A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica’s Rebellion by Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, and Russell Whitfield

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A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica’s Rebellion by Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, and Russell Whitfield

Britannia: land of mist and magic clinging to the western edge of the Roman Empire. A red-haired queen named Boudica led her people in a desperate rebellion against the might of Rome, an epic struggle destined to consume heroes and cowards, young and old, Roman and Celt . . . and these are their stories.

A calculating queen sees the sparks of revolt in a kingís death.

A neglected slave girl seizes her own courage as Boudica calls for war.

An idealistic tribune finds manhood in a brutal baptism of blood and slaughter.

A conflicted warrior hovers between loyalty to tribe and loyalty to Rome.

A death-haunted Druid challenges the gods themselves to ensure victory for his people.

An old champion struggles for everlasting glory in the final battle against the legions.

A fiery princess fights to salvage the pieces of her motherís dream as the ravens circle.

A novel in seven parts, overlapping stories of warriors and peacemakers, queens and slaves, Romans and Celts who cross paths during Boudicaís epic rebellion. But who will survive to see the dawn of a new Britannia, and who will fall to feed the ravens?

I’ve wanted to learn more about Boudica but haven’t actually read any books about her so this was really fascinating read. I’ve never been fan of the Romans and this didn’t make me like then any more… Although the Britons nor the Iceni were any better really…

The book consist works by seven writers and I loved how well they worked together. Some characters feature on multiple stories and while written by different authors you still feel that it’s the same character. I’ve never read a collaboration like this and I was surprised how well it worked and how much I liked it.

It was a brutal war and it surely isn’t sugar coated here, which I appreciated. We don’t have Boudica’s point of view but we see her through different people; Romans, slaves, druids, friends and daughters. I thought both sides were well presented. I felt like all of the stories could have been a whole book because I wanted to read more!

4,5/5

Published: Knight Media LLC (November 17, 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 440
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A Year of Ravens Authors

Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, and Russell Whitfield
Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, & Russell Whitfield

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, November 13
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Saturday, November 14
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Sunday, November 15
Review at Book Babe

Monday, November 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 17
Review at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, November 18
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, November 19
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, November 20
Review at Leeanna.me

Monday, November 23
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, November 24
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, November 25
Review at A Book Drunkard

Friday, November 27
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, November 30
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, December 1
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Wednesday, December 2
Interview at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Thursday, December 3
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, December 4
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, December 5
Review at Bookramblings

Monday, December 7
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, December 8
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, December 9
Review at I’m Shelfish

Thursday, December 10
Review at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, December 11
Review at Historical Readings & Reviews

Monday, December 14
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, December 15
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 16
Review at A Literary Vacation
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Thursday, December 17
Review at The True Book Addict
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, December 18
Review at Broken Teepee
Review, Excerpt, & Interview at Unshelfish

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Mailbox Monday (23.11.2015)

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

Here’s what I got last week, except In the Shadow of the Storm which I got earlier:

books23.11.05 Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione (bought)
The Tudor Princess by Darcey Bonnette (bought)
In the Shadow of the Storm by Anna Belfrage (for review)
Anglo-Norman England 1066-1166 by Marjorie Chibnall (bought)
The Egyptians by Cyril Aldred (bought)
Marie Therese by Susan Nagel (bought)
Cleopatra and Antony by Diana Preston (bought)

Orphan’s Blade by Aubrie Dionne

Orphan's BladeOrphan’s Blade (Chronicles of Ebonvale 2) by Aubrie Dionne

In the battle for a kingdom, every alliance counts…

Princess Valoria only cares about her music and her destiny: to unite the Kingdom of Ebonvale with the House of Song and succeed where her father has failed. As if that weren’t challenge enough, she must contend with her marriage to a battle hungry brute of a prince…until she falls for his adopted brother, the orphaned son of a blacksmith. But with a horde of undead gathering to attack Ebonvale, Valoria will have to choose between her personal happiness and the safety of the kingdom. Now the fate of Ebonvale rests in her heart. (publisher)

This is the second book in a series but I haven’t read the first one and I thought it stands well as a stand alone.

I really liked the idea of minstrels who can take part on a battle with their harps. The music affects people and like a dream spells and stuff. I thought it was so cool.

I liked Valoria and she was a great heroine. She stood up to Brax, who is a battle hungry prince and only thinks about war, and cared for the common people. I liked Nathaniel and his relationship with Valoria but thought Brax a was bit too unappealing to make Nathaniel more likeable.

My one problem with the book was the ending. It just ended so abruptly that I wouldn’t have minded more pages. It’s pretty short book with 190 pages and so it easily could have been bit longer.

But otherwise I enjoyed it and I want to read the first book too.

3,5/5

Published: Lyrical Press (November 10, 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 190
Source: NetGalley

Spirit of the Highway by Deborah Swift

01_Spirit of the HighwaySpirit of the Highway (Highway Trilogy, Book II) by Deborah Swift

England 1651.

England has been engaged in a bitter Civil War for nearly ten years. Ralph Chaplin, a farmerís son, has fallen for beautiful copper-haired Kate. There is only one problem ñ he is a Roundhead soldier and she is a Royalist lady.

Tired of bloodshed, Ralph volunteers to fight, sensing that the Battle at Worcester will be a chance to finish the fighting for good. He longs for peace, so he can forge a secure future and find a different, more equal way of life for himself and Kate.

But war is not what he imagined, and soon he has made a deadly enemy; one who will pursue Ralph and those he loves, and wreak vengeance. Whatís more, Ralph finds he has just as many enemies at home, as on the battlefield.

Told by Ralphís ghost, Spirit of the Highway is the stand-alone second part of the Highway Trilogy based on the real life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, highwaywoman and heiress.

The event take place soon after book 1 and is told by Ralph Chaplin’s ghost. Ralph has finally joined the army and when he comes back home learns that things have changed around Markyate Manor.

Since the story is told by a ghost you know he will die but it didn’t ruin the story in any way. I liked the first book more but that doesn’t mean this was bad either. I didn’t really care for Ralph in book 1 and he didn’t grow much for me in this one either. I liked his friend Cutch whom he met at the army and Cutch tried to act like voice of reason without much success. I wanted to shake Ralph so many times to get some sense into him because he seems to find himself always in trouble.

We see more about the life on the battlefield and I could have read more about that. Ralph makes an enemy on the battlefield where he meets a man who seeks vengeance for the killing of his family. Ralph’s father didn’t give good impression n the last book and even worse in this one.

I’m looking forward reading the next book in the series which will focus on Katherine Fanshawe.

3,5/5

Published: Endeavor Press (September 30, 2015)
Format: paperback
Pages: 292
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author02_Deborah Swift

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Ladyís Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martinís Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists.

She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District – a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | GOOGLE+ | PINTEREST

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 26
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight & Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 28
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, October 29
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, November 2
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, November 3
Spotlight & Excerpt at Brooke Blogs

Thursday, November 5
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, November 6
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Just One More Chapter
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Giveaway

To win a signed paperback of Spirit of the Highway please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Three copies up for grabs!

Rules

ñ Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
ñ Giveaway is open internationally.
ñ Only one entry per household.
ñ All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
ñ Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Spirit of the Highway

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The Lake House by Kate Morton

02_The Lake HouseThe Lake House by Kate Morton

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her familyís idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endureÖ

One midsummerís eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theoís case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfatherís house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estateónow crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

This is my second Morton book I’ve read and this was even better than The Forgotten Garden. Why is the books you love the hardest to review?

The dual timeline works well here and while the story is told from various point of views it’s not confusing at all.

I’m not good at solving mysteries and I though several times that I know what happened and then something new comes up. I got something right but one thing really surprised me and did not see it coming.

I don’t remember when was the last time that I got so caught up in a book that I jut want to keep reading and reading. I’m definitely reading more from Morton!

4,5/5

Published: Atria Books (October 20, 2015)
Format: eBook
Pages: 512
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR03_Kate Morton

Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specializing in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary Gothic novels.

Kate Morton has sold over 7.5 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. Her novels include The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, and The Secret Keeper.

You can find more information about Kate Morton and her books at www.katemorton.com or www.facebook.com/KateMortonAuthor

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, October 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, October 6
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 12
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, October 15
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, October 21
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, October 26
Review at Beth’s Book Nook

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 28
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, October 29
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, October 30
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, November 1
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, November 2
Review at A Book Geek
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 3
Review at Bookish
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 4
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Words and Peace

Thursday, November 5
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, November 6
Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

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Shadow on the Highway by Deborah Swift

deborah swiftShadow on the Highway (The Highway Trilogy 1) by Deborah Swift

May 1651. England has been in the midst of a civil war for nearly ten years. The country has been torn in two, and the King is getting ready to make his last stand against Cromwell’s New Model Army.

Abigail Chaplin, a young mute girl, has lost her father to the parliamentarian cause. But with her family now in reduced circumstances, she is forced to work as a servant at a royalist household – the estate of Lady Katherine Fanshawe.

Abi is soon caught up in a web of sinister secrets which surround the Fanshawe estate. The most curious of which is the disappearance of Lady Katherine late at night.

Why are her husband’s clothes worn and muddy even though he hasn’t been home for weeks? How is she stealing out of the house late at night when her room is being guarded? And what is her involvement with the robberies being committed by the mysterious Shadow on the Highway? (Goodreads)

Abigail “Abi” Chaplin lost her hearing after childhood illness and has had trouble finding job because of that. When she manages to get a job as a maid in Markyate Manor, she’s shocked to find in what state the Manor is. Only 3 servants and the mistress, Lady Katherine Fanshawe, is as young as she is.

Abi is not happy when Katherine decides to pose as another maid called Kate. She is horrified when her brother Ralph falls for Kate and wants Kate to join their Digger movement. It’s a commune type of thing where they think the earth will provide for all.

I’m not that familiar with this era so it was interesting to read about the common people of this time. This was short and quick read but very enjoyable.

I liked Abi but I couldn’t understand why she wanted to help Katherine or what Ralph saw in her. I didn’t like Kate at first but she did grow towards the end and I liked seeing how the relationship between Abi and Kate changed as they get to know each other better.

This was my first Swift book but if her YA book is this good I’m looking forward reading her adult books.

4/5

Published: Endeavour Press (July 15, 2014)
Format: eBook
Pages: 192
Source: kindle freebie

Mailbox Monday (19.10.2015)

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

I did a shopping trip to our capital city Helsinki and I had some gift cards to use and here’s what I got:

books18-10-2015
The Chosen Queen by Joanna Courtney
Battlemage by Stephen Aryan
Herald of the Storm by Richard Ford
Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France by Caroline Moorehead
Rebellion by Livi Michael
Succession by Livi Michael
Seduction: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose
Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C.W. Gortner

1066: What Fates Impose by G.K. Holloway

10661066: What Fates Impose by G.K. Holloway

King William then utters the following words to the room: ‘I appoint no one as my heir to the Crown of England, but leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am and who orders all things. For I did not attain that high honour by hereditary right, but wrested it from the perjured King Harold in a desperate bloody battle.’

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold.

Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose? (Goodreads)

The book follows the events up to the Battle of Hastings and The Conquest. It’s told from third person narrative with huge cast of characters. Luckily for me I’ve read from the period before but there is list of characters in the beginning of the book. Which for me is useless when reading ebooks but maybe that’s just me. Anyway…

Although I found some trouble connecting with the characters, I did feel sympathy for Harold. I don’t know if William the Conqueror was as evil as portrayed here but I really hoped someone would kill him and the other Normans. Harold is likeable character who is intelligent and honorable while William is sometimes cruel, brutal and then at times like a whiny, spoiled brat. Made you root for Harold even more.

There’s politics, brutal fights and nothing is sugarcoated. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to live in those times. The book gives good idea of the complicated political climate of the time and how it led to the Battle of Hastings.

4/5

Published: Matador (March 4, 2013)
Format: eBook
Pages: 456
Source: from author for review

Mailbox Monday (11.10.2015)

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

It feels like forever that I had Mailbox Monday post up. And when I checked it was August 10. Yep, its been quiet in my mailbox. Probably a good thing too…

Here’s what I got this week:

books11.10.15
Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble by Antony Beevor (purchased)
Blood Price by Tanya Huff (bookmooch)