Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets Book 1) by Jennifer Anne Davis: A Book Review

Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets Book 1)
Author:  Jennifer Anne Davis
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Pages: 303
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion--she's beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona--that of a vigilante--to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.

     Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

     Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.

     My Review: At night Allyssa yearns to escape the castle to catch criminals. One day, she finds that her heroic night missions have been put to an end when she finds that her kingdom is on the brink of war, and she is forced to marry Prince Odar to strengthen their alliances. While the prince is handsome, she finds that he has no brains and quickly becomes bored with him. She instead is more interested in the prince’s squire, Jarvik, who is intelligent and headstrong. Allyssa must set her love for Jarvik aside and come to love Prince Odar for the good of the kingdom.

     Allyssa is a feisty character. She is tough, and I love how she fights the criminals. She is well-loved by her people, and I also love her relationship with her parents. They give her everything she needs. She was trained for combat to protect herself if needed. However, because she is the crown princess, she must do what is expected of her including marrying a boring idiot for the good of her empire. She is a good friend, and will do whatever she can to help her friends. I really like Allyssa because she is self-sacrificing. She is willing to put aside her happiness for the happiness of others.

     I really like Jarvik. He is a fun character. I like his conversations with Allyssa. Everytime they were together, I could not help but laugh because at first, they were both so headstrong and alike that they intensely disliked each other. However, because they eventually realize how they are similar to each other, they realize they are perfect for one another. I also found Jarvik’s relationship  with Prince Odar to be hilarious. Jarvik, Prince Odar’s squire, is everything the prince is not. He really makes Prince Odar look bad because Jarvik is intelligent, an excellent fighter, and has a thorough knowledge of politics. Because Prince Odar is not like his squire, it makes one wonder if he really is capable of ruling his own kingdom because he lets his squire runs it. Therefore, these two were really hilarious, and I found it hard to stop laughing. They made such an intriguing pair, and were a delight to read.

     Overall, this book is about family, friendship, love, and duty. This novel is filled with fast-paced action, mystery, and suspense. It is a thrilling page turner that will delight its readers from the very first page. Readers will love this great cast of characters with an intriguing plot. I have to say that I cannot wait to read the sequel! However, I bought the prequel novels, The True Reign Series (the first novel in the series, The Key, is currently available for free on Amazon) about Alyssa's mom, Queen Rema, so that I can devour while we wait. Still, I wish the sequel would come out soon!  I encourage you to read this book for this novel is such a fun read, and will definitely leave you in your seats wanting more! With this novel of Cage of Deceit, Mrs. Davis proves that I will read whatever she writes.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the official book trailer for Cage of Deceit:




Friday, August 28, 2015

Lost in The Shadows by Sydney Bristow: A Book Review

Lost In The Shadows
Author: Sydney Bristow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery and Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 286
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Imagine a time when love was not only discouraged, but also considered irrelevant. When women had no legal rights. When the only way for women to secure a bright future was by taking “the dark leap” into marriage. Sound far-fetched? Welcome to Boston on the eve of the Revolutionary War. 

     Grace Galloway always regretted never finding time to meet prospective suitors. She was too busy caring for her siblings. Until she meets a wealthy politician who makes her realize that romance is truly worth fighting for. But then someone plunders her financial assets, leaving her family bankrupt. And when the lone suspect turns up dead, the authorities target Grace for the crime. Now she is forced to prove her innocence while in pursuit of the true thief. 

     After her husband’s ship explodes, Lorelai Loudon saves her spouse from a lynch mob. The result: he abandons her, plunging Lorelai into a lifetime of debt she cannot repay. So she seduces someone who can help with that endeavor…the same man that Grace has fallen in love with. Meanwhile, Lorelai pursues the criminal who destroyed her husband’s ship in an effort to regain her wealth. But she has no idea that the guilty individual is one of her closest allies.

     Infatuated with a charming smuggler, but forced to marry a man she loathes, Hannah Halliwell uncovers evidence that either man could be the one who murdered her mother. Consumed with vengeance, she sets off a series of events that force all three women to rely on one another to rebuild their lives, search for true love, and identify the mastermind who triggered their misfortunes.

     My Review: Three friends in Boston are experiencing their own misfortunes. Grace finds that someone has stolen her family’s money and is bankrupt. It is assumed that the person who did this is dead, and that Grace is the suspect for the crime. Lorelai’s husband's ship explodes, leaving her with many debts. Hannah’s mom has been murdered. Soon they realize that each of their misfortunes are connected, and together they find out who is the true mastermind.

     I really tried to like this book. With the main character whose name is very similar to mine, a historical mystery, and a thriller, how could I not? Sadly, it was not for me. I did not like the main characters, and a lot of them made ruthless actions to each other. It felt like a historical version of Mean Girls. I felt their rivalry to be unnecessary. I really didn’t understand their weird friendship. If they were sincerely wanting to be friends with each other, then why did they have to do mean things to the other and to themselves? One of the example is that Lorelai married Grace’s true love for money, not only stealing happiness from Grace, but also for herself knowing that her husband would never love her in return because his heart belongs to another.

     Overall, this book was a depressing and frustrating read. There were also some disturbing scenes in this novel. One example is Hannah’s husband frequently abuses her. As for the mystery part, it was a disappointment. There was not much suspense and mystery build up that made it thrilling. I felt the plot dragged so that I really did not care who the suspect was. Instead, I just wanted the book to end. I did think that the author painted a good setting of the city of Boston on the brink of the Revolutionary War. Other people who are into historical thrillers may like this book. However, this book was not for me. With immature and dislikable characters and a slow dragging plot, this novel will be easily forgettable.

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cover Reveal: Cursed by Christina Bauer

Cursed by Christina Bauer
(Beholder, #1)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Synopsis: Although Elea’s the most powerful necromancer in history, she’s spent most of her nineteen years imprisoned in the Midnight Cloisters. Enchanted manacles keep her unique brand of soul magick in check. While the guards and initiates seem contented to torment her, the Cloister’s Mother Superior is obsessed with finding a safe way to destroy Elea, both body and soul.

    Escape seems impossible until a handsome hunter named Asher offers to help. Elea takes a chance and soon develops feelings for the mysterious stranger. However, Asher may not be who he claims. Then again, Elea may not be, either…


Pre-orders are now live at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.


AUTHOR BIO:

Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Brainshark. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers. Find her on website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.





Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter: A Book Review

Finding Gabriel
Author: Rachel L. Demeter
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Momentum
Release Date: August 27, 2015
Pages: 415
Source:  This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Colonel Gabriel de Laurent departed for the war intending to die.

     After a decade of bloodstained battlegrounds while fighting in Napoleon's army, Gabriel returns to the streets of Paris a shattered and haunted soul. Plagued by inner demons, he swallows the barrel of his flintlock pistol and pulls the trigger.

     But fate has a different plan.

     Ariah Larochelle is a survivor. Orphaned at twelve and victim to a devastating crime, she has learned to keep her back to walls and to trust no one. But when she finds a gravely injured soldier washed up on the River Seine, she's moved by compassion. In spite of her reservations, she rescues him from the icy water and brings him into her home.

     Now scarred inside and out, Gabriel discovers a kindred spirit in Ariah - and feelings he imagined lost forever reawaken as he observes her strength in the face of adversity. But when Ariah's own lethal secrets unfold, their new love is threatened by ancient ghosts. Can Gabriel and Ariah find hope in the wreckage of their pasts - or will the cycle of history repeat again?

     Perfect for fans of Gaelen Foley's Lord of Ice and Judith James's Broken Wing, Finding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.

     My Review: Ariah finds a wounded man on the brink of death washed up on the Seine River. Moved by compassion, she saves him. She learns that the man is named Gabriel and that he was a veteran soldier. He is haunted from his past and tried to commit suicide. As the romance slowly blossoms between them, Gabriel also finds out that Ariah too is conflicted by her own inner demons that threaten to tear them apart.

     Ariah is a young mother whose husband still has not returned from the war. She also takes care of her younger sister who has a stutter. Her daughter is sick and she has a doctor that frequently comes over to treat her. She is kind and compassionate, which is why she saves Gabriel, yet she has a fierceness in her, and is not afraid to hurt anyone who tries to hurt her daughter. However, while she seems hard on the outside, inside she is also broken. The ghosts from her past continue to haunt her and therefore she is reluctant to find love and happiness.

     Gabriel is also haunted from his past. He was once handsome, but he is disfigured by the wound he inflicted upon himself during his suicide attempt. His hideousness abhors strangers who look upon him. Because of his looks, he is even more ashamed of himself and wishes he was dead. Gabriel struggles to not only confront his inner demons, but to also find his reason to live. He finds it through his budding romance with Ariah.

     I loved the blossoming romance between Ariah and Gabriel. They both matched perfectly together. Their love also progress naturally and slowly. They both had experienced loss, and  wanted to escape their past and start their lives anew. They were each other’s light during their times of darkness. With their love for each other, they find redemption, acceptance, and their reason to live.

     Overall, this novel is about loss, friendship, family, love, redemption, hope, and acceptance. The message of the story is that while there is darkness, there is also light. Even if there are tough times, there is always a chance for love and happiness. The story is very well-written and beautiful. While the story is slow moving and there is little action in the plot, it is a great character-driven novel. As the story progresses, the readers slowly get to peel off layers of the character’s past, and eventually their secrets and ghosts are revealed. I recommend this story to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a dark, Gothic romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is the official book trailer of Finding Gabriel:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Queen's Caprice by Marjorie Bowen: A Book Review

The Queen’s Caprice
Author: Marjorie Bowen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: There have been few more controversial figures in British history than Mary Queen of Scots. 

     In this thrilling novel she is bought vividly back to life. 

     She is a woman shrouded in secrecy and surrounded by violence who has learnt to use her desirability to intoxicate her subjects into carrying out her will. 

     Yet despite this natural authority she cannot escape the domineering men who not only sway the court but the opinion of the people. 

     Lord Moray, her bastard half-brother, adores her more than his familial position should allow and vows not to let her into another man’s clutches. 

     Which compels her to marry the handsome but naïve Henry Stewart in act of rebellion. 
But her husband’s disappointing nature drives her into the arms of the shrewd Italian servant David Rizzio. 

     And as acts of murder and treachery unfold, the Earl of Bothwell hovers as a tantalising presence on the outskirts, capturing the queen’s capricious attention. 

     ‘The Queen’s Caprice’ is an enthralling historical romance set during the reign of one of Scotland’s most captivating monarchs.


     My Review: The Queen’s Caprice tells of Mary, Queen of Scots, rule in Scotland. She is beautiful and loved by the men around her. However, with her marriage to Henry Stuart and favoring an Italian dwarf named David, she loses the nobles’ favor and treachery and danger abounds. Mary must fight to keep control of Scotland as the nobles try to take away her power.

     Mary is a tragic figure. She is a weak ruler. She chooses the wrong men, who want nothing but to have Scotland for themselves. She is easily influenced by her ambitious brother James Moray, who wants control. She has a turbulent marriage with Henry Stuart, who she is infatuated with and eventually shows his true colors as a jealous, ambitious, spoiled brat that doesn’t love her but wants her throne. She is also lonely, which is why she turns her attention and favours the Italian dwarf, because he is smart and humors her. When she finds that trouble is admist, and powerless, she fights to keep her right to the throne. Still she does not succeed.

     Overall, this is a fascinating story about the tragic events of Queen Mary’s rule in Scotland. While Queen Mary is not likeable, I still found her story interesting. She strives to find love and happiness but sadly does not find it. Yet this story is filled with political intrigue, drama, treachery, and betrayal. This book reads like a soap opera, and is filled with fast-paced action. The Queen’s Caprice will appeal to anyone interested in Mary, Queen of Scots, The Elizabethan Era, and The Tudors. It will also appeal to fans of Margaret George, Jean Plaidy, and Philippa Gregory.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blog Tour: Sacrifice: Book One of y Ddraig (The Dragons of Brython) by Gwendolyn Beynon: A Book Review

02_Sacrifice_CoverSacrifice: Book One of y Ddraig (The Dragons of Brython) by Gwendolyn Beynon 
Release Date: June 5, 2015 
Publisher:Dark Pages Publishing 
GENRE: Historical/Fantasy/Romance
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour in exchange for an honest review.

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Synopsis: 528 A.D. Cymru (Wales)

Melangell is a ‘Lifebringer’, a dragon-maiden learning to protect one of the land’s most ancient mysteries, y Ddraig. She expects to pass her years as have a score of teachers before her—sequestered, safeguarding an egg that barely moves from year to year, never using the deadly and secret skills she has been taught. But the King’s relentless pursuit of this most holy relic throws her into the middle of war and though she is not yet adept Melangell must enter captivity with the egg to defend the sleeping dragonling within.

Her abductor is Cai ap Cynyr—fierce warrior, loyal brother and sword-arm to the high Chieftain, Artwr. He has been scouring the land for the relics Artwr demands to ensure triumph against the Angles invading from the east. Cai uses the Lifebringer’s mystique to master his armsmen, but when he spirits Melangell and the dragon egg further into seclusion, she grows intrigued by her captor. But she is a Lifebringer—sworn only to y Ddraig—and Cai must deliver the dragonling to Artwr to at last drag himself out of his legendary brother’s deep shadow.

And all the while, the egg readies itself to emerge…


*Sacrifice is the first in a series of three books based around y Ddraig (the Dragon) set in sixth-century Arthurian Wales, featuring characters based on Welsh myth, literature and/or history.

     My Review: The first in an epic fantasy series, Sacrifice blends the story of the Welsh Medieval Saint, Melangell to the Arthurian legend. Set during the reign of King Arthur, Cai seeks to help his brother Artwr (Arthur’s Welsh name) by seeking a holy relic, a dragon’s egg. Melangell, a young druid priestess, is tasked to guard it. She agrees to be Cai’s prisoner in order to protect it. As the two slowly fall in love, Cai is faced with the hard choice of delivering the egg to his brother or betraying him to protect Melangell and her quest.

     Because I am a lover of Arthurian lore, it is usually hard for me to resist a book that features King Arthur. With a saint’s legend and a dragon mixed in, it makes an interesting story. This story has a different take to King Arthur. He does not make an appearance in this novel, but he is referenced. While he is portrayed in a negative light, King Arthur is still a fascinating character. I also liked how Cai, Arthur’s adopted brother, is the hero in the story and is the love interest of the protagonist.

     Melangell is feisty, spirited, defiant and strong-willed. Because of her headstrong personality, she is an equal match to Cai, who is both astounded and fascinated by her. She is willing to sacrifice herself to keep those she loves safe. She is also intelligent, cunning, and not afraid to fight her enemies to protect herself. Therefore, Melangell is a strong protagonist, and I liked her romance with Cai. Melangell and Cai’s relationship progresses naturally. Eventually, Melangell steers Cai away from his dreams of ambition and glory, and he slowly turns into a man who wants to do what is right.

     Overall, this story is about sacrifice, friendship, love, and duty. The message of the novel is to do what you believe is right. I did find the plot to be slow-paced. I also felt that the story should have been a bit shorter because there were some unnecessary scenes that did not help the story or the characters. However, I felt that the thrilling climax and ending definitely paid off. The story has some violent scenes, and is for mature readers. I am interested in reading the sequel to find out what happens next. I recommend this story to those who are interested in dragon lore, fantasy, historical fiction, and Arthurian literature.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR



03_Gwendolyn Beynon_Author

     Australian author, Gwendolyn Beynon, comes from a long line of storytellers of Welsh and Cornish stock. She grew up reading romance and fantasy novels but the y Ddraig series is her first foray into historical fantasy.

     The idea for the y Ddraig series came while on a pilgrimage to Wales (the land of her fathers) where she was visiting holy wells and ancient yew trees. She grew captivated with the way that the ancient stories of Welsh literature, myth and history still co-existed comfortably in contemporary Cymru, and by the atmosphere of mystery that still exists around much of Wales' natural spaces.

     An Arts graduate from Curtin University (with double-majors in Film and Theatre), Gwen has worked in communications all her life. She sold her first book in 2008 and has been writing for a living with her hounds at her feet and Celtic music as a backdrop ever since.

     For more information visit www.yDdraig.com.au. Follow Gwendolyn on Facebook and Goodreads.


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE


Monday, August 24
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight & Excerpt at Unshelfish

Tuesday, August 25

Wednesday, August 26
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, August 27

Friday, August 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Saturday, August 29
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Sunday, August 30
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, August 31

Tuesday, September 1

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, September 3
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, September 4
Review at I’m Shelf-ish


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Blitz: The Viper and The Urchin: A Novel of Steampunk Adventure by Celine Jeanjean


The Viper and the Urchin
by Celine Jeanjean
Release Date: July 27th 2015

Summary from Goodreads:


Being Damsport's most elegant assassin is hard work. There's tailoring to consider, devilish poisons to concoct, secret identities to maintain... But most importantly, Longinus has to keep his fear of blood hidden or his reputation will be ruined. So, when a scrawny urchin girl threatens to expose his phobia unless he teaches her swordsmanship, he has no choice but to comply.


It doesn't take long for Rory to realise that her new trainer has more eccentricities than she has fleas. But she'll put up with anything, no matter how frustrating, to become a swordswoman like her childhood hero.


What she's not prepared for is a copycat assassin who seeks to replace Longinus, and who hires Rory's old partner in crime to do away with her, as well. Rory and Longinus must set their differences aside and try to work together if they're to stop the copycat. But darker forces than they realise are at play, and with time running out, the unlikely duo find themselves the last line of defence against a powerful enemy who seeks to bring Damsport to its knees.


Buy Links:



About the Author 

Celine Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now lives in Hong Kong. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her time in Asia she’s watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China. Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.
Author Links:
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Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Want of Kindness: A Novel of Queen Anne by Joanne Limburg: A Book Review

A Want of Kindness: A Novel of Queen Anne
Author: Joanne Limburg
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Release Date: July 2, 2015
Pages: 448
Source: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Every time I see the King and the Queen, I am reminded of what it is I have done, and then I am afraid, I am beyond all expression afraid.

     The wicked, bawdy Restoration court is no place for a child princess. Ten-year-old Anne cuts an odd figure: a sickly child, she is drawn towards improper pursuits. Cards, sweetmeats, scandal and gossip with her Ladies of the Bedchamber figure large in her life. But as King Charles's niece, Anne is also a political pawn, who will be forced to play her part in the troubled Stuart dynasty.

     As Anne grows to maturity, she is transformed from overlooked Princess to the heiress of England. Forced to overcome grief for her lost children, the political manoeuvrings of her sister and her closest friends and her own betrayal of her father, she becomes one of the most complex and fascinating figures of English history.

     My Review: A Want of Kindness chronicles the life of Anne Stuart, just before she is named queen. Anne was never meant to be queen. Her father was a duke, and her uncle was Charles II. She also had an older sister named Mary. However, due to unforeseen events, one of which she led a betrayal of her father, Anne rises to be a princess and an heiress of England. This historical novel follows Anne’s personal tragedy and triumphs as the reader learns the true cost of what it means to be queen.

     In the beginning of the novel, ten year old Anne is a sickly child. Yet, she loves to have fun. She likes acting, playing cards, sweets, and gossip. While Anne still loves to indulge in these pastimes, as she gets older she becomes more mature. She is often faced with hard choices and personal tragedy. Anne is also a strong Protestant. It is her Protestantism that makes her choose to betray her father. However, it is also her faith that consoles her when she has to deal with her personal tragedy, such as the deaths of her children.

    Overall, the author writes an in-depth psyche about Queen Anne and her motives. Queen Anne is a complex woman, yet it seems that she was a strong woman in the face of many hardships and obstacles. With meticulous research, the author did a great job portraying the times of Queen Anne. She made her times come alive. The author incorporates and includes real primary sources into her story. Because of this, the reader can have an insight into who Anne actually was. This novel is full of political intrigue and drama. Lovers of historical fiction will devour novel novel up for it will appeal to fans of C.W. Gortner, Philippa Gregory, Jean Plaidy, and Allison Pataki.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 21, 2015

Blog Tour: Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Regold: A Book Review

02_Naked A Novel of Lady Godiva_CoverNaked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold

Publication Date: July 14, 2015 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Formats: Ebook, Paperback 
Pages: 320 
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don't know her true story. We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva's ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for 'peeping Tom') and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax. Naked is an original version of Godiva's tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.

     My Review: Lady Godiva's legendary ride has captured the hearts of many people through many centuries in popular culture. One of the famous literary pieces about Godiva’s ride is a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson and the famous myth of Peeping Tom. With many books about Godiva, you are probably thinking why read another one? What could this novel have in store when I already know the Lady Godiva story? Yet, Naked takes the old legend and turns it into a fresh and creative retelling with twists and turns that will capture your attention and take your breath away.

     I could not help but admire Godiva. She is a tomboy. She likes being outdoors, gardening, and horseback riding. As the heiress to Coventry, she loves her land and its people. She will defend it at all cost, including taking up arms and fighting like a man. She is very self-sacrificing, for she is willing to bear shame to save her townspeople. She is also very loyal to her friends, and is willing to help them at all costs. Another thing that I like about her is that she is very bold and daring. She knows how to strike a bargain. Thus, the author makes it clear that Godiva was not a conventional Saxon noblewoman.

     Overall, this novel is about choices, sacrifices, justice, and love. The message of the story is to fight for what you believe is right and to follow your heart. The novel has a very lyrical writing style. Sometimes the book is written in a free verse poetry. The plot is fast-paced and is filled with likable characters. The author also does a good job in portraying the Anglo-Saxon poems. I loved how she included real Anglo-Saxon riddles into the story that are very humorous and entertaining. Naked is a page-turner that is definitely a treat for lovers of historical fiction and romance. This novel is for anyone who is looking for a sweet Saxon love story with a happily ever after feel. For those who have read many books on Lady Godiva, add this one to the list, for this tale is very unique, fresh, and creative.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars  

PRAISE


"Redgold's variation on this enticing legend is often lyrical and offers a satisfying blend of history, lore, and romance." (Booklist) 

"Breathes new life into the story of the woman who would stop at nothing to protect her land and people." (Romantic Times) 

"NAKED delivers far more than the famous ride of Lady Godiva. It's a beautifully woven story of love, loyalty, and the determination of a young woman trying to protect her people and their way of life, no matter the price. Godiva is a wonderfully strong woman in an age of dangerous men, and in NAKED, she certainly meets her match!" (Amalia Carosella, author of HELEN OF SPARTA

"A wonderful, romantic retelling of the Lady Godiva legend. There is the colorful Anglo-Saxon backdrop, warriors, battles, peacemaking, desire, revenge and love - everything a fan of medieval romance could desire - plus a strong-willed heroin. Written with a lyrical lilt to her prose, Redgold adds realism to the myth and love to the lusty tale, allowing readers a glimpse into what might have been." (RT Book Reviews)


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

03_Eliza Redgold_Author


ELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia. For more information visit Eliza Redgold's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+.


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, August 10 
Review at Bibliophilia, Please 

Tuesday, August 11 
Spotlight at Passages to the Past 

Wednesday, August 12 
Guest Post at The Maiden's Court 
Spotlight at A Book Geek 

Thursday, August 13 
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter 
  
Friday, August 14 
Review at 100 Pages a Day 

Saturday, August 15 
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf 

Monday, August 17 
Review at A Bookish Affair 

Tuesday, August 18 
Review at Book Nerd 
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation 

Wednesday, August 19 
Review at Unshelfish 
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views 

Thursday, August 20 
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection 
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair 

Friday, August 21 
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective 
Review at Let Them Read Books 

Monday, August 24 
Review at I'm Shelf-ish 
Review at Please Pass the Books 
Guest Post at Bibliotica 

Tuesday, August 25 
Review at A Fold in the Spine 
Review & Interview at History Undressed 
Guest Post at Curling Up By the Fire 

Wednesday, August 26 
Review at Bookish 
Spotlight at The True Book Addict 

Thursday, August 27 
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book 
Review & Guest Post at Romantic Historical Reviews 
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch 

Friday, August 28 
Review at A Book Drunkard 
Review at Book Lovers Paradise


GIVEAWAY

To enter to win a copy of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva or a $50 Amazon Gift Card, please enter via the GLEAM form below. Three winners will be chosen. Rules: Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Only one entry per household. All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 



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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack: A Book Review

The Memory Painter
Author: Gwendolyn Womack
Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Picador
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 336
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives?

     What if the lives you remembered could lead you to your one true love?


     What if you learned that, for thousands of years, a deadly enemy had conspired to keep the two of you apart?


     Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there's a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills...like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people's lives.


     Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan's shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and their meeting triggers Bryan's most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's, died in a lab explosion decades ago.


     As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists' deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.


     A taut thriller and a timeless love story spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history, The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack is a riveting debut novel unlike any you've ever read.


     My Review: One day as Linz enters an art museum, she meets a handsome stranger. The two hit it off immediately. She finds out that the stranger’s name is Bryan, and that the two share an uncanny friendship. Little does she know that meeting the stranger will change everything she knows about her life and her world. In this thriller novel, these two star-crossed lovers journey through time as they fight to be together as their enemy thwarts to keep them apart.

     First off, I am going to state that this was the weirdest novel I have read so far in 2015. This was because the novel talks about reincarnation. Because of this, the author makes it clear that anything is possible. The past lives not only involve gender switching, but your past self could have dated your parent. Your father could have been your enemy that murdered you, or your son could be your parent. After getting accustomed to this idea, I was soon swept into the plot, and I enjoyed it immensely.

     Linz is a very complex character. Over the course of the novel, she has grown so much. I find her to be very relatable. I like how she processes the information about everything she knew has changed very well. It is not an easy thing to change your beliefs, yet she was willing because she wanted to understand Bryan and his world. She is very inquisitive and questions everything around her. I also like how she could fend for herself and that she was definitely not a damsel in distress.

     On the other hand, I did not really like the character of Bryan. There was no character growth in him. He stayed the same throughout the novel. Bryan also did not have any flaws. Because he already had the memories of his past, he was more like a superman or The Doctor in the tv show, Doctor Who. He remembered all his abilities, and there was not a thing he could not do. He is all around perfect. He has the looks, the strength, the intelligence, the speed, the charm, the mystery. Bryan has it all. Because of this, I found him a bit disappointing. I wanted him to be down to earth, and I wanted him to be a dynamic character rather than a cardboard cutout.

     Overall, this book has adventure, mystery, suspense, action, and a forbidden romance. The message of the novel is that love conquers all. While I did find it be predictable, I was drawn to the historical elements in the story. The novel is very well-written, and it will grip the reader from the very first page. The Memory Painter is very complex and ambitious. It is a thrilling fast-paced page turner novel. This is a feast for historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy lovers alike. So buckle up and enjoy the ride as you travel through thousands of years and different continents taking you through ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, Ancient China, a Viking voyage, feudal Japan, and many more!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is the official book trailer for The Memory Painter: