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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 first book in highly anti…

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 duties to discreet…

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 Author:
Jan Moran is a Rizzoli b…

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 ArlenPublication 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 and downstairs as Hermion…

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 hold you in its grasp u…

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 its own lif…

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 Moon, the second book in Weina Dai Randel's acclaimed duology. Only by fighting back against those who wish her h…

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 loyalties split the pa…

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 husband; for sensual J…

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 golden-haired boy. In…

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 a modern state: in…

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 restless. A free-spiri…