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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The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John, review


02_The Lady of the Tower The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John

Publication Date: January 30, 2016
CreateSpace
eBook & Paperback; 246 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Orphaned Lucy St.John, described as “the most beautiful of all,” defies English society by carving her own path through the decadent Stuart court. In 1609, the early days of the rule of James I are a time of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, when the most dangerous thing one can do is fall in love . . . or make an enemy of Frances Howard, the reigning court beauty. Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk, but her envious sister Barbara is determined to ruin her happiness. Exiling herself from the court, Lucy has to find her own path through life, becoming mistress of the Tower of London. Riding the coattails of the king’s favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, the fortunes of the St.Johns rise to dizzying heights. But with great wealth comes betrayal, leaving Lucy to fight for her survival—and her honor—in a world of deceit and debauchery. Elizabeth St.John tells this dramatic story of love, betrayal, family bonds and loyalty through the eyes of her ancestor Lucy and her family’s surviving diaries, letters and court papers.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

My Review

Elizabeth St. John, author of THE LADY IN THE TOWER, is a compelling storyteller and this book has everything you’d expect from the English court – intrigue, love, and scandal.

Lucy is a great character–her sister, not so much.  That’s a tell-tale sign of a great author when the characters are so well written that you either love them or hate them!  Well rounded characters, language true to the era, and vivid descriptions of the surroundings, and rich storytelling all combine to make this a must read for lovers of Historical Fiction.

I heard this was the first book in a series, and I really hope that’s true.  I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  

Praise

“Elizabeth St.John has brought the early Stuart Court in the years before the English Civil War vividly to life.” – Historical Novel Society Review

“Elizabeth St.John offers great drama and intrigue in her compelling debut novel The Lady of the Tower.” – M.K. Tod, author of Lies Told in Silence

“The Lady of the Tower is a good combination of a historical romance that is well researched, with the added spice of the author being directly related to the heroine.” – Tobsha Learner, best-selling author of The Witch of Cologne

About the Author03_Elizabeth St. John

Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and sites from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and the British Library to Castle Fonmon and The Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

Elizabeth is currently writing a sequel to The Lady of the Tower, following the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War. The working title is “By Love Divided”, and it is due to publish in early 2017.

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook and Goodreads.

04_The Lady of the Tower_Blog Tour Banner_FINALBlog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 8
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Tuesday, August 9
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Wednesday, August 10
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, August 11
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, August 12
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Interview & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Saturday, August 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Sunday, August 14
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, August 15
Review at A Book Drunkard
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

 


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The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose, Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family.

MY REVIEW:

M.J. Rose continues to enchant and captivate in her latest book, THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES.  In The Daughters of La Lune book two, we meet Opaline, the daughter of Sandrine from the first book, THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS.  In my opinion, each book could be a stand alone, but you get much more insight if you read and savour each one.

As always, I was entranced from the very first page.  M.J. Rose does this thing with words that makes you feel as if you are in a dream while reading her books.  On top of the paranormal romance aspect, she also includes a great deal of political intrigue.  Past books have been more geared towards magical elements, and while this one also had that, there was a great deal more history included.  Secondary plots are as well written as the main plot and add an interesting spin on the story.  There is a grand cast of characters from Opaline and her spirit, Jean-Luc, to a Romanov looking for information about her family.

I know of no other author who can weave a tale like M.J. Rose.  Her writing is magical and delves deep into your soul.  Descriptions are so rich with details that one begins to believe that the mystical aspects of the story are possible (and, maybe they are?).  Great attention is given to the development of each character and they become friends and family to the reader.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough and only wish that my words could convey how much I loved this book.

With lavish writing complete with romance and mystery, I give THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES and exuberant 5 stars *****.

I received an electronic copy of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  

 


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Rebel of Ross by Mary Lancaster, review


02_Rebel of RossRebel of Ross by Mary Lancaster

Publication Date: July 31, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 340 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance/Medieval

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Scotland, 1156.

Malcolm MacHeth, one time Earl of Ross, languishes a prisoner in Roxburgh Castle while his sons raise rebellion in his name. Optimistically, the King of Scots promises the earldom of Ross to landless Norman knight, Sir William de Lanson, if he can somehow defeat the infamous MacHeths.

It wasn’t quite how William’s disgraced wife Christian dreamed of coming home. Capture by the strange and ferocious Adam MacHeth was hardly part of her plan either, although she and William quickly become pawns in his.

Adam, warrior and seer, fights for his father’s freedom and for his family’s right to claim the kingdom of the Scots. Plagued by waking dreams which threaten his sanity and his life, he’s learned to use his prophecies to further his family’s goals. But when he abducts his enemy’s lady, his dreams and his desires are suddenly more personal.

Surrounded by intrigue, ambition and betrayal, Christian must choose between loyalty and love in order to keep a fragile peace for her people and for the man she loves beyond all reason.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

My Review

REBEL OF ROSS by Mary Lancaster is set in Scotland during 1156, a time I haven’t much read about.  That in itself was enough for me to want to read and review the book because I’m always eager to learn about a period in history I know nothing about.

What a fantastic book!  Although I was admittedly lost at the beginning trying to keep track of the characters–a lively cast, indeed– they all soon fell into place for me and I could scarcely put the book down.  This is the first book I’ve read by the author and I’m happy to report that she definitely knows how to weave an intriguing tale all while bringing life to a long ago era with descriptions of the places and people that will make you feel you’re in the midst of it all.  Full of adventure and romance, it’s everything fans of this genre want from medieval historical fiction.  I became completely absorbed in the lives of Christian and Adam, the two main characters.  Their romance is intense and wrought with passion.

This is the type of story you hate to see end and I give it an exuberant 5 stars.

Thank you to the amazing Amy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for asking me to be a part of this tour, and thank you, Mary Lancaster for writing this amazing book.

About the Author03_Mary Lancaster

Mary Lancaster’s first love was historical fiction. Since then she has grown to love coffee, chocolate, red wine and black and white films – simultaneously where possible. She hates housework.

As a direct consequence of the first love, she studied history at St. Andrews University, after which she worked variously as editorial assistant, researcher and librarian. Although she has always written stories for her own entertainment, she began to make serious efforts toward publication in order to distract herself from a job she disliked. She now writes full time at her seaside home in Scotland, which she shares with her husband and three children.

Mary is the author of three historical novels:
An Endless Exile – the story of Hereward, 11th century outlaw hero
A World to Win – a Scottish governess finds love in revolutionary Hungary
A Prince to be Feared: the love story of Vlad Dracula

Mary loves to hear from readers. You can email her at Mary@MaryLancaster.com, and connect on Facebook. Find out more about Mary and her books at www.MaryLancaster.com.

Blog Tour Schedule04_Rebel of Ross_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Monday, August 8
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, August 9
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at Books and Benches

Wednesday, August 10
Excerpt at The Reading Queen
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Thursday, August 11
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Friday, August 12
Review at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, August 13
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, August 15
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review & Excerpt at Historical Fiction Obsession

Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, please see the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to internationally.
– 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.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/nJiWC/rebel-of-ross


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I’ll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

After losing her fiancé in the Vietnam War, nineteen-year-old Laurel Haley takes a job in England, hoping the distance will mend her shattered heart. Laurel expects the pain might lessen but does not foresee the beguiling man she meets or that they’ll go to Paris, where the city’s magic will take over and alter everything Laurel believes about love.

Thirty years later, Laurel’s daughter Annie is newly engaged and an old question resurfaces: who is Annie’s father and what happened to him? Laurel has always been vague about the details and Annie’s told herself it doesn’t matter. But with her impending marriage, Annie has to know everything. Why won’t Laurel tell her the truth?

The key to unlocking Laurel’s secrets starts with a mysterious book about an infamous woman known as the Duchess of Marlborough. Annie’s quest to understand the Duchess, and therefore her own history, takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a decaying estate kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately to Paris where answers will be found at last.

MY REVIEW:

I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS is the first book I’ve read by Michelle Gable (although, I DO own A PARIS APARTMENT).  It’s a love story, but first and foremost, it’s about family.

I adore multi-generational stories told from the perspective of different characters.  I get so much more from the story when I can see it from all sides and I was equally invested in each time period, which is rare for me.  Plus, all the characters are great and I especially loved the Duchess of Marlborough who’s a real firecracker (and a real person).  There is a great amount of witty banter between the characters who are well rounded and interesting, each in their own ways.

Although the narrative crawled a bit at times – in fact, it took me quite a bit to really get into it – once it picked up, I was hooked.  It’s an emotional read.

With a mystery that is, perhaps, a bit predictable, I give I’LL SEE YOU IN PARIS 3 stars ***.

I received an ebook copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  

 

 


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The Determined Heart by Antoinette May, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The daughter of political philosopher William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley had an unconventional childhood populated with the most talented and eccentric personalities of the time. After losing her mother at an early age, she finds herself in constant conflict with a resentful stepmother and a jealous stepsister. When she meets the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, she falls deeply in love, and they elope with disastrous consequences. Soon she finds herself destitute and embroiled in a torturous love triangle as Percy takes Mary’s stepsister as a lover. Over the next several years, Mary struggles to write while she and Percy face ostracism, constant debt, and the heartbreaking deaths of three children. Ultimately, she achieves great acclaim for Frankenstein, but at what cost?

MY REVIEW:

THE DETERMINED HEART by Antoinette May is the story of Mary (Wollstonecraft) Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and her fascinating life.  I knew nothing of Mary before reading this book, but that’s what I love best about Historical Fiction.  I was constantly going back and forth between reading and Googling pictures and facts about her, Bysshe, Claire, Lord Byron, and the rest of her circle.

I really enjoyed the book.  The author writes with a lot of detail which I always appreciate.  The characters are developed well – even though I didn’t not care for most of them!  Most of them were selfish and detestable and if I were Mary, I’m not sure I would have stuck with them for so long.  But, that didn’t take away from the pleasure I received from reading their stories.  I was particularly fascinated with how the story of her monster began in her mind and reading about its evolution.  For the most part, it seems like Mary was surrounded by horrible people which, in my eyes, makes her life all the more interesting and Frankenstein that much more of a triumph.

With an easy to read tale that perhaps ended a bit too abruptly for my taste, I give THE DETERMINED HEART 4 stars ****.

I received an ebook copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review


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AS DEATH DRAWS NEAR by by Anna Lee Huber Book Blast & Giveaway


As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery #5)

by Anna Lee Huber

Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Berkley
Harcover & eBook; 336 Pages

Series: Lady Darby Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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The latest mystery from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death tangles Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | IndieBound

Praise for the Lady Darby Mysteries

“Riveting…Huber deftly weaves together an original premise, an enigmatic heroine, and a compelling Highland setting for a book you won’t want to put down.”—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author

“[A] history mystery in fine Victorian style!”—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author03_Anna Lee Huber

“[A] fascinating heroine…A thoroughly enjoyable read!”—Victoria Thompson, national bestselling author

“[A] clever heroine with a shocking past and a talent for detection.”—Carol K. Carr, national bestselling author

About the Author

Anna Lee Huber is the Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author of the Lady Darby Mystery Series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN with a degree in music and a minor in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana, and when not working on her next book she enjoys reading, singing, traveling and spending time with her family.

For more information please visit www.annaleehuber.com. Connect with Anna Lee Huber on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

04_As Death Draws Near_Book Blast Banner_FINALTuesday, July 5
100 Pages a Day
Passages to the Past
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, July 6
Layered Pages
Buried Under Books
CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 7
The Lit Bitch
The Book Junkie Reads
A Dream within a Dream
To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, July 8
History Undressed
Diana’s Book Reviews

Saturday, July 9
A Chick Who Reads
Reading Is My SuperPower

Sunday, July 10
Book Drunkard

Monday, July 11
It’s a Mad Mad World
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, July 12
The Reading Queen
Curling up by the Fire

Wednesday, July 13
Brooke Blogs
Queen of All She Reads
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, July 14
Book Nerd
A Literary Vacation

Friday, July 15
A Holland Reads
Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber, please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada 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.

https://gleam.io/YtklW/as-death-draws-near-book-blast


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A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth, review


 

 

book_12.inddPublication Date: April 2016
Wise Ink Press

Series: Salt Kisses, Book One

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Romance/Mer-Stories

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Beautiful Crystal White is the new girl on the remote Starfish Island. During a party on the mainland, she goes for a midnight swim with other party goers where she meets the handsome, intriguing Llyr amongst the waves.

As she heads back to shore she realizes that he is not behind her and that nobody at the party remembers him. Crystal can’t seem to shake Llyr from her mind and returns to the beach in the hope of meeting him again. When she finally does, she realizes there may be more truth to the ramblings of the island folk than she thought.

To add more drama to her life, Crystal’s mother and her father are at war over a local power station that is devastating local marine life.

Over a sizzling roller coaster summer, it becomes apparent that all these events are not entirely unrelated and Crystal finds herself both caught up in a deep mystical romance and at the centre of an exploding environmental scandal…

My Review

A THOUSAND SALT KISSES by Josie Demuth is a YA book that is full of romance and mermaids/mermen and is perfect for  teen summer reading.  I’ve been wanting to find a book about mermaids – I’ve been intrigued with them since I was a kid – and had really high hopes for this book.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.  The writing and subject matter are geared more toward teens, but I’m not going to fault it for that because I’m WAYYY past those years.  The fault for me is in the predictability of it.  The story has good bones and I think so much more could have been done with it.  I found the characters to be bland and didn’t feel any connection to them.  While the book wasn’t for me, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from picking it up.

With a cute story that will appeal to the younger crowd, I give A THOUSAND SALT KISSES 3 stars ***.

 

About the Author

Josie is a 31 year-old writer from London. Her Salt Kisses books became popular on Wattpad, and are now also serialised on Radish Fiction. A Thousand Salt Kisses is her third book.

For more information please visit http://www.saltkissesbooks.com/ and https://josiedemuthwriting.wordpress.com/. You can follow author Josie Demuth on Facebook, Twitter,Goodreads, and Wattpad.

Blog Tour Schedule04_A Thousand Salt Kisses_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Monday, June 6
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, June 9
Excerpt at Brooke Blogs

Friday, June 10
Review at Bibliotica

Monday, June 13
Interview at I Heart Reading

Tuesday, June 14
Spotlight at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, June 15
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, June 17
Spotlight at AC Reads

Monday, June 20
Excerpt at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Tuesday, June 21
Spotlight at Fiction Conviction Book Blog

Friday, June 24
Spotlight at A Leisure Moment

Monday, June 27
Spotlight at It’s a Mad Mad World

Monday, July 4
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, July 5
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, July 8
Blog Tour Wrap Up at Book Junkie Promotions

Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a signed copy of A THOUSAND SALT KISSES, please see the GLEAM entry form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 8th. 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.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY!

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