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 Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

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.

MY REVIEW: 

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.

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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

 


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The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow by Laini Giles, review


The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow by Laini Giles

Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Sepia Stories Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 341 Pages

Series: Forgotten Actresses, Book #2
Gere: Historical Fiction/Biographical

Daisy DeVoe has left her abusive husband, her father has been pinched for bootlegging, and she’s embarrassed by her rural Kentucky roots. But on the plus side, she’s climbing the ladder in the salon of Paramount Pictures, styling hair for actress Clara Bow.

Clara is a handful. The “It” Girl of the Jazz Age personifies the new woman of the 1920s onscreen, smoking, drinking bootleg hooch, and bursting with sex appeal. But her conduct off the set is even more scandalous. Hoping to impose a little order on Clara’s chaotic life, Paramount persuades Daisy to sign on as Clara’s personal secretary.

Thanks to Daisy, Clara’s bank account is soon flush with cash. And thanks to Clara, Daisy can finally shake off her embarrassing past and achieve respectability for herself and her family.

The trouble begins when Clara’s newest fiancé, cowboy star Rex Bell, wants to take over, and he and Daisy battle for control. Torn between her loyalty to Clara and her love for her family, Daisy has to make a difficult choice when she ends up in the county jail.

Here, Daisy sets the record straight, from her poverty-stricken childhood to her failed marriage; from a father in San Quentin to her rollercoaster time with Clara, leaving out none of the juicy details.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble Chapters

 

My Review

The Jazz Age.  Classic Hollywood.  Clara Bow.

These words, or any combination thereof, make any book a must read for me.  I have long been enthralled with the glamour of the 1920s and of how women began to change and become more in charge of themselves.  If I could go back and live in any era, this would probably be the one.  I totally would have been a suffragette.

This book, as with the first book in the author’s Forgotten Actresses series, had me entertained from the very start.  Her characters are smart and witty and tough.  Daisy DeVoe didn’t have an easy start, but she made it work and pushed through her poverty only to become the personal secretary to none other than Clara Bow, Hollywood’s “It” girl.

Laini Giles writes the absolute best books I’ve read set during this era.  Painstaking research is apparent in each word and the reader is transported to a world we can only dream of.  The tale is told through Daisy which gives us a chance to see deeply into the lives of both of these women.  I hadn’t heard of Daisy before and was thrilled to learn that her story is true.  I was enchanted from the start and couldn’t wait to see how it all ended, yet I did not want it to end.  Excellent book and must read for anyone who is a fan of Old Hollywood.

 

About the Author

 

Originally from the counterculture mecca of Austin, Texas, Laini discovered a love of reading early on, and when she was eight, decided to be Nancy Drew. This dream was dashed when she realized she was actually a big chicken, and that there were no guarantees of rescue from tarantulas, bad guys with guns, and other fiendish plot twists. She finished her first “mystery novel” (with custom illustrations) when she was nine.

She set the writing aside for a while when life got in the way, but was led back to it through her interest in genealogy and 18 months of enforced unemployment due to moving north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer. Reading old microfilm stirred new life into her interest in writing, and watching early silent films struck the match.

Like most other writers, most of her monthly budget is spent on coffee and books. She lives with her husband and their two gray cats in Edmonton, Alberta.

For more information, please visit Laini Giles’ website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

 

Blog Tour Schedule

 

Wednesday, November 1
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Thursday, November 2
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, November 3
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, November 6
Review at Bookish

Tuesday, November 7
Feauture at WS Momma Readers Nook

Thursday, November 9
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Friday, November 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, November 13
Review at Creating Herstory
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, November 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, November 17
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Monday, November 20
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, November 22
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 23
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, November 24
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Saturday, November 25
Excerpt at T’s Stuff

Tuesday, November 28
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Wednesday, November 29
Review at A Book Drunkard


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Twilight Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome by Faith L. Justice, review.


Twilight Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome
by Faith L. Justice

Publication Date: May 12, 2017
Raggedy Moon Books
eBook & Print; 392 Pages

Series: The Theodosian Women, Book 1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Action & Adventure

 

Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman—Galla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queen—Placidia does the unthinkable—she rules the failing Western Roman Empire—a life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesn’t seek, but can’t refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries.

A woman as well as an Empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her strength, tenacity and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun? Or will the Dark Ages creep closer and bring down the Empire?

Amazon US | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

My Review

TWILIGHT EMPRESS by Faith L. Justice is exactly the type of book I mention when people ask me why I love Historical Fiction so much.  Like the author, I’m a history junkie, so I appreciate her writing style and the research and time it takes to create a story set during an era long forgotten.

Placidia is a wonderful character.  She’s not one accept her fate when things get tough, and sadly, that was a lot!  She’s strong and loving and gracious.  She’s not someone I’ve heard of before and I completely devoured her story.  In times such as this, it’s nice to read about a strong woman in a man’s world.

I’m thrilled I was able to learn something new while reading this book.  It’s an incredible and inspirational journey.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie, which is reflected in her writing. Her short stories and poems have appeared in such publications as “The Copperfield Review”, “Beyond Science Fiction and Fantasy”, and the “Circles in the Hair” anthology. Faith has published in such venues as “Salon.com”, “Writer’s Digest”, “The Writer”, and “Bygone Days”. She’s an Associate Editor for “Space & Time Magazine”, a frequent contributor to “Strange Horizons”, and co-founded a writer’s workshop more years ago than she cares to admit.

To contact Faith, read her essays and interviews, or get a sneak preview of her historical novels, visit her website at www.faithljustice.com. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 11
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 12
Feature at The Hungry Bookworm
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, September 13
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 14
Feature at The Reading Queen

Friday, September 15
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, September 18
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, September 19
Review at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Wednesday, September 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Thursday, September 21
Feature at A Holland Reads

Friday, September 22
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, September 26
Feature at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, September 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review & Giveaway at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, October 4
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 5
Review at A Bookish Affair


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Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle Moran, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.

As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father’s cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous dancer.

From exotic Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who “expertly balances fact and fiction” (Associated Press) brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.

MY REVIEW:

Michelle Moran has long been one of my favourite authors and I have enjoyed every one of her books so far.  MATA HARI’S LAST DANCE is no exception.

I knew little about Mata Hari when I picked up this book other than that she was a spy.  Margareth Zelle MacLeod, also known as “M’greet”, didn’t have an easy life growing up, nor during her years of marriage. Learning her background was much appreciated and helped me to understand her choices later in life.  I don’t often cry reading books, but this one had me in tears at the end.  Is it weird that even though I knew the history, I still hoped for a different ending??

Moran has a knack for writing about strong female characters in history.  I always feel more akin to them after I’ve read her books.  Her writing style is easy and smooth and I fly through the pages while wishing sleep and work weren’t things.  Also, the cover is stunning!!

The book is on the slim side and if I had a complaint, that would be it.  I wish the book had been longer so that the story didn’t feel rushed.  There was much I would have loved to had expanded.  However I do understand that too much of the same thing–dances and conquests–could have weighed the story down too much and made it bland.  I’m looking forward to what Michelle Moran writes next!

4 stars

Thank you to Touchstone for the ebook version via NetGalley


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Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly Hall, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

MY REVIEW:

LILAC GIRLS by Martha Kelly Hall is the story of three women from three different countries–Poland, Germany, and the USA–who lived during the Holocaust.  Most of the book is centered around Ravensbrück, Hitler’s only all female concentration camp where horrific testing and operations are performed.    The tale is often, understandably, quite brutal.  While the backgrounds of the women are completely different, they come together in a way that is both tragic and triumphant.

The story is told through the voices of the three women, each with their own narrative and easily distinguishable.  The author has fictionalized a heartbreaking historical event and shown us what life may have been like during that time.  Parallels to current day events were startling at times.  Photos of the women featured in the story at the end of the book made me enjoy it even more.

5 stars.

 


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The Mourning Ring by Sarah Parke, review


Publication Date: October 10, 2016
CreateSpace
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fantasy

READ AN EXCERPT.

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Bronte lives to tell stories. She longs to improve her fortunes through her writing. Charlotte’s father expects her to leave behind her childish fantasies in order to set an example for her three younger siblings.

But the Bronte children hold a secret in their veins—a smidgen of fairy blood that can bring their words to life.

When Charlotte discovers that the characters from their childish stories exist in an alternate world called Glass Town, she jumps at the opportunity to be the heroine of her own tale.

The city of Angria teeters on the brink of civil war and Charlotte and her siblings must use their magic and their wits to save its people from a tyrant with magic abilities. But entering the fictional world means forfeiting control of their own creations. If they fail, the characters they have come to know and love will be destroyed.

Charlotte is determined to save the city and characters she loves, but when the line between creator and character becomes blurred, will she choose her fantasy or her family?

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

My Review

THE MOURNING RING by Sarah Parke is a fantastical tale of the Brontë siblings during their childhoods and how they found out they had fairy blood running through their veins.  When they discover that the characters in their imaginary kingdom of Angria are in trouble, the foursome take a magical journey to save the day.

This is Sarah Parke’s debut novel and I can only hope that she continues down this road.  The story is imaginative and well told, suitable for youngsters and adults alike–especially those like me who have a bit of Peter Pan in them.  It was interesting to envision the Brontë’s as teenagers as I usually view them as adults.  I was especially happy to learn of Tales of Angria, a book written before their more famous works as it gives me something new to read by some of my favourite authors.

With the perfect mix of historical fiction and fantasy, I give THE MOURNING RING 4 stars ****.

 

Thank you to Amy from Historical Fiction Virtual Books Tours for asking me to be part of the blog tour.  

 

About the Author

Sarah Parke writes fantasy and historical fiction (sometimes at the same time) for young adult readers and those young at heart.

She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. Her work has been published internationally, most recently in the July 2015 issue of The Writer magazine.

For more information, please visit Sarah Parke’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, April 20
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Review, Excerpt & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, April 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Review & Excerpt at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Saturday, April 22
Interview at T’s Stuff
Review at A Book Drunkard

Sunday, April 23
Review, Excerpt, & Interview at Quitterstrip

Monday, April 24
Review & Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, April 25
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books 
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, April 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at A Chick Who Reads