Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

shadow scaleShadow Scale (Seraphina 2) by Rachel Hartman

As Seraphina travels the Southlands in search of the other half-breeds to help in the war effort, the dragon General Comonot and his Loyalists fight against the upstart Old Guard, with the fate of Goredd and the other human countries hanging in the balance. (Goodreads)

Oh dear, I don’t know what to say here… Because I loved the first book and I almost didn’t finish this one. So yeah, I’m disappointed…

It was just so boring. Seraphina leaves the castle to find other half-dragons. She meets new half-dragon, there’s drama, she meets another one, there’s more drama and so on.

We barely see Kiggs, the love interest of our heroine, and even less of her uncle Orma. We see very little of the people from the first book and instead there’s lot of new half-dragons.

Then there’s Jannoula who’s the main villain of the book. And the sad fact is that this is more Jannoula’s book than Seraphina’s. Jannoula is manipulator and good strategist who has no kindness or remorse. Seraphina is just an observer to these things.

I really wanted to love this but sadly it ended up being a disappointment.

2/5

Published: Random House (March 2015)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 596
Source: library

Incurable by E.C. Moore

02_Incurable_CoverIncurable by E.C. Moore

Her menacing past was loose and in close pursuit. The fear of the thing lived in her eyes, and trepidation sounded with each step her heels made as she fled.

Los Angeles 1956. Marilyn Palmer is a beauty with a deep dark secret. After a threatening note from a blackmailer arrives she hires a private eye to help keep her unsavory past under wraps.

Incurable is a story wrought with impetuous and regrettable decisions made by a desperate young woman. Barely eighteen years old, and a gifted seamstress, she makes the ill-fated decision to run away from her Detroit home with a wily friend. Bound for Hollywood, and seeking stardom, the girls set out on an incredible journey.

This splendidly imagined debut explores the tumultuous life and times of a woman who suffered the ultimate betrayal as a child during the Great Depression. A story of survival set against the backdrop of early Hollywood, misery on Hotel Street in Honolulu before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and heartbreak in Los Angeles during WWII, Incurable delivers an emotional intensity rarely found.

The book started little slow but it sure did pick up later on. The girls surely didn’t live a quiet time!

The book jumps between Marilyn’s past and present but it was easy to keep up. Marilyn grows to a strong woman who despite everything that happens just finds her way forward. Now she’s married with a baby and believes she’s put her past behind her but discovers that past isn’t so easy to erase.

Her friend June is completely the opposite of Marilyn; carefree and spontaneous with no thought of tomorrow. I gotta say that I didn’t care much of her and she was my least favourite character. I can’t believe how naïve Marilyn was at times and how she went with June’s crazy ideas time after time.

All in all it was enjoyable read and a great debut book.

3/5

Published: BookTrope Publishing (July 6, 2015)
Format: eBook
Pages: 360
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

ABOUT THE AUTHOR03_Author E.C. Moore

When E.C. Mooreís not writing feverishly, you will find her out walking or sightseeing. Sheís wild about coffee, books, cooking, good wine, cairn terriers, miniature ponies, historical houses, and witty people.

She resides in a fifties bungalow in Southern California, with her creative-director husband, a yappy blonde dog, and one feisty Chihuahua.

For more information visit E.C. Moore’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, Google+, and Goodreads.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, August 10
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, August 11
Review at A Fold in the Spine
Spotlight & Excerpt at Curling Up By the Fire

Wednesday, August 12
Guest Post & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Thursday, August 13
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Spotlight & Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Sunday, August 16
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Spotlight & Excerpt at Please Pass the Books

Monday, August 17
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, August 20
Review at Bookramblings
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, August 21
Tour Wrap-Up & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

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Mailbox Monday (10.8.2015)

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

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

books10.8.15

The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell (bought)
The Winter Mantle by Elizabeth Chadwick (bought)
Richard III’s ‘Beloved Cousyn’: John Howard and the House of York by John Ashdown-Hill (bought)
Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Dick Winters (bookmooch)
Joan of Kent: The First Princess of Wales by Penny Lawne (bought)

Spotlight: The Lady Bornekova by Sara Turnquist

02_The Lady BornekovaPublication Date: July 14, 2015 (tentative)
Publisher: Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press)
Format: eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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The red-headed Karin is strong-willed and determined, something she inherited from her father. She tries to keep her true nature a secret to avoid being deemed a traitor by those loyal to the king. Karin and her father butt heads over her duty to her family and the Czech Crown. She is then sequestered to the Royal Viscountís hunting lodge.

Not aware of everything that is happening, she becomes the target of an individual with murderous intent. Her heart soon becomes entangled though her father intends to wed her to another. The turmoil inside Karin deepens and reflects the turmoil of her homeland, on the brink of the Hussite Wars.

The Lady Bornekova Available at

Amazon

About the Author03_Sara Turnquist_Author

Sara resides with her family in Middle TN. Though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara’s great love of the written word has always drawn her to write. An avid reader, she has been, for many years, what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write Historical Fiction. Sara has made several trips overseas to the Czech Republic for short stints in the summer over several years. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in the Czech town of Hradec Kralove.

For more information please visit Sara Turnquist’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The Lady Bornekova Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 6
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, July 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, July 8
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, July 10
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Sunday, July 12
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, July 13
Review at Book Nerd
Excerpt at To Read, or Not to Read

Tuesday, July 14
Interview at Library Educated

Wednesday, July 15
Excerpt at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, July 16
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Monday, July 20
Guest Post at Unshelfish

Tuesday, July 21
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, July 22
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, July 24
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, July 27
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, July 28
Review at Genre Queen

Wednesday, July 29
Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, July 30
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, July 31
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Giveaway

To enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, please enter via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

ñ Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
ñ Giveaway is open internationally.
ñ Only one entry per household.
ñ 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
ñ Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Lady Bornekova

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Mailbox Monday (20.7.2015)

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

Here’s what I got this week:

books20.7.15

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice (purchased)
Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill (bookmooch)
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (bookmooch)
The Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen (purchased)
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley (bookmooch)
Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor by Anne Edwards (bookmooch)

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

allegiantAllegiant (Divergent 3) by Veronica Roth

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent. (back cover)

Why I had to wait so long to read this because I don’t remember what happened in Insurgent any more! Or maybe it was a good thing because I can’t help but to feel disappointed… I loved Divergent and liked Insurgent so I’m just so sad that it ended like this.

In this book we have dual pov between Tris and Tobias/Four. And I can’t believe what I read. Where did this wimpy, whining, insecure mess come from? All Four’s chapters are basically one big whiny fest where he does one bad decision after another. That’s like a another person altogether from Four at Divergent. And apparently Tris can do no wrong in this book which was annoying as well.

We finally see the world outside and I wasn’t impressed. There are no factions but the life still isn’t that different and they still deal with pretty much same problems.

So yeah, disappointed is the word of the day… Maybe if I hadn’t loved Divergent so much this would have been better.

2,5/5

Published: Katherine Tegen Books (October 22, 2013)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 532
Source: library

Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L. Justice

01_Sword of the Gladiatrix Cover

Sword of the Gladiatrix by Faith L. Justice

Two women. Two swords. One victor.

An action-packed tale that exposes the brutal underside of Imperial Rome, Sword of the Gladiatrix brings to life unforgettable characters and exotic settings. From the far edges of the Empire, two women come to battle on the hot sands of the arena in Nero’s Rome: Afra, scout and beast master to the Queen of Kush; and Cinnia, warrior-bard and companion to Queen Boudica of the British Iceni. Enslaved, forced to fight for their lives and the Romans’ pleasure; they seek to replace lost friendship, love, and family in each other’s arms. But the Roman arena offers only two futures: the Gate of Life for the victors or the Gate of Death for the losers.

I’ve never read anything about female gladiators so that was new. I’ve never been huge fan of Romans and this didn’t make me like them more… Afra comes from Kush and Cinnia is a Celt from Britain so we get a look to two very different cultures.

I wish there would have been more fighting scenes. We see how Afra and Cinnia becomes slaves, we follow their lives in slavery but the actual gladiator stuff is pretty small part of the story. They were both likeable but I think they fell in love rather too quickly. I liked the parts with Boudica and I wish there would have been more of her.

It was great to read about something that hasn’t been widely written about and you can tell the author has done her research.

3,5/5

Published: Raggedy Moon Books (May 2015)
Format: eBook
Pages: 260
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author02_Faith L. Justice_Author

FAITH L. JUSTICE writes award-winning novels, short stories, and articles in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, Writerís Digest, The Copperfield Review, the Circles in the Hair anthology, and many more. She is a frequent contributor to Strange Horizons, Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine, and co-founded a writerís workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit. For fun, she digs in the dirtóher garden and various archaeological sites.

For more information visit Faith L. Justice’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sword of the Gladiatrix Blog Tour

Monday, June 29
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Tuesday, June 30
Guest Post at I Heart Reading
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, July 1
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, July 2
Review at Book Babe

Friday, July 3
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, July 6
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, July 7
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 8
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, July 9
Review at Genre Queen
Review at Boom Baby Reviews
Guest Post & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Friday, July 10
Review at Bookramblings
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

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Odin’s Child by Bruce Macbain

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Odin’s Child (Odd Tangle-Hair Saga 1) by Bruce Macbain

Driven from the flaming ruin of his Iceland farmhouse, young Odd Tangle-Hair, the only survivor of a feud in which his family is slaughtered, steals a ship, rounds up a rag-tag crew and embarks on the Viking life. He swears one day to return, rich and powerful enough to take vengeance on his enemies. But how far off that day seems!

His father, Black Thorvald, had once been a chieftain in Iceland. But in the year 1000, when the country adopted Christianity, Thorvald denounced the new faith and shut himself up in his hall, shunning the world and shunned by it. Odd fears that the worm of cowardice that unmanned his father has infected him too. He has inherited from Thorvald a shock of black hair, a gift for poetry, and an allegiance to Odin, god of battles and magic. But Odd is heir to darker traits as wellóa hint of madness and a temper which will sometimes cost him dearly.

Fate carries him and his men to a shamanistic healer in Lapland, to bloody religious strife in Norway, to the lair of a witch in Finland, and finally to the borders of Russia. Here Odd will leave his comrades behind to join the retinue of a Norwegian princeling who is fleeing to the court of Yaroslav, Grand Prince of Rus. New dangers wait for him in that faraway country.

Eager, curious, quick-wittedóand sometimes wrong-headedóOdd Tangle-Hair recounts his story with candor, insight, and always an ironic sense of humor.

Christianity has come to 11th century Iceland and old traditions are changing while dividing some families on the way. 16-year old Odd’s father is holding to old pagan believes which is driving a wedge between his family and neighbors. After revenge killing becomes a political problem, Odd is sent to exile. He steals a ship and decides to go viking.

It did take me some time to really get into the story. At times it concentrates to describe things too much and while there is plundering, murder and blood, I guess I just expected there to be more of that. I liked Odd but I never understood why men would follow him and call him captain. He wasn’t someone to inspire that kind of loyalty.

And yey there’s Finland and Kalevala but I wasn’t really into those chapters. Kalevala chapters just didn’t work for me and I have to say that I’ve never read it so I can’t comment on that. But for me Kalevala is this mythical thing and 11th century is just too close. I mean we’re close to the Norman conquest! Too much is known about the period to be mythical.

It wasn’t a bad book by any means but I guess I just expected more.

3/5

Published: Blank Slate Press (May 26, 2015)
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 400
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author03_Bruce Macbain_Author

From boyhood, Bruce Macbain spent his days in reading history and historical fiction. The Greeks and Romans have held a special fascination for him and this led to earning a masterís degree in Classical Studies and a doctorate in Ancient History. Along the way, he also taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Borneo. Later, he taught courses in Greek and Roman civilization at Vanderbilt University and Boston University, and published a few dense scholarly monographs, read by very few. Recently, he has turned to writing fiction, a much more congenial pursuit. He has previously published two historical mysteries set in ancient Rome, Roman Games and its sequel, The Bull Slayer. Now, he has turned his attention to his other favorite folk, the Vikings. Odin’s Child is the first novel of a trilogy, Odd Tangle-Hairís Saga, which follows our heroóa wanderer, poet and warriorófrom his tiny Iceland farm to the Great Palace in Constantinople. It will be published by Blank Slate Press in May, 2015.

Bruce spends his spare time in the kitchen, cooking spicy food.

For more information please visit Bruce Macbain’s website. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Odin’s Child Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 29
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Shelf Full of Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Tuesday, June 30
Interview at Brooke Blogs

Wednesday, July 1
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, July 3
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, July 6
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, July 7
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 8
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 9
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, July 10
Review at Just One More Chapter

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Shadow of the Raven by Millie Thom

Millie ThomShadow of the Raven (Sons of Kings 1) by Millie Thom

A tale of Viking raids, hapless thralls, noble kings and their sons and friendship and love. Above all else, a tale of unforgivable betrayal and the ever-present desire for revenge…

The life of Eadwulf, ten-year old son of the Mercian king, is changed forever when his family is betrayed to the Danes by his treacherous uncle. In a Danish raid, his father is killed and his mother is raped. And along with his tutor and childhood friend, Eadwulf is captured and taken to the Danish lands to be sold as a slave. As a thrall in Jarl Ragnar’s village, Eadwulf’s life is hard, his days unbearably long. But on the return of Bjorn, the jarl’s jovial firstborn, from his summer raids, Eadwulf’s life greatly improves. Under the protective wing of Bjorn and his crew, he spends the next few years sailing to places he’d never even dreamed of, trading and raiding. And though he’s still a thrall, he becomes a well-respected member of Bjorn’s closely knit crew. But through it all, the smouldering desire for revenge on those who destroyed his family refuses to abate. Eadwulf’s tale plays out against the backdrop of events unfolding in Wessex in the face of escalating Danish raids. Alfred, the fifth son of the Wessex king, faces family tragedies from an early age, losing first his mother, then his beloved sister when she is married to the new Mercian king. At his father’s court and the successive courts of his three elder brothers, he learns the weighty art of kingship. And, like Eadwulf, he learns the harshest lesson of all . . . that a trusted kinsman can so easily turn traitor.

This is the story of the early years of Alfred of Wessex and the fictional Eadwulf of Mercia, son of Beorhtwulf of Mercia. Eadwulf is 10 years when his home is attacked by Vikings, his father killed and Eadwulf taken as a slave. He learns the viking ways and in time earns the respect of his master Bjorn. Meanwhile Alfred is growing as the king’s youngest child who is already showing piousness as a 4 year old. Mature for his years, his life is also turning upside down when his mother dies.

This started really slow but I’m glad I kept reading because after it started picking up it was good. Eadwulf goes from being king’s son to a slave, thrall, and becoming one of them. But he never forgot who he is or where he came from and longs to avenge his family.
Alfred is so young that he doesn’t really do anything in this book but I’ll look forward seeing more about him.

There’s lot of great minor characters like Bjorn and his sister Freydis and I hope we get to see some of them in the future.

3,5/5

Published: self published (2015)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley