Galerie by Steven Greenberg

02_GalerieGalerie by Steven Greenberg

Every family has secrets, but some are far darker, reach deeper, and touch a rawer nerve than others.

For Vanesa Neuman, the past is a closed book. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, her childhood in the cramped intimacy of south Tel Aviv is shadowed by her parentsí unspoken wartime experiences. But when her father passes away, the closed book falls literally open. Vanesa decides to unravel the mystery of the diary she has received, and strange symbol in it, at all costs.

Set against the backdrop of the Jewish Museum of Prague during the Nazi occupation – Adolf Eichmann’s “Museum of an Extinct Race” – Galerie is fast-paced historical fiction in the tradition of Tatiana De Rosnayís Sarahís Key. From Jerusalemís Yad VíShem Holocaust research center, to the backstreets of Prague, and into the former ìparadise ghettoî of Theresienstadt ñ Vanesaís journey of understanding will reveal a darker family past than she ever imagined and a secret kept alive for over half a century.

When Vanesa Neuman’s father dies, she gets her father’s old diary from the World War II time. Her parents were Holocaust survivors but never spoke about their past and Vanesa feels like she never really knew her parents. She wants to learn more about her family’s history so she travels to Prague with her father’s old diary, which has an odd symbol in it.

The book divides between 1970’s and 1990’s as present day setting place in Israel, Prague and USA. While I liked the book I wasn’t fan of the format. It jumps between different decades with different people telling the story and I was so confused much of the time. I got used to it with time though. The narrator, Vanesa’s husband, isn’t actually present in almost any of the events and seemed like he told what Vanesa had told him. At times he wasn’t sure if things had gone as he thought they had and that was little annoying.

It was interesting to read how Holocaust had such strong effects even to the survivor’s children and we also see how the survivors are treated after the war. I haven’t read much about the survivors in Israel after the war and this gave some light on that.

3,5/5

Published: Evolved Publishing (October 26, 2015)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

03_Steven GreenbergAbout the Author

Steven Greenberg is a professional writer, as well as a full-time cook, cleaner, chauffeur, and work-at-home Dad for three amazing young children, and the lucky husband of a loving and very supportive wife. Born in Texas and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Steven emigrated to Israel only months before the first Gulf War, following graduation from Indiana University in 1990. In 1996, he was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, where he served for 12 years as a Reserves Combat Medic. Since 2002, Steven has worked as an independent marketing writer, copywriter and consultant.

You can find more information at Steven Greenberg’s website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 5
Review at Library Educated

Wednesday, April 6
Review & Giveaway at Man of la Book
Interview at Library Educated

Thursday, April 7
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Friday, April 8
Review & Giveaway at Singing Librarian Books

Monday, April 11
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews

Tuesday, April 12
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, April 14
Review at Bookramblings
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, April 15
Review at Book Nerd

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The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie

The Rivals of Versailles

The Rivals of Versailles (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy 2) by Sally Christie

In this scandalous follow-up to Sally Christieís clever and absorbing debut, we meet none other than the Marquise de Pompadour, one of the greatest beauties of her generation and the first bourgeois mistress ever to grace the hallowed halls of Versailles. The year is 1745. Marie-Anne, the youngest of the infamous Nesle sisters and King Louis XVís most beloved mistress, is gone, making room for the next Royal Favorite.

Enter Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a stunningly beautiful girl from the middle classes. Fifteen years prior, a fortune teller had mapped out young Jeanneís destiny: she would become the lover of a king and the most powerful woman in the land. Eventually connections, luck, and a little scheming pave her way to Versailles and into the Kingís arms.

All too soon, conniving politicians and hopeful beauties seek to replace the bourgeois interloper with a more suitable mistress. As Jeanne, now the Marquise de Pompadour, takes on her many rivalsóincluding a lustful lady-in-waiting; a precocious fourteen-year-old prostitute, and even a cousin of the notorious Nesle sistersóshe helps the king give himself over to a life of luxury and depravity. Around them, war rages, discontent grows, and France inches ever closer to the Revolution.

Enigmatic beauty, social climber, actress, trendsetter, patron of the arts, spendthrift, whoremonger, friend, lover, foe. History books may say many things about the famous Marquise de Pompadour, but one thing is clear: for almost twenty years, she ruled France and the Kingís heart.

When Jeanne Poisson is a young child, a fortuneteller tells her that one day she will be the king’s mistress. From that time her whole life strives for her to become the mistress of king Louis XV’s mistress and her mother calls her Reinette from now on. She does fulfill that prediction and falls in love with the king but soon learns that her position won’t bring her friends in the court. She learns the ways of the court and is elevated to the title Marquise de Pompadour.

Like with the last book, The Sisters of Versailles, I hated all of the characters but I liked the book. That surely takes some talent.

I didn’t really warm to Pompadour who at first was too naïve and sometimes I wondered how she could keep her position. I can’t say exactly why she annoyed me but se did. But you have to admire her for rising from nowhere, becoming the confidante to the king and managing to stay there despite not sharing the kings bed. She’s practical enough allowing the king other mistresses and becoming more like a mother figure for him.

I didn’t like Louis in the first book and I liked him even less here. I just wanted to shake him so many times. He’s come far from the man who had doubts about straying from his wife’s bed. He really started the path to the Revolution and it’s a shame he’s not the one to pay for it. I wondered how Pompadour could put up with him so long because he really wasn’t easy man to be with.

The first part was from Pompadour’s view point but in the later it shifts between her and some of the girls trying to get in her place. Through their eyes you can see how Pompadour has learnt her lessons in shrewdness.

I really enjoyed this and I can’t wait for the next and final book.

4/5

Published: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster (April 5, 2016)
Format: ebook
Pages: 448
Source: France Book Tours

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sisters of Versailles - Sally Christie

Sally Christie
is the author of The Sisters of Versailles.
She was born in England and grew up around the world,
attending eight schools in three different languages.
She spent most of her career working
in international development and currently lives in Toronto.

Learn more about the sisters and the mistresses in the Versailles trilogy on her website
Become a fan to hear about her next novels!

Visit her Facebook Page

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Follow Simon & Schuster on Twitter and Facebook

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Mailbox Monday (11.4.2016)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

books11.4.16
The Second World War by Antony Beevor (purchased)
Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione (bought)
Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione (bought)
Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen by Kathryn Warner (bought)
The House of Godwine: The History of a Dynasty by Emma Mason (bought)
Aethelred II: King of the English, 978-1016 by Ryan Lavelle (bought)
The Life and Times of Edward II by Caroline Bingham (bought)

Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham

hanging maryHanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham

The untold story of Lincoln’s Assassination

1864, Washington City. One has to be careful with talk of secession, of Confederate whispers falling on Northern ears. Better to speak only when in the company of the trustworthy. Like Mrs. Surratt.

A widow who runs a small boardinghouse on H Street, Mary Surratt isn’t half as committed to the cause as her son, Johnny. If he’s not delivering messages or escorting veiled spies, he’s invited home men like John Wilkes Booth, the actor who is even more charming in person than he is on the stage.

But when President Lincoln is killed, the question of what Mary knew becomes more important than anything else. Was she a cold-blooded accomplice? Just how far would she go to help her son?

Based on the true case of Mary Surratt, Hanging Mary reveals the untold story of those on the other side of the assassin’s gun. (publisher)

I have to confess that I don’t know much about Lincoln and hadn’t ever heard of Mary Surratt before. So this was all very new for me. I don’t usually read books about US history but I’ve loved Higginbotham’s previous books and wanted to give this a chance. And I’m glad I did.

Mary Surrat is a widower living in Washington trying to make living after her husband’s death left her in debts. She started to run a boardinghouse and business has started to pic up when President Lincoln is assassinated and the whole house is under suspicion. The man accused of the murder, John Wilkes Booth, is a friend of Mary’s son Johnny and has been spending time in the boardinghouse. Johnny is also one of the accused and Mary can’t believe her son has anything to do with the murder.
Nora Fitzpartick is one of the boarders who befriends Booth and becomes a suspect because of her friends.

It started little slow but soon started to pick up the pace and I wanted to keep reading wanting to know what would happen.

I resisted googling what would happen hoping someone would believe Mary and give her pardon. I liked Mary and Nora, even if Mary was little too blind to see what her doted son was up to. Nora was loyal to her friends until the end and trying everything she could do to save Mary.

I really liked this and I learned so much more about the period.

3,5/5

Published: Sourcebooks (March 2016)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

Mailbox Monday (7.3.2016)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

Here’s what I got in the last 3 weeks:

books7.3.2016
Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews (bought)
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews (bought)
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (purchased)
King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta by Marc Morris (purchased)
Augustus: From Revolutionary to Emperor by Adrian Goldsworthy (purchased)
A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii by Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Ben Kane (bought)

Médicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

medicis-daughterMédicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history. (publisher)

The book started really slow and I was thinking about quitting but at halfway through it changed when things started to happen. I’m glad I kept reading because the latter part was really good.

We follow Margot from her childhood when she joins the court of her brother Charles IX to St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. During that time, she learns to get less innocent and learn to stand up to herself.

My biggest problem, especially at the start, was Margot. I didn’t like her and she was just too naïve. How Catherine de Médici could have such a naïve daughter is a wonder. She did got more likeable towards the end but for some reason I never really warmed up for her.
However, I did like how everyone else was presented in the book. Since books usually focus on Catherine de Médici, it was especially interesting to see her through the eyes of her daughter.

This book doesn’t cover her whole life, and I was left wondering how Perinot would have covered her later life. This was my first book by the author and now I’m more curious to read The Sister Queens which I own.

3,5/5

Published: St. Martin’s Press (December 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley

Kings or Pawns: The Kings (Book I) by J.J. Sherwood

Kings or PawnsKings or Pawns: The Kings (Book I) by J.J. Sherwood

J.J. Sherwood’s debut novel KINGS OR PAWNS: THE KINGS, BOOK 1 is the first in a high fantasy epic series sure to please fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.

The year is 8994 P.E., and the city of Elvorium is corrupted—rotted to the core by the machinations of depraved politicians. With his father dead and the country facing a rebellion, Price Hairem becomes the king of the elven world of Sevrigel in one of its most turbulent points in history.

Young and daring, Hairem is determined to eradicate the corruption festering in Elvorium’s self-serving and all-powerful council, which thwarts his best intentions at every turn. But Hairem’s problems are far more sinister¬—and deadly—than merely political. The loyal members of the council are being savagely murdered by an assassin loosed within the city—an assassin whose brutality knows no bounds. Outside of the city, the Lord Saebellus wages a vicious rebellion against the capital. He has been thwarted thus far by the brilliant General Jikun, and Hairem is certain that the general can crush Saebellus.

But instead of continuing the campaign against the warlord, the council orders Jikun’s army to be split, sending him on a mission that furthers only their own wealth and power. Jikun knows that the council’s demands will leave Elvorium vulnerable to an attack from the formidable warlord. Although Saebellus has been recently defeated, he is far from vanquished. As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the rebel Saebellus seizes the opportunity to lay siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital and unleash his most powerful weapon yet: a demonic beast that neither weapon nor magic can kill. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem is grasping for his own power to fight against the forces that threaten Sevrigel.

Will Hairem overcome the council’s scheming and duplicity? Can General Jikun defeat the warlord Saebellus? Will this be the war that finally brings Sevrigel to its knees? KINGS OR PAWNS offers action, intrigue, mystery, and suspense—a thrilling story that will leave readers hungry for the sequel, Heroes or Thieves, to be published in February 2016.

At first, I was little confused with this world, who is who and what’s going on but after I got those cleared, I really enjoyed the story.

This focuses on elven world, which was a nice change for me because usually elves team up to fight the bad guys or whatever but here we see elves fight against other elves.

There’s lot of court politics and back stabbings going on and I felt bad for the new king Hairem. He is little too naïve and idealistic for this world and doesn’t have much experience about dealing with the elven council. He’s nice and fair to the servants and I loved the great relationship with his servant Alvena, who is also mute. Hopefully we will see more of her in the next book.

This was a great debut and I’m looking forward to the next book.

4/5

Published: Silver Helm Publishing (October 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 373
Source: iRead Book Tours

About the Author

J.J. SherwoodJ.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit StepsofPower.com. J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

 

 

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