These are the latest books I’ve got in the last few weeks.
Deposed by David Barbaree
In a darkened cell, a brutally deposed dictator lies crippled – deprived of his power, his freedom – and his eyes.
On the edge of utter despair, his only companion is the young boy who brings him his meagre rations, a mere child who fears his own shadow. But to one who has held and lost the highest power, one thing alone is crystal clear: even emperors were mere children once.
Ten years later, the new ruler’s son watches uneasily over his father’s empire. Wherever he looks rebellion is festering, and those closest to him have turned traitor once before.
To this city in crisis comes a hugely wealthy senator from the very edge of the empire, a young and angry ward at his heels. He is witty but inscrutable, generous with his time and money to a leader in desperate need of a friend – and he wears a bandage over his blinded eyes.
The fallen emperor’s name is Nero.
But this isn’t his story. (publisher)
The book moves between two timelines: AD 68 which follows Nero when he is imprisoned and blinded in his cell. AD 79 follows Emperor Vespasian’s son Titus who is obsessed uncovering murderous plots against his father. While there is a huge cast with changing POV’s and changing timelines it was easy to follow and it’s clearly stated in what year we are on.
This is a book about what if Nero had lived it was really fascinating. I don’t know that much about this era in Roman history so can’t tell how well it kept with real history.
Marcus is a slave boy who brings Nero’s food when he is imprisoned. When Nero escapes, he takes the boy with him. No longer a slave, Marcus has some troubles adjusting to his new life and to Nero’s expectations of him. Nero has a plan to get back at the people who blinded him and Marcus has a role in it.
My only gripe about the book is that at some parts I felt the story was little far fetched and everything came so easily for Nero. But otherwise, I thought this was a great book and fabulous debut book.
Published: Bonnier Zaffre (May 4, 2017)
Under the Approaching Dark (The King’s Greatest Enemy 3) by Anna Belfrage
Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.
After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.
In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much.
When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adamís personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.
Adam and Kit are still trying to come to terms with their son’s death in the previous book and it also brings some strains into their marriage. Tom died when they were away and they never saw the body so there is the possibility that he is alive and Kit clings into that believe. But despite the circumstances of the start of their marriage, they have grown to love each other and are able to move on from these hard times.
But Adam is finding it ever more difficult staying loyal to both the young King and Mortimer. Edward is growing more frustrated because his mother Queen Isabella and Mortimer are holding the real power but as Edward grows older it becomes clear that sooner or later there will be a confrontation since its less than likely that Mortimer will just hand over the power. In the end, who will Adam serve?
I love that Edward III is getting more scenes in this book. I thought it was well presented how he dealt with the death and stuff concerning his father Edward II. Some conflicting emotions there! I’m so glad that he’s marriage to Philippa starts off well and I like how she is portrayed.
I’m also really starting to like Thomas of Brotherton. There’s so little written about him and I love how big role he has in this. And it’s great for Adam to have such a friend.
Another great book from the author and I can’t wait for the next book! I want to see how it goes between Edward and Mortimer.
Published: Matador (April 28, 2017)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thriveÖ
For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.
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. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, May 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, May 3
Review at A Book Drunkard
Thursday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads
Friday, May 5
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Monday, May 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, May 9
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, May 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Thursday, May 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Friday, May 12
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, May 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Wednesday, May 17
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, May 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, May 19
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Monday, May 22
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Friday, May 26
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests
Monday, May 29
Guest Post at Yelena Casale’s Blog
Tuesday, May 30
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Beyond the Wild River by Sarah Maine
The day comes sooner than expected when Charles, prompted by a near-scandal between Evelyn and a servant, brings her on a business trip to New York City and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Evelyn welcomes the chance to escape her cloistered life and see the world.
But a fishing expedition up the Nipigon River in Canada takes an unexpected turn when Evelyn discovers that their river guide is none other than James Douglas. Even more startling, her father betrays no shock, simply instructing Evelyn not to reveal their past connection with James to the rest of their party.
Evelyn never believed that James was guilty, but speculation about her father’s role in the killing has made her fearful. What is he hiding? As they travel deeper into the wilderness, and further from the constraints of polite society, the secrets and lies surrounding that night are finally stripped away, revealing the true natures of everyone in their party. (publisher)
A poacher is killed on a Scottish estate and James Douglas is accused of the murder. He flees to Canada where he works as a guide. Five years later Evelyn Ballentyre is accused of becoming too close with their stable hand and her father Charles takes her with him to the Canadian wilderness. Once there, they discover that their guide is none other than James Douglas who used to work on their estate. The story moves between past and present as we learn more about the poacher’s death.
I was intrigued by this book once I noticed it’s set in Canada because I haven’t read many books set in there. Throw in some Scotland and what’s not to like?
The middle part was a bit slow going but once things started to happen, it does pick up. But the end felt a bit rushed like trying to cram up all the happenings in the end.
Evelyn was ok but I didn’t really connect with her. Her friend Clementina was just silly but I did like James. I would have liked to learn more about how he worked his way to Canada.
I didn’t buy all the situations that Evelyn had as a woman living in the 1800’s.
I liked the murder mystery and thought it wrapped up good in the end. We learn more about Charles as the mystery is revealed.
In the end, it was an okay and quick read but I felt like it could have been so much more.
Published: Atria (April 18, 2017)
The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown
‘Do you believe in the devil? Not so long ago I too would have scoffed. Now – now I am not so sure.’
1645. Alice Hopkins returns in disgrace, husbandless and pregnant, to her brother Matthew’s house in the small Essex town of Manningtree.
When she left, Matthew was an awkward boy, bullied for the scars that disfigure his face. But the brother Alice has come back to is like a different person. Now Matthew has powerful friends, and mysterious business that keeps him out late into the night. Then the rumours begin: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which Matthew is gathering women’s names.
Just how far will Matthew’s obsession drive him? And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan? (publisher)
After the death of her husband, Alice Hopkins has no other choice than to return to her childhood home in Manningtree to live with her brother Matthew. But a lot has happened there while she was away and her brother has changed. They haven’t been in contact for years and Matthew didn’t approve her choice of husband and still hasn’t forgiven her.
Little by little Alice discovers that it is Matthew who is behind hunting women and accusing them of witchcraft. But she is horrified when she realizes that Matthew wants her to join him in the quest to find witches.
The first part of the book was really slow and boring so I was thinking about quitting but I still wanted to know how it ends. I mean all the action was in the latter half of the book.
I wasn’t huge fan of Alice and just didn’t connect with her. I just wished she had more backbone. She was too easily influenced by what others think and would agree with them. Then someone else says this and then she agrees with them and so on. She did got little better at the end and I was happy about the ending. I didn’t get why she would tell Matthew about her pregnancy. It probably wouldn’t have made him any warmer or anything but still.
Matthew well… he had his reasons sort of… He is evil person who truly believes in the existence of witches. He really does believe he is doing the right thing. He is not a nice person, I’ll just leave it there.
I have to say I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would but everyone else seems to love this so what do I know. But I was just bored and not scared.
Published: Viking (March 16, 2017)
Here’s what I got last week:
Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage (for review)
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth by J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (purchased)
The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle (purchased)
The Enemies of Versailles (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy 3) by Sally Christie
In the final installment of Sally Christieís tantalizing (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.
That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.
After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.
Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.
The book focuses on the last official mistress of Louis XV, Jeanne Becu, better known as Comtesse du Barry. Coming from humble origins she gets a lot of enemies on her way to Versailles and one of them is Madame Adelaide, daughter of the king.
I’ve never liked the women in these books but still somehow loved the books. I don’t know why but here it didn’t work out so well. They were both selfish and wanted the easy life. Adelaide might know Greek but knows nothing about real life. And Jeanne practically grew on the streets; you would think that kicked some sense into her but no. She certainly wasn’t picked for her wits for sure… Even Marie Antoinette was silly and frivolous but even she grew up a bit (too late but still) when needed.
I did feel sad about Louis XV, though. I haven’t been a huge fan of him but I could feel his frustrations with his grandson. Of course, he didn’t help his grandson’s time as a king. Getting a kingdom on a brink of a revolution and debauched life Louis lived and money spending…
I would have liked if it was better stated in what year we were because suddenly you notice the story jumped 2 years, 10 years…
Overall I think this was ok. Which is a shame because I really loved the previous books and in this, I didn’t really care if people got guillotined or not.
Published: Atria Books (March 21, 2017)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals 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.
Visit SallyChristieAuthor.com to find out more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy.
Blog Tour Schedule
Sunday, March 19
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, March 20
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, March 21
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, March 23
Review at Broken Teepee
Friday, March 24
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, March 27
Review at The Reading Queen
Thursday, March 30
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Corpus by Rory Clements
Europe is in turmoil.
The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland.
In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror.
Spain has erupted in civil war.
In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.
In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?
When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…
Set against the drumbeat of war and moving from Berlin to Cambridge, from Whitehall to the Kent countryside, and from the Fens to the Aragon Front in Spain, this big canvas international thriller marks the beginning of a major new series from bestselling author Rory Clements. (publisher)
Thomas Wilde is a history professor at Cambridge University who gets himself drawn into a murder investigation. When a young woman is found dead, Lydia Morris doesn’t believe her friend’s death was just an overdose. She thinks it was a murder. When parents of Lydia’s other friend are murdered, Wilde can’t but wonder if the deaths are somehow connected.
Meanwhile, King Edward VIII is determined to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Both are known Nazi sympathizers and the Nazis want to keep Edward on the throne. The whole country is divided; left or right.
This is my first Rory Clements book even though I’ve owned Martyr for some time… And I’m glad I finally read his book!
I loved Wilde. I mean history professor as the main character, what’s not to like? He’s bit of an outsider; American, widower, hasn’t been to war and isn’t a fan of Cambridge traditions or politics. He’s studied Francis Walsingham so he knows something about spies and espionage.
It was interesting to see what might have happened during the Abdication. Politicians and Nazis all wanting their best choice on the throne. Conspiracies and espionage everywhere.
I really enjoyed this and now I have to start reading those John Shakespeare books.
Published: Zaffre (February 21, 2017)
Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring
The Munich Girl: A novel of the legacies that outlast war.
The past may not be done with us. What secrets is a portrait of Eva Braun hiding?
Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her fatherís war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never didóthat her mother and Hitlerís mistress were friends.
Plunged into the world of the ìordinaryî Munich girl who was her motherís confidanteóand a tyrantís loveróAnna uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart, to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.
After Anna Dahlberg’s mother dies, she finds her old diary and learns that her mother and Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun were friends. She learns how the painting of Eva, that has hung in their dining room, came into her father’s possession.
This was an interesting read since there is so little written about Eva Braun. This book certainly made me want to learn more of her.
I had some difficulties connecting with Anna. Even in her fifties she was so weak and bit childish. My favorite parts were chapters with Peggy, Anna’s mother, and her time during the war. It would have been interesting to have her POV after the war too. How she managed the life after it since she had to make hard decisions leaving Germany behind.
Even if I had some troubles with the book, I did enjoy it very much. You can see that the author has done her research well.
Published: Whole Sky Books (November 14, 2015)
Source: Premier Virtual Author Book Tours
About Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Author Phyllis Edgerly Ring lives in New England and returns as often as she can to her childhood home in Germany. Her years there left her with a deep desire to understand the experience of Germans during the Second World War. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, and served as program director at a Bahaíi conference center in Maine.
She is also author of the novel, Snow Fence Road, and the inspirational nonfiction, Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details. Her book for children, Jamila Does Not Want a Bat in Her House, is scheduled for release by Bellwood Press in early 2017.
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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Feb 2 Interview & Giveaway
Books,Dreams,Life Feb 3 Review & Excerpt
Christy’s Cozy Corners Feb 9 Guest Post
Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings Feb 10 Review
Community Bookstop Feb 14 Review
Between the Beatse Feb 16 Review, Interview, & Giveaway
Jayne’s Books Feb 20 Review
Bookramblings Feb 28 Review
Rainy Day Reviews Mar 1 Review
Lisa’s Writopia Mar 8 Review & Interview
100 Pages A Day Mar 10 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway
Rockin’ Book Reviews Mar 14 Review, Guest Post & Giveaway
Reading Bliss Mar 15 Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway
Library of Clean Reads Mar 21 Review & Giveaway
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Mar 24 Review
Turning the Pages Mar 31 Review & Giveaway