The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

The Library of Light and Shadow (Daughters of La Lune 3) by M.J. Rose

In the wake of a dark and brutal World War, the glitz and glamour of 1925 Manhattan shine like a beacon for the high society set, desperate to keep their gaze firmly fixed to the future. But Delphine Duplessi sees more than most. At a time in her career when she could easily be unknown and penniless, like so many of her classmates from L’École des Beaux Arts, in America she has gained notoriety for her stunning “shadow portraits” that frequently expose her subjects’ most scandalous secrets. Most nights Delphine doesn’t mind that her gift has become mere entertainment—a party trick—for the fashionable crowd.

Then, on a snowy night in February, in a penthouse high above Fifth Avenue, Delphine’s mystical talent leads to a tragedy between two brothers. Devastated and disconsolate, Delphine renounces her gift and returns to her old life in the south of France where Picasso, Matisse, and the Fitzgeralds are summering. There, Delphine is thrust into recapturing the past. First by her charismatic twin brother and business manager Sebastian who attempts to cajole her back to work and into co-dependence, then by the world famous opera singer Emma Calvé, who is obsessed with the writings of the fourteenth-century alchemist Nicolas Flamel. And finally by her ex-lover Mathieu, who is determined to lure her back into his arms, unaware of the danger that led Delphine to flee Paris for New York five years before.

Trapped in an ancient chateau where hidden knowledge lurks in the shadows, Delphine questions everything and everyone she loves the most—her art, her magick, her family, and Mathieu—in an effort to accept them as the gifts they are. Only there can she shed her fear of loving and living with her eyes wide open. (publisher)

Delphine Duplessi is an artist who paints “shadow” portraits while blindfolded showing her subjects darkest secrets. After an accident involving one of her portraits, Delphine returns home to France vowing to never paint shadow portraits again. Her twin brother and manager Sebastian tries to get her into painting again and manages to cajole her into accepting a commission to search for a book about alchemy hidden in a mysterious château.

It’s been too long since I read the previous books since I’ve forgotten so much about those. In this book were many characters that I just know we’ve encountered before but have no recollection where or how.

I liked Delphine but at times I wished she would stand up to her brother who was so manipulative. They’re twins so of course she sees only the good in him, especially since Sebastian saved her life when they were children, but I thought he was just selfish.

I thought the ending was bit abrupt leaving more questions than answers. We see Mathieu mostly through diary of a kind and I would have liked to see him more in the present. I felt I didn’t really know him and that he forgave Delphine way too easily for leaving him.

This was a really quick read and I wanted to know what happens next. I really hope there will be a book about the 3rd Duplessi sister!

4/5

Published: Atria Books (July 18, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

Raven’s Feast by Eric Schumacher

Raven’s Feast (Hakon’s Saga 2) by Eric Schumacher

It is 935 A.D. and Hakon Haraldsson has just wrested the High Seat of the North from his ruthless brother, Erik Bloodaxe. Now, he must fight to keep it.

The land-hungry Danes are pressing from the south to test Hakon before he can solidify his rule. In the east, the Uplanders are making their own plans to seize the throne. It does not help that Hakon is committed to his dream of Christianizing his people – a dream his countrymen do not share and will fight to resist.

As his enemies move in and his realm begins to crumble, Hakon and his band of oath-sworn warriors must make a stand in Raven’s Feast, the riveting sequel to God’s Hammer. (Goodreads)

Hakon won the battle against his brother Erik Bloodaxe and the High Seat of the North. But now he has to find the way to keep his seat against rebellious and ambitious jarls with changing alliances. Of course, there are people who are not that thrilled with their king’s religion, or his wish to convert his country to Christianity.

This was another action packed book, which was read rather quickly. Hakon is a likable character who undoubtedly makes mistakes, sometimes rather big and rash ones. He still seems at times little naïve and young but it will be interesting to see how he will turn like. Will he become more Viking like in his beliefs and make compromises? He seemed to become a bit more comfortable with killing and such. He is still a boy so it will be interesting to see what kind of man he will be.

3,5 stars

Published: Creativia (April 23, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Author

God’s Hammer by Eric Schumacher

God’s Hammer (Hakon’s Saga 1) by Eric Schumacher

It is 935 A.D. and the North is in turmoil. King Harald Fairhair has died, leaving the High Seat of the realm to his murderous son, Erik Bloodaxe. To solidify his claim, Erik ruthlessly disposes of all claimants to his throne, save one: his youngest brother Hakon.

Erik’s surviving enemies send a ship to Wessex, where the Christian court of King Athelstan is raising Hakon. Unable to avoid his fate, he returns to the Viking North to face his brother and claim his birthright, only to discover that victory will demand sacrifices beyond his wildest nightmares. (Goodreads)

When Hakon was a child he was sent to England into King Athelstan’s court where he was raised as a Christian. When his father Harald Fairhair dies, Hakon is sent back to home to capture the throne from his bloodthirsty brother Eric Bloodaxe. Being a Christian amidst the pagans, he was viewed with suspicion. He was horrified by the Viking practice of human sacrifice but knew he needed allies if he wanted the crown so he couldn’t protest too much.

There were battles, blood and action and the story moved quickly. At first, Hakon was young, naïve, arrogant and lost among the Vikings after living so long away. He needs to learn how to be a Viking again to get support. At times I got the feeling he would have wanted to stay in England.

It was very enjoyable to read and I can’t wait to learn how he manages to hold on to the crown.

3,5 stars

Published: Creativia (February 1, 2005)
Format: ebook
Source: Author

Twilight Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome by Faith L. Justice

Twilight Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome
by Faith L. Justice

 

Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable womanóGalla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queenóPlacidia does the unthinkableóshe rules the failing Western Roman Empireóa life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesnít seek, but canít refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries.

A woman as well as an Empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her strength, tenacity and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun? Or will the Dark Ages creep closer and bring down the Empire?

Sister to a Western Roman Emperor, Placidia is taken captive by the Goths when they attack Rome. During her captivity, she learned much about their way of life and falls in love with their king Ataulf. When Placidia is forced to return to Rome she has learned enough about strength and ruling to survive the Roman political life.

I don’t know anything about Roman history in this era so this was really fascinating. Rome changed a lot during Placidia’s life and it has a great effect on her life. I liked Placidia and wanted to know what happens to her next. I liked how she was willing to learn the Gothic way of life during her life there. She managed to hold power for so long in a Roman political life which was a world of men, and that was admirable. Without her, Rome would have completely fallen apart much sooner.

There was enough action so there was no dull moment and I really enjoyed the book. It seems to be the start of a series and I can’t wait to read the next one.

3,5/5

Published: Raggedy Moon Books (May 12, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie, which is reflected in her writing. Her short stories and poems have appeared in such publications as “The Copperfield Review”, “Beyond Science Fiction and Fantasy”, and the “Circles in the Hair” anthology. Faith has published in such venues as “Salon.com”, “Writerís Digest”, “The Writer”, and “Bygone Days”. Sheís an Associate Editor for “Space & Time Magazine”, a frequent contributor to “Strange Horizons”, and co-founded a writerís workshop more years ago than she cares to admit.

To contact Faith, read her essays and interviews, or get a sneak preview of her historical novels, visit her website at www.faithljustice.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 11
Review at 100 Pages a Day

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Feature at The Hungry Bookworm
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, September 13
Review at Book Drunkard

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Feature at The Reading Queen

Friday, September 15
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, September 18
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, September 19
Review at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

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Guest Post & Giveaway at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Thursday, September 21
Feature at A Holland Reads

Friday, September 22
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, September 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, September 26
Feature at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, September 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review & Giveaway at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, September 29
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, October 4
Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 5
Review at A Bookish Affair

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic 3) by V.E. Schwab

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay. (Goodreads)

The book starts soon after where the previous book A Gathering of Shadows ended. A powerful enemy from another London moves to Red London. Kell, Lila, Alucard and Holland team up to beat this magical thing that thinks it’s a god.

We learn more about Holland and Alucard through flash backs and I loved learning how Holland came to be who he is. Alucard started slowly growing on me. As did Lila, kind of at least. She’s still too arrogant and reckless but bit less than before. I didn’t want to hit her all the time so that’s progress… Rhy has grown up and become more ready to be a king. Kell has learned that he still has a lot to learn about magic. I was hoping we would have learned more about his past and it was so close.

I don’t know what more to say. I can’t believe the series ends here! I thought this was a good ending but there were some loose ends that I keep hoping that someday there will be more books.

4/5

Published: Titan Books (February 21, 2017)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 666
Source: Library