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Showing posts from July, 2015

The Movement of Rings (The Movement of Crowns Series #2) by Nadine C. Keels: A Book Review

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The Movement of Rings (The Movement of Crowns Series #2)
Author: Nadine C. Keels
Genre: Christian, Fantasy
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 132
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Sequel to The Movement of Crowns

     A time to remember what lies deeper than one's fears…

     The Mundayne empire has seen years of prosperity under the rule of King Aud, a man of war known the world over for his ruthlessness. Naona, a high-spirited imperial servant who holds Aud's favor, occupies herself with pulling pranks on her peers around the king's estate, but the time for laughter spoils when the citizens of Munda begin to oppose increasing taxation. After meeting the princess of Diachona, Naona finds herself having to choose between maintaining loyalty to her king and becoming a personal ally of another nation. With the rise of unrest in Munda, can Naona's heart survive intact: intact enough, even, for an unforeseen ch…

New Jersey Women in World War II by Patricia Chappine: A Book Review

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New Jersey Women in World War II
Author: Patricia Chappine
Genre: Nonfiction, History
Publisher: The History Press
Release Date: June 8, 2015
Pages: 144
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: During World War II, New Jersey’s Women Answered The Call.

     Real-life Rosie the Riveters worked the lines in New Jerseys factories, such as those of General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division, while women on the vulnerable coast enforced blackout orders. Others sold war bonds, planted victory gardens and conserved materials for the war effort. Thousands more served as nurses and in branches of the armed forces like the Women's Army Corps and the U.S. Navy's Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. African American women fought a double war, one against the nations enemies and another against discrimination. Historian Patricia Chappine explores the pivotal roles that New Jersey women played in World War II.

 My review: During the Declar…

A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Eunsun Kim and Sebastien Falletti: A Book Review

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A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea
Author: Eunsun Kim and Sebastien Falletti
Genre: Nonfiction, Modern History, Autobiography and Memoir
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Pages: 240
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Eunsun Kim was born in North Korea, one of the most secretive and oppressive countries in the modern world. As a child Eunsun loved her country...despite her school field trips to public executions, daily self-criticism sessions, and the increasing gnaw of hunger as the country-wide famine escalated.

      By the time she was eleven years old, Eunsun's father and grandparents had died of starvation, and Eunsun was in danger of the same. Finally, her mother decided to escape North Korea with Eunsun and her sister, not knowing that they were embarking on a journey that would take them nine long years to complete. Before finally reaching South Korea and freedom, Eunsun and her family would live homeless, fall into the hands…

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman: A Book Review

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Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2)
Author: Rachel Hartman
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 608
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

     The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 

     As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another ha…

Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman: A Bok Review

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Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
Author: Rachel Hartman
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 528
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis:Lyrical, imaginative, and wholly original, this New York Times bestseller with 8 starred reviews is not to be missed.  Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut will have you looking at dragons as you’ve never imagined them before…

     In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer. 

     The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

       When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly diff…

Deep Within a Woman's Heart by Joanna Joslin: A Book Review

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Deep Within a Woman’s Heart
Author: Joanna Joslin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Union Bridge Books
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 302
Source: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: Emily Taylor, a young headmistress from Yorkshire, first sails aboard the RMS ‘Lusitania’ in 1910 whilst travelling to attend a family wedding on Long Island in America. During that first voyage, she makes a number of acquaintances, all with secrets in their pasts: Amelia Davenport, a flamboyant elderly widow with a salacious history, who is emigrating to America with her son and his family; Sam Jackson, a tough New York Police Inspector, driven by a personal vendetta; Christian Verholt, the heir to a wealthy banking dynasty whose double life includes a mysterious partner; and Niall Branigan, the charming Irish doctor whose twinkling emerald eyes mask hidden family secrets. But as the threat of the First World War looms, it is not only Emily’s life that changes dram…

The Countess's Captive (Book #2 of The Fairytale Keeper Series) by Andrea Cefalo: A Book Review

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The Countess’ Captive (Book #2 of The Fairytale Keeper Series)
Author: Andrea Cefalo
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Scarlet Primrose Press
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 234
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: From the award-winning author of The Fairytale Keeper comes another masterful historically-set retelling of Grimm’s fairytales. The Countess’ Captive combines Grimm’s fairytale characters with real historical settings to create a tale that leaves readers wondering where facts ends and fiction begins.

     During March of 1248, Adelaide Schumacher‒affectionately called Snow White‒has lost so much: her mother, her possessions, and now her home. 

     Adelaide hates abandoning her home city, her family’s legacy, and her first love. More than anything, she hates her father growing closer to her mother’s cousin‒Galadriel. Adelaide plots to end their tryst before her fate is sealed, and she never sets foot in Cologne again. 

     But goo…

Summer in Fire by Kitty Pilgrim: A Book Review

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Summer in Fire
Author: Kitty Pilgrim
Genre: Mystery, Adventure, Thriller
Publisher: River Grove Books
Release Date: May 7, 2015
Pages: 344
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: On the beautiful island of Capri, a royal princess begins a secret love affair, oblivious to the dangers that surround her. Internationally renowned novelist Kitty Pilgrim chronicles a modern thriller based in the historic volcanic region of Southern Italy. Her characters, archaeologist John Sinclair and oceanographer Cordelia Stapleton, team up once again for a tale of glamour and romance that spans every level of society-from the dangerous criminal underworld of Naples to the jet set of Europe.

My review: Royalty, forbidden love, missing jewels, and volcanoes -  who could resist such a plot? This novel also takes the reader to great places as the characters travel to different locations; from the ancient island of Capri, to the ancient city of Herculaneum, to the top of the active Mt.…

A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs #11) by Jacqueline Winspear: A Book Review

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A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs #11)
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystey
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 320
Source: TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Four years after she set sail from England, leaving everything she most loved behind, Maisie Dobbs at last returns, only to find herself in a dangerous place . . .  

     In Jacqueline Winspear‘s  powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy, a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gibraltar leads Maisie into a web of lies, deceit, and peril.

     Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability—and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.

     But on a ship b…

The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisa DeCarlo: A Book Review

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The Abortionist’s Daughter
Author: Elisa DeCarlo
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Mad Fashionista Enterprises
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 337
Source: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: It’s 1916 and Melanie Daniels, the prettiest girl in Mullers Corners, New York, and daughter of the town’s doctor, dreams of making a brilliant marriage. But scandal has doomed her dreams. Six years ago a woman died while receiving an abortion from Melanie’s father, and now that “the killer doc” is back from prison, Mullers Corners won’t forgive and won’t let Melanie forget her family’s disgrace. 

     Angry at both her father and the town, Melanie is easily swayed by a charming stranger who arouses mysterious new feelings in her and begs her to run away with him to New York City. Neither the stranger nor her life in the big city turn out to be what Melanie expects, and soon the twists of fate lead her into a new life in the less-than-respectable world of th…

The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson: A Book Review

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The Swan Maiden
Author: Jules Watson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: 2009
Pages: 560
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: In this lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, acclaimed Celtic historical author Jules Watson reignites the tale of Deirdre—the Irish Helen of Troy—in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

     She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster and its ruler, the wily Conor. Ignoring the pleadings of his druid to expel the infant, King Conor secrets the girl child with a poor couple in his province, where no man can covet her. There, under the tutelage of a shamaness, Deirdre comes of age in nature and magic…. And in the season of her awakening, the king is inexorably drawn to her impossible beauty.

     But for Deirdre, her fate as a man’s possession is worse than death. And soon the green-eyed girl, at …

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales: A Book Review

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Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered
Author: Dianne Hales
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 336
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Everybody knows her smile, but no one knows her story: Meet the woman who became the most recognized artistic subject of all time--Mona Lisa.

Florence’s Most Famous Daughter is virtually invisible in her own hometown. No plaques commemorate where she lived; no monuments or streets bear her name. Yet a genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Hers was the city that thrills us still, home to larger-than-legend figures such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. But all that remains of Lisa is her smile.

     Intrigued by new findings confirming the identity of Leonardo's model, Dianne Hales began a personal quest to unearth the story of Mona Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo. She combed archives for fragile records, walked the squalid street where Lisa was b…

Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones: A Book Review

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Four Sisters, All Queens
Author: Sherry Jones
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 434
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Rich in intrigue and scheming, love and lust, Sherry Jones’s vibrant historical novel follows four women destined to sway the fate of nations and the hearts of kings. . . 

     Amid the lush valleys and fragrant wildflowers of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice have learned to charm, hunt, dance, and debate under the careful tutelage of their ambitious mother—and to abide by the countess’s motto: “Family comes first.” 

     With Provence under constant attack, their legacy and safety depend upon powerful alliances. Marguerite’s illustrious match with the young King Louis IX makes her Queen of France. Soon Eléonore—independent and daring—is betrothed to Henry III of England. In turn, shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice wed noblemen who will also make t…

Where Freedom Rings: A Tale of The Underground Railroad by Steven Donahue: A Book Review

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Where Freedom Rings: A Tale of The Underground Railroad
Author: Steven Donahue
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 192
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: The thrilling story of four slaves who try to escape to the northern area of the United States along the Underground Railroad in 1853. Kelsa Colver leads her husband and two young sons on the dangerous trek after a fellow slave is murdered by a vindictive slave owner. Along the way, the Colvers are assisted by various abolitionists, including a neighboring farmer, a progressive priest, a sympathetic lawman, and notable figures Harriet Tubman and William Still. However, their efforts are impeded by a dark family secret, and the interventions of a corrupt clergyman, vicious outlaws and greedy slave hunters.

My review: This story tells of a slave family as they try to escape the South to find freedom in the North. Kelsa is a slave on the plantation wi…

Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison: A Book Review

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Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured
Author: Kathryn Harrison
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 400
Source:Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: The profoundly inspiring and fully documented saga of Joan of Arc, the young peasant girl whose "voices" moved her to rally the French nation and a reluctant king against British invaders in 1428, has fascinated artistic figures as diverse as William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Voltaire, George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Carl Dreyer, and Robert Bresson. Was she a divinely inspired saint? A schizophrenic? A demonically possessed heretic, as her persecutors and captors tried to prove?

     Every era must retell and reimagine the Maid of Orleans's extraordinary story in its own way, and in Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, the superb novelist and memoirist Kathryn Harrison gives us a Joan for our time—a shining exemplar of unshakable faith, extraordinary courage, and s…

Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey: A Book Review

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Isabella: The Warrior Queen
Author: Kirstin Downey
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
Publisher: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 544
Source:Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis:An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history.

     Born at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and a mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León. Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Musl…

The Spider and The Stone: A Novel of Scotland's Black Douglas by Glen Craney: A Book Review

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The Spider and The Stone: A Novel of Scotland’s Black Douglas
Author: Glen Craney
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Brigid’s Fire Press
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 433
Source:  This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: As the 14th century dawns, Scotland’s survival hangs by a spider’s thread. While the Scot clans scrap over their empty throne, the brutal Edward Longshanks of England invades the weakened northern kingdom, scheming to annex it to his realm.

     But one frail, dark-skinned lad stands in the Plantagenet monarch’s path.

     The beleaguered Scots cherish him as their "Good Sir James." In England, his slashing raids deep into Yorkshire and Northumbria wreak such terror that he is branded the Black Douglas with a reward placed on his head.

     As a boy, James falls in love with the ravishing Isabelle MacDuff, whose clan for centuries has inaugurated Scottish monarchs on the hallowed Stone of Destiny. But his world is upturned when…