The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

Uncategorized 0 Comments 24th July, 2014

02_The Bone Church

The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels.

But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions.

Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.

The book follows two timelines where Felix tries to rescue Magdalena from Czechoslovakia, first during WWII in 1943-1944 and then in 1956. Felix is a hockey player star who played for the national team and during the war he gets involved with an attempt to assassinate Joseph Goebbels and years after he goes back to Czechoslovakia looking for Magdalena and her son who were partially Jewish.

I really enjoyed reading this book and there was never a dull moment. There’s assassination attempts, gunshots and lot of other stuff going on. We get to see in what conditions people lived and hide during the war and under the Soviets.

Chapters jump between the years and at times it was really confusing and some of the religion stuff went over my head. The whole The Infant of Prague and some of the more religious things went over my head but good thing that there wasn’t that much about that. Also I hate when books end like this! It hints what happens to the characters but doesn’t really tell anything. I want to know how it will end!

But this was really enjoyable read that read very fast wanting to know what happens next.

4/5

Published: Pier’s Court Press (2014)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

 

The Bone Church_BlogTour Banner FINAL copy

You can check the tour schedule here.

About the author

Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For more information, please visit Victoria Dougherty’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest.

Mailbox Monday (30.6)

meme 6 Comments 30th June, 2014

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

I haven’t done mailbox monday for some time so these are books that I’ve got past month or so.

IMG_1662

The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland
The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217 by Richard Brooks
My Lady Viper by E. Knight
Disa Hannuntytär by Kristiina Vuori
Näkijän tytär by Kristiina Vuori
Sunneva by Kaari Utrio
A Brief History Of The Vikings by Jonathan Clements
Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

Fire & Sword by Louise Turner

reviews 2 Comments 12th June, 2014

02_Fire & Sword

Fire & Sword by Louise Turner

On the 11th June in 1488, two armies meet in battle at Sauchieburn, near Stirling. One fights for King James the Third of Scotland, the other is loyal to his eldest son, Prince James, Duke of Rothesay.

Soon, James the Third is dead, murdered as he flees the field. His army is routed. Among the dead is Sir Thomas Sempill of Ellestoun, Sheriff of Renfrew, whose son and heir, John, escapes with his life.

Once John’s career as knight and courtier seemed assured. But with the death of his king, his situation is fragile. He’s the only surviving son of the Sempill line and he’s unmarried. If he hopes to survive, John must try and win favour with the new king.

And deal with the ruthless and powerful Lord Montgomerie…

Young John Sempill is pulled into a war by his father. But when his father is slain in battle, John’s troubles are just beginning trying to secure his inheritance. John finds a wife but soon learns that it can be difficult being married to someone who’s family was on the other side during the war.

I was looking forward reading this book because I haven’t read many books set in Scotland and not in this era. This was not fast-paced book but it was still very interesting through the book.

John is very likeable character. As a boy he didn’t live up to his harsh father’s expectations but he grew up to be a strong, dependable leader who looked after his people. When we first meet John’s wife Margaret I don’t think we’re supposed to even like her. She’s like a whiny brat with even more idiotic friends. She’s decided to hate John long before she even mets him, so it’s no wonder they have rocky start. At least Margaret grew somewhat during the book…

There was also some very interesting minor characters like Hugh, Lord Montgomerie and his wife Helen. Hugh was someone who did things his way, he could be both good and bad which made him very interesting getting to know.

This was great debut novel and I’m looking forward reading author’s next books.

4/5

Published: Hadley Rille Books (2013)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Fire & Sword_Final Tour Banner copy

You can check the tour schedule here.

About the author

Born in Glasgow, Louise Turner spent her early years in the west of Scotland where she attended the University of Glasgow. After graduating with an MA in Archaeology, she went on to complete a PhD on the Bronze Age metalwork hoards of Essex and Kent. She has since enjoyed a varied career in archaeology and cultural resource management. Writing has always been a major aspect of her life and in 1988, she won the Glasgow Herald/Albacon New Writing in SF competition with her short story Busman’s Holiday. Louise lives with her husband in west Renfrewshire.

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

reviews 3 Comments 15th May, 2014

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

In 1500’s France, René le Florentine becomes perfumer to Catherine de Medici after she saves him after he’s been accused of murder. But being a royal perfumer isn’t his sole passion, it’s trying to capture person’s dying breath to make an elixir that will bring person back to life.
At present-day France Jac promises her dying brother to continue his work trying to figure out the dying breath mystery that he was doing for a wealthy couple. Even as Jac starts to have suspicions about the couple, she can’t leave the project that her brother was working on.

I haven’t read the previous books in the series, or any of author’s books, but this could be read as stand alone just fine.

I found the perfume making world much more interesting than I thought I would. There was lots of telling how it was made and some of it just flew over my head, but it was really interesting.

I loved René’s story and loved seeing how he grew and how he ended up doing some things he didn’t wan’t to do. He stayed loyal to the queen through everything and I was so sad to see where it led him and what it cost him.

It took more growing into Jac and I’m not sure why but I just didn’t feel that kind of connection with her that I felt with René. I don’t know if it would have been different if I had read the previous books and known her better. Her issues with Griffin was starting to annoy me but I felt like there’s something I don’t know about them.
I loved seeing how Jac’s and Rene’s lives were connected as well as their love lives.
I really liked this book and I’m sure to read the other books in the series too!

4/5

Published: Atria Books (2014)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

 You can check the tour schedule here.

About the author

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Mailbox Monday (21.4)

Uncategorized 16 Comments 20th April, 2014

sb10067729n-003

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

This is my first Mailbox Monday in 2014 so I have few books to show… This post have the books I bought during my 3 month stay in Ireland and next week I’ll post what other books I had during that time. I’ll just list the links to Goodreads because I’m too lazy to do anything else.

IMG_0345_2

 

Read more »

The Winter Siege by D.W. Bradbridge

reviews 2 Comments 18th April, 2014

The Winter Siege

The Winter Siege by D.W. Bradbridge

1643. The armies of King Charles I and Parliament clash in the streets and fields of England, threatening to tear the country apart, as winter closes in around the parliamentary stronghold of Nantwich. The royalists have pillaged the town before, and now, they are returning. But even with weeks to prepare before the Civil War is once more at its gates, that doesn’t mean the people of Nantwich are safe.

While the garrison of soldiers commanded by Colonel George Booth stand guard, the town’s residents wait, eyeing the outside world with unease, unaware that they face a deadly threat from within. Townspeople are being murdered – the red sashes of the royalists left on the bodies marking them as traitors to the parliamentary cause.

When the first dead man is found, his skull caved in with a rock, fingers start being pointed, and old hatreds rise to the surface. It falls to Constable Daniel Cheswis to contain the bloodshed, deputising his friend, Alexander Clowes, to help him in his investigations, carried out with the eyes of both armies on his back. And they are not the only ones watching him.

He is surrounded by enemies, and between preparing for the imminent battle, watching over his family, being reunited with his long-lost sweetheart, and trying, somehow, to stay in business, he barely has time to solve a murder.

With few clues and the constant distraction of war, can Cheswis protect the people of Nantwich? And which among them need protecting? Whether they are old friends or troubled family, in these treacherous times, everyone’s a traitor, in war, law, or love.

When the Winter Siege is through, who will be among the bodies?

The book is set in a town called Nantwich during the height of the English Civil War. When a body is found tied with a red sash which links him with the royalist cause, constable Daniel Cheswis is charged to find who the murderer is. But the bodies start to pile up and the town lies in the path of the royalist army and soon the people have to work together to survive the siege.

I’m not familiar with the Civil War so this was all new to me and very interesting. But it also made me feel like I should know some of the people that was mentioned and that I missed the persons’ importance. The most interesting part of the book was seeing the life of ordinary people and how they survived during those hard times. Daniel was likeable character who took his responsibilities seriously and didn’t want to be seen as a hero. I would have liked to learn more about Daniel’s brother Simon, especially about his quest regarding some papers. It would have been interesting too see what happened there.

At first I thought there was too many storylines and stuff going on but at the end it all becomes clear how it’s all linked. The whole book is from Daniels point of view and I think it would have been nice to have someone else’s too.

Very entertaining and enjoyable read that makes me look forward for his next book.

4,5
Published: Electric Reads (2013)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 488
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

You can check the tour schedule here.

About the author

D.W. Bradbridge was born in 1960 and grew up in Bolton. He has lived in Crewe, Cheshire since 2000, where he and his wife run a small magazine publishing business for the automotive industry.

“The inspiration for The Winter Siege came from a long-standing interest in genealogy and local history. My research led me to the realisation that the experience endured by the people of Nantwich during December and January 1643-44 was a story worth telling. I also realised that the closed, tension-filled environment of the month-long siege provided the ideal setting for a crime novel.

“History is a fascinating tool for the novelist. It consists only of what is remembered and written down, and contemporary accounts are often written by those who have their own stories to tell. But what about those stories which were forgotten and became lost in the mists of time?

“In writing The Winter Siege, my aim was to take the framework of real history and fill in the gaps with a story of what could, or might have happened. Is it history or fiction? It’s for the reader to decide.”

For more information please visit D.W. Bradbridge’s website. You can also find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Dublin

site 4 Comments 25th February, 2014

I’m finally trying to make some kind of update. First my laptop was in repair (it’s not good when they know you by face in a repair shop) and then I’ve just been busy. I haven’t reviews any books I’ve read here but I try to say few lines about those at some point.

I’ve been now about 1,5 months in Ireland and I love it! I have 1,5 month left and I’m starting to feel panic if I have enough time to see everything I want. I booked my flight to London next month and I can’t wait! Planning to see at least The Tower and British Museum. I also plan going to Galway and I’m curious to see the other side of Ireland.

I study Business and Administration and I’m doing my internship/job experience here in Dublin at a bookshop. I’ve really loved working there but it’s also very dangerous place and I’m fearing for my suitcase when I travel home… I’ve already bought 27 books and I’m only been here half of the time! My friend came last weekend and took almost all of my books with her so now I can buy new ones :D

Kilkenny Castle_29

Kilkenny Castle

I visited Kilkenny and I fell in love! I could move there! It’s beautiful medieval style village about 2 hours from Dublin. I visited the castle and just walked around the city for a day. I could easily have spent more time there. Sadly the medieval part of the castle was really small but the rest of the castle was really pretty.

Malahide_25_edited-1

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle had huge and beautiful garden which I walked through and got lost lol. Thankfully the rain stopped for awhile and I could get few photos of the castle.

Trim Castlejpg_edited-1

Trim Castle

Last weekend I went to see Trim Castle. Some scenes for Braveheart was filmed there and we went to the room where Edward I throws Piers Gaveston out of the window. I was so wearing the wrong shoes for this trip! High heels for climbing tiny steps was not fun but it was worth it. We also went to the roof and the view was awesome but there was also (again) heavy wind.

Trim Castle_1_edited-1

view from Trim Castle

And last there’s a picture of this cutie who we met in Howth harbour.

Howth_8_edited-1

Howth

 

The God’s of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

reviews 4 Comments 20th January, 2014

The God’s of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

One summer night in prewar Japan, eleven-year-old Billy Reynolds takes snapshots at his parent’s dinner party. That same evening his father Anton–a prominent American architect–begins a torrid affair with the wife of his master carpenter. A world away in New York, Cameron Richards rides a Ferris Wheel with his sweetheart and dreams about flying a plane. Though seemingly disparate moments, they will all draw together to shape the fate of a young girl caught in the midst of one of WWII’s most horrific events–the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo.

Exquisitely-rendered, The Gods of Heavenly Punishment tells the stories of families on both sides of the Pacific: their loves and infidelities, their dreams and losses–and their shared connection to one of the most devastating acts of war in human history. (Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

The story is set during the years 1935-1962 and follows characters that are connected to each other.We meet a Czech architect and his son who will be a photographer, a Japanese architect and his wife and daughter, and American pilot who joins the war and leaves his newly married wife in America.

The book shows both sides in the war between US and Japan. I have never read a book about the war from Japanese point of view so that was interesting. We get a clear view how Japan changed from what it was before the war and what happened there.

At first it felt like there was lot of POV’s but it became fascinating to learn how all these people were connected to each other in some time in their lives. I especially enjoyed seeing Cam being a pilot during the bombings and how he felt about what was going to happen.

Often the chapters would jump years ahead but thankfully it was told in the  beginning of new chapter that where we were and in what year. While it didn’t confuse me much, that would be my only complaint I have about the book. Sometimes there would be years between I wanted to know what happened during those years to some of the characters.

This was a great and emotional book and I’m so glad I read it. I’m looking forward reading more from this author!

4/5

Published: W.W. Norton & Company (2014)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

 

You can check the tour schedule here.

About the author

Jennifer Cody Epstein is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two daughters and especially needy Springer Spaniel.

For more information, please visit Jennifer Cody Epstein’s website and blog.  You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Happy New Year!

site 6 Comments 31st December, 2013

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone had great Christmas with your families.

New year will start rather slowly around here because I’m leaving tomorrow to Dublin, Ireland for 3 months to do my practical training/internship there. I have couple of reviews scheduled but otherwise I don’t know how much time I have to read.

Also my laptop crashed just before Christmas so I’ve been without computer and I’m using my mom’s laptop now. I was told there is something in the motherboard but they couldn’t fix it in the store so now I have to take laptop to Dublin and try to find someone to fix it. Fun times ahead I’m sure…