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Showing posts from April, 2016

A Front Page Affair (Kitty Weeks Mystery #1) by Radha Vasal: A Book Review

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A Front Page Affair (Kitty Weeks Mystery #1) Author: Radha Vasal Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark Release Date: May 3, 2016 Pages: 336 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: New York City, 1915      The Lusitania has just been sunk, and headlines about a shooting at J.P. Morgan's mansion and the Great War are splashed across the front page of every newspaper. Capability "Kitty" Weeks would love nothing more than to report on the news of the day, but she's stuck writing about fashion and society gossip over on the Ladies' Page—until a man is murdered at a high society picnic on her beat.      Determined to prove her worth as a journalist, Kitty finds herself plunged into the midst of a wartime conspiracy that threatens to derail the United States' attempt to remain neutral—and to disrupt the privileged life she has always known.      Radha Vatsal's A Front Page Affair is the fi

A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries #4) by Susanna Calkins

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A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries #4) Author Susanna Calkins Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery and Suspense Publisher: Minotaur Books Release Date: April 12, 2016 Pages: 337 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Lucy Campion, a ladies’ maid turned printer’s apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge over the murky waters of the River Fleet one morning when, out of the mist, she sees a specter moving toward her. Frightened at first, Lucy soon realizes the otherworldly figure is in fact a young woman, clearly distraught and clad only in a blood-spattered white nightdress. Barely able to speak, the woman has no memory of who she is or what’s happened to her. The townspeople believe she’s possessed. But Lucy is concerned for the woman’s well-being and takes her to see a physician. When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling dutie

Blog Tour: Book Spotlight of The Winemakers by Jan Moran

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The Winemakers by Jan Moran Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Release Date: April 5, 2016 Pages: 368 Synopsis: 1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she's never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret -- a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for. Many years before, her mother's hard-won dreams of staking her family's claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother's buried past. From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip. Buy The Book: Amazon , Barnes and Nobles , Kobo , Chapters , Books-a-Million , Book Depository , and iBooks About The Aut

Blog Tour: Death Sits Down To Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2) by Tessa Arlen: A Book Review

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Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2) by Tessa Arlen Publication Date: March 29, 2016 Minotaur Books Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages Genre: Historical Mystery      Synopsis: Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.      Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.      Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs

Blog Tour: The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets by Jan Moran: A Book Review

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The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets by Jan Moran Publication Date: April 5, 2016 St. Martin’s Griffin Hardcover, Paperback, eBook; 368 Pages ISBN: 9781250091185 Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis:  1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret — a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for. Many years before, her mother’s hard-won dreams of staking her family’s claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past.      From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers , a sweeping, romantic novel that will hol

Interview with Sara B. Larson

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     Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sara B. Larson. She is the author of the Defy trilogy. This young adult fantasy trilogy follows a strong female character named Alexa, who is in charge of saving her kingdom as well as her prince. In this interview, we get insight into the Defy trilogy and into her writing in general. Thank you, Mrs. Larson! 1. What inspired you to write Defy ? DEFY came from a very difficult period in my life, when I lost someone I loved. I was so upset by his death that I couldn’t write anything, but a friend of mine told me to stop trying to write a book and just write what I was feeling. So that’s exactly what I did. I sat down and wrote a scene, not intending for it to go anywhere…but then I got curious about the characters. This whole fascinating world unraveled itself and I realized Alexa had a very intriguing, difficult, but ultimately amazing story that needed to be told. I threw myself into that writing and from there the story took on

The Empress of Bright Moon by Weina Dai Randel: A Book Review

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The Empress of Bright Moon Author: Weina Dai Randel Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark Release Date: April 5, 2016 Pages: 370 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: The time for taking hold of her destiny is now.      At the moment of the Emperor's death, everything changes in the palace. Mei, his former concubine, is free, and Pheasant, the heir and Mei's lover, is proclaimed as the new Emperor, heralding a new era in China. But just when Mei believes she's closer to her dream, Pheasant's chief wife, Lady Wang, powerful and unpredictable, turns against Mei and takes unthinkable measures to stop her. The power struggle that ensues will determine Mei's fate–and that of China.      Surrounded by enemies within the palace that she calls home, Mei continues her journey to the throne in The Empress of Bright Moo n, the second book in Weina Dai Randel's acclaimed duology. Only by fighting back against

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel: A Book Review

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The Moon in the Palace Author: Weina Dai Randel Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark Release Date: March 1, 2016 Pages: 402 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: There is no easy path for a woman aspiring to power.      A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the Emperor's attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively, hoping to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of seduction to draw his interest. But young Mei knows nothing of these womanly arts, yet she will give the Emperor a gift he can never forget.      Mei's intelligence and curiosity, the same traits that make her an outcast among the other concubines, impress the Emperor. But just as she is in a position to seduce the most powerful man in China, divided loy

The Daughters of Palatine Hill by Phyllis T. Smith: A Book Review

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The Daughters of Palatine Hill Author: Phyllis T. Smith Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Lake Union Publishing Release Date: February 16, 2016 Pages: 412 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Two years after Emperor Augustus’s bloody defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, he triumphantly returns to Rome. To his only child, Julia, he brings an unlikely companion—Selene, the daughter of the conquered Egyptian queen and her lover.      Under the watchful eye of Augustus’s wife, Livia, Selene struggles to accept her new home among her parents’ enemies. Bound together by kinship and spilled blood, these three women—Livia, Selene, and Julia—navigate the dangerous world of Rome’s ruling elite, their every move a political strategy, their most intimate decisions in the emperor’s hands.      Always suppressing their own desires for the good of Rome, each must fulfill her role. For astute Livia, this means unwavering fidelity to her all-powerful hus

I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith: A Book Review

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I Am Livia Author: Phyllis T. Smith Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Lake Union Publishing Release Date: 2014 Pages: 391 Source: Personal Collection Synopsis: Her life would be marked by scandal and suspicion, worship and adoration…      At the tender age of fourteen, Livia Drusilla overhears her father and fellow aristocrats plotting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Proving herself an astute confidante, she becomes her father’s chief political asset—and reluctantly enters into an advantageous marriage to a prominent military officer. Her mother tells her, “It is possible for a woman to influence public affairs,” reminding Livia that—while she possesses a keen sense for the machinations of the Roman senate—she must also remain patient and practical.      But patience and practicality disappear from Livia’s mind when she meets Caesar’s heir, Octavianus. At only eighteen, he displays both power and modesty. A young wife by that point, Livia finds herself drawn to the go

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang: A Book Review

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Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China Author: Jung Chang Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography Publisher: Knopf Release Date: 2013 Pages: 498 Source: Personal Collection Synopsis: Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908) is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for decades and brought a medieval empire into the modern age. At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor’s numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China—behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.      In this groundbreaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of

Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

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Sisi: Empress on Her Own Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: The Dial Press Release Date: March 8, 2016 Pages: 465 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by Allison Pataki. Sisi tells the little-known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping page-turner.      Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth—fondly known as Sisi—captures the hearts of her people as their “fairy queen,” but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage, Sisi grows restle