Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hot Historical Fiction ~ January 2017

The Heretic's Creed: An Elizabethan mystery by Fiona Buckley
Release date, January 1

"Ursula Blanchard must acquire a mysterious medieval manuscript in the latest enthralling historical adventure.February, 1577. Sir William Cecil has a dangerous new mission for Ursula Blanchard. He has asked her to visit Stonemoor House on the bleak Yorkshire moors, the home of a group of recusant women led by Abbess Philippa Gould. In their possession is an ancient book, and the Queen’s advisor, Dr John Dee, is eager to get hold of it.

However, while the Abbess is anxious to sell the book, others such as her half-sister Bella believe it to be heretical and demand that it be burned. It is not Sir William’s first attempt to secure the book. His two previous emissaries vanished without trace. What happened to them – and will Ursula suffer the same fate"?

Release date, January 1

"Sweeping Historical Fiction Set at the Edge of the Continent
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption".

Release date, January 3

"Few thirty-day periods in history have been more tumultuous than the fall of Saigon in April of 1975. With US military gone for two years, the North Vietnamese Army routed South Vietnam's forces. Refugees poured into a city once known as the Paris of the Orient. The world watched and waited for what many expected would be a bloodbath.

"Escape from Saigon" follows the people trapped in the besieged city. Among them: a former GI attempting to rescue his Vietnamese wife's relatives; a Vietnamese-American network TV reporter; an American businessman risking his life to smuggle out his employees; and the remaining US diplomats, military liaisons, and CIA operatives. The NVA onslaught is spearheaded by two officers--one intent on restraint, the other bent on revenge in this final chapter of a war that has already taken millions of lives.

"Escape from Saigon" is a story of a city and its inhabitants struggling to survive in its most desperate hours--a tale that stays true to the historic record while recounting moments of human hardship, courage, and triumph".

Release date, January 3

"For fans of Orphan Train and Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.
It’s 1919, and the Turners are barely scraping by. When their father loses his job, their irrepressible mother decides that vaudeville is their best chance to make the rent—and create a more exciting life for herself in the process.

Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era".

Release date, January 3
"From the acclaimed author of The Last Summer, a captivating and moving story of the unlikely relationship between a lady and her maid on the eve of World War I.
As I watched him—his long legs striding the narrow path through the heather, his golden hair catching the sun—I had a hideous feeling in the pit of my stomach. For it seemed as though he was already marching away from me.

In 1914, despite the clouds of war threatening Europe, Pearl Gibson’s future is bright. She has secured a position as a lady’s maid to a wealthy Northumberland aristocrat, a job that will win her not only respect but an opportunity to travel and live in luxury. Her new life at Lady Ottoline Campbell’s Scottish summer estate is a whirlwind of intrigue and glamour, scandals and confidences—and surprisingly, a strange but intimate friendship with her employer.

But when violence erupts in Europe, Pearl and Ottoline’s world is irrevocably changed. As the men in their lives are called to the front lines, leaving them behind to anxiously brace for bad news, Pearl realizes she must share one final secret with her mistress—a secret that will bind them together forever..."

Release date, January 10

"The Whiting Award—winning author of the story collection Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing delivers her enchanting debut novel, set in 1916 Tennessee: a rich and rewarding tale of two flawed yet endearing grifters who pursue women, wealth, and a surprisingly valuable commodity for the troops in Europe—mules.

A middle-aged Irish immigrant, Billy has a gift for illusion—making damaged objects look new. His companion, Charles, the smooth-tongued teenage son of a prostitute, is a natural salesman, just like the mythical father he’s never met. Longtime horse traders and partners, they’ve recently turned their talents to trading mules. But in the summer of 1916, these seasoned grifters skilled in the art of the underhanded deal have just been swindled themselves. They’re saddled with the one thing they may not be able to unload: a gorgeous, murderous black mare named The Midnight Cool.

Charles should have listened to Catherine, the beautiful, rebellious daughter of Leland Hatcher, the richest man in Richfield, Tennessee, and the former owner of The Midnight Cool. The horse would be worth a fortune—if she weren’t a verified man-killer who attacks on sight. Charles and Billy are rooted in this muggy town until they can miraculously retrain their recalcitrant mare, and in the shadow of the growing inevitability of war, their bond begins to fray. Falling in love with Catherine—and under the spell of the deceitful, wealthy Leland, the vision of himself he’d like to be—Charles pulls away from the older man.

Despite their growing distance, Billy and Charles find their business thriving when the war in Europe pushes the demand for mules sky-high and the United States enters the fight. But when a trade goes terribly wrong, Charles is forced to reevaluate his allegiance to his country, the moral implications of his lifestyle, his relationship with Catherine, and, ultimately, his mysterious and surprisingly deep connection to Billy.

Populated by spirited, memorable characters, The Midnight Cool is a startlingly profound tale of aspiration, loyalty, and love—and the eternal search for something lasting in a transitory world".

Release date, January 10

"London, 1887. Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task—saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman’s noose in a week’s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.
But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer—a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia’s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime. From a Bohemian artists’ colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed...."

Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang
Release date, January 10

"From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . .

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But she finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves".

The Ripper's Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland
Release date, January 10

"The year is 1888 and Jack the Ripper begins his reign of terror.
Miss Sarah Bain, a photographer in Whitechapel, is an independent woman with dark secrets. In the privacy of her studio, she supplements her meager income by taking illicit “boudoir photographs” of the town's local ladies of the night. But when two of her models are found gruesomely murdered within weeks of one another, Sarah begins to suspect it's more than mere coincidence.

Teamed with a motley crew of friends--including a street urchin, a gay aristocrat, a Jewish butcher and his wife, and a beautiful young actress--Sarah delves into the crime of the century. But just as she starts unlocking the Ripper's secrets, she catches the attention of the local police, who believe she knows more than she's revealing, as well as from the Ripper himself, now bent on silencing her and her friends for good.

Caught in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer, Sarah races through Whitechapel's darkest alleys to find the truth...until she makes a shocking discovery that challenges everything she thought she knew about the case. Intelligent and utterly engrossing, Laura Joh Rowland's Victorian mystery The Ripper's Shadow will keep readers up late into the night".

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
Release date, January 10

"When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband’s three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away?
Inspired by a true incident, this saga conjures the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel as her views on race and family are transformed. A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war, The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how that generation--and the next--began to see their world anew".

Release Date, January 10

"When Russian tanks roll into the public squares of Budapest to crush the Hungarian Revolution, brothers Robert and Attila Beck flee with their family to the Paris townhouse of their great-aunt Hermina. The year is 1956 and as their country changes forever, these two boys transform as well, confronting danger and wonders previously unknown.
As they travel through minefields both real and imagined, Robert and Attila grapple with sibling rivalry, family secrets and incalculable loss. Along the way they encounter mysterious fellow travelers, bewildering sights of a nation in transition and surprising hilarity, all in pursuit of the one place they thought they'd lost forever: home.

Elegant, tender and deeply funny, Joseph Kertes has crafted a journey filled with adventure and heartbreak. A meditation on both family and displacement, THE AFTERLIFE OF STARS is a tale of perseverance, faith and the unbreakable bond of brotherhood".

Release Date, January 10

"The hidden tale of the Trojan War: a novel full of passion and revenge, bravery and sacrifice, now is the time for the women of Troy to tell their story.Three thousand years ago a war took place where legends were born: Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. Both men were made and destroyed by the war that shook the foundations of the ancient world.

But what if there was more to the tale of these heroes than we know? How would the Trojan War have looked as seen through the eyes of its women? Krisayis, the ambitious, determined daughter of the High Priest of Troy, and Briseis, loyal and passionate princess of Pedasus, interweave their tales alongside Homer’s classic story of the rage of Achilles and the gods of Olympus. What follows is a breathtaking tale of love and revenge, destiny and the determination, as these two brave women, the heroes of the Trojan War, and the gods themselves come face to face in an epic battle that will decide the fate of Troy.

A glorious debut full of passion and revenge, loyalty and betrayal, Emily Hauser breathes exhilarating new life into one of history's greatest legends".

Release Date, January 12

"Ian McEwan did this with Atonement, Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch, and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven...A compelling and finely crafted novel.' FT An extraordinary story of love and honour in extreme circumstances, from the multi-award-winning author of THE OTHER HAND. Instant New York Times bestseller Evening Standard top ten bestseller iBooks BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016 Irish Times summer reading pick 'A cracker' Stylist, 10 Exciting Books in 2016 'His best book to date' Esquire, 10 best novels of 2016 Guardian Literary Highlight of 2016 Independent Best Book to read in 2016 Irish News Top Picks for 2016 Washington Post 20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2016 In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War - daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most".
Seven Noble Knights by J.K. Knauss
Release date, January 16

"Spain, 974. Gonzalo, a brave but hotheaded knight, unwittingly provokes tragedy at his uncle's wedding to beautiful young noblewoman Lambra: the adored cousin of the bride dead, his teeth scattered across the riverbank. Coveting his family's wealth and power, Lambra sends Gonzalo's father into enemy territory to be beheaded, unleashing a revenge that devastates Castile for a generation.

A new hero, Mudarra, rises out of the ashes of Gonzalo's once great family. Raised as a warrior in the opulence of Muslim Córdoba, Mudarra must make a grueling journey and change his religion, then chooses to take his jeweled sword to the throats of his family's betrayers. But only when he strays from the path set for him does he find his true purpose in life.

Inspired by a lost medieval epic poem, Seven Noble Knights draws from history and legend to bring a brutal yet beautiful world to life in a gripping story of family, betrayal, and love".
The Chosen Maiden by Eva Stachniak
Release date, January 17

"The lush, sweeping story of a remarkable dancer who charts her own course through the tumultuous years of early twentieth-century Europe. Beautifully blending fiction with fact, The Chosen Maiden plunges readers into an artistic world upended by modernity, immersing them in the experiences of the era's giants, from Anna Pavlova and Serge Diaghilev to Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso.
From their earliest days, the Nijinsky siblings appear destined for the stage. Bronia is a gifted young ballerina, but she is quickly eclipsed by her brother Vaslav. Deemed a prodigy, Vaslav Nijinsky will grow into the greatest, and most provocative, dancer of his time. To prove herself her brother's equal in the rigid world of ballet, Bronia will need to be more than extraordinary, defying society's expectations of what a female dancer can and should be.
The real-life muse behind one of the most spectacular roles in dance, The Rite of Spring's Chosen Maiden, Bronia rises to the heights of modern ballet through grit, resilience and fervor. But when the First World War erupts and rebellion sparks in Russia, Bronia—caught between old and new, traditional and ground-breaking, safe and passionate—must begin her own search for what it means to be modern".

The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
Release date, January 17

"Bestselling author Beatriz Williams brings together two generations of women inside a Greenwich Village apartment—a flapper hiding an extraordinary past, and a modern-day Manhattanite forced to start her life anew.

When she discovers her banker husband has been harboring a secret life, Ella Gilbert escapes their sleek SoHo loft for a studio in a quaint building in Greenwich Village. But her new refuge isn't quite what it seems. Her charismatic musician neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement after midnight, when a symphony of mysterious noise strikes up—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano, the occasional bloodcurdling scream—even though it's stood empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the building hosted one of the city’s most notorious speakeasies.

In 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a quick-witted flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin lands in the office of Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather, Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.

Sired by a wealthy New York scion who abandoned her showgirl mother, Gin is nobody’s fool. She strikes a risky bargain with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent, even though her on-again, off-again Princeton beau, Billy Marshall, wants to make an honest woman of her and heal the legacy of her hardscrabble childhood. Gin's alliance with Anson rattles Manhattan society, exposing sins that shock even this free-spirited redhead—sins that echo from the canyons of Wall Street to the mountain hollers of her hometown.

As Ella unravels the strange history of the building—and the family thread that connects her to Geneva Kelly—she senses the Jazz Age spirit of her incandescent predecessor invading her own shy nature, in ways that will transform her life in the wicked city. . .
Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron
Release date, January 24

"Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful Regency-era mystery
November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. But her visit takes a startling turn when Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man utters a single failing phrase: “le cunning".
The Patriots by Sana Krasikov
Release date, January 24

"A sweeping multigenerational debut novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Russia to post-Cold War America
When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations,The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another".

Two Empresses by Brandy Purdy
Release date, January 31

"1779, France. On the island paradise of Martinique, two beautiful, well-bred cousins have reached marriageable age. Sixteen-year-old Rose must sail to France to marry Alexandre, the dashing Vicomte de Beauharnais. Golden-haired Aimee will finish her education at a French convent in hopes of making a worthy match.
Once in Paris, Rose’s illusions are shattered by her new husband, who casts her off when his mistress bears him a son. Yet revolution is tearing through the land, changing fortunes—and fates—in an instant, leaving Rose free to reinvent herself. Soon she is pursued by a young general, Napoleon Bonaparte, who prefers to call her by another name: Josephine.

Presumed dead after her ship is attacked by pirates, Aimee survives and is taken to the Sultan of Turkey’s harem. Among hundreds at his beck and call, Aimee’s loveliness and intelligence make her a favorite not only of the Sultan, but of his gentle, reserved nephew. Like Josephine, the newly crowned Empress of France, Aimee will ascend to a position of unimagined power. But for both cousins, passion and ambition carry their own burden.

From the war-torn streets of Paris to the bejeweled golden bars of a Turkish palace, Brandy Purdy weaves some of history’s most compelling figures into a vivid, captivating account of two remarkable women and their extraordinary destinies

~Lizzie~

Monday, January 16, 2017

Small Mailbox Monday


Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis: The Vampire Chronicles
"From Anne Rice, conjurer of the beloved best sellers Interview with the Vampire and Prince Lestat, an ambitious and exhilarating new novel of utopian vision and power

"In my dreams, I saw a city fall into the sea. I heard the cries of thousands. I saw flames that outshone the lamps of heaven. And all the world was shaken . . ." --Anne Rice, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis

At the novel's center: the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, hero, leader, inspirer, irresistible force, irrepressible spirit, battling (and ultimately reconciling with) a strange otherworldly form that has somehow taken possession of Lestat's undead body and soul. This ancient and mysterious power and unearthly spirit of vampire lore has all the force, history, and insidious reach of the unknowable Universe.

It is through this spirit, previously considered benign for thousands of vampire years and throughout the Vampire Chronicles, that we come to be told the hypnotic tale of a great sea power of ancient times; a mysterious heaven on earth situated on a boundless continent--and of how and why, and in what manner and with what far-reaching purpose, this force came to build and rule the great legendary empire of centuries ago that thrived in the Atlantic Ocean.

And as we learn of the mighty, far-reaching powers and perfections of this lost kingdom of Atalantaya, the lost realms of Atlantis, we come to understand its secrets, and how and why the vampire Lestat, indeed all the vampires, must reckon so many millennia later with the terrifying force of this ageless, all-powerful Atalantaya spirit".


Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
"Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.
Discover the truth of Norta’s bloody past in these two revealing prequels to #1 New York Times bestseller Red Queen.

Queen Song ~ Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Steel Scars ~ Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

Plus a Glass Sword sneak peek!An exclusive excerpt of the hotly anticipated second book in the Red Queen series, Glass Sword, transports readers to the world of Silver tyranny, a Red dawn rising, and one girl’s resolve to break down the system that will hold her back no longer".



Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Book Review: MEDICIS DAUGHTER: A NOVEL OF MARGUERITE DE VALOIS by Sophie Perinot

Marguerite de Valois princess of France is the daughter of the notorious Italian poisoner Queen Catherine de Medici. Ruled by her vigilantly religious mother Margot is ordered to the French court. A child no more, Margot finds the French court full of deceit and intrigue with her family the full center of it.

It was a natural thing at the French court to flirt and have secret liaisons with lovers. But Margot being a blood royal was excluded from the affairs of the heart. She was to be like every other royal princess and be bargained off for the political advantage of her family. She knew her duty to her family but could not stop herself from falling in love with her kingly brothers BFF the Duke of Guise. Starting out as a puppy love affair it rapidly progressed to an affair. Her mother would lock her up in a convent for the rest of her life if she ever found out the truth of her late night meetings with the Duke.

In love with the Duke of Guise, Margot starts to slide and her vicious mother and brother discover her liaisons. Brutally punished for her transgressions her mother decides the only way to stop the courts gossip was to marry her off to her cousin for the most political gain. Her new husband Henri of Navarre is the leader of the heretic Huguenot’s. Margot will become Queen of Navarre but married to a heretic.

Religious tensions are running super high at the time of the wedding because France is a catholic country. Marrying a catholic princess of France to a heretic caused quite a stir. Margot’s disgruntled lover the Duke of Guise was at the head of it all. All this tension is leading up to one of France’s darkest days, the St. Bartholomew’s massacre. Torn between a promise to her new husband and her vicious family Margot will have to look deep within her heart to find a way to survive the massacre her family has inflicted on the Huguenots.

5/5 incredibly vicious in the best of ways possible. I love Sophie Perinot’s novels. She always delivers on the darker sides of history.

R ~ Rating for sexual references and violence
FTC ~ This novel was sent to me for review. I received no compensation for this review.

Amazon
Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois
The Sister Queens
~Lizzie~

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: THE ROYAL SUCCESSION by Maurice Druon

King Louis X of France is dead, poisoned by the Countess Mahaut. Louis left behind a country in complete crisis. His pregnant widow Queen Clemence of Hungary was stricken with grief. So tremendously that she was on the verge of losing the unborn child in her womb. Her unborn child was the only legitimate heir to the French throne. Sick to death Clemence lay in her bed fighting for her life and the life of her unborn child. In the midst of the battle of her life every single noble in France was vying for the positions of power in France. Mahut and her son in law Philippe of Poitiers were leading the pack in a great game of deception. Together they were a lethal pair and they would do anything to secure Mahut’s position as Countess of Artois. They plotted on how to steal the greatest prize of all the crown of France from a child that was not even born yet and might not even make it to birth.
3.5/5 I enjoyed this read but it was by far the darkest and dirtiest of the novels in the series I have read to date. The despicable murders that take place were very hard to stomach. It was hard for me to not wince while I was reading it. This is book number four in the Accursed Kings series.

R ~ Rating for violence
FTC ~ This novel is part of my personal collection. I received no compensation for this honest review.

Amazon
The Royal Succession by Maurice Druon
The Accursed Kings Series
~Lizzie~

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Upcoming Release: The Autumn Throne: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Elizabeth Chadwick


The Autumn Throne: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Elizabeth Chadwick
Release date: October 4, 2016
Series: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN-10: 1402296843


"The Son She Loved. The Betrayal She Faced. The Legend She Became.

The stunning conclusion to the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy

Imprisoned by her husband. Separated from her children. If King Henry II thought these things would push his queen into submission, he was wrong. Eleanor of Aquitaine refused to give into his tyranny. Freed by his death, she became dowager Queen of England. But the competition for land and power that Henry bred among his sons had grown into a dangerous rivalry that Eleanor must skillfully control. Eleanor would need every ounce of courage and fortitude as she crossed the Alps in winter to bring her son Richard his bride, ransom him from imprisonment and deal with his brother John's treachery. Her indomitable spirit would be tested to its limits as she attempted to keep the peace between her warring sons, fend off enemies, and negotiate a magnificent future for a chosen granddaughter".

Amazon
Book one: The Summer Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Book two: The Winter Crown: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Book three: The Autumn Throne: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
~Lizzie~ 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Book Review: WONDERLAND A Coloring Book Inspired by Alice’s Adventures by Amily Shen

Adult coloring books have become a hot item this past year. Numerous adult coloring books have been released to help you relax. I love anything artistic especially coloring. Wonderland is a beautifully drawn funky version of Alice in Wonderland. This fun filled coloring book is filled with 80 pages of coloring and puzzles. This sweet artistic book is a fun way to unwind and enjoy your creative side.

“Artist Amily Shen takes adult coloring book fans on a magical journey inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

Follow the White Rabbit into this imaginative coloring book inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, featuring intricate pen-and-ink drawings by acclaimed artist Amily Shen. Meet the Cheshire Cat, attend the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts in this evocative tale that invites you into a strange and beautiful new world of coloring.”

G ~ Rating Fun for all ages!
FTC ~ I received this book from Blogging for Books. I received no compensation for this honest review.

Amazon ~ WONDERLAND A Coloring Book Inspired by Alice’s Adventures by Amily Shen

Monday, August 08, 2016

Cover Alert: Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis by ANNE RICE

Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
Release date: November 29th 2016
Series: Vampire Chronicles (Book 12)
Hardcover: 496 pages
ISBN-10: 3038535790
ISBN-13: 978-0385353793

"From Anne Rice, conjurer of the beloved best sellers Interview with the Vampire and Prince Lestat, an ambitious and exhilarating new novel of utopian vision and power, uniting the ancient worlds and the legends of the Vampire Chronicles.

"In my dreams, I saw a city fall into the sea. I heard the cries of thousands. I saw flames that outshone the lamps of heaven. And all the world was shaken . . ." --Anne Rice, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis

At the novel's center: the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, hero, leader, inspirer, irresistible force, irrepressible spirit, battling (and ultimately reconciling with) a strange otherworldly form that has somehow taken possession of Lestat's undead body and soul. This ancient and mysterious power and unearthly spirit of vampire lore has all the force, history, and insidious reach of the unknowable Universe.

It is through this spirit, previously considered benign for thousands of vampire years and throughout the Vampire Chronicles, that we come to be told the hypnotic tale of a great sea power of ancient times; a mysterious heaven on earth situated on a boundless continent--and of how and why, and in what manner and with what far-reaching purpose, this force came to build and rule the great legendary empire of centuries ago that thrived in the Atlantic Ocean.

And as we learn of the mighty, far-reaching powers and perfections of this lost kingdom of Atalantaya, the lost realms of Atlantis, we come to understand its secrets, and how and why the vampire Lestat, indeed all the vampires, must reckon so many millennia later with the terrifying force of this ageless, all-powerful Atalantaya spirit".

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mailbox Monday: HUGE Haul

Wonderland A Coloring book inspired by Alice's adventures by Amily Shen
"Follow the White Rabbit into this imaginative coloring book inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, featuring intricate pen-and-ink drawings by acclaimed artist Amily Shen. Meet the Cheshire Cat, attend the Mad Hatter's tea party, and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts in this evocative tale that invites you into a strange and beautiful new world of coloring."

The French Lesson by Hallie Rubenhold
"1789: Henrietta Lightfoot, a young Englishwoman, trips on her silk gown as she runs for her life along the bloodstained streets of revolutionary Paris. She finds refuge in the opulent home of Grace Dalyrmple Elliott, the city’s most celebrated courtesan. But heads are rolling, neighbours fear neighbours, and masters whisper before servants. As the sound of the guillotine echoes outside, within the gilded salons of high society Henrietta becomes a pawn in a vicious game of female power. How will she survive in a world where no one can be trusted"?
The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams
"Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.

But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…

At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale, The Last Woman Standing recalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit".

Serafina and the black Cloak by  Robert Beatty
An exciting new mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate and must solve a dark and dangerous mystery. This Disney Hyperion novel became a New York Times Bestseller in the first week of its release, and has been a smash hit ever since.

"Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul."

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's vast and oppulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion's hidden doors and secret passageways.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity".
Death of an Alchemist by Mary Lawrence
"In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London's slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder. . .
For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. Instead he is strangled in his bed and his journal is stolen.

As the daughter of an alchemist herself, Bianca is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. As her husband, John, falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum's journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist's murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum's death proves to be only the first in a series of murders--and Bianca's quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself. . ."

The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury
"Louis-Charles, Duc de Normandie, enjoyed a charmed early childhood in the gilded palace of Versailles. At the age of four, he became the dauphin, heir to the most powerful throne in Europe. Yet within five years he was to lose everything. Drawn into the horror of the French Revolution, his family was incarcerated and their fate thrust into the hands of the revolutionaries who wished to destroy the monarchy.

In 1793, when Marie Antoinette was beheaded at the guillotine, she left her adored eight-year-old son imprisoned in the Temple Tower. Far from inheriting a throne, the orphaned boy-king had to endure the hostility and abuse of a nation. Two years later, the revolutionary leaders declared Louis XVII dead. No grave was dug, no monument built to mark his passing.

Immediately, rumors spread that the prince had, in fact, escaped from prison and was still alive. Others believed that he had been murdered, his heart cut out and preserved as a relic. As with the tragedies of England's princes in the Tower and the Romanov archduchess Anastasia, countless "brothers" soon approached Louis-Charles's older sister, Marie-Therese, who survived the revolution. They claimed not only the dauphin's name, but also his inheritance. Several "princes" were plausible, but which, if any, was the real heir to the French throne?

The Lost King of France is a moving and dramatic tale that interweaves a pivotal moment in France's history with a compelling detective story that involves pretenders to the crown, royalist plots and palace intrigue, bizarre legal battles, and modern science. The quest for the truth continued into the twenty-first century, when, thanks to DNA testing, the strange odyssey of a stolen heart found within the royal tombs brought an exciting conclusion to the two-hundred-year-old mystery of the lost king of France".

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
"Royal protector. Loyal servant. Forgotten hero.
A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne, the volatile and fickle Prince Henry. But being a royal favorite brings its share of danger and jealousy as well as fame and reward.

A writer of uncommon historical integrity and accuracy, Elizabeth Chadwick resurrects the true story of one of England's greatest forgotten heroes in a captivating blend of fact and fiction. The Greatest Knight restores William Marshal to his rightful place at the pinnacle of the Middle Ages, reflecting through him the triumphs, scandals, and power struggles that haven't changed in eight hundred years".

The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick
"The Legend of the Greatest Knight Lives On
William Marshal's skill with a sword and loyalty to his word have earned him the company of kings, the lands of a magnate, and the hand of Isabelle de Clare, one of England's wealthiest heiresses. But he is thrust back into the chaos of court when King Richard dies. Vindictive King John clashes with William, claims the family lands for the Crown-and takes two of the Marshal sons hostage. The conflict between obeying his king and rebelling over the royal injustices threatens the very heart of William and Isabelle's family. Fiercely intelligent and courageous, fearing for the man and marriage that light her life, Isabelle plunges with her husband down a precarious path that will lead William to more power than he ever expected".
For The King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick
"When Roger Bigod arrives at King Henry II's court to settle a bitter inheritance dispute, he becomes enchanted with Ida de Tosney, young mistress to the powerful king. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida sees in Roger a chance to begin a new life. But Ida pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king, and as Roger's importance grows and he gains an earldom, their marriage comes under increasing strain. Based on the true story of a royal mistress and the young lord she chose to marry, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best".The Lily and the Lion by Maurice Druon

Face Paint The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge
"Makeup, as we know it, has only been commercially available in the last 100 years, but applying decoration to the face and body may be one of the oldest global social practices. In Face Paint, Lisa Eldridge reveals the entire history of the art form, from Egyptian and Classical times up through the Victorian age and golden era of Hollywood, and also surveys the cutting-edge makeup science of today and tomorrow. Face Paint explores the practical and idiosyncratic reasons behind makeup’s use, the actual materials employed over generations, and the glamorous icons that people emulate, it is also a social history of women and the ways in which we can understand their lives through the prism and impact of makeup".
Makeup is Art by The Academy of Freelance Makeup
"More makeup! The most stunning guide to makeup art available now has an update, complete with 32 extra pages, additional step-by-step instructions, and new, cutting-edge styles! Top makeup professionals, many from London's famed Academy of Freelance Makeup, give us a glimpse into their glamorous world. These experts offer imaginative ideas, inside knowledge, and a wealth of advice for aspiring artists, along with instructions for a range of inventive looks using specialist techniques—from ultraviolet makeup to ingenious SFX looks designed for film and video".
Making Faces by Kevin Aucoin 
"America's preeminent makeup artist shares his secrets, explaining not only the basics of makeup application and technique but also how to use the fundamentals to create a wide range of different looks. 200 color photos & sketches".

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

New Release: The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner

In stores today! 
The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner

"Infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia.
Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias became Italy's most ruthless and powerful family, electrifying and terrorizing their 15th-century Renaissance world. To this day, Lucrezia Borgia, the Pope's beautiful daughter, is known as one of history's most notorious villainesses, accused of incest and luring men to doom with her arsenal of poison. Was she the heartless seductress of legend? Or was she an unsuspecting pawn in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and her own survival?
From her pampered childhood in the palaces of Rome to her ill-fated, scandalous marriages and complex relationship with her adored father and her brothers, this is the dramatic, untold story of a papal princess whose courage led her to overcome the fate imposed on her by her Borgia blood".

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Top Five Reads of 2015

Hello out there historical fiction junkies! I did my post a little bit different this year and kept up with what I did last year for my top reads of the year. I made a video for you all and I hope that you all enjoy watching me in action. This year I picked out 5 of my favorites and not all of them are historical fiction there is a pretty good mix up of genre's. For more information on the novels I picked for my favorite 2015 reads be sure and scroll below for full descriptions and links to amazon.


In order of appearance:
An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere
"A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she's finally returning home, but she's still living a secret life. Her best friend Ria's dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again . . .
A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville's world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he's invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother's young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her façade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love"?


The Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson
"Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of the Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and moves to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King's eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty-she has Stuart secrets to keep and her family to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and secure an alliance.

Armed in pearls and silks, Frances maneuvers the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can't afford to stir a scandal. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him. He believes her love can make him a better man, and even chooses Frances to pose as Britannia for England's coins. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. The discovery of a dangerous plot will force her to choose between love for herself and war for her beloved country.
Debut author Marci Jefferson's Girl on the Golden Coin brings to life a captivating woman whose beauty, compassion, and intellect impacted a king and a nation".

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".
The Sharp Hook of Love by Sherry Jones
"Among the young women of twelfth-century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.
But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Notre-Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure".
Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
"Old vampires, roused from deep slumber in the earth, are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn their kin in cities across the globe, from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to San Francisco. Left with little time to spare, a host of familiar characters including Louis de Pointe du Lac, Armand, and even the vampire Lestat, must embark on a journey to discover who—or what—is driving this mysterious being".
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