Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Blast: Teresa of the New World by Sharman Apt Russell

02_Teresa of the New World CoverFrom the bestselling author of An Obsession with Butterflies comes a magical story of America in the time of the conquistadors.

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived for eight years as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to walk westward into the setting sun, their travels accompanied by miracles–visions and prophecies. But when Teresa reaches the outposts of New Spain, life is not what her father had promised.

As a kitchen servant in the household of a Spanish official, Teresa grows up estranged from the magic she knew as a child, when she could speak to the earth and listen to animals. When a new epidemic of measles devastates the area, the sixteen-year-old sets off on her own journey, befriending a Mayan were-jaguar who cannot control his shape-shifting and a warhorse abandoned by his Spanish owner. Now Teresa moves through a land stalked by Plague: smallpox as well as measles, typhus, and scarlet fever.

Soon it becomes clear that Teresa and her friends are being manipulated and driven by forces they do not understand. To save herself and others, Teresa will find herself listening again to the earth, sinking underground, swimming through limestone and fossil, opening to the power of root and stone. As she searches for her place in the New World, she will travel farther and deeper than she had ever imagined.
Rich in historical detail and scope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Yucca Publishing/Skyhorse Publishing
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
ISBN: 978-1631580420
Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy
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Praise for Teresa of the New World

“Wow! The magical elements were a total thrill-ride, and what a satisfying ending. After finishing it I had that wonderful sensation I get from a great read—the mysterious feeling of having been somewhere, of dreams having risen up and carried me along on a wild journey.” – Sarah Johnson, Editor

Praise for Sharman Russell

Russell has written twelve previous books with numerous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The San Francisco Chronicle has said “Russell’s writing is luminous” and Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.” The Seattle Times described her An Obsession with Butterflies as a “masterpiece of story-telling” and the San Diego Union Tribune called it “A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.” The New York Times and Discover Magazine both described her book on hunger as “elegant.”

Buy Teresa of the New World

Barnes & Noble
Skyhorse Publishing

03B_Author Sharman Russell

Sharman Apt Russell has lived in Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be refreshed and amazed by the magic and beauty of this landscape. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. She teaches graduate writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her own awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award.

For more information visit Sharman Russell’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.
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Teresa of the New World Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 23
100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, March 25
Passages to the Past
Saturday, March 28
Broken Teepee
Monday, March 30
Tuesday, March 31
Griperang’s Bookmarks
Wednesday, April 1
Just One More Chapter
Thursday, April 2
Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Monday, March 30, 2015

Donkey's Kite (Horse Valley Adventure #2) by Liana-Melissa Allen

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

In Horse Valley, it's a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey's kite doesn't work. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground. How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? A friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. The friends all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

Paperback, 44 pages
Published January 9th 2015 by CreateSpace 
copy provided as part of this tour
 Last week I reviewed the first book in this series, The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey.

The Donkey's Kite is the second book in this series.  As with the previous book the illustrations are wonderful, they are colorful and visually depict the story line, which is sure to keep any child's attention. 

There is a lot going on this this little book, but not in an overwhelming way. The representation of bullying showed both sides, reminding Donkey of how he was, a bully in the last book, and just that reminder of what it feels like to be on the other side and his continuing needing to change. With Swan confronting Goose he shows how to stand up for whats right and for the victim.  I loved it!

A fun story that also showed the meaning of true friendship and family, thinking of others first and that by working together can be a great experience. 
click on icon for other stops on this tour (some include giveaways and author interviews)

Liana-Melissa Allen is a young author and illustrator of children's books and books for youth. She has written, illustrated and published six books. Her most recent one is the colorfully illustrated children's book "Donkey's Kite", the second book of "A Horse Valley Adventure" series. The first was "The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey". The lovable cartoon characters, Max, Lax, Jack and Donkey makes them a favorite of first and second grade students. She is now working on her third book of "A Horse Valley Adventure".

The magical world of fantasy has inspired Liana's imagination since as long as she can remember. Part of this was fueled by her dad reading aloud to her every day when she was younger. As a result, reading is her primary passion along with music. These two passions feed her imagination into stories and drawings, which she joyously sketches out into storyboards for a potential book.

Liana-Melissa is also a dedicated classical/jazz pianist, and mostly enjoys older music, especially from the big band era and the 1940's, 50's and 60's. While playing the piano, her imagination often leads to a great amount of improvising. Frequently, Liana will improvise a theme for one of the stories she is writing. Capturing this improvised music became a priority, which ultimately resulted in theme music for "A Horse Valley Adventure". The "Horse Valley" theme will be used for a short animated video featuring her Horse Valley characters.

Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers. Please visit her website at for more information, and to contact her by email. Visit her on Facebook too.

Where to buy the books:
On Author's Website
Barnes & Noble

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau

The next page-turner in the award-winning Joanna Stafford series takes place in the heart of the Tudor court, as the gutsy former novice risks everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.

After her priory in Dartford is closed—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention.


Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King whom she has twice attempted to overthrow—unbeknownst to him. She fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. And her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.

Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be one of the King’s mistresses. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, naïve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and possibly, victim.

Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna must finally choose her fate. 

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published March 24th 2015 by Touchstone 
arc - netgalley

The third and final chapter in the Joanna Stafford Series, yes you need to read The Crown and The Chalice first.  In saying that you can read as a stand alone as the author does a great job on filling in the past.  But it's so much better right from the beginning.  Trust me you won't be disappointed!

The Tapestry is a fitting conclusion to this wonderful series, which I am sad to see end.  The author has created some wonderful characters here, especially Joanna. After enduring so much in the previous books Joanna is enjoying life in Dartford that is, until summoned to Whitehall Palace at the command of King Henry VIII.  So begins this wonderful book.

Woven around the Tudor court, Anne of Cleaves, Catherine Howard, Thomas Culpepper and other notable historical figures making this book a very engaging read.  With so many books on the marketing focusing on Tudor England,  The Tapestry was a nice change of pace.  The storyline was original and breathed a different and unique spin to historical events.  With so many layers to this book the author was able to keep my attention all the way to the end.

I really enjoy Nancy Bilyeau's writing, it's very easy to get lost in her books, her vast knowledge of this time period was quite evident.  I was able to visualize the country and lifestyle, court protocol and so much more. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and a good mystery.

The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey (Horse Valley Adventure #1)

"The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey" is a tale (based on the "Three Little Pigs"), about three little horse brothers who suddenly lose their house that is destroyed by a fire. The young horses are totally alone and thrust into the reality of having to depend on themselves and each other against a bully donkey, who wanders the forest wrecking homes and bullying the other animals. 

This warm-hearted tale promotes strong values and has a fun premise.

 Written and humorously illustrated in vivid color throughout by Liana-Melissa Allen, the story is a proven winner for reading aloud to children.

Paperback, 34 pages

Published May 3rd 2012 by Createspace 
copy provided as part of book tour
I read this book to my 4 1/2 year old grandson and he loved it.  Having never read the Three Little Pigs this was an original story for him.  The illustrations were colorful and bright, perfectly matching the story.

This book opens the door to discussions on fire safety with the little ones as well as talking about what is important and what isn't

There are more lessons to be taken from this book aside from fire safety, there is also forgiveness, family sticking together and if you got a job to do, do it right in the first place.  All this is done in a fun story that will grab any child's attention.

Be sure to come back on Monday when I review the next book in this series.

Click on icon below for more stops on this tour, which includes stops hosting giveaways

Liana-Melissa Allen is a young author and illustrator of children's books and books for youth. She has written, illustrated and published six books. Her most recent one is the colorfully illustrated children's book "Donkey's Kite", the second book of "A Horse Valley Adventure" series. The first was "The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey". The lovable cartoon characters, Max, Lax, Jack and Donkey makes them a favorite of first and second grade students. She is now working on her third book of "A Horse Valley Adventure".

The magical world of fantasy has inspired Liana's imagination since as long as she can remember. Part of this was fueled by her dad reading aloud to her every day when she was younger. As a result, reading is her primary passion along with music. These two passions feed her imagination into stories and drawings, which she joyously sketches out into storyboards for a potential book.

Liana-Melissa is also a dedicated classical/jazz pianist, and mostly enjoys older music, especially from the big band era and the 1940's, 50's and 60's. While playing the piano, her imagination often leads to a great amount of improvising. Frequently, Liana will improvise a theme for one of the stories she is writing. Capturing this improvised music became a priority, which ultimately resulted in theme music for "A Horse Valley Adventure". The "Horse Valley" theme will be used for a short animated video featuring her Horse Valley characters.

Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers. Please visit her website at for more information, and to contact her by email. Visit her on Facebook too.

Where to buy the books:
On Author's Website
Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Guest Post with D.W. Bradbridge (Book Tour)

  I am happy to have D.W. Bradbridge with a special guest post today.  He is the author of The Winter Siege (which I really enjoyed) and his latest release of A Soldier of Substance.


How Did We Ever Forget about Lathom House?


If you stand with your back to the Chapel of St John the Divine at Lathom Park you can see the area of raised ground where it is believed Lathom House, the Earl of Derby’s huge fortified mansion once stood, a building, according to an old ballad, ‘so spacious that it can receive, Two Kings, their trains and all.’ Today, however, not one stone remains of the original building besieged by the Parliamentary forces of Colonel Alexander Rigby during the English Civil War. This is a major irony, not least because Rigby, humiliated by his failure to capture the house and shown to be as incompetent a commander as he was vindictive, had initially set out to reduce Lathom “as if it had never been.” Although he was defeated by the indomitable will of his nemesis, the unwavering and impressive Countess of Derby, Lady Charlotte de Tremouille, the house was eventually pulled to the ground, as he would have wished.

Considering the dramatic nature of Lady Charlotte de Tremouille’s valiant defense of Lathom House with only three hundred men against a vastly superior parliamentary force, it is a wonder that the story is not more widely known today. Unless you grew up in Ormskirk or are a Civil War enthusiast, it is unlikely that you will ever have heard about Lathom. This was, however, not always so.

Indeed, up until the end of the 19th century, the tale of Lady Derby’s exploits retained a much more prominent place within the national consciousness, spawning a number of books and poems, the best known of which is William Harrison Ainsworth’s novel The Leaguer of Lathom. Even at the time of the siege, Lady Derby was eulogized by those on the royalist side, the Scottish Dove newspaper, for example, famously pointing out that she had ‘stolen the earl’s breeches’. Over the last hundred years, however, the details surrounding the First Siege of Lathom House (there were, in fact, two sieges) have gradually drifted into the backwaters of history.

This is a shame, because the events which took place between March and May 1644 form the basis for a captivating adventure story (or alternatively, given the abject incompetence of the parliamentary forces at times, an engaging comedy film or mini-series – I can imagine a series of Blackadder being set here).
The reason, in my opinion, why the Siege of Lathom House offers such rich pickings for a novelist or screenwriter, lies in the fantastic array of characters involved in the siege.

There is Lady Derby herself, described by historian Colin Pilkington as being ‘as devious as Elizabeth I, as inflexible as Mrs Thatcher and with the physical presence of an Amazon.’ She is backed up by a portly, scheming cleric (The Reverend Samuel Rutter – her main advisor), a brave and committed seventeen year old ensign (Edward Halsall – author of the Siege Journal), an experienced Scottish mercenary (William Farmer – the Captain of the House) and the wise old politician William Farrington.

The severe and humourless Rigby, on the Parliamentary side, was supported by a similar collection of fine characters such as the respected commander Ralph Assheton, who saw Rigby for what he was. There was the arrogant vertically-challenged Welshman in charge of the artillery, Thomas Morgan (uncle of the famous buccaneer, Captain Henry Morgan), an incompetent engineer called Browne and the enigmatic William Bootle, an ex-porter in the Earl of Derby’s household, and employed as Rigby’s resident expert on the interior of the house.

The myriad possibilities offered by such a fascinating array of characters are something, which I, personally, found hard to resist, and from a selfish viewpoint I have been grateful (if somewhat surprised) that Lady Charlotte’s story has remained in relative obscurity in recent years. Surely, however, this should not remain so. Isn’t it time that this Iron Lady of Lancashire was recognized once again?

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

1644. The smoke of parliamentary musket, cannon, and mortar fire is in the air around the royalist stronghold of Lathom House. Though guards still stand atop its walls, it is besieged on all sides, and it is only a matter of time until the house, along with its embittered and unwavering countess, Lady Charlotte de Tremouille, falls to Parliament’s might. Yet somehow, a royalist spy still creeps, unseen, through its gates, and brings the countess Parliament’s secrets.
Barely recovered from the trials of the last few months, Daniel Cheswis is torn from his family and sent north, to uncover the identity of the traitor; though before he can even begin, Cheswis finds himself embroiled in a murder. A woman has been garrotted with cheese wire in her Chester home, suggesting there is more than just the usual hatreds of war at play.
As lives are lost and coats are turned on both sides, Cheswis is tasked with finding the murderer, uncovering the traitor, and surviving his soldierly duty long enough to see Lathom House fall.

D.W. Bradbridge was born in 1960 and grew up in Bolton. He has lived in Crewe, Cheshire since 2000, where he and his wife run a small magazine publishing business for the automotive industry.

“The inspiration for The Winter Siege came from a long-standing interest in genealogy and local history. My research led me to the realisation that the experience endured by the people of Nantwich during December and January 1643-44 was a story worth telling. I also realised that the closed, tension-filled environment of the month-long siege provided the ideal setting for a crime novel.

“History is a fascinating tool for the novelist. It consists only of what is remembered and written down, and contemporary accounts are often written by those who have their own stories to tell. But what about those stories which were forgotten and became lost in the mists of time?

“In writing The Winter Siege, my aim was to take the framework of real history and fill in the gaps with a story of what could, or might have happened. Is it history or fiction? It’s for the reader to decide.”
For more information please visit D.W. Bradbridge’s website. You can also find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

A Soldier of Substance Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, March 19
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Saturday, March 21
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, March 23
Spotlight at I’d So Rather Be Reading
Tuesday, March 24
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Monday, March 30
Guest Post at Mythical Books
Thursday, April 3
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Friday, April 3
Review at Genre Queen

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

From the internationally bestselling author of Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter comes the breathtaking story of Queen Lakshmi—India’s Joan of Arc—who against all odds defied the mighty British invasion to defend her beloved kingdom.

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of one another, seemingly no match for the might of the English. But when they arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, the British army is met with a surprising challenge.

Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male and one female—and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people. Although her soldiers may not appear at first to be formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from the empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the unexpected perspective of Sita—Queen Lakshmi’s most favored companion and most trusted soldier in the all-female army—Rebel Queen shines a light on a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction. In the tradition of her bestselling novel, Nefertiti, and through her strong, independent heroines fighting to make their way in a male dominated world, Michelle Moran brings nineteenth-century India to rich, vibrant life. 

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Touchstone 
arc - netgalley
I haven't read all of Michelle Moran's books, but what I have I've enjoyed.  Her writing style is smooth and it isn't hard to get lost in her stories.

Rebel Queen takes place in a time and location that I am unfamiliar with.  Queen Lakshmi is the last queen of India and it is through one of her female guards, Sita that we are introduced.   I liked Sita, it is from her POV that this story is told.  It is quite obvious that the author has a passion for this time period, it clearly shows in her knowledge and descriptions.  It wasn't hard to picture the setting and the customs of India, the treatment of women and the involvement of the British. 

Though the battle doesn't take place until about 90% of the way through this book, there is enough background info to keep ones attention and it sets the tone when it finally does happen.  Definitely a must read for those that like there historical fiction off the beaten track.  Rebel Queen I think is one of my favorites by Michelle Moran.

Books by Michelle Moran that I have read:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel Gaynor

A voyage across the ocean becomes the odyssey of a lifetime for a young Irish woman. . .

Ireland, 1912 . . .

Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.

Chicago, 1982 . . .

Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about Titanic that she's harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home poignantly blends fact and fiction to explore the Titanic tragedy's impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks
audio - public library
This book lent itself quite nicely to audio format, though I am pretty sure I would have liked it if I had read it also.

 Jumping back and forth in time was a nice break between the 2 story lines.  Based on the fact that 14 individuals from a small village in Ireland did in fact set sail on the Titanic.  At times parts of the story were predictable it was still  enjoyable to listen to. The author showed the class distinctions not just on board the ship but in other aspects of life during that time period.  

Maggie resolved never to speak about what happened that night was genuine, you can feel the ice cold and black night understanding her frame of mind and reasoning behind this decision.  Her great granddaughter Grace is a loyal daughter but I would have liked more insight into Grace's mother and her struggles, just to back up why Grace had to support her for 2 years - it might be just me, but that confused me a little.  Not that I don't understand grief, but what transpired during that time would have been nice to know, giving reasons for putting her life on hold.
This book brought to life the story of the Titanic, not just through the eyes of the passengers but the crew as well and those waiting on end side of the ocean for news.

Hazel Gaynor is a new author to me, she has just released, A Memory of Violets and I must say both these covers are gorgeous.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill  at  Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.   

 This week I am waiting for:

I absolutely love her Into The Wilderness Series, thrilled to hear she has another one coming out.

Expected publication: September 1st 2015 by Berkley

The international bestselling author of Into the Wilderness makes her highly anticipated return with a magnificent epic about the transcendent power of courage in 19th-century New York…

The year is 1883, and although young surgeon Anna Savard and her cousin, Sophie, have become successful physicians, they never recovered from the losses they suffered as children. So when Anna encounters a child who’s lost nearly everything, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the past and let love into her life. Meanwhile, Sophie’s memories of being left alone in the world propel the young obstetrician to help a desperate mother—and catapult her into the orbit of a very dangerous man.

Vividly drawing on historical events, Sara Donati has written a captivating, emotionally gripping novel that proves she is an author at the height of her powers.

What are you waiting for?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn (Book Tour)

National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City…

Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Berkley Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback
528 Pages
Series: Empress of Rome Series, Book Four
Genre: Historical Fiction
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  I love books that take me to another place and time, when I can revisit those I already know and catch up on their lives.  When I can visualize places with descriptions that bring them to life.  To learn a part of history while being thoroughly entertained.  Such is Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn, Book 4 and the final chapter in her Mistress of Rome Series.  If you haven't started this series you do need to start at the beginning with Mistress of Rome, trust me you won't regret it.

This series has been my first venture into this time period and location. Book 3, Empress of the Seven Hills left a cliffhanger that had me grabbing Lady of the Eternal City as soon as I finished it.  Kate Quinn's writing style is one of my favorites, it is smooth and hard to put down. 

Hadrian is finally Emperor, Sabina is Empress and Vix still the enemy of Hadrian but kept close at hand.  One of the things I loved not just with this book but the series is the authors ability to develop these characters into people that I care about and feel empathy for.  This book is divided with different points of view giving the reader the opportunity to get inside the minds of the major players here.

The storyline played out with drama, romance and suspense, add in a major secret making this hard to put down.  There was enough historical details to confirm the authors passion for not just the time period but the historical figures as well.  A fitting conclusion to this wonderful series that is a must read for anyone who loves character driven books with a strong storyline to boot.

Praise for Lady of the Eternal City

“Quinn specializes in bringing the splendor of Britannia and Rome to readers. The tangled lives of her three-dimensional characters represent the entanglements of the Empire. She cleverly pulls readers into the complex relationships, and even more complicated history, while bouncing back and forth between viewpoints. This is a feast for historical readers.” – Romantic Times Book Reviews

Buy the Book

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Book Depository

Titles in The Empress of Rome Series

Book One: Mistress of Rome
Book Two: Daughters of Rome
Book Three: Empress of the Seven Hills
Book Four: Lady of the Eternal City

Praise for The Empress of Rome Series

“Gorgeously wrought.”— C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow
“Deeply passionate.”—Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile
“[An] epic, sexy romp.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with a small black dog named Caesar, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

For more information visit Kate Quinn’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Lady of the Eternal City Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 2
Spotlight at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 3
Spotlight at Historical Readings and Reviews
Wednesday, March 4
Review at Back Porchervations
Thursday, March 5
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, March 6
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, March 9
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Wednesday, March 11
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, March 12
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Sunday, March 15
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, March 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, March 17
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, March 18
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, March 23
Review at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, March 26
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, March 27
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Genre Queen
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini is back with another enthralling historical novel set during the Civil War era, this time inspired by the life of “a true Union woman as true as steel” who risked everything by caring for Union prisoners of war — and stealing Confederate secrets.

Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.

Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini’s riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.
Kindle Edition, 368 pages

Published October 1st 2013 by Dutton Adult (first published January 1st 2013) 
arc - netgalley
An interesting book about Elizabeth Van Lew taking place during the Civil War.  
Loyal to the Union she created a network of spy's in Richmond. 
Though I liked learning about Lizzie and her efforts during this time period
 this book felt somewhat flat to me.  I think some depth to her characters
 would have been beneficial.  Also at times this book had a textbook feel, reminisce 
of a history lesson rather than a novel.
The author definitely knows her history here as some of the scenes and historical 
details reflect this. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Letters to Kezia by Peni Jo Renner (Book Tour)

It is 1693 in Hereford, Connecticut, when Mary Case, the spinster daughter of a Puritan minister, finds herself hopelessly smitten by the roguish thief, Daniel Eames. Betrothed to a man she does not like or love, she is soon compelled to help Daniel escape from jail. Suddenly, she finds herself on the run, not only accused of being Daniel’s accomplice, but also of murder.

The fugitive pair soon finds solace-and a mutual attraction-among the escapee’s Algonquin friends until two men from Daniel’s dark past hunt them down. After Mary is captured and returned home to await trial, a tragedy takes the life of her younger sister, revealing a dark secret Mary’s father has kept for months. But just as Mary learns she is pregnant, she makes a horrifying discovery about Daniel that changes everything and prompts her to develop an unlikely bond with his mother, Rebecca, who soon saves Mary from a shocking fate. It is not until years later that her daughter, Kezia, finally learns the truth about her biological father and family.

Letters to Kezia shares a courageous woman’s journey through a Puritan life and beyond as she struggles with adversity and betrayal, and discovers that loyalty can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

Publication Date: January 14, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 208
Series: Book Two, The Puritan Chronicles
Genre: Historical Fiction

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The first book in this series, The Puritan Witch was one of my favorites of 2014, it centers on the time period when Rebecca Eames languishes in jail accused of being a witch.  Though you don't have to read it before this one, I highly recommend it.  Coming it at 208 pages Letters to Kezia isn't a long read but rather a fast paced and emotional story.

Daniel is Rebecca's son where he is first introduced in the previous book,  the direction his life has taken was a true reflection of the time period, especially with what he had endured in the past.  Though Daniel is a supporting character in this book, he is the ancestor of the author.  

Mary is a likeable woman, her growth throughout this book brought out a courageous young woman.  One that stand up for what she believed even when powerless, at times, to act on it.  That time period was not friendly to the desires of women, putting them at the mercy of others.  Scandal was severely punished and lives ruined.

I liked the way this book was written, with journal entries by Mary as well as narrative reading and at times jumping ahead 20 years.  Sound confusing?  Well it wasn't at all, very easy to follow and hard to put down.  There is a lot going on in this book, scandal, heartache, betrayal, love, relationship between Iroquios, forgiveness and more.  At times I wished it was a little longer and maybe a little more depth into Daniel's thoughts would have been nice.  But all in all a great little story that is sure to please those interesting in this time period.

Praise for Letters to Kezia

“In the tradition of author Peni Jo Renner’s gripping debut novel, Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames, Letters to Kezia recounts the tale of courageous, compassionate, and relatable Mary, whose connection to Rebecca and her family is unforeseen and profound. The reader is captivated at the very first page, as Letters to Kezia is a story of forbidden love, deep family secrets, intrigue, murder, and atonement. Another beautifully written triumph for this author, whose immense gift for story-telling transports the reader into each scene so deftly, one can almost smell the wood smoke and hear the crackling of the fire in the hearth.” – Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman

“Peni Jo Renner enthralled readers with Puritan Witch, the ordeal of Rebecca Eames, who was condemned to hang from Salem’s gallows as a witch. Now the Eames saga continues as Peni uses her special brand of witchery to bring Mary Case and Daniel Eames to vivid life, and shows us just how much a young woman will risk for love. Letters to Kezia is a poignant, true-life tale from colonial New England’s heartland which will captivate you, and keep you guessing until the end.” -JoAnn Butler, author of Rebel Puritan and The Reputed Wife


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PENI JO RENNER is the author of the IPPY award-winning novel, Puritan Witch: the Redemption of Rebecca Eames. Originally from North Dakota, Peni now lives with her husband in Maryland where she is currently researching for the third book in the Puritan Chronicles series.

For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Website and Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter.

Letters to Kezia Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 9
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, March 10
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Wednesday, March 11
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 12
Guest Post at Mythical Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Friday, March 13
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, March 16
Interview at Becky on Books
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, March 17
Review at Deal Sharing Aunt
Wednesday, March 18
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Thursday, March 19
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Friday, March 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, March 23
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, March 27
Review at Book Babe