouse harboring the secrets of her Uncle Egisto Bertozzi, a world-class sculptor, and his troubled wife — a woman whose destiny converges with Mussolini’s when WWII overtakes them all. Based on a true story, Bianca’s Vineyard follows a devoted family of strong-willed men and lion-hearted women waging an epic battle against a gathering storm intent on destroying their lives.


  Add to GR Button

Buy the Book

Amazon US Amazon UK Barnes & Noble Book Depository IndieBound

Review: Bianca's Vineyard is one of those historical novels that pull you in and make you feel like you're there with the characters as you read. Its a novel based on real people, which puts me in mind of Gracianna, which I read last year.

It is the story of Egisto Bertozzi and his wife Armida. It is a sweeping family story that will pull draw you in from the very start.

The time period is pre-WWII through WWII, which makes it a more compelling read for me. Something about this time period really draws me in. Most of the books I've read deal with Hitler and the Jewish people. This book focuses on the Italians and Mussolini.  This side of the war is just as heartbreaking as Nazi Germany and occupied France.

The book starts with Egisto's quick marriage to Armida and the reasons for it. She was not his first choice of brides, and this shapes their relationship even though there is an attraction between the two, especially after they come to America.

I had mixed feelings about Armida all through the book. I truly couldn't understand her lack of forgiveness for what she perceived to be a slight. Yet even though she feels like she was in the wrong, Egisto proves he loves her more.

She's a woman with a definite chip on her shoulder. It takes most of the book for her to find peace and work to help others. By that time your heart is breaking for her and for Egisto.

The novel is about both sides of the Bertozzi family, American and Italian and it spans the years from 1913 to 2001. It truly is an epic family saga and one that shouldn't be missed.

Rating: 5 flowers


03_Teresa NeumannAbout the Author

Teresa Neumann was raised in a large, boisterous Irish-Catholic family from Iowa and is the author of "Bianca's Vineyard," and its sequel, "Domenico's Table." Both books are based on the true stories of her husband's Italian family in Tuscany. She has lived in Oregon for over 30 years with her husband and three children. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians. For more information on Teresa Neumann and her novels please visit her website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Bianca's Vineyard Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 11
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 12
Spotlight at Reading Lark
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 13
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, August 14
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Friday, August 15
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Monday, August 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, August 19
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, August 20
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Friday, August 22
Review & Interview at Bookish
Tuesday, August 26
Review at Luxury Reading

Giveaway

To win a Kindle eBook of Bianca's Vineyard please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Two copies are up for grabs. Giveaway is open to US residents only.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 27th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  photo 5c065cbc-4ffe-4baa-ac0f-1eedc1e76abe.png

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Book Review: Doctor Who: Engines Of War

Author: George Mann
Title: Doctor Who: Engines Of War
Publisher: Random House UK
Publish Date: July 31,2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
The Great Time War has raged for centuries, ravaging the universe. Scores of human colony planets are now overrun by Dalek occupation forces. A weary, angry Doctor leads a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against the Dalek stronghold but in the midst of the carnage, the Doctor’s TARDIS crashes to a planet below: Moldox.

As the Doctor is trapped in an apocalyptic landscape, Dalek patrols roam amongst the wreckage, rounding up the remaining civilians. But why haven’t the Daleks simply killed the humans?

Searching for answers the Doctor meets 'Cinder', a young Dalek hunter. Their struggles to discover the Dalek plan take them from the ruins of Moldox to the halls of Gallifrey, and set in motion a chain of events that will change everything. And everyone. An epic novel of the Great Time War featuring the War Doctor as played by John Hurt.

Review: I don't know that I've ever been blown away by a Doctor Who novel, but this one came very close to doing just that.

I fell in love with The War Doctor during the 50th Anniversary Special and George Mann gave us an adventure worthy of him. Engines Of War also sets the cannon that The War Doctor deserves to be called The Doctor just like all the rest of his selves.

What really surprised me about this book, was how well I liked Cinder. She was a tough as nails type. A Dalek hunter. She's what you want all Doctor Who companions to be like. She's going to kick some butt too.

I don't usually like stories that involve companions we've not seen on the show, but Cinder was downright perfect, especially for The War Doctor. She kept him grounded and she seemed to bring out "The Doctor" in him, even when he was going by John Smith.

What really hit home in this story was how much alike The Daleks and The Time Lords have become. You want the Time Lords to be the victors because that's The Doctor's race, but as you see their behavior, especially Rassilon's, you find yourself disliking them too.

I like how they work bits in from Classic Who as well as New Who. Part of this story continues on from The Five Doctors special. Engines of War is a great prequel to The Day Of The Doctor. You can definitely see his weariness of The Time War and with the way both sides were acting it would be easy to press the button on that big box he dragged into the desert.

I totally loved this story, even though the ending had me tearing up a little.

Rating: 5 flowers


 
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Tea Time kit and the Saturday Night kit by MK-Designs