Book Drunkard

“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” L.M. Montgomery

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Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt, review


In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time the center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand-new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.


Alma Schindler led an interesting life surrounded by talented people like Gustav Klimt and Gustav Mahler, whom she married, and was extremely talented herself with regard to composing music.  Unfortunately, it was during a time when women composers weren’t taken seriously or given the chance to explore their talents.  And, it didn’t help that her husband was an egomaniac who wanted all the attention for himself.  She was forced to sit on the back burner for the most part.

Mary Sharratt is a brilliant author who has a knack for bringing places to life like few authors can.  The art and music scene in 1900’s Vienna is vivid on the pages and pulls the reader in, leaving us begging to go back in time and experience it for ourselves. I didn’t love this book as much as The Dark Lady’s Mask.  While the writing and story were enthralling at times, I couldn’t get over the repetitiveness of Alma’s moaning and her fights with Mahler about him taking her work seriously.  Mahler’s death brings the book to an abrupt end and I wish I could have heard more of her story, as she lived many years after he was gone.  The cover of the book is GORGEOUS and all in all, I’m glad I read it.

I received an e-copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley.  All views are my own.  


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Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose, review


New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.


From start to finish, including the glorious cover, this book is smashing.  I have long been a fan of M.J. Rose’s books and I haven’t been disappointed yet. She’s so gifted with words, especially when describing places and things.  It’s easy to get engrossed in her work and, if this makes sense, it feels as though you’re reading a movie the way everything plays out in your mind’s eye.

If you’re a fan of anything Tiffany, you’ll love this book–even though he’s really just the backdrop for Jenny’s story.  Her life is a twisty turny mystery set (mostly) during the 20’s.  She’s an interesting character, well written with lots of depth.  In fact, the entire cast of characters played off each other beautifully and all added to the plot.  Laurelton Hall (See picture below) is a central part of the story and M.J. wrote it so wonderfully it’s as if it lived and breathed just like Louis Comfort Tiffany.


It’s so satisfying to know I can always pick up a book by M.J. Rose and know it’s going to be great.  I’ve been fortunate to find a few authors who never disappoint.  I look forward to her next book.

I received an e-copy of this book from Atria Books via Netgalley.  All views are my own.

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The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron, review


A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France’s picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

As Ellie Carver sits by her grandmother’s bedside, she hears stories of a castle . . . of lost love and a hidden chapel that played host to a secret fight in the World War II French resistance. But her grandmother is quickly slipping into the locked-down world of Alzheimer’s, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty–the castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale–and unearth its secrets before they’re finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods–the French Revolution, World War II, and present day–The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind.


I have read and enjoyed books by Kristy Cambron in the past.  She is a wonderful author and writes about subject matter that is appealing to a diverse audience.  This book, however, is something special.

The cover is beautiful and is what originally brought the book to my attention.  Then, I saw who the author was and knew I had to read it.  The story, which captured my attention from the start, tells the tale of three women in three eras — French Revolution, World War II, and present day.  However, for me, the main character really is the castle — La Belle au bois dormant,  The Sleeping Beauty.  It’s the one constant throughout the book.  Some books told in different time periods can be confusing, but, Kristy Cambron transitions seamlessly between the three with no distractions.

The book genre is Historical Christian Fiction.  There is not any religious content other than perhaps prayer and talk of God.  There is kissing, but no sex, and no strong language.  Even is you aren’t inclined toward Christian books, you will still enjoy this one.  I enjoyed it from beginning to end and can’t wait for the next in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Read-a-thon Hour 8

I ended up falling asleep.  I knew Strongbow and music trivia were a bad idea last night!  But, I did finish my first book–Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston.  It’s YA and about a girl who gets drugged and raped at cheer camp and how her last year of school progresses as she tries to remember what happened and how to deal with it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the strong girl friendships.  There isn’t enough of that in the world right now.

So, onto my next book and a snack!  I’m excited to get into this one.  image.jpeg

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It’s just before 5 am in my little neck of the woods in BC, Canada.  There are few things that will get me up this early.  Christmas is one.  Read-a-thon is the other.  While I don’t have plans to read all day (we are celebrating my dad’s birthday later), it’s always fun to participate, knock a few books out, and of course, SNACKS!

One or two of these will be read today.  Wish me good luck today, and, wherever you may be, good luck to you, also.  image

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Kelowna, BC, Canada
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  Alice by Christina Henry
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Hummus!!!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I’m pretty boring for the most part but I’ve loved books and reading since first grade.  Now, I work at a book store.  I’m married and have two teen daughters.  
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Nothing different.  Just read, read, read,


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Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.


Having read AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER a few years ago–it was my top book read that year–I knew I just had to read the next offering by the amazing duo of Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie.

While the over 600 page length is daunting, each page was historically rich with impressive detail.  I was transported to the Birth of a Nation and beyond, happily transported to time in history that I’m not especially familiar with (I’m Canadian, after all).  I feel like it was researched extensively and written lovingly so the reader gained insight into the subject matter.

In the very first chapter, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton says “But how, I wondered, could a daughter make a difference?”.  She did.  Oh, yes, she did.  I found it fascinating to read the story of the more famous Alexander Hamilton through the eyes of his wife.  This great lady lived until the ripe old age of 97.  She saw it all first hand and I was completely engrossed from the start.



Order your copy of MY DEAR HAMILTON today!

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A Founding Father’s wife…

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

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April 2nd

Book review Virginia lee – Excerpt

Books A-Brewin’ – Excerpt

Brandy Paige Roberts Blogger page – Excerpt

My Girlfriends Couch – Excerpt


April 3rd

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents – Excerpt

It’s All About the Romance – Excerpt

My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt

Smexy& Fabulous – Excerpt


April 4th

Always a happy ever after –Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Excerpt

Movies, Shows, & Books – Excerpt

Quirky Lady Bookworm Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Stephanie’s Book Reports – Excerpt

SJAT’s Books and More – Review & Interview


April 5th

Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt

Literature Goals – Excerpt

Reviews by Tammy and Kim (Rachel & Jay) – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt


April 6th

Books After Fifty – Excerpt

History Undressed – Review & Excerpt

Under the Covers Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

True Book Addict – Excerpt

Zili in the Sky – Excerpt


April 7th

3 Degrees of Fiction Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Books According to Abby – Excerpt

Evermore Books – Excerpt

KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt


April 8th

BookCrushin – Interview

Liz’s Reading Life – Excerpt

Smut Book Junkie Book Reviews – Excerpt

Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt


April 9th

Book Bug Blog – Review & Excerpt

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Just One More Chapter – Review

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt


April 10th

Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt

My Fictional Escape – Review & Excerpt

Oh, for the Hook of a Book – Review & Interview


April 11th

Bound By Books Book review – Review

Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt


April 12th

Denny S. Bryce – Review & Excerpt

Book Drunkard – Review & Excerpt

Ruth Downie – Interview

Margie’s Must Reads – Excerpt

The Voluptuous Book Diva – Excerpt


April 13th

A Bookaholic Swede – Review

Creating Herstory – Review & Interview

Historical Fiction Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Kris Waldherr Art and Words – Excerpt


April 14th

Book Nook Nuts – Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne – Review

Leigh Anderson – Review

Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Teatime and Books – Excerpt

Two Girls with Books – Review & Excerpt


About Stephanie Dray:


Stephanie Dray is a New York Times bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into multiple languages, illuminating women of the past so as to inspire the women of today. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital.


Stephanie Dray Website | Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter | Dray & Kamoie Website


About Laura Kamoie:

Laura Kamoie is a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction, and the author of two nonfiction books on early American history. Until recently, she held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction under the name Laura Kaye, also a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels.

Laura Kamoie Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Dray & Kamoie Website

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Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

In an effort to get back into reading and reviewing, I decided to join the Passages to the Past Historical Fiction Reading Challenge for 2018.

I’m going to be a Renaissance reader this year and plan to read/review 10 historical fiction books.  If you want to join, click the picture for the details!  There are other levels available and it’ll be great fun.  While I have several books on my shelves for challenge, I’m sure I’ll end up picking up a few more before the year is up just from reading reviews from other participators. 

While my first book of the year isn’t historical (I want to broaden my horizons this year), I’ll be back soon with my first post!


All the best with your reading goals this year.

Martina @ Book Drunkard