Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review and Giveaway: "Isabella Unashamed" by Helen R. Davis and Carolina Casas





Synopsis: Isabella of Castile is known as Europe’s first great queen. Renowned for her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon and birthing of modern day Spain, Isabella is also known as the queen who launched the Inquisition, completed the Reconquista and expelled the Jews from her nation. Not long after her triumph in 1492, her dynasty came apart and unraveled, and it was whispered by many that the Trastamara line was cursed.


But, What if Isabella had been wiser and not expelled the Jews, some of the very people who ironically helped put her on the throne of Castile? What if Isabella had had more foresight and had her successor be Catalina, who, although the youngest, was the most like her and the wisest of her children? How would the power balance of 15th and 16th century Europe shifted if Catalina had been the powerful queen regnant of Spain and not one of the ‘merry wives’ of Windsor?

A joint effort, Isabella Unashamed is written by two authors from very different cultural backgrounds who have nonetheless joined together to create a haunting portrait of Spain’s most famous queen, as well as a glimpse of what might have been had Isabella been wiser.

My Thoughts:  I love the idea of alternative history so I was very intrigued by this book.  I enjoy thinking about how the world would be changed if certain events transpired in a different manner and Isabella Unashamed provided a fascinating view of a changed world.

I have always felt bad for Catherine of Aragon (Catalina) so I loved that the authors made her the focus of this story.  It was really interesting to see how the authors' changed Catalina's story as well as the future of the Spanish kingdom.  With a few different choices, Ferdinand and Isabella rewrote their daughter's story and gave her a happy and rewarding adult life.  It was wonderful!

I also liked seeing Isabella come to the decision not to pursue the Inquisition in Spain.  I think the authors did a good job of making it a truly difficult decision for her; given the time period and her religious nature, it would have been hard for her to choose to be tolerant to other religions.

While I was fascinated by all the twists and turns of the story, I did think it was a little dry at times.  There weren't a lot of descriptions of the characters or the world around them so it was hard to really see the story.  That being said, I still enjoyed the story and loved their take on how history could have been different if Isabella had made other choices.  3 stars.

About the Authors:


Helen R. Davis is an American author. Her first novel, Evita: My Argentina was previously published as Evita: My Life and republished with Custom Book Publications in Hong Kong. Her second novel, CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED, which is the first in a series, imagines a world in which Antony and Cleopatra, rather than Augustus Caesar, are the victors of the Battle of Actium. the sequel, CLEOPATRA VICTORIOUS, will be released soon, followed by the titles CLEOPATRA MAGNIFICA and CLEOPATRA TRIUMPHANT. Her third novel, or at least, her third historical novel/alternate history, THE MOST HAPPY, will be published with Callipe Editorial, based out of Madrid Spain, on July 25th, 2017.

For more information, please visit Helen Davis’ website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Carolina Casas has a BA in History and a minor in women’s studies.
Her debut novel “Isabella Unashamed” was co-written with the author of “Cleopatra Unconquered” & “The Most Happy”, Helen R. Davis and it is a powerful alternative historical novel that asks the important question that has been on everyone’s mind: what-if? What if Isabella had taken a different route than the one she did following the surrender of Granada at the beginning of 1492.
A young woman who enjoys life and giving to others, she is also a self-proclaimed nerd who currently resides in the lone star state of Texas where she spends her free time writing, drawing, reading about her favorite historical subjects and watching classical horror and rom-coms with her friends.

Carolina’s journey into the realm of alternate history began when she was very little. After a frightful and sleepless night, she was introduced to the legend of King Arthur and his knights through Sir Thomas Mallory’s epic “Le Morte d’Arthur” which started her fascination with the medieval period and later with other eras. This, along with her curiosity, has led her to delve into the realm of alternate history.

Carolina has several pages on Facebook where she works alongside other history buffs and novelists (Tudor Nerds with Glasses and Tudor Facts vs. Fiction), as well as a history blog where she shares her thoughts on movies and TV shows as well.

You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads.





I received this book from HFBVT in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review and Giveaway: "There is Always a Tomorrow" by Anna Belfrage

Synopsis:  There is Always a Tomorrow is the ninth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.
It is 1692 and the Colony of Maryland is still adapting to the consequences of Coode’s Rebellion some years previously. Religious tolerance in the colony is now a thing of the past, but safe in their home, Alex and Matthew Graham have no reason to suspect they will become embroiled in the ongoing religious conflicts—until one of their sons betrays their friend Carlos Muñoz to the authorities.

Matthew Graham does not leave his friends to rot—not even if they’re papist priests—so soon enough most of the Graham family is involved in a rescue attempt, desperate to save Carlos from a sentence that may well kill him.

Meanwhile, in London little Rachel is going through hell. In a matter of months she loses everything, even her surname, as apparently her father is not Master Cooke but one Jacob Graham. Not that her paternity matters when her entire life implodes.

Will Alex and Matthew be able to help their unknown grandchild? More importantly, will Rachel want their help?

My Thoughts:  I did not expect to see another book with Matthew and Alex so There is Always a Tomorrow was an extremely pleasant surprise.  I loved being immersed in their world again; a world full of family and love and as always some trials and tribulations. 

I seriously want to live in Graham's Garden.  In this book, we find Matthew and Alex a little older with a growing number of new family members as well as some old favorites.  I've really enjoyed watching their children grow up and become significant characters in the story.  I think my favorite right now is Samuel and I was happy to see him come to the fore front of the story.

I also loved watching the family come together to protect Carlos.  I don't want to give any spoilers away but the Grahams know how to get things done.  The Grahams sure are a force to be reckoned with and I pity anyone who gets on their bad side!  They always seem to stand up for what they feel is right whether or not it is in line with everyone else's beliefs; I really admire that about them.

The story line involving Rachel was horribly sad but I liked that Ms. Belfrage didn't try to gloss over it or make everything turn out all puppies and rainbows with the situation.  It definitely broke my heart but it seemed more realistic given the time period.

Overall, I am so happy that I got to immerse myself in the Graham Saga again.  Ms. Belfrage left the story open-ended enough so I'll be crossing my fingers that we get to see more of the Grahams in the future.  4 stars.

About the Author:

 
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 thrive…

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 – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY!

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 eBooks & 2 paperback copies of There is Always a Tomorrow! To enter, please click here.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– 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.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Blast and Giveaway: "Sown in Tears" and "Where Do I Go?" by Beverly Magid






Sown in Tears by Beverly Magid



Publication Date: September 18, 2012


Paperback & eBook; 194 Pages


ISBN-13: 978-1478104575




Genre: Fiction/Historical/Jewish









Russia, 1905: The Jews are restricted to the area called thePale of the Settlement and the target of anti-semitism fomented by the government and exacerbated by the laws and the economy. After an attack on the village of Kortitz, Leah Peretz must find a way to survive and protect her young children. Her life is complicated by the unexpected attentions of the Russian officer, Captain Vaselik. Can she trust him? Should she join the burgeoning worker movement? Suddenly her path to self-discovery has become one of drama, revolution and courage.


"I read this story in ONE day. I could not put the book down!" - Impressions In Ink Book Blog





"Sown in Tearswill have you gripped from the first sentence. This exciting, fast-paced novel takes all the elements of romance, family love, friendship and loyalty and places them into the fascinating setting of a small Jewish settlement in Russia in 1905. Magid creates a wonderful atmosphere of stifling terror and poverty in the Jewish community and the courage and survival instincts of Leah or so expertly created that you are willing her on, even when her actions could have serious consequences for her family. This novel truly stands out in the ‘chick lit’ category as a brave and exciting choice of subject matter written with real heart and finesse." - BestChickLit.com


Available in Paperback and eBook on Amazon







Where Do I Go? by Beverly Magid



Publication Date: October 9, 2017


BeWrite Press


Paperback & eBook; 138 Pages




Genre: Fiction/Historical/Jewish










It's 1908 and Leah and her boys have immigrated to New York's Lower East Side to live with her brothers after surviving a pogrom in their Russian village. She is determined to find a home in America but the conditions are harsher than she expected. The garment sweat shops are brutal to work in and it's essential that her son Benny works after school to help with expenses. Unbeknownst to her he runs errands for the local bookie/gangster. Life isn't what Leah hoped for, but she's a fighter and not willing to accept the awful conditions at Wollowitz's Factory. She's on a journey to find her own voice, to find a place for herself and her sons, to find a little beauty and romance in her life.


Available in Paperback and eBook on Amazon




About the Author


Beverly Magid, before writing her novel, was a journalist and an entertainment and celebrity PR executive, who interviewed many luminaries, including John Lennon, Jim Croce and the Monty Python gang, and as a publicist represented clients in music, tv and film, ranging from Whoopi Goldberg, John Denver and Dolly Parton to Tom Skerritt, Martin Landau, Kathy Ireland and Jacqueline Bisset.

Beverly is a longtime west coast resident who still considers herself a New Yorker. Among the social issues she’s passionate about is literacy and she worked with KorehLA to mentor elementary children in reading. Also she has been an advocate for Jewish World Watch, an organization dedicated to working against genocide and to aid the victims of war atrocities. On a lighter side, she is also a volunteer at the Los Angeles Zoo, monitoring animal behavior for their Research Department.

She is a news and political junkie who supports environmental, animal and human rights issues. She believes most passionately that “We must remain vigilant to the those who would erode the rights of people around the world and work to defeat them.”

For more information, please visit Beverly Magid's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Book Blast Schedule


Monday, November 13
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 14
Creating Herstory

Wednesday, November 15
The Never-Ending Book
History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, November 16
A Book Geek

Friday, November 17
So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, November 20
WS Momma Readers Nook

Tuesday, November 21
Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, November 22
Adventures Thru Wonderland

Thursday, November 23
What Is That Book About

Monday, November 27
Let Them Read Books

Thursday, November 30
Pursuing Stacie


Giveaway


During the Book Blast we will be giving away a signed copy of SOWN IN TEARS! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– 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.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Beverly Magid Book Blast


Monday, November 13, 2017

Mini Reviews (23)



I so badly wanted to love this book but it just didn't do it for me.  I was expecting to get to know Eliza Hamilton in this story: her life before, during and after her marriage to Alexander Hamilton but that's not what this story was really about.  This was a more a story Alexander through Eliza's eyes and it got boring after a while to see her gush over Alexander non-stop for the whole book.  I did learn a lot about Alexander from the story but I don't think I really knew Eliza.  It was all completely focused on Alexander and I think the story made Eliza into a lovesick puppy.  Also, Eliza lived for 50 years after his death and there was nothing about that part of her life.   I feel bad for not loving the story but it really didn't work for me. 2 stars.
 


 
Sugar Pine Trail is the 7th book in RaeAnne Thayne's Haven Point series and I'm pretty sure it's my new favorite.  I absolutely loved Jamie Caine!  I loved watching the relationship between him and Julia grow and his relationship with the two boys was adorable.  It also had just the right amount of holiday cheer.  RaeAnne Thayne really knows how to create lovable characters and she outdid herself with this book.  I have enjoyed this series so much and I can't wait to see where she takes us next. 4 stars.
 


I don't think I have ever read anything by this author but I really liked this book.  I love the idea of a female investigator in the early 20th century.  Lady Emily was smart and inquisitive and it was fun to follow her through St. Petersburg as she tried to solve a ballerina's murder.  The author's descriptions of St. Petersburg were gorgeous and showed both the wealth and poverty of the city.  I enjoyed the story as a whole though I thought the ending was a little rushed.  I'll definitely be picking up more of Ms. Alexander's books in the future. 3 stars.

 I received all three books from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book Blast and Giveaway: The Graham Saga by Anna Belfrage

Please follow Anna Belfrage as her beloved Graham Saga series is blasted around the blogosphere and enter to win Books #1-8!


About The Graham Saga Series


This is the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met - not when she was born three hundred years after him.

It all began the day Alex Lind got caught in a thunderstorm. Not your ordinary storm, no this was the mother of all storms, causing a most unusual rift in the fabric of time. Alex was dragged three centuries backwards in time, landing more or less at the feet of a very surprised Matthew Graham.

In a series of books we follow the life and adventures of the expanding Graham family, both in Scotland and in the New World - and let me tell you it is quite an exciting life, at times excessively so in Alex' opinion.

Sometimes people ask me why Alex had to be born in the twentieth century, why not make her a woman born and bred in the seventeenth century where the story is set? The answer to that is I have no idea. Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn't let go.

Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love - always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn't been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side.

At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn't want her any different, for all that she was half heathen and a right hand-full. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day?

Still, dear reader, it isn't always easy. At times Alex thinks he's an overbearing bastard, at others he's sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and ... She is his woman, he is her man. That's how it is, that's how it always will be.


Graham Saga Titles


Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star
Book Nine: There is Always a Tomorrow (November 2017)





About the Author




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 Anna Belfragehistorical- 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 thrive…

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.

For additional information regarding Anna, her characters, extra scenes, and teasers for her next books, have a look at Anna's website at: www.annabelfrage.com. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.


Book Blast Schedule


Monday, November 6
Pursuing Stacie
The Reading Queen
Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, November 7
T's Stuff
Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, November 8
Bookish
So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, November 9
Let Them Read Books

Friday, November 10
History From a Woman's Perspective
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, November 11
A Holland Reads

Sunday, November 12
A Chick Who Reads

Monday, November 13
CelticLady's Reviews
What Is That Book About

Tuesday, November 14
A Literary Vacation
Historical Fiction with Spirit
Mello & June, It's a Book Thang!

Wednesday, November 15
The Maiden's Court
Adventures Thru Wonderland

Thursday, November 16
Carole Rae's Random Ramblings
Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Friday, November 17
Book Nerd

Saturday, November 18
Passages to the Past
The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, November 19
Books, Dreams, Life

Monday, November 20
The Lit Bitch
Jorie Loves a Story


Giveaway


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away Books #1-8 in paperback to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– 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.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Graham Saga Book Blast


Monday, November 6, 2017

Feature & Giveaway: "By Love Divided" by Elizabeth St. John






By Love Divided by Elizabeth St. John



Publication Date: October 12, 2017


Falcon Historical


eBook & Paperback; 381 Pages




Series: The Lydiard Chronicles, Book Two


Genre: Historical Fiction






Royalist Sir Allen Apsley thinks his choice is clear, but when his mother embraces the Puritan cause, and his beloved sister Luce falls in love with John Hutchinson, a Roundhead soldier, his loyalties are tested. Is it family first? Is it country first? As England falls into bloody civil war, Allen must fight for king and country, while Luce embraces Parliament’s radical views and confronts the very core of the family’s beliefs. And when their influential Villiers cousins raise the stakes, Allen and Luce face a devastating challenge. Will war unite or divide them? In the dawn of rebellion, love is the final battleground.

Based on surviving memoirs, court papers and letters of Elizabeth St.John’s family, By Love Divided continues the story of Lucy St.John, The Lady of the Tower. This powerfully emotional novel tells of England’s great divide, and the heart-wrenching choices one family faces.


"I am completely blown away by Elizabeth St. John’s follow up novel, By Love Divided. The depth of her characterization, the elegance of her prose (and dialogue) and the masterful way in which she presents the realities of the English Civil War such that we’re bleeding for both sides is nothing short of brilliant. If you want a compelling, exquisitely written story to immerse you in the past, By Love Divided is a must read! I consider it one of my favourite historical reads and it's earned a place on my keeper shelf! 5 plus stars!" -Cryssa Bazos, Author of The Traitor's Knot


Available on Amazon



About the Author




Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and Castle Fonmon to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it's hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth's family still occupy them - in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that's a different story...

By Love Divided, Elizabeth's sequel to The Lady of the Tower, follows the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War, and is out now.

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Blog Tour Schedule


Saturday, November 4
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 5
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, November 6
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, November 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, November 10
Feature at WS Momma Readers Nook

Monday, November 13
Review at Bookish

Wednesday, November 15
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 16
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, November 17
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, November 20
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, November 21
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, November 23
Excerpt at T's Stuff

Saturday, November 25
Review & Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, November 27
Review at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Tuesday, November 28
Feature at A Literary Vacation


Giveaway


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of By Love Divided to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– 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.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

By Love Divided




Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mailbox Monday (80)

Time for another Mailbox Monday post! 

I hope everyone had a great Halloween!  My daughter had a blast and even though it was freezing, we did a lot of trick or treating.  After Halloween, I swear the week flew by and now we're having a super relaxing weekend.  The weather is pretty chilly so it's nice to curl up inside with a book or a movie.

I'm so excited about the books I got this week. 

For Review:



This is a new book in a one of my favorite series and I absolutely can't wait to dive into it.

Purchased (for Kindle):


I am so excited for the holidays! I can't get enough holiday romance novels right now.  We are going to be in Germany for Thanksgiving so we are already starting to get things ready to decorate the house.  I want it all ready to go when we leave so the house is ready for December when we get back.

I hope you all have a great week!  What books did you get this week?
 

 

 

 
 
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