Mailbox Monday (6.6.2016)

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

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

books5.6.2016
Marie and Mary by Nigel Tranter (bookmooch)
Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell (purchased)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (purchased)
The Other Tudor Princess: Margaret Douglas, Henry VIII’s Niece by Mary McGrigor (bought)
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah (bought)
Midnight Bites: Stories of the Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine (bought)
Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart by Marci Jefferson (bought)
The Medieval Soldier by A.V.B. Norman (bookmooch)

Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin

02_The Portrait of ConspiracyPortrait of Conspiracy (Da Vinci’s Disciples 1)
by Donna Russo Morin

One murder ignites the powderkeg that threatens to consume the Medici’s Florence. Amidst the chaos, five women and one legendary artist weave together a plot that could bring peace, or get them all killed. Seeking to wrest power from the Medici family in 15th Century Florence, members of the Pazzi family drew their blades in a church and slew Giuliano. But Lorenzo de Medici survives, and seeks revenge on everyone involved, plunging the city into a murderous chaos that takes dozens of lives. Bodies are dragged through the streets, and no one is safe. Five women steal away to a church to ply their craft in secret. Viviana, Fiammetta, Isabetta, Natasia, and Mattea are painters, not allowed to be public with their skill, but freed from the restrictions in their lives by their art. When a sixth member of their group, Lapaccia, goes missing, and is rumored to have stolen a much sought after painting as she vanished, the women must venture out into the dangerous streets to find their friend and see her safe. They will have help from one of the most renowned painters of their era the peaceful and kind Leonardo Da Vinci. It is under his tutelage that they will flourish as artists, and with his access that they will infiltrate some of the highest, most secretive places in Florence, unraveling one conspiracy as they build another in its place. Historical fiction at its finest, Donna Russo Morin begins a series of Da Vinci’s disciples with a novel both vibrant and absorbing, perfect for the readers of Sarah Dunant.

“A riveting page-turner unlike any historical novel youíve read, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition into the first of a trilogy by a masterful writer at the peak of her craft.” -C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine deí Medici and The Vatican Princess

The book follows 5 women who want to be artists in a time when it was impossible. One of their friends goes missing and when Giuliano de Medici has been murdered the city goes into chaos. Then women get help from Leonardo Da Vinci, trying to find their friend.

I really loved this book and it was hard to put down. I just wanted to know what happens next!

The women all have different kind of lives with their secrets but their love of arts unites them. I loved that while Leonardo Da Vinci is there he’s still a minor character and the women have the center stage.
The book is told by various points of views but it was easy to follow.

I’m glad this is part of a series and I can’t wait for the next book and learn more about these women!

5/5

Published: Kensington (April 26, 2016)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author03_Donna Russo Morin

Donna Russo Morin is the award winning of author of historical fiction. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, she lives near the shore with her two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.

Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at www.donnarussomorin.com; friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @DonnaRussoMorin.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 10
Review at Unshelfish
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, May 11
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 12
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, May 13
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Monday, May 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, May 17
Review at Seize the Words

Wednesday, May 18
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Thursday, May 19
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, May 20
Guest Post at Layered Pages
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Monday, May 23
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, May 24
Review at #redhead.with.book
Interview at Reading the Past

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, May 26
Review at Puddletown Reviews

Friday, May 27
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, May 30
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, May 31
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, June 1
Review at The Book Connection

Thursday, June 2
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, June 3
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

04_Portrait of a Conspiracy_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan

02_Promised to the CrownPromised to the Crown (Daughters of New France 1) by Aimie K. Runyan

Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.

In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV ís call and journey to the Canadian colony.

They are known as the filles du roi, or King’s Daughters, young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving, poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.

Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.

An engaging, engrossing debut. – Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magicianís Lie
An absorbing adventure with heart. – Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar

I’ve never read anything historical situated in Canada, or New France as it was called. I had never even heard of King’s Daughters, so much new stuff. The only mission for the women who left there, was to get married and have children. They took very seriously the idea of populating the area.

Elizabeth, Nicole and Rose all came from different backgrounds and had different reasons for leaving. They forged a friendship during the long voyage into New France and that was one of the best parts in the book.

I really enjoyed this book and wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next. I look forward reading the next book.

4/5

Published: Kensington (April 26, 2016)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

03_Aimie K. RunyanAimie K. Runyan, member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, has been an avid student of French and Francophone Studies for more than fifteen years. While working on her Master’s thesis on the brave women who helped found French Canada, she was fortunate enough to win a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months which enabled the detailed research necessary for her work. Aimie lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.

For more information please visit Aimie’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 28
Interview at Book Nerd
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, April 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, April 30
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, May 2
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, May 3
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Wednesday, May 4
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 5
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, May 6
Review at Puddletown Reviews

Monday, May 9
Review at Cynthia Robertson, writer

Tuesday, May 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, May 11
Review at Creating Herstory

Thursday, May 12
Interview at Creating Herstory
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, May 16
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 19
Interview at The Book Connection

Monday, May 23
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, May 24
Review at A Holland Reads

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Thursday, May 26
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, May 27
Review at Bookramblings

Monday, May 30
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, May 31
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

04_Promised to the Crown_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL copy

Mailbox Monday (15.5.2016)

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

Here’s the books I got during the past few weeks:

books15.5.16
Grave Witch by Kalayna Price (bookmooch)
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (bookmooch)
Boudicca: The Warrior Queen by M.J. Trow (bookmooch)
The First Ladies of Rome: The Women Behind the Caesars by Annelise Freisenbruch (bookmooch)
The Black Prince by Richard Barber (bookmooch)

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

04_Galerie_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

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

Check her Pinterest page

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)