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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: The White Forest by Adam McOmber

Title: The White Forest
Author:  Adam McOmber
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Touchstone
Publish Date: September 1, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You're into gothic stories.
  • You're looking for a creepy feeling.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable and frightening gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. She finds solace in her only companions, Madeline and Nathan, but as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by jealousies and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late."


My Two Cents:

I was initially drawn to "The White Forest" by the promise of a creepy, gothic story. By now, you all might have realized that I really don't care for horror books and "The White Forest" is creepy but doesn't really rise to the level of being scary or truly being a horror book. For those who are looking for an engaging and unique story with a touch of the paranormal, this book might fit the bill for you.

I love gothic novels and one of my favorite aspects of the genre is the feeling you get from the setting. McOmber does a great job of creating a sort of overriding atmosphere throughout the book. The book mostly takes place in Hampstead Heath in England, which is a perfect location for a gothic novel. I really loved the feeling that the setting created.

The book started out a little slowly but once we started getting to see the paranormal elements (I don't want to give anything away so I'll limit my explanation a little bit). I did wish that Jane's existence was explained a little bit more though. There were several things that I had a lot of questions on. Because this book was so different than so many things that I have read before, I really felt a little bit at sea in a couple places throughout the book. Overall though, McOmber has created a really fascinating world that kept me on my toes.


  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Title: The Chaperone
Author: Laura Moriarty
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Riverhead
Publish Date: June 5, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.

For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive."




My Two Cents:



"The Chaperone" focuses on Cora, a woman who follows a young Louise Brooks (a star of silent film, whom I was not familiar with before reading this book) to New York City. Cora is there to be Louise's chaperone as Louise tries to become a famous dancer. Cora has an ulterior motive to coming to NYC, which sets in motion the main story line of this book. I enjoyed this book and think that my fellow historical fiction fans will find a lot to like about this book.

Cora was a really fantastic character. She has a really interesting backstory and a lot of the book follows her trying to find her roots. Cora went out west from NYC on an orphan train, a historical element which I found incredibly interesting.

I liked Moriarty's storytelling for the most part. Much of the book follows Cora's relatively short stay in NYC. The latter part of the book follows many years as Cora is living back in Kansas. I found the split to be a little uneven. We get a lot of detail about Cora's short trip to NYC but her latter life seems to be glossed over in a lot of places. The end of the book jumps far into the future and it was a little hard to keep track of what was happening. The end also fell a little flat for me; it just seemed to sputter out.

Overall, I did really like this story. The historical detail made it a truly fascinating story.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Giveaway Winners and Another Giveaway Announcement!

I'm excited to announce a couple giveaway winners today!




White Out:
Kelsey T.

The Secret History:
Amy C. 
 

Also, I'm pleased to announce a giveaway to celebrate Hyde by Laura DeLuca! I cannot wait to read this book. I really enjoyed the first two books in the Dark Musicals trilogy!
 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: The Age of Ice by J.M. Sidorova

Title: The Age of Ice
Author: J.M. Sidorova
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Scribner
Publish Date: July 23, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like magical realism.
  • You don't mind not having a lot of detail.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The Empress Anna Ioannovna has issued her latest eccentric order: construct a palace out of ice blocks. Inside its walls her slaves build a wedding chamber, a canopy bed on a dais, heavy drapes cascading to the floor—all made of ice. Sealed inside are a disgraced nobleman and a deformed female jester. On the empress’s command—for her entertainment—these two are to be married, the relationship consummated inside this frozen prison. In the morning, guards enter to find them half-dead. Nine months later, two boys are born.

Surrounded by servants and animals, Prince Alexander Velitzyn and his twin brother, Andrei, have an idyllic childhood on the family’s large country estate. But as they approach manhood, stark differences coalesce. Andrei is daring and ambitious; Alexander is tentative and adrift. One frigid winter night on the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as he flees his army post, Alexander comes to a horrifying revelation: his body is immune to cold."


My Two Cents:

I was initially intrigued by "The Age of Ice" as it sounded like it would be a good mash-up of historical fiction and magical realism, two of my bookish favorites. This book initially started out well for me. We get a good story about the main character, Alexander and his brother's origins. They are almost mythological, which I really liked. Eventually, this book sort of petered out for me.

I did really enjoy the setting. I've been craving fiction about Russia recently and I really enjoyed reading about Imperial Russia. The description of the various places that Alexander went were really good. The descriptions of St. Petersburg were also very good. You really get a good feeling for Alexander's world.

The story itself is where the book sort fell flat for me. As the book goes on and Alexander continues to live on into the 20th century, the book got a little more confusing. Most of the book is focused on Alexander's life during the 1700s but we get glimpses (and they are really only glimpses) into his life as the book continued to speed up towards the end. I found myself wishing that the book would slow down and give more detail to give the ending a little more weight. I just found myself sort of let down by the end of the book. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

TLC Book Tours Review and Giveaway: The Exiles by Allison Lynn

Title: The Exiles
Author: Allison Lynn
Format: ARC
Publisher: New Harvest
Publish Date: July 2, 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You don't mind a somber read.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "A couple escaping the opulent lifestyle of Manhattan’s Upper East Side move to Newport, Rhode Island, only to be confronted by the trappings of the life they tried to leave behind.

Nate, a midlevel Wall Streeter, and his longtime girlfriend Emily are effectively evicted from New York City when they find they can no longer afford their apartment. An out presents itself in the form of a job offer for Nate in Newport—complete with a bucolic, small, and comparatively affordable new house. Eager to start fresh, they flee city life with their worldly goods packed tightly in their Jeep Cherokee. Yet within minutes of arriving in Rhode Island, their car and belongings are stolen, and they're left with nothing but the keys to an empty house and their bawling 10-month-old son.

Over the three-day weekend that follows, as Emily and Nate watch their meager pile of cash dwindle and tensions increase, the secrets they kept from each other in the city emerge, threatening to destroy their hope for a shared future."


My Two Cents:

"The Exiles" is the story of Emily and Nate, a young couple who has left their tenuous NYC existence for someplace quieter on the shores of Rhode Island. They are trying to forge a new existence after failing to be able to stay in the city but the city hid a lot of the cracks in there relationship and Rhode Island might undo their life together. There is also another storyline regarding Nate's father, a famous architect, who is suffering Huntington's Disease, which was an interesting side story in this book.

Neither Emily nor Nate are exactly likeable. Both of them are less that forthcoming with themselves and with each other. They're hiding so much from each other that I continually found myself wondering what they saw in each other. That being said, there complicated relationship was so interesting to read about. I wanted to see how long they were able to hide these big, huge secrets from each other.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book. Lynn definitely engaged me and kept me reading. I will definitely be watching for her books in the future. That being said, I felt that there were some ends that were left untied. I wanted more closure. We're sort of left with a couple of very ambiguous endings. It just sort of seemed a little rushed.


Giveaway:

I'm excited to be able to give away a copy of The Exiles (US/CAN). Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HF Virtual Book Tours: Gracianna by Trini Amador

Title:  Gracianna
Author: Trini Amador
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Greenleaf
Publish Date: July 23, 2013
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like family stories.
  • You like stories about sisters.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "The gripping story of Gracianna--a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador's great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother's home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.

Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna's past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother's story.

Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s--on her way to America, she hopes--but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it--even if it means using lethal force.

As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won't soon forget."


My Two Cents:

"Gracianna" is the story of author Trini Amador's grandmother and her life and the choices she had to make during World War II. I absolutely love family stories. Some of the best stories can come from our pasts. I was fascinated by the idea that Amador found a story in his family's past to tell.

World War II is still one of my very favorite time periods to read about. There are so many stories there from so many different people and so many different points of view. In this book, Gracianna, the title character, has some involvement with the French resistance in this book that I found really interesting to read about.

Gracianna is a fascinating character. She's very brave and definitely puts her life on the line for what she believes in. I don't want to give too much away as some of the twists are most definitely worth reading yourself. This is also a story about sisters, a subject that I also really love reading about. The sister relationship plays a huge role in this story. Gracianna does everything in her power to save her sister from a concentration camp. How amazing is that?

I liked the storytelling in the book but there were a couple issues for me. The chapters were broken down into different sections and the titles of the sections sometimes gave the twists and turns away. Also, some of the sections of the book had a lot of telling rather than showing, which took me out of the story. All in all, this is a very interesting family story, made even more interesting by being based on a true story.







Follow the Rest of the Tour:


Monday, July 15
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, July 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, July 17
Review at A Book Geek
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, July 18
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Guest Post at Jenny Loves to Read
Friday, July 19
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Monday, July 22
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 23
Review at Reflections of a Bookaholic
Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, July 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at West Metro Mommy
Thursday, July 25
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Layered Pages
Monday, July 29
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Giveaway at A Writer’s Life
Tuesday, July 30
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, July 31
Review at The True Book Addict
Thursday, August 1
Review at Impressions in Ink
Guest Post & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Friday, August 2
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Monday, August 5
Review at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, August 6
Review at My Reading Room
Guest Post at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 7
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Interview & Giveaway at My Reading Room
Thursday, August 8
Review at Sir Read-a-Lot
Review at Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Friday, August 9
Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Interview at Sir Read-a-Lot
 photo e5ee54b5-cbac-410f-88b0-a45fe4f0cca1.jpg

Author Interview and Giveaway: Jenny Colgan, Author of Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe

I am very excited to welcome Jenny Colgan, author of Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, to A Bookish Affair today.



1.     Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Jenny: I lead a bit of a double life, actually. Hang on, that makes me sound a lot more interesting than I actually am, like I’m Batman. Yes, I’m Batman. :-) No, not really. But I write romantic comedy and cookery novels, and for the tv show Doctor Who in the daytime, but the rest of the time I’m a mum of three here in France where I live.

2.     What inspired you to write this book?
Jenny: Well, after I had my children I started cooking and baking a lot more and discovered that I really loved doing it (my poor husband had to eat all my failed experiments at the beginning) and I wanted to write about that, so that’s where it came from. Issy takes her hobby and manages to turn it into a whole new life. 

3.     Have you ever had a career change, like Issy going from receptionist to baker in Meet Me at the Cupcake Café?Jenny: totally, yes, I worked in a hospital for years. I wasn’t very good at it. I think it’s good for people’s health in general that I’m now a full time novelist.

4.     Issy’s Grandpa Joe is such a fun character! What are your three favorite things about him?
Jenny: Aw thank you! I like that generation of older men like my own grandfather who weren’t expected to raise children or change nappies, even if they really wanted to, so he’s a bit like that really.

5.     Do you bake in your spare time? What’s something fun you’ve made recently?
Jenny: I do, yes. My latest success is crumpets, those English teacakes with the holes in the top. My worst thing recently was a cheesecake. For the children’s birthdays you’re expected to bring a cake into class, they have a party once a month for all the kids with their birthday then. So I made this GORGEOUS cheesecake and sent it in with my son, but they don’t really eat cheesecake in France. Everyone just kind of looked at the weird immigrant kid with his weird immigrant food and ate the chocolate cake instead, and he was very sad about nobody wanting his cake and I felt very sorry for him!

6.     What’s the last book you read that you totally fell in love with?
Jenny: I really loved Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, about a shot down female british spy in France in the second world war. It’s fiction but based on a lot of real stories and the bravery of the resistance was just breathtaking.

7.     When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
Jenny: I like to bake, read, and make really stupid jokes on twitter – you can find me on @jennycolgan – and getting my husband to take me out to the cinema. My cinematic tastes are the complete opposite to my books, I only like films about aliens and zombies.

8.     Its summer in the US and many of us are going on vacations. What is your most memorable vacation?
Jenny: I went on a girl’s holiday to Miami to get over a break up and met this cute guy who worked on a yacht there, who I thought would be perfect for a holiday fling to make me feel better. That was twelve years, three children and four countries ago!


MEET ME AT THE CUPCAKE CAFÉ BY JENNY COLGAN – IN STORES JULY 2013
A sweet and satisfying novel of how delicious it is to discover your dreams

Issy Randall can bake. No, Issy can create stunning, mouthwateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. She's much better at baking than she is a filing so when she's laid off from her desk job, Issy decides to open her own little café. But she soon learns that her piece-of-cake plan will take all of her courage and confectionary talent to avert disaster.

Funny and sharp, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café is about how life might not always taste like you expect, but there's always room for dessert!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A former columnist for The Guardian, Jenny Colgan contributes regularly to national BBC radio and is the bestselling author of more than eleven novels, including Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the 2013 Romantic Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists Association, and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, both international bestsellers. She is married with three children and lives in London and France. For more information, please visit http://www.jennycolgan.com/, follow her on Twitter, @JennyColgan, and Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennycolganbooks.

To Purchase Meet Me at the Cupcake Café:
IndieBound


Giveaway:

Fill out the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win Jenny's new release, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe (US/CAN only):




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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Author Guest Post: C.W. Gortner, Author of The Tudor Conspiracy

I am very excited to welcome C.W. Gortner to A Bookish Affair today.

A Conversation with C.W. Gortner about THE TUDOR CONSPIRACY
What was the inspiration for The Tudor Conspiracy and its hero, Brendan Prescott?
After writing the first Spymaster novel The Tudor Secret, I realized I had set the bar high for Brendan. He’d discovered his painful past, safeguarded Elizabeth, for the moment, and made a lifelong enemy of the Dudleys, including his former master, Lord Robert, now imprisoned in the Tower. While planning this second book, reading further into the history, I realized that the time following Mary Tudor’s accession was ripe with possibilities. The first woman to become a sovereign of England after hundreds of years, Mary is known today mostly as a vengeful queen who burned Protestants, Bloody Mary. However, she began her reign with popular support, the daughter of Henry VIII and his Spanish wife, Catherine of Aragon, whom many common folk still revered. So, how did Mary progress in such a short span from popularity to deeply dividing and persecuting her people? And how did she develop such hatred for her half-sister Elizabeth, whom she helped raise? We tend to see these characters in broad strokes, with the benefits of hindsight, but people usually change in increments, propelled by circumstances. Some, like Elizabeth, learn to be pliant. Others, like Mary, resist. Likewise, Mary’s betrothal to Prince Philip of Spain set the stage for the Wyatt revolt, an often overlooked yet dramatic event that created havoc. I knew Brendan had an adventure here, in this crevice of history, when Mary’s Catholicism takes a decidedly lethal bent, alarming many Protestant nobles, whose actions put Elizabeth in peril. This timeframe also allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with characters whose fates hung in the balance at the conclusion of the first novel and to further develop Brendan’s trajectory as a reluctant but uniquely able champion for Elizabeth.
To what extent did you stick to facts in writing The Tudor Conspiracy?
In this book, I weave separate threads into the plotline: The first involves Mary’s betrothal to Philip of Spain and subsequent unrest among her Protestant subjects. I have not so much altered facts in this thread as re-interpreted them from another perspective, conjecturing how some major players, like Edward Courtenay, might have been involved. In the second thread, I speculate on what Elizabeth’s role may have been in the plot to depose her sister. Historians remain divided on how much she knew and if she was an active participant; I sought to look at her actions through the prism of how she might have felt at the time. We tend to forget that while Elizabeth was Mary’s heir by their father’s Act of Succession, it was by no means certain she would ever inherit the throne. Mary was arguably still young enough to produce a child that could supplant her; the queen’s decision to wed a foreign Catholic prince must therefore have deeply disturbed the princess. The pressures brought to bear upon her by Mary, as well, to convert to Catholicism, coupled with what amounted to close captivity at court, may have produced extreme caution in her behavior. Or, it could have stretched her to the breaking point. Again, the facts are unknown. Elizabeth paid a high price for the Wyatt revolt, as did Jane Grey and others, but she never elucidated her position in the years to come. I do not alter what is known about Elizabeth’s character but I did work out my own analysis of her motivations. In the third thread, I create a fictional plotline that intersects with the above, involving Brendan, who must return to court to help Elizabeth and there, finds himself acting as double-agent charged by the Imperial ambassador to find evidence that will condemn the princess. While nothing in The Tudor Conspiracy contradicts what happened in the winter of 1554, I do give these events my own unique spin to reveal what might have transpired behind the history.
Can you tell us more about this fascinating rivalry between Mary and Elizabeth?
There is something innately fascinating and disturbing about family members who turn on one another. The Tudors are no exception. This was a relatively small family unit; Henry VIII did not sire many children, considering how often he wed, and it is surprising because of this to see how very different his daughters were.  Mary was his first surviving heir, who went from a childhood of being adored and pampered to a horrifying adolescence in which she was declared a bastard, saw her beloved mother Catherine of Aragon supplanted and exiled by Anne Boleyn, and found herself humiliated and relegated to the status of a servant in Elizabeth’s household. The scars of Mary’s teenage years cannot be underestimated. She clung to her faith out of obstinacy and genuine belief that to surrender would imperil her soul; her capitulation after her mother’s death must have traumatized her even further.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, had far less time to enjoy indulgence. She was barely three when her mother was beheaded and she was made illegitimate. A famous quip from this time has been attributed to her when informed of her new status: “How is that yesterday I was Princess Elizabeth and today only Lady Elizabeth?” Young as she was, she had a keen grasp of her situation. She grew into womanhood surrounded by danger and became adept at the games of survival, aware that one misstep could lead to her doom, her mother’s example always before her.
Both sisters understood the perils intrinsic to life at court, but while Elizabeth learned quickly to play the cards dealt to her, Mary remained steadfast in her innate right to stand above the crowd. They both shared courage as issue of Henry VIII and two formidable, if antithetical mothers, but their life experiences were disparate, and ultimately, their differences were too formidable to overcome.
Why do you think readers are so drawn to the Tudors?
Well, we have these larger-than-life characters, straddling a relatively brief dynasty in an era of tumultuous change. The 16th century in of itself is endlessly fascinating, when sovereign powers clashed, religion was challenged and recast; and the rapine of a new world fed enthusiasm and competitiveness. The Tudors are also considered by some to be usurpers who overthrew the last Plantagenet in an act of war to seize the throne. We have a cunning father who consolidates his hold on a broken kingdom by marrying the daughter of the very family he has overthrown, followed by the glamorous, tragic, and ultimately monstrous reign of his son, Henry VIII, whose marital foibles would be unbelievable if they were not true. But I believe what most draws us to the Tudors are their women, for in this family we find many iron-willed, capable and deeply passionate women, both behind and in front of the throne. Disarming in their strengths and devastating in their weaknesses, the Tudor women —both by blood and those who married into the family— offer us an endless fount of inspiration and drama. We all have our favorites and they continue to live because we breathe life into them through our imagination.
Are you currently working on another book in this series?
Yes. I’m currently working on the third book, in which Brendan must contend with an unexpected secret and assassination plot on the eve of Elizabeth I’s coronation.

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Book Blog
Wednesday, July 17
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Review at Diary of a Book Addict
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, July 18
Review at Amused by Books
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, July 19
Review at The Broke and the Bookish
Review & Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine
Interview at The Tudor Book Blog
Monday, July 22
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Review at A Muse in the Fog Book Reviews
Tuesday, July 23
Review at Bippity Boppity Book
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, July 25
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Interview at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse
Feature & Giveaway at Ramblings From This Chick
Friday, July 26
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, July 29
Review at Books in the Burbs
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Tuesday, July 30
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, July 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, August 1
Review at JulzReads
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, August 2
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Monday, August 5
Review at Historical Tapestry & Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, August 6
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, August 7
Review at Review From Here
Thursday, August 8
Review at Book Nerds
Interview at Review From Here
Friday, August 9
Review at Always with a Book
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, August 12
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Bloggin’ ’bout Books
Tuesday, August 13
Review at The Bookworm
Guest Post at A Book Geek
Wednesday, August 14
Review at My Reading Room
Guest Post at Book Nerds
Thursday, August 15
Review at Book Journey
Interview at My Reading Room
Friday, August 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, August 19
Review at The True Book Addict
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 20
Review at Lost in Books
Guest Post at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, August 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 22
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Guest Post at Broken Teepee
Friday, August 23
Review at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books
Monday, August 26
Review at Layered Pages
Review at A Bookish Libraria
Tuesday, August 27
Review at Book Addict Katie
Interview at Layered Pages

Review: The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

Title: The White Princess
Author: Philippa Gregory
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Touchstone
Publish Date: July 23, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.






Why You're Reading this Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "A princess from birth, Elizabeth fell in love with Richard III, though her mother made an arranged betrothal for her with the pretender to the throne: Henry Tudor. When Henry defeats Richard against all odds, Elizabeth has to marry the man who murdered her lover in battle, and create a new royal family with him and his ambitious mother: Margaret Beaufort, The Red Queen. But, while the new monarchy can win, it cannot, it seems, hold power in an England which remembers the House of York with love.

The new king’s greatest fear is that somewhere, outside England, a prince from the House of York is waiting to invade and re-claim the throne for the house of York. Fearing that none of his new allies can be trusted, Henry turns to his wife to advise him, all the time knowing that her loyalties must be divided. When the young man who would be king finally leads his army and invades England, it is for Elizabeth to decide whether she recognizes him as her brother and a claimant to the throne, or denies him in favor of the husband she is coming to love…"


My Two Cents:

"The White Princess" is the fifth book in Gregory's The Cousins' War series about the infamous war between the Lancaster and York families who are both fighting over the throne of England. As with all of the books in this series so far, "The White Princess" can be read as a stand alone book.

This book is one of my very favorites in the series so far. It follows the story of Elizabeth, a York princess, who has to marry Henry VII, a Lancaster prince, in order to try to rectify the relationship between the two families. Elizabeth is also the mother of Henry VIII, which is especially interesting.

I really, really liked Elizabeth. Even at such a young age, she had already gone through so much due to the Cousins' war. Her brothers may or may not have been killed in the Tower of London and now her family's hope for resolution lies on her marriage with Henry VII. Even with all of that going on, Elizabeth realizes that she must at least try to make the new life thrust upon her work but the odds are stacked against her. I really liked that the book was told from Elizabeth's point of view, which allowed you to really see all the events in the book first hand.

There's a lot of good twists and turns in this book and I don't want to give anything away so I'm limited in what I can say next but I really liked Gregory's treatment of what might have happened to Elizabeth's brothers. It was fascinating!

Overall, this is the kind of historical fiction book where you are wholly sucked into the story!


Monday, July 22, 2013

HF Virtual Book Tours: The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner

Title: The Tudor Conspiracy
Author: C.W. Gortner
Format: Paperback
Publisher: St. Martin's
Publish Date: July 16, 2013
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like great characters.
  • You like great storytelling.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Winter 1554. Brendan Prescott, spymaster to the Princess Elizabeth, has discovered that he is connected to the Tudors by blood as well as allegiance. Though his secret is known only by a few, it could be his downfall as he is called to London to protect the princess.
Accompanied by his young squire Peregrine, he reluctantly leaves his sweetheart Kate behind - but in the city he discovers that no one is quite what they seem. What fate does Queen Mary intend for her sister? Is Robert Dudley somehow manipulating the princess, even though he is locked in the Tower? And should Brendan trust the alluring Sybilla, Mary's lady-in-waiting, who professes to be on his side?

As he tries to unravel the mysteries of the Tudor court Brendan's life will be put in danger many times, and along the way he learns more about his own past."


My Two Cents:

Take one part mystery, one part adventure, a fantastic main character, a cup of the Tudor dynasty, and a bit of romance and you have "The Tudor Conspiracy." This book is the second book in the Spymaster Chronicles series but it can definitely be read as a stand alone book. Gortner pulls you right into Brendan's (the main character) world and you will definitely not be lost.  Although, I can tell you that I will definitely be going back and reading the first book since I liked this one so much!

It is easy to see why Gortner's books are so well received amongst book lovers, especially those of the historical fiction persuasion. He knows how to get you right into a story and to really care about the characters in the book. I really, really liked Brendan. He's Queen Elizabeth I's (Princess Elizabeth during the time period of the book) spymaster. He's super savvy at what he does, which was so much fun to read about, but on the other hand, he also has a great back story that I loved reading about just as much.

This book takes place during a fascinating time. Mary, Elizabeth's sister, sits on the throne so the book is full of the wheeling and dealing of Elizabeth trying to figure out what her sister intends for her in the new future. Queen Elizabeth is one of my favorite historical figures to read about. I hadn't read a lot about her life during this point in time so I loved getting a glimpse of this part of her life.

The historical detail in this book is great. Gortner does an amazing job of fully weaving great historical detail into the story while creating a fully engaging story. I cannot wait to see what is next for Brendan in the next part of this series!


Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Book Blog
Wednesday, July 17
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Review at Diary of a Book Addict
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, July 18
Review at Amused by Books
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, July 19
Review at The Broke and the Bookish
Review & Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine
Interview at The Tudor Book Blog
Monday, July 22
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Review at A Muse in the Fog Book Reviews
Tuesday, July 23
Review at Bippity Boppity Book
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, July 24
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Review at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse
Thursday, July 25
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Interview at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse
Feature & Giveaway at Ramblings From This Chick
Friday, July 26
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, July 29
Review at Books in the Burbs
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Tuesday, July 30
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, July 31
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, August 1
Review at JulzReads
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, August 2
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Monday, August 5
Review at Historical Tapestry & Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, August 6
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, August 7
Review at Review From Here
Thursday, August 8
Review at Book Nerds
Interview at Review From Here
Friday, August 9
Review at Always with a Book
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, August 12
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Bloggin’ ’bout Books
Tuesday, August 13
Review at The Bookworm
Guest Post at A Book Geek
Wednesday, August 14
Review at My Reading Room
Guest Post at Book Nerds
Thursday, August 15
Review at Book Journey
Interview at My Reading Room
Friday, August 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, August 19
Review at The True Book Addict
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 20
Review at Lost in Books
Guest Post at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, August 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 22
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Guest Post at Broken Teepee
Friday, August 23
Review at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books
Monday, August 26
Review at Layered Pages
Review at A Bookish Libraria
Tuesday, August 27
Review at Book Addict Katie
Interview at Layered Pages
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