Friday, June 20, 2014

Blog Tour: Battle Hymns by Cara Langston: A Book Review

Battle Hymns
Author: Cara Langston
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
eBook; ISBN: 9781311184443

Source: This book was given to me from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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 Synopsis: A second war. A second chance.

     In December 1941, Charlotte Donahue is engaged to Nick Adler, a handsome, pre-law student at Georgetown University. Despite her studies at a liberal arts college, she expects nothing more than to marry her fiancé and settle into a conventional life as a young American homemaker. But her future is unexpectedly disrupted after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While Nick trains for the battlefront with the U.S. Army, Charlotte does her part by volunteering as a nurses’ aide with the American Red Cross.

     Assigned to a convalescent ward at Walter Reed’s Army Medical Center, Charlotte discovers her passion lies, not in the home, but in tending to the wounds of injured soldiers, all of whom remind her of Nick. Here she is drawn to a mysterious soldier, Lieutenant William Kendrick, whose jet was shot down in the skies over Germany. As Will’s physical and psychological wounds begin to heal, he and Charlotte develop a friendship that will bind them together in ways they never imagined.

     Battle Hymns is a poignant story of love, survival, and redemption set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

     My Review: Charlotte is a young college student who just recently got engaged to her boyfriend Nick. After the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war. The declaration of war changes Charlotte's happiness and hopes for the future because  Nick decides to join the war. While she is waiting for Nick's return, Charlotte volunteers to become a nurse. There she meets a wounded soldier with a mysterious past. The two of them form an unlikely friendship because both of their lives have been affected by the war.

     I found Charlotte's character to be one-dimensional. Her story is told in passive tense. There really wasn't much change in her. I thought of Charlotte as a boring protagonist, and I didn't understand why men would be attracted to her. She is very emotional for she lets her emotions get in the way of her thinking, and she cries a lot. Other than that, I couldn't really understand her character than what the author told me. Her romance with Nick felt a little forced, and really I did not care for him. There wasn't much to his character except he was Charlotte's love, and he went to war. I found the most intriguing character was Will. He was emotionally-damaged in the war, and I liked the interactions between him and Charlotte.

     The author did a great job in portraying life during the Second World War. The setting was very vivid. It was clear that she did extensive research of the WWII strategies. The author spent more time mostly on the setting and historical detail than she did in character development. She made the era come alive and the makes it easier for the reader to capture the heart of a WWII soldier.

     Overall, this book is about loss, sacrifice, renewed love, friendship, hope and redemption. It is about even though your plans didn't happen as you wanted to, there is a second path that is just as good. Charlotte found that her life didn't happen as she hoped and dreamed of, but she found something else that was just as rewarding. The story is very short and fast-paced, and the setting is very vivid. I just wished she focused more on character development. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in WWII, historical fiction, and to anyone interested in finding hope and love again after the loss of a loved one.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 


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About the Author


Cara is a novelist of historical fiction. She has two novels in the works. Battle Hymns is a historical romance set in Washington, D.C. from 1941 to 1943. It will be published on June 3, 2014. The Glassmaker’s Wife is a historical romance set in 1925 Chicago and is still very much in progress.

Cara has been an avid reader – especially of historical fiction, classics, and mystery novels – since she was young. She read all of the American Girl books when she was in 5th grade, even though her parents could not afford to buy her a doll. In middle school, she was obsessed with the only two Ann Rinaldi books in the school library. They taught her about the 1770 Boston Massacre and the Salem Witch Trials before her history classes ever did. And that was when Cara’s love of historical fiction was born. She didn’t begin writing, though, until her senior year at the University of Georgia, where she studied Finance and had already committed to a career in the corporate world. One day she will be able to quit working for The Man and focus on her writing. Until then, it pays the bills.
When she’s not writing or working, Cara enjoys drinking red wine, watching bad television, doing genealogical research, obsessing over the Duchess of Cambridge’s every outfit, and finding the best guacamole in Texas. Cara currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and their dog.

For more information please visit Cara Langston’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest.



Friday, June 13, 2014

Love At Pemberly Series by Reina M. Williams Book Blast

Please join Reina M. Williams on her Love at Pemberley Series Book Blast from May 12-June 13.

About Most Truly

01_Most Truly

Publication Date: December 15, 2013 Amazon Digital Services, Inc. eBook; 88 pages Heat level: Sweet Colonel James Fitzwilliam is home. The war has left him weary, battle-scarred—and a free man of fortune ready to find a wife. He travels to Pemberley, his second home. There he meets Kitty Bennet. Her unexpected charms soon have him questioning his familial duty and his expectations. A fight looms on the horizon when his aunt—Lady Catherine de Bourgh—and his parents arrive with their own plans for his future. Kitty Bennet has found happiness. At Pemberley, she has improved herself and formed true friendships with her sister Lizzy and Georgiana Darcy. Kitty is captivated by the gentlemanly Colonel Fitzwilliam. But she will not be silly over a redcoat again, and she will not risk her happiness—or his family’s displeasure—for his attentions. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, Lizzy, and Georgiana have their say, and Kitty learns a new lesson—love will find you at Pemberley.

About Miss Darcy Decides

Miss Darcy Decides

Publication Date: January 21, 2014 Amazon Digital Services, Inc. eBook; 77 pages Heat level: Sweet Miss Darcy Decides is a light, sweet Pride and Prejudice novella, book two in the Love at Pemberley series. While visiting a young woman—who was not so fortunate as Miss Georgiana Darcy in escaping the persuasions of a rogue—Georgiana meets Sir Camden Sutton, whose reputation causes Georgiana to wonder as to his motives. Her wondering soon turns to a different feeling when Sir Camden comes to stay at Pemberley, showing himself to be a very different man than was rumored. While Sir Camden struggles with his past and his commitment to his future, as well as the ill intentions of haughty Caroline Bingley, Miss Darcy must decide whether to listen to others, or the words written on her heart.

About Miss Bennet Blooms

03_Miss Bennet Blooms

Publication Date: 4/25/14 Amazon Digital Services, Inc. eBook; 70 pages Heat level: Sweet Miss Mary Bennet is the last unmarried Bennet sister. She believes she will live out her days as a maiden aunt, seeking quiet in the libraries and parlors of her father's and brother-in-laws' homes. On a visit to Pemberley, the estate of Fitzwilliam Darcy, her sister Lizzy's husband, Mary begins to feel more is possible than her planned life of solitude. Among new friends and with new confidence, Mary opens to new feelings when she meets Mr. Nathaniel Bingley. Nathaniel Bingley, at the insistence of his cousin Charles Bingley, finds himself at Pemberley. After Nathaniel's years in the West Indies studying its intense flora, he is ready to seclude himself to compile his work into a book. But Nathaniel could not say no to Charles, who was one of Nathaniel's few kind relatives after the deaths of his beloved parents. Soon, Nathaniel also finds it difficult to say no to his own feelings about the lovely Miss Mary Bennet. Can Mary and Nathaniel look beyond their plans and accept the grace of love at Pemberley?

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About the Author

Reina M. Williams

Reina M. Williams loves period dramas, sweet reads, fairy tales, cooking and baking. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two boys, who hope to someday take a research trip to England with their mom. For more information please visit Reina M. Williams's website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.




Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Cook's Temptation by Joyce Wayne's Book Blast

HF Virtual Book Tours invites you to join Joyce Wayne as she tours the blogosphere for The Cook's Temptation! Enter the giveaway to win an eBook of The Cook's Temptation or a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

02_The Cook's Temptation

Publication Date: February 1, 2014 Mosaic Press
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

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Joyce Wayne brings to life the complexities of Victorian life, first in County Devon and then in London’s East End. The ‘big picture’ is about one woman’s life, class conflict, religious intolerance, suspicion and betrayal. The central figure is Cordelia, a strong-minded Jewish woman who is caught between her desire to be true to herself and her need to be accepted by English society.Cordelia Tilley is the daughter of a Jewish mother and an Anglican father. Her mother has groomed her for a life in English society while her father, a tough publican, has shown no tolerance for his wife’s social climbing or the conceits of their perspicacious daughter. Cordelia’s mother dies from typhoid fever, she tries to run the family ‘s establishment, she falls prey to a local industrialist, she gives birth to a son, she is tormented by her husband and his family. Finally, she is rescued by suffragette friends and sets off to start a new life in London. The Cook’s Temptation is about a woman who is unpredictable, both strong and weak willed, both kind and heinous, victim and criminal. It is a genuine Victorian saga, full of detail, twists and turns, memorable scenes, full of drama and pathos.


Praise for The Cook's Temptation


“Joyce Wayne’s debut novel, The Cook's Temptation, has the stately bearing of a nineteenth century novel – the mercilessness of Thomas Hardy, the black allegory of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the tense marriages of George Eliot. It is a story of how people become what you blame them for being.” – Ian Williams, poet and fiction writer, short listed for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize


Buy the Book


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Mosaic Press


About the AuthorJW 2


Joyce Wayne has an MA in English literature, has taught journalism at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, for twenty-five years, and lives in Toronto, Ontario. She was a winner of the Diaspora Dialogues contest for fiction and the Fiona Mee Award for literary journalism. She is the co writer of the documentary film So Far From Home (2010), a film about refugee journalists persecuted for their political views, and various of her other works have been published in Parchment, Golden Horseshoe Anthology, Canadian Voices, and TOK6.

For more information please visit Joyce Wayne's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. She is happy to participate in Books Clubs by phone and Skype.


Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule


Monday, June 9
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, June 10
Book Blast at Bab's Book Bistro
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 11
Book Blast at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, June 12
Book Blast at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at I'd So Rather be Reading

Friday, June 13
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Saturday, June 14
Book Blast at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, June 15
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, June 16
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, June 17
Review at Seaside Book Corner
Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads

Wednesday, June 18
Interview at From the TBR Pile
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, June 19
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Kelsey's Book Corner

Friday, June 20
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Saturday, June 21
Book Blast at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Sunday, June 22
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, June 23
Book Blast at History Undressed
Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, June 24
Book Blast at Mina's Bookshelf
Book Blast at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, June 25
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Book Blast at Broken Teepee

Thursday, June 26
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, June 27
Review at Historical Novel Review
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book


Giveaway


Up for grabs are 3x eBooks of The Cook's Temptation and 3x $10 Amazon Gift Cards! To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.


Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 28th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.





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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Blog Tour: Solomon's Bride (Book Two of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy) by Rebecca Hazell

Solomon's Bride (Book Two of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy)
Author: Rebecca Hazell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 384
Source: This book was given to me as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Once a princess of Rus’, now a fugitive from the Mongols with a price on her head, Sofia flees to Iran and what she thinks will be safety. Instead, she becomes a virtual prisoner in Alamut, capital of the feared, secretive sect called the Assassins. There she must answer to the Grand Master himself. In this gripping second journal of her adventures, she is confronted with a world that further challenges everything she thought she knew. And she like Solomon’s youngest bride, if she escapes, can she face a lonely death in the desert or might she finally find love?

     My Review: This is a sequel to The Grip of God. Sofia manages to escape from the Mongol war camp. She flees to Iran. She thinks that is safe, but instead she becomes a prisoner again. Sofia must undergo many more trials and suffering. Yet she learns the Muslims customs and beliefs. Sophia also plans to escape, but it may be her death.

     I felt sadness for Sofia. Sofia already had a tough time in the Mongol camp, and now she is a prisoner to the Grand Master himself in Iran. Sofia felt hopelessness, and it is clear that she is a survivor. She is a different person than she was in The Grip of God. She is strong and assertive. She is still determined, and still finds hope. I found myself rooting for Sophia. Sophia also has found love with a knight. Could this knight be the love that Sofia has always dreamed of?

     To be honest, I liked this book better than The Grip of God. It is not as graphic as the first book. I liked how the Middle Eastern world and the European world clashed and met through the Crusades. We even get to meet famous historical figures, in particular the French royalty. We even get to learn about both the Islamic and Jewish religions. Sofia finds the two religions in common because they are much like her own. She is able to understand them. In this book there are three religions that are  discussed in detail: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish and they all have their common roots.

     Overall, this novel is about tragedy, love, loss, survival, friendship, and hope. Because this book is a sequel to The Grip of God, the beginning is not as slow moving, and takes you immediately into the plot. It is action moving, and we get to learn more about different cultures and customs than the first book. This book is a worthy sequel. I am eagerly anticipating Consolamentum to find out what happens to Sofia and where her journey is next. Hopefully, in the next book, Sofia just may find her happy ending. I recommend this book to all those who are interested in the Crusades, and historical fiction. Most importantly, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the world of the 13th century, for the author does a great deal in bringing that world into life. This book is an adventure and a survival story. This book features a strong woman who is on a quest to find happiness in a cruel world.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars







Blog Tour: The Grip of God (Book One of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy) by Rebecca Hazell: A Book Review

The Grip of God (Book One of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy)
Author: Rebecca Hazell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 380
Source: This book was given to me as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Sofia, a young princess of Kievan Rus’, is captured in battle and swept away to a Mongol war camp as a slave concubine. Can she survive in a world of total war while the bitter rivalries in her new master’s family threaten her from all sides? In this dramatic first journal of her saga, Sofia seeks her way through an alien and savage culture where a new world of ideas challenges her entire view of life. While her only goal is to escape and to find love again, what will she discover if she can break free.

     My Review: Sofia is a young princess of Kyiv. When her kingdom is threatened of being attacked, her father devises a plan for Sofia to escape the palace unharmed. While fleeing to safety Sofia is captured by the Mongol slave camp. She becomes a concubine to the son of a noble family. Sofia finds herself not only in an entirely different culture and customs but also that she is involved in a great prophecy. All the while, Sofia plots to escape from the Mongols and hopefully find love and happiness when she breaks free.

     Sofia is a brave, young princess. She is very headstrong and stubborn. She at first comes across as arrogant. When she is captured, she hates her enemies and their culture. She is judgemental. But through her tutor Dorje, she comes to respect the Mongols customs. She slowly has a change of heart.

     I found this novel to be very emotionally driven. This novel mostly focuses on character development. We feel for Sofia and all her troubles and suffering. This novel has some very graphic scenes that were very painful to read, but it is vital to Sofia as a character. This novel is about Sofia’s trials and tribulations. However, throughout her trials, she is still determined and finds hope.

     The author portrays the Mongol way of life and beliefs very beautifully. I didn’t know much about the Mongol way of life, but the author makes it comprehensible to the reader to understand. I liked reading about the Mongol philosophy. Even though Sofia and the Mongols had a different religion, they also had something in common. Learning about a different person’s beliefs and customs made Sofia change for the better. Her mind broadens and so does her heart.

     Overall, this book is about tragedy, suffering, loss, friendship, survival and hope. The novel is slow moving, but it is worth it because the characters will keep you invested. It is about one girl’s journey to find happiness in a cruel world. Even though Sofia goes through many sufferings, she still is determined and never gives up her dream of escape. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, Mongols, and survival stories. This is a great book that will keep you interested in finding out what happens to Sofia in the next two novels in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars






Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Guest Post by Rebecca Hazell: A Personal Journey that Illuminates an Era

     Todays, guest writer is Rebecca Hazell. She is an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases.

     She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.

     Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley. In her guest post, she talks about her recently published novels, The Grip of God and the sequel, Solomon's Bride. Her final novel in the trilogy, Consolamentum will be released soon. Thank you, Mrs. Hazell.






 PERSONAL JOURNEY THAT ILLUMINATES AN ERA


     First, let me introduce myself. I have been a writer and artist all my life, have written award winning nonfiction books for children, designed award winning needlepoint canvases, written educational materials for high school students, and more. Oh, and raised two great children and been married for 42 years. And in all that time, I was haunted by a story for adults that I finally have written, as a trilogy.

     It’s called The Tiger and the Dove. Its heroine, Princess Sofia Volodymyrovna of Kyivan (Kievan) Rus’, makes a very personal journey that she recounts in her memoirs. Captured and enslaved by the Mongols in 1239, she faces an alien world among the most brutal people in a truly brutal era in history. She must survive not only physically but also emotionally as she adapts to Mongol customs, outlooks on life, and threats to her survival both human and supernatural. It sounds like nothing good is going on; but Sofia meets good friends, too, and learns to broaden and even soften her heart.

     And that’s just the first novel, The Grip of God. In the next novel, Solomon’s Bride, she has escaped the Mongols and fallen into the hands of the Nizari, known commonly as the Assassins, a secret stateless state that seeks to overthrow the Mongols and much of the Islamic world in order to usher in a new, purer era of Islam. She also encounters the Crusader world, meets kings and queens, and possibly more important to her, falls in love.

     And in the final novel, Consolamentum, to be released soon, she discovers that the Mongols were not alone in brutality: in southern France, Inquisitors are burning heretics at the stake while war across the Mediterranean, not to mention savage storms, makes travel a test of courage. 

     How she survives and even thrives despite such horrors illuminates not only her age but also our own. She’s an ordinary person threading her way through an extraordinary time that in some ways is just like ours: wars, greed, extremism of all sorts. Yet just as in our own time, there is romance, beauty, and richness. In particular, Sofia meets so many people, some of them famous and historical, and some of them products of my imagination. Each of them has a story to tell, too. 

     And through them all, an era comes to life. The characters come from different cultures, religions, and places that are reflected in their outlooks and assumptions, so that we get a feeling for what life was like in, for instance, China, though Sofia never goes there. In this way, like a vast carpet, the novels introduce us to interconnected worlds that coexisted, warred with, or learned from each other. And like Sofia, we have a chance to come away from the experience enriched in understanding and, like her, able to see our lives in a deeper perspective.  

Check out my reviews of Rebecca Hazell's novels:

The Grip of God (Book One of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy)

Solomon's Bride (Book Two of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy)

Consolamentum (Book Three of The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy



Monday, June 9, 2014

Jenny Barden's The Lost Duchess Book Blast

Please join author Jenny Barden as she tours the blogopsphere for The Lost Duchess from May 26-June 20.

The Lost Duchess
Paperback Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Ebury Press
Paperback; 448p

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An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan's rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep...

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; 'The Lost Duchess' explores what might have happened to the ill-starred 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke.

Buy the Book


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Amazon (UK)
Book Depository


About the Author


I've had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan 'lost colony' of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I've written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the 'Get Writing' conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers' Association, the Romantic Nevelists' Association and the Society of Authors. I'll be co-ordinating the RNA's annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I'm not so keen on coming down!).


Author Links


Website
Facebook
Twitter
Jenny Barden's Blog
English Historical Fiction Authors Blog


Also by Jenny Barden


Mistress of the Sea
Publication Date: June 20, 2013
Ebury Press
Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Mistress Cooksley may be a wealthy merchant's daughter, but she blushes at my words and meets my eyes look for look. Yet I cannot hope to court her without fortune, and a dalliance with a pretty maid will not hinder me from my path.

Captain Drake's endeavour might bring me gold, but I, Will Doonan, will have my revenge.

The Spaniards captured my brother and have likely tortured and killed him. For God and St George, we'll strike at the dogs and see justice done.

I thought I'd left Mistress Cooksley behind to gamble everything and follow Drake, and here she is playing the boy at the ends of the world. She's a fool with a heart as brave as any man's. Yet her presence here could be the ruin of us all...


Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule


Monday, May 26
Book Blast at Reading the Ages
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, May 27
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, May 28
Review at Carole's Ramblings and Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Thursday, May 29
Book Blast at The Maiden's Court
Book Blast at Cheryl's Book Nook
Book Blast at Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Friday, May 30
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at Curling Up by the Fire

Saturday, May 31
Book Blast at From L.A. to LA
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Sunday, June 1
Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, June 2
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast
Book Blast at The Bookworm
Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, June 3
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy
Book Blast at bookworm2bookworm's Blog

Wednesday, June 4
Review at The Wormhole
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Kelsey's Book Corner

Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Books and Benches
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, June 6
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Royal Reviews
Book Blast at History Undressed

Sunday, June 8
Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, June 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Book Blast at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Tuesday, June 10
Review at She Reads Novels
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, June 11
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Book Blast at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, June 12
Book Blast at Big Book, Little Book
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Notebook

Friday, June 13
Review at Susan Heim on Writing
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Saturday, June 14
Book Blast at Hardcover Feedback
Book Blast at One Book at a Time

Sunday, June 15
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 16
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Starting Fresh
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks

Wednesday, June 18
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli

Thursday, June 19
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Little Reader Library
Book Blast at Girl Lost in a Book

Friday, June 20
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Blog Tour: Mackenzie's Cross by Sarah Barthel: A Book Review

Mackenzie's Cross
Mackenzie's Cross
Author: Sarah Barthel
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Topaz
Publishing Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Source: This book was given to for the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: When Duke Kensington dies, how can a young kitchen maid stand up for what she believes and save her best friend? Mackenzie’s life has always been one of duty. However, in a land where even the Brotherhood of the Knights are becoming power hungry mongers, how can a young kitchen maid maintain her morals when tempted with all she’s never had? In the end, the truth is even more complicated than Mackenzie had ever imagined.

     My Review: Mackenzie is a young kitchen maid in the castle of the powerful Duke of Kensington. The duke is hosting a jousting tournament at his castle, and the household is abuzz with activity. The Duchess of Kensington honors the head cook, Adilla, to serve the noble family along with a person of her choosing at the welcoming feast of the tournament. Adilla bestows the honor to Mackenzie to serve with her as her new apprentice. However, at the welcoming feast, disaster strikes, and the duke dies on the spot. It is discovered that the duke has been poisoned, and her friend Adilla has been falsely accused of murder and is imprisoned in the dungeons. Mackenzie realizes that her life will no longer be the same, and she must team up with a knight, Sir Patrick, in order to save her friend.

     The setting of the castle is beautifully written. It is told from the eyes of the servants, and it describes their daily duties. The book mentions the distinct differences of the rich noble class and the poor working class. However, Mackenzie sees the bridge between the two classes, and makes friends with both classes. She also sees that some people in both the poor and the noble class has a greed for power and do not appreciate what they have. In the end, she realises that happiness comes from the heart and not by a person’s social status or what they have.

     Mackenzie is a strong heroine. She is happy with what God has given her in her life. She learns to appreciate what she has. However, she is impulsive and sometimes rash. Sometimes, I did not like her character. She can be selfish and commits ruthless deeds in order to save herself. She does not regret what she does, and rationalizes that it is better to save herself than others. She is also judgmental. However, she does have her good qualities. She is a hard worker, and finds pleasure in her work. She cares for her friend, Adilla. She works hard to save her from her fate.

     Overall, this book is about love, trust, friendship, and survival.The story is fast-paced, and has romance, mystery, and political intrigue. The message of the book is even though you are undergoing many trials in your life, as long as you trust in God, your problems will be solved. Where there is darkness, there is also hope. The story reminded me of the story David and Goliath. Mackenzie was the underdog that fought against a powerful murderer. Yet with God, she conquered her giant and was able to finally have her justice. Thus, I recommend this book to anyone who interested in a historical, Christian, inspirational, romance.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Author

Sarah Barthel

     Sarah Barthel was raised on a steady diet of old Hollywood musicals and classic literature. It instilled in her a love for looking into the past to discover new passions. Nurturing her love of language, she learned French, Latin and Japanese. This led her to study in Paris and host a Japanese exchange student. She followed her passion to American University in Washington DC, where she studied British literature and history. Since then she has thrown herself into writing. She loves to find unique, and unexplored ideas in familiar settings. A member of the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators, she currently lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, daughter and two crazy dogs. You can connect with Sarah on Facebook.


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