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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2015 End of the Year Survey

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Hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner

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Number Of Books You Read: 82 (DNF: 6)

Number of Re-Reads: Didn’t do any re-reads this year

Genre You Read The Most From: Historical fiction

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1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
I really couldn’t choose, so I divided them into fiction and non-fiction:

Untitled designThe Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by Stephanie Thornton
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
The Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman
The Lake House by Kate Morton
A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
 

 

 

 

 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman. I loved the first books and what a disappointed the sequal was!

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
A Year of Ravens. I didn’t think that an anthology with so many authors would be this good.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I didn’t push any books.

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Series I started would be In the Shadow of the Storm by Anna Belfrage. Best series ender was A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Stephanie Thornton

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I didn’t read anything out of my comfort zone…

8. Most unputdownable book of the year?
The Lake House by Kate Morton

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t think I’ll do much re-reading…

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Curran :)

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
I don’t know…

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers by Filip Müller

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
The Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
I don’t remember any right now.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest: Amelie’s story by Rachel Caine (The Morganville Vampires extra)

Longest: Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

hmm, I don’t think I was really shocked by any book. I’ll say Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers by Filip Müller because the whole topic is shocking.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

I’m still confused with this question…

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
oh dear, I don’t know. I’ll go with Kate and Andrea (Magic Breaks)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Since I already listed them on best books of the year list I’ll have to say  Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews, The Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman and A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan

21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
I don’t think I read any

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Maybe Hephaestion? From The Conqueror’s Wife by Stephanie Thornton.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie. At least I think it’s her debut.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Marras by Sami Lopakka. It’s written by a former Sentenced guitarist who wrote a book about a fictional band on a tour.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
The Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman. You just wish you could change history…

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I’ll go with Marras again.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Can’t say that any book did that.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
I don’t know. Maybe The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees for the world building because it’s based on an RPG game.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Allegiant by Veronica Roth. It was the worst book in a series and Four kina had a whole personality change. So disappointed.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
Médicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
I’m not sure what’s coming out yet…

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
same here

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
I don’t think any of my series is ending this year? Anticipating next Kate Daniels book.

Mailbox Monday (28.12.2015)

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

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and good time with your families. Here’s what I got for Christmas; I’m really excited to read the Unknown Soldiers. It’s a Finnish classic that has been translated into English. I’m curious to see how well it translates since accents are huge part of the book.

books28.12.2915
A Train in Winter: A Story of Resistance, Friendship and Survival in Auschwitz by Caroline Moorehead
Edward Vi: The Lost King Of England by Chris Skidmore
Elizabeth Woodville: A Life by David MacGibbon
Jasper Tudor: Dynasty Maker by Terry Breverton
Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Mother Queen of the Middle Ages by Desmond Seward
Unknown Soldiers by Väinö Linna

In the Shadow of the Storm by Anna Belfrage

02_In the Shadow of the StormIn the Shadow of the Storm (The King’s Greatest Enemy 1) by Anna Belfrage

Adam de Guirande owes his lord, Sir Roger Mortimer, much more than loyalty. He owes Sir Roger for his life and all his worldly good, he owes him for his beautiful wife ñ even if Kit is not quite the woman Sir Roger thinks she is. So when Sir Roger rises in rebellion against the king, Adam has no choice but to ride with him ñ no matter what the ultimate cost may be.

England in 1321 is a confusing place. Edward II has been forced by his barons to exile his favourite, Hugh Despenser. The barons, led by the powerful Thomas of Lancaster, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, have reasons to believe they have finally tamed the king. But Edward is not about to take things lying down, and fate is a fickle mistress, favouring first one, then the other.

Adam fears his lord has over-reached, but at present Adam has other matters to concern him, first and foremost his new wife, Katherine de Monmouth. His bride comes surrounded by rumours concerning her and the baron, and he hates it when his brother snickers and whispers of used goods.

Kit de Courcy has the misfortune of being a perfect double of Katherine de Monmouth ñ which is why she finds herself coerced into wedding a man under a false name. What will Adam do when he finds out he has been duped?

Domestic matters become irrelevant when the king sets out to punish his rebellious barons. The Welsh Marches explode into war, and soon Sir Roger and his men are fighting for their very lives. When hope splutters and dies, when death seems inevitable, it falls to Kit to save her man ñ if she can.

In the Shadow of the Storm is the first in Anna Belfrageís new series, The Kingís Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his baron, his king, and his wife.

As much as I loved the Graham saga, I started this book a bit cautiously. I’m not a huge fan of Mortimer but I have a soft spot for Edward II, and little bit for Despenser, and I knew they wouldn’t be showed here in a good light. But I trusted Belfrage to make it enjoyable nevertheless and I was right.

I liked both Kit and Adam and loved seeing how their relationship grew. With that kind of start to the marriage it could have gone terribly wrong. She was brave, not afraid to say what she wanted and ready to fight for what she wanted.

I didn’t really warm up to Mortimer and while I understand you’re loyal to a man who’s practically your foster father, I didn’t understand why he was so blindingly loyal. I’m curious to see how he feels about future events, especially since he’s so fond of Lady Joan…

I couldn’t help but feel that Despenser was little too evil here but yeah… I did mention about my soft spot for him so…

The book started bit slow but after events started picking up there wasn’t a dull moment. All in all I really liked this and I’m waiting for the next book.

4/5

Published: SilverWood Books (November 1, 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 396
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Series Graphic

About the Author03_Annna_Belfrage 2015

Had Anna been allowed to choose, sheíd have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century ñ and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met ñ not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimerís rise to power. The Kingís Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where todayís traitor may be tomorrowís hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, will be published in the autumn of 2015.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com ñ unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 1
Review at I’m Shelfish
Review at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 2
Review at Beth’s Book Book
Review & Interview at Bookish

Thursday, December 3
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, December 4
Review at Singing Librarian Books
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Sunday, December 6
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Monday, December 7
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Tuesday, December 8
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Wednesday, December 9
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, December 10
Review at Book Drunkard
Review at Impressions in Ink
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, December 11
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, December 14
Review at Unshelfish
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read

Tuesday, December 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook

Wednesday, December 16
Review at Room with Books
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Thursday, December 17
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Friday, December 18
Interview at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Monday, December 21
Review at Puddletown Reviews
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Tuesday, December 22
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Broken Teepee

04_In the Shadow of the Storm_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Mailbox Monday (21.12.2015)

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

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

books21.12.15
The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick (purchased)
Daughter of Sand and Stone by Libbie Hawker (bought)
Stephen and Matilda by Jim Bradbury (bought)
Bound by Night by Larissa Ione (bought)
Tutankhamen’s Curse by Joyce A. Tyldesley (bought)
The Thistle and the Rose: Six Centuries of Love and Hate Between the Scots and the English by Allan Massie (bought)
The Lodestar by Pamela Belle (bought)

Blood Rose Angel by Liza Perrat

Blood Rose Angel

Blood Rose Angel by Liza PERRAT

1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it – heretic, Devilís servant, saint.
Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the peopleís respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France.
Fearful that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. Amidst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honor the oath she swore on her dead motherís soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove sheís no Devilís      servant, her talisman no evil charm.

I haven’t read the previous books but this works well as a stand-alone. I don’t think I’ve read anything set during the Black Death from the common people’s point of view so this was a change for me.

You can see how much superstitions affects everyday life, especially when something bad happens. Makes people accuse everyone from Jews to lepers and cats. How important midwives were to women during the dangerous time of childbirth, and yet how easy it was to accuse them of witchcraft, curses and heresy. Definitely not a safe occupation…

Héloïse can’t turn her back to the people affected by the plague but her husband doesn’t approve her work. I’m trying not to give anything away but I think he went way too far trying to prevent her from helping and I hoped Héloïse wouldn’t have forgiven him. I liked Raoul before that but after that I just couldn’t but hate him. Not an easy time to be a woman for sure.

I liked Héloïse who was strong and kind even after all the hate she’s gotten from the villagers. She didn’t give up trying to find a solution to defeat the plague.

4/5

Published: Liza Perrat (November 14, 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 349
Source: France Book Tours

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liza Perrat 2Liza Perrat grew up in Wollongong, Australia,
where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus,
she moved to France, where she has been living
with her husband and three children for twenty years.
She works part-time as a French-English medical translator,
and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course twelve years ago,
several of her short stories have won awards,
notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004
and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines.
Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines
such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.
Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in her French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel Series.
The second ñ Wolfsangel ñ was published in October, 2013,
and the third, Blood Rose Angel, is published in November, 2015.
She is a founding member of the author collective, Triskele Books and reviews books for BookMuse.

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Visit Lizaís blog
Follow Liza Perrat on Twitter | on Facebook | on Pinterest | on Google +
Sign up to receive her Newsletter.

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER
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The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by Stephanie Thornton

02_The Conqueror's WifeThe Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by Stephanie Thornton

A novel from the acclaimed author of The Tiger Queens, for readers looking for ìstrong and determined female protagonistsî (Historical Novel Society) and ìa sprawling historical sagaî (Renee Rosen)…
We are the women who loved Alexander the Great. We were lovers and murderers, innocents and soldiers.
And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.
Instead he was a god.

330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny.

His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander’s boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia’s throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexanderís heartÖand will commit any crime to secure her place at his side.

Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire more vast than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…

This isn’t an era I know much about and for some reason I’ve never been very interested in Alexander. But I’ve heard so much good about Thornton’s books that I jumped at this. And good thing that I did!

The story is told from four points of views: his sister Thessalonike, his friend and sometime lover Hephaestion and wives Roxana and Drypetis, Everyone is very different so we get 4 interesting perspectives. These were strong women who knew what they wanted and were ready to fight for it, by any means necessary. And then there was Alexander’s mother Olympias who sadly wasn’t POV character. She was ruthless, calculating and ready to do anything to get Alexander into power. It would have been great to know her motives for doing things she did.

We don’t get Alexander in a very good view but we see better side of him through Thessalonike’s eyes. But Roxana I loathed. She was the only character I hated and kept hoping something bad happens to her… My favourite was Hephaestion and I might have had a bit of a crush on him… I don’t care to imagine how much more destruction Alexander might have done without Hephaestion holding him back and trying to be a voice of reason.

This was amazing book and it definitely won’t be the last! I need to move Daughter of the Gods up my TBR list.

5/5

Published: NAL/Penguin Group LLC (December 1, 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 496
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

03_Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora,” “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt,” and “The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan” are available now. “The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great” will hit the shelves in December 2015.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thorntonís website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 23
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 24
Review at Layered Pages
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, November 25
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, November 26
Review at Historical Readings & Reviews

Friday, November 27
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, November 30
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, December 1
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, December 2
Review at leeanna.me
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, December 3
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Friday, December 4
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 7
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, December 8
Review at Reading the Past
Review at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, December 9
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, December 10
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, December 11
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Saturday, December 12
Review & Giveaway at Genre Queen

Monday, December 14
Review at Book Babe
Reivew, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, December 15
Review at Bookramblings

Wednesday, December 16
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, December 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, December 18
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

04_The Conqueror's Wife_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Mailbox Monday (7.12.2015)

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

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

books7.12.15
Roses Of Glory by Mary Pershall (bookmooch)
A Sorceress of His Own by Dianne Duvall (bought)
Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey (bought)
The Queen’s Handmaiden by Jennifer Ashley (bookmooch)
Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton (bought)
The Collector by Nora Roberts (purchased)
Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts (purchased)
The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon by Alex Kershaw (bookmooch)