The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M. J. Rose

The Witch of Painted Sorrows cover

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle …poque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmotherís Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists itís dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrineís deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threatenóher cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. Sheís become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrineís ìwild night of the soul,î her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

This is the second book I’ve read from the author and it seems that she manages to make me love books about subjects I know nothing about. I don’t know a first thing about art but this was really interesting.

When we first meet Sandrine she’s insecure woman who is still grieving for her father, running from her husband and her old life. She’s very likeable and you cannot but feel sorry for her. We see Sandrine become more sure of herself and falling passionately in love. After becoming possessed she starts slowly changing, and not always for the better.

Old family secrets starts to unravel and it seems Sandrine’s grandmother knows more than she tells. Why she warns Sandrine to never fall in love? Even though her grandmother is a courtesan, Sandrine has lived very proper life and grandmother isn’t very happy when Sandrine starts to find her sexuality.

Very enjoyable and gripping read that kept me wanting to know what happens next.

4/5

Published: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster (March 17, 2015)
Format: ebook, hardcover
Pages: 384
Source: France Book Tours

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mj-roseNew York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City
mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum,
the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park
and reading her motherís favorite books before she was allowed.
She believes mystery and magic are all around us
but we are too often too busy to noticeÖ
books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Please visit her website, her blog: Museum of Mysteries
Subscribe to her mailing list

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ OTHER REVIEWS AND AN INTERVIEW

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Spotlight – Spoils of Olympus: By The Sword by Christian Kachel

02_By the Sword_CoverPublication Date: September 29, 2014 (Kindle), November 10, 2014 (Print)
Publisher: Endeavour Press (Kindle), Createspace (Print)

Formats: eBook, Print
Pages: 370
Series: The Spoils of Olympus
Genre: Historical Fiction/Military Fiction

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READ AN EXCERPT.

322 B.C. The Macedonian Empire is on the verge of civil war following the sudden death of Alexander the Great.

As a boy, Andrikos watched as Alexander’s army marched through his homeland of Greek Ionia after defeating the Persians at the Granicus River on their way to the total conquest of the Persian Empire. Soon he will be embroiled in their world, forced to flee his old life due to an unintentional crime.

Thrust into the army, Andrikos struggles to cope with the brutal yet necessary training which his superiors put him through to prepare for the coming wars of succession as Alexander’s surviving generals seek to divide and conquer the spoils of Olympus.

But Andrikos is not destined to be a nameless soldier; by chance he is chosen for a clandestine mission – and is immersed in a world of intrigue, violence and brotherhood.

The path that lies ahead of Andrikos requires him to shed his immaturity and take on the responsibilities and emotions of a man beyond his years as he struggles to save Alexander’s legacy from those who wish to usurp it.

The Spoils of Olympus: By the Sword is a historical epic which follows the advancements of one soldier from boy to man set during a time of global conflict.

Praise for The Spoils of Olympus

“Kachel does a wonderful job portraying the development of Andrikos from awkward, immature youth to confident and skilled operative.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“5 stars out of 5. All day long.” (Ancient & Medieval Mayhem)

Buy the Book

Amazon

About the Author03_Christian Kachel_Author

I am a Long Island, NY native and current resident of Northern Virginia. While attending the University of Maryland- College Park, the events of September 11, 2001 inspired me to join the U.S. Army ROTC program and volunteer for three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan upon my commissioning into the Army Reserves in 2003. I hold three Master’s degrees and work in the defense industry.

The Spoils of Olympus has been a 2 1/2 year project that began in a Marriott hotel room in San Antonio, Texas while attending pre deployment training for a tour in Afghanistan in late 2011. The wars of succession immediately following the death of Alexander the Great have always fascinated me despite being overshadowed in the history books by the life and times of Alexander himself. Many great novels have been written about ancient Greece and Alexander but few fictional works have explored this forgotten era in western civilization where Alexander’s generals, who were once allies, battled each other for control of the largest empire on earth.

By the Sword is the first novel in The Spoils of Olympus series and introduces us to the story’s protagonist, Andrikos. The book follows him from an adolescence of criminality and capriciousness to his forced enlistment in the wars of succession; taking him from the battlefields of Asia Minor to the Achaemenid palaces of the Persian Empire. It is my hope readers will enjoy the story while learning about this important time in history.

For more information please visit Christian Kachel’s website. You can also find him on Facebook.

The Spoils of Olympus: By the Sword Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 2

Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 4

Interview & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, March 6

Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Monday, March 9

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, March 10

Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, March 11

Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, March 12

Review at bookramblings

Review at The Mad Reviewer

Friday, March 13

Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

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Age of Iron by Angus Watson

age of ironAge of Iron (Iron Age 1) by Angus Watson

LEGENDS AREN’T BORN. THEY’RE FORGED.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar’s army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar’s most fearsome warriors, who’s vowed revenge on the king for her sister’s execution.

Now Dug’s on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that’s going to get them all killed . . .

It’s a glorious day to die. (Goodreads)

I really wanted to love this but I didn’t. I like fantasy and I like history so this should be perfect book for me, right?
I think the biggest problem was that I thought this was a fantasy book. But it was in Britain, Romans are coming and Germany was also mentioned. Just because you add pagan gods and add few druids and their magic doesn’t make it proper fantasy book for me. If I think it as a historical book then the too modern language would bother me. At some point I wanted to start counting how many times shagging was mentioned but that would have meant too much commitment.

I didn’t mind the blood, gore or mentions of rape but that could be a problem for someone. I’m pretty sure that every time new female character was introduced we’re told how her face, hair, boobs and ass looks. And it got tiresome after awhile.

Aithne was big-boned, big-arsed, busty and tall with hair the colour of piss-soaked stable straw, while Lowa was average height, slender, with hair so blonde it was almost white. Admittedly she was on the stocky side of slender. Riding and archery had built muscle, and a keen observer would have seen that her right shoulder and arm were bigger than her left from drawing the longbow, but she was slim-waisted and supple, with a bottom that lobbed slingstones would have bounced off. Aithne had the small-featured, freckled face of a milkmaid. Lowa had the pale skin and high cheekbones of a fairy princess. Aithne had dark, bovine eyes with long, heavy lashes. Lowa’s eyes were blue, pale-lashed and slanted like a wildcat’s. Aithne was gregarious while Lowa watched from the edges. Aithne was confused and idealistic where Lowa was logical and pragmatic. Aithne was a glutton for food and booze, often to be found vomiting before bed, while Lowa never overate and had never been sick after drinking. Aithne was two years older, but Lowa had been the leader as long as she could remember. (pg.53)

I couldn’t care less about the characters and I was so bored that I had to force myself to open the book. The writing wasn’t bad but unfortunately that’s not enough to make this good. But I liked that there is strong women who went to battles, and fought well, so that is a bonus and earned higher rating.

This definitely wasn’t for me but everyone else seems to love this so don’t take my word for this.

2/5

Published: Orbit (2014)
Format: paperback
Pages: 523
Source: my own

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

Sea WitchSea Witch (Sea Witch Voyages 1) by Helen Hollick

The time: the golden age of piracy – 1716

The Place: the Pirate Round – from South Africa to the Islands of the Caribbean

At 15 Jesamiah Acorne escapes the bullying of his elder half brother to become a pirate with only two loves – the sea and his freedom. But his life is to change after an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa when he meets the mysterious Tiola Oldstagh, an insignificant girl – or so he assumes until he discovers her true identity, that of a white witch. Tiola and Jesamiah becomes lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten also wants Tiola as his wife. Meanwhile, Jesamiah’s half-brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past.

When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship, the Sea Witch, is put in Jesamiah’s path he must choose between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both… but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.

Tiola must use her gift of Craft to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural presence of Tethys, the goddess of the sea, who will stop at nothing to claim the soul of Jesamiah Acorne for herself. (publisher)

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about pirates so this was interesting. I’ve liked the pirate movies I’ve seen though. Erroll Flynn, people!

I was curious to see how Hollick will show the pirates because I liked her King Arthur books and Arthur wasn’t all nice guy. We get realistic picture of pirate life, there’s murder, whores and lot of rum but Jesamiah is still very likeable guy. Who doesn’t love a man with troubling past? We also meet Jesamiah’s half-brother who is total asshole and while he didn’t have happy childhood either, he’s still an asshole.

Our heroine is Tiola, who also happens to be a witch, carries her own secrets about her past. She first sees Jesamiah when she is quite young and has a crush on him ever since but I liked that when they meet again, despite her crush she holds on to her morals and doesn’t blindly follow Jesamiah and his pirate ways.

The only thing I wasn’t huge fan was the mystical element; Tiola’s craft and especially Tethys. I’m not fan in general mixing magic and historical fiction so that’s not a surprise. It didn’t ruin the book or anything but I could have lived without it.

This was fun and enjoyable read and I learned a lot about ships and what everything is called.

4/5

Published: SilverWood Books (2011)
Format: eBook
Pages: 314
Source: Author

The Blood of The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

Powell_Knight_Cover_Template_UK.inddThe Blood of The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

A triumphant sequel to Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight. A desperate king trusts a lone knight to unravel a web of murder.

England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

I haven’t read the first book and while this works as stand-alone, I wish I had read the previous book. I think there’s lot more to Benedict and Theodosia’s tale than we learn here.

While Henry’s relationship with Rosamund isn’t new to me it was still interesting to read. For me Rosamund’s portrayal was nice change from what I’ve usually read about her. Which is logical considering that Henry was quite older than she… Geoffrey was also very interesting because most times he’s very minor character and I liked reading more about him.

I liked the relationship between Benedict and Theodosia; they’re very loyal and committed to each other. I really wish I had read the first book because I’m curious to know how they met.

I’m very bad with mysteries but I did not see who the villain was. I was so sure I knew who it was but I was totally wrong!

I loved this book and I have to read the first book soon!

4,5/5

Published: Thomas & Mercer (2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 368
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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You can check the tour schedule here

About the author

E.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller THE FIFTH KNIGHT which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State) she now lives in the north west of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is a reviewer of fiction and non-fiction for the HNS. Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Mailbox Monday (26.1.)

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

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Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper (bookmooch)
The Three Edwards by Thomas B. Costain (bookmooch)
Love Letters Of Henry VIII To Anne Boleyn (bookmooch)
Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors by Chris Skidmore (purchased)
Age of Iron by Angus Watson (purchased)
Knife-Sworn by Mazarkis Williams (purchased)
All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein (bookmooch)
Elizabeth of York by Arlene Naylor Okerlund (bought)

Mailbox Monday (18.1)

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

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Isabel The Fair by Margaret Campbell Barnes (bought)
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (bought)
Täältä Pohjoiseen – Sentencedin Tarina by Matti Riekki (bought)
The Canmores: Kings & Queens of the Scots 1040-1290 by Richard Oram (bought)
Judgement of the Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt by Joyce A. Tyldesley (bought)