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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Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage, review


02_Under the Approaching DarkUnder the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: April 28, 2017
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 424 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.

After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.

In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much.

When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.

“The writing is impeccable. The story has everything. Under the Approaching Dark is just perfect in every sense” – Sharon Bennett Connolly, History The Interesting Bits

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

My Review

UNDER THE APPROACHING DARK is another stellar achievement from author, Anna Belfrage.  Book three in the King’s Greatest Enemy series is just as great as the first two and I feel so fortunate to have been on all three blog tours so far!

This book begins in 1327–Edward the second has been incarcerated and Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer are in charge of the realm, much to the chagrin of the young king, Edward III.  All the court intrigue (I’m tired of using that phrase ALL the time when reviewing historical fiction, but hey.. that’s what it is!!), romance, hatred, and bloodshed we’d expect to find are there for the reader to devour.  It’s nice to read a familiar story with fresh characters that give it a different spin.  Plus, I very much like Kit better in this book.  She’s definitely growing on me.  🙂

Thank you Anna for writing such a great book and series and thank you to Amy from HFVBT for asking me to be on another fabulous tour!

 

03_Anna BelfrageAbout the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

04_Under the Approaching Dark_Blog Tour Banner_FINALBlog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, May 2
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, May 3
Review at A Book Drunkard

Thursday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads

Friday, May 5
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, May 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, May 9
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, May 1

Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, May 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, May 12
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Tuesday, May 16
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Wednesday, May 17
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, May 19
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Monday, May 22
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, May 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at The Muse in the Fog Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 24
Excerpt at Jo’s Book Blog
Spotlight at The Paperback Princess

Thursday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, May 26
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests

Sunday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Books and Benches

Monday, May 29
Guest Post at Yelena Casale’s Blog

Tuesday, May 30
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog


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Solo by Jill Mansell, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

It all starts at a party, as these things often do…

– A one-night stand with far-reaching consequences
– Momentarily enamored guests going home with all the wrong people
– An unfaithful wife struck by jealousy and getting a dose of her own medicine
– A shocking family secret revealed at the worst possible moment

One fling follows another, and now the whole community is embroiled in a great big web of deceit, the untangling of which will charm you, amuse you, make you laugh and make you cry.

MY REVIEW:

I’m not going to lie.  This is not my favourite Jill Mansell book.  The story line is just okay, the characters were annoying for the most part (I did enjoy a few of the minor characters–the book should have been about them) and I was seriously galled that either of the main male characters should end up with women in the end.  They are AWFUL!  The only thing they should have ended up with is syphilis.

BUT, I read the entire thing and wasn’t able to put it down so there is that.

With great writing I always expect from Jill Mansell, but with the worst bunch of characters I’ve had the displeasure of meeting in a long time, I give SOLO, 2.5 stars.

I received an ebook copy of this title from SOURCEBOOKS Landmark via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review

 


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The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

What secrets are hiding in the heart of Paris?

At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.

But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.

Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.

MY REVIEW:

I’m just going to get the boring aspects of this review out of the way first–  I love the dual narrative, the characters are fantastic, I enjoyed the writing style, I felt like I was there, I want to eat macarons really badly right now.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author.  It has everything I look for when I’m searching for a new book to read and/or review– some sort of historical aspect, easy flow, interesting twists, plots that keep you guessing, a gorgeous cover, and, of course, some romance.  It doesn’t hurt that it was interesting from the start.  Nothing kills a book quicker than a slow beginning.  Life is too short to read a boring book, so make it interesting on the first page!  Laura Madeleine created engaging characters and was able to depict early 1900’s Paris with ease.  In THE CONFECTIONER’S TALE, Petra learns about her grandfather’s surprising life after an autobiographer hints at a scandal.  In an effort to maintain his reputation, she takes it upon herself to find out his story before it’s told to the world.  In the end, the book made me cry.

With a love story peppered (sugared?) with mystery, I give THE CONFECTIONER’S TALE 4 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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Delilah: Treasonous Beauty by Angela Hunt, review


ABOUT THE BOOK

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.
When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.

MY REVIEW

DELILAH: TREASONOUS BEAUTY by Angela is the third book in her Dangerous Beauty series.  The author has a real knack for Biblical Fiction, making the story feel authentic (for those who don’t believe in the Bible) with rich details of a long ago era.

Delilah isn’t mentioned much in the Bible, so mostly I thought of her a woman who betrayed a man who was born to serve God.  This book gave me a different insight into the woman who cut Samson’s hair and took his strength away.  I hadn’t really thought about her past and what drove her in life.  In the end, I felt pity for her and could see the reasons behind her decisions.  Of course, we will never know the true reasons behind the betrayal, but Angela Hunt weaves a compelling argument into the interesting tale.

I’m never disappointed by this author’s books.  I devour them quickly and eagerly await the next one.  This is easily my favourite so far.

With a different look into a well known Biblical story, I give DELILAH: TREASONOUS BEAUTY 5 stars *****.

*I received an ebook copy of this book from Bethany House via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review*

 

 


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A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams, review


ABOUT THE BOOK

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

 

MY REVIEW

I love reading a book that completely transports me to another era and makes me wish I had been born there.  A CERTAIN AGE by Beatriz Willams is such a book.  It kept me happily ensconced in the Jazz age–a period in time I can only dream about..  or read about.

The book alternates between two voices.  Theresa, a ‘confident on the outside, sensitive on the inside’ married socialite who knows the ropes and how to use them.  And, sweet, naive Sophie who wants to break free of life planned out for her but is too afraid.  Theresa is the one I preferred the most of the two.  I’m not sure if it’s because we are both “women of a certain age” or because I saw myself in her a few times, but I was rooting for her to get her happy ending.  With a mysterious family secret making its way into the story, this book has it all.

This is the first book I’ve read by Beatriz Williams and I was so impressed that I went and bought another straight away.  I work at a book store and when people ask for books about this era, I immediately hand them this one.  She has an elegant writing style that flows easily and creates a different world for the reader to live in.

With love, murder, betrayal, and booze, I give A CERTAIN AGE by Beatriz Williams 5 stars *****.

*I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for my honest review*

 


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Read-A-Thon opening survey


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? Marlene by C.W. Gortner
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Baguette with hummus and spinach dip
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  Married mom of two teen girls who works at a book store
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? Not beat myself up if I feel the need to nap. And, be happy even if I only complete one book!