Sunday, August 30, 2015

G638 Book Review of Stepdog by Nicole Galland

Name of Book: Stepdog

Author: Nicle Galland

ISBN: 978-0-06-236947-5

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: Travel all over America, Green card wedding, American female/Irish male, dog loyalty and devotion, quirky characters, 2000s, Boston, acting, museum, getting used to married life, dog-napping, past, history

Year it was published: 2015


What's the difference between puppy love and dogged devotion?

When Sara Renault fired Rory O'Connor from his part-time job at a Boston art museum, and in response, Rory—Irishman, actor, musician, reformed party-boy— impulsively leaned over and kissed her . . . she kissed him back. Now, as Rory's visa runs out on the cusp of his big Hollywood break, Sara insists that he marry her to get a green card. In a matter of weeks they've gone from being friendly work colleagues to a live-in couple, and it's all grand . . . except for Cody, Sara's beloved dog from her troubled previous relationship. Sara's overattachment to her dog is the only thing she and Rory fight about.

When Rory scores both his green card and the lead role in an upcoming TV pilot, he and Sara (and Cody) prepare to move to Los Angeles. But just before their departure, Cody is kidnapped—and it is entirely Rory's fault. Desperate to get back into Sara's good graces, Rory tracks Cody and the sociopathic dognapper to North Carolina. Can Rory rescue Cody and convince Sara that they belong together—with Cody—as a family? First they'll need to survive a madcap adventure that takes them through the heart of America.


The main characters include Rory O'Connor who is staying in America and wants to get a green card bride just so he can become a US citizen. He is best described as who is ambivalent towards dogs, and doesn't understand the connection between humans and dogs. He is also daring, resolved, brave, shy, and he doesn't like drinking. He is also talented in playing music and in acting. Sara Renault is Rory's boss at a museum who fired him. She is very loyal to her dog Cody and is hyper organized to planning a trip or a house. Along with that she is forgiving and a warm person. Other characters that played in the story include the crew at a park that Rory frequently walks the dog in which includes Alto who is transitioning from a female to a male, an Irish-American woman with two kids, and a mysterious gentleman Jon who is suffering from a dog passing away. There is also Alex, Sarah's cousin who moved from North to South and readily adapted to being a Southern gentleman and who is also a dog lover. The villain is best described as old fashioned and hell bent on getting the dog at all costs. The villain also lives a lot in the past and is obsessed with revenge.


Dogs have amazing powers over human beings


The story is in first person narrative from Rory's point of view. I expected for the story to be told from Sarah's point of view, but instead, its from Rory's. And wow, I definitely enjoyed Rory's story and reactions to different things. Although I guess that some elements from the story do have predictability, its not a story one will forget for a very long time. Rory changing and maturing is gradual and if one blinks then they can miss the transformation that is occuring underneath. Also Rory doesn't dwell on his transformation from someone who cares little for dogs to someone who loves them a lot, but he is focused a lot more on action and what is going on. I have to say that the first half of the book, I was stumped at what the main conflict will be because the important ones, or rather immediate ones, are resolved rather quickly.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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About Nicole Galland27588

Nicole Galland’s five previous novels are The Fool’s Tale;Revenge of the RoseCrossedI, Iago, and Godiva. She writes a cheeky etiquette column for the Martha’s Vineyard Times. She is married to actor Billy Meleady and owns Leuco, a dog of splendid qualities.
Find out more about Nicole at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


From the picture and summary, I thought that Stepdog would be very similar to Dog Crazy, which will include a female protagonist and a dog that helps her out with life. I do enjoy reading these types of stories, but Stepdog isn't that. Instead the protagonist is an Irish man and the dog happens to be his wife's dog. Its definitely a unique, charming and quirky story of how someone who didn't care much for dogs found peace with one. The story also has a lot of humor in it, especially when it comes to Alex, and I was happy to see that dachshunds were in the story too, although it was a very brief moment, and along with memorable characters there is also an interesting plot of a dog being kidnapped by someone who's obsessed with getting her back at all costs. If you're tired of formulaic reads and are looking for something comedic and quirky, then try this book out.

Nicole’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, August 4th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, August 10th: Novel Escapes
Wednesday, August 12th: BookNAround
Thursday, August 13th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, August 18th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, August 21st: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, August 24th: Dreams, Etc.
Friday, August 28th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Honor Among Thieves Book Spotlight

02_Honot Among Thieves_CoverHonor Among Thieves (Hope & Steel: Book I)
by J.M. Aucoin

Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Sword & Cape
eBook & Paperback; Pages: 330

Series: Hope & Steel (Book One)
Genre: Historical Adventure/Swashbuckler

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France, March 1609. The French Wars of Religion are over, but forces still conspire against the crown…

Darion Delerue, former soldier turned highwayman, has only two things of value—the hope in his heart and the steel at his side. After a heist on a royal ambassador goes wrong, Darion is thrown into a political plot to undermine the crown, pitting his old life as an honorable soldier against his new life as a thief and bandit. His actions could send France back into civil war.

Honor Among Thieves is a gripping tale of daring sword-play and political intrigue, with superb historical detail of 17th Century France that will have readers wanting to draw their swords and fight for glory!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR03_Justin Aucoin

Author. Fencer. Sometimes actor. Full-time nerd. J.M. AUCOIN is the product of when a five-year-old boy who fell in love with reruns of Guy William’s Zorro grows into a mostly functional adult. He now spends his time writing swashbucklers and historical adventure stories, and has an (un)healthy obsession with The Three Musketeers.

When not writing, he practices historical fencing, crafts historical outfits, and covers the Boston Bruins for the award-winning blog Days of Y’Orr. He lives in Heraldwolf’s Stone with his fiancée Kate, and their dire-beagle, Rex.

For more information visit J.M. Aucoin's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.


Monday, August 24
Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Guest Post at Carpe Librum

Tuesday, August 25
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, August 26
Spotlight at Book Babe
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, August 27
Review at Book Nerd
Excerpt at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, August 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Saturday, August 29
Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Sunday, August 30
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, August 31
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

G641 Book Review of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold

Name of Book: Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva

Author: Eliza Redgold

ISBN: 978-1-250-06615-2

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Type of book: 1023-1024? marriage, ruling, Engla-lond, Saxons vs Danes, battles, determination, taxes, friendship, loyaly, Beowulf, Peace weaver,

Year it was published: 2015


We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don't know her true story.

We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva's ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for 'peeping Tom') and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.

Naked is an original version of Godiva's tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.


There are a few characters but I feel that they didn't play a big role in the story as Godiva and Leofric have, and unfortunately they didn't develop as I had hoped. Lady Godiva is an only daughter of a Saxon family that entrusts her with the care of Coventry. She is brave, fearless, a bit tomboyish, a warrior, and very stubborn and determined no matter what. Leofric becomes Godiva's husband in the book, and he is a strong, secretive, silent and stubborn type. He also has reasons for doing the things he is doing. Other characters include Edmund who was Godiva's childhood friend and has more than friendly feelings for her as well as Godiva's nurse, Leofric's brother and a close female friend. While we do get to see these characters briefly, I felt as if I didn't fuly meet them.


Strength comes in different forms


The story is told in first person narrative from Godiva's point of view. Although its an engaging story of battles, choices and actions, I do feel that character development could have been given a bit more attention. It seems that some characters really do not go through character growth as one expects, and I think I wanted for Leofric's development to accelarate a little throughout the book because it feels to sudden when it happens. I did enjoy the research and visiting the 11th century England and learning a bit about Saxons as well as how life was back then.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR03_Eliza Redgold_Author

ELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.
For more information visit Eliza Redgold’s website. You can also find her onFacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterest, and Google+.


I knew very little about Lady Godiva, aside from those delicious chocolates that I tried once, and few times when I was reading historical fiction set in 11th century, I came across her name a few times, where it mentioned that she was Leofric's Wife, and that was it. The story was really impressive because there was something poetic about the writing style, yet the author is able to convey information without too many details, which makes for a short and a delightful read that should appeal to people who are new historical fiction genre or for those who are seeking plausible explanations as to what might have happened in the past. Also, if the reader is looking for a very strong heroine, then look no further than Lady Godiva who was portrayed as a warrior, a ruler and a wife.


Monday, August 10
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, August 11
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, August 12
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court
Spotlight at A Book Geek
Thursday, August 13
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Friday, August 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Saturday, August 15
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Monday, August 17
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, August 18
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, August 19
Review at Unshelfish
Thursday, August 20
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Friday, August 21
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, August 24
Review at I’m Shelf-ish
Review at Please Pass the Books
Guest Post at Bibliotica
Tuesday, August 25
Review at A Fold in the Spine
Review & Interview at History Undressed
Guest Post at Curling Up By the Fire
Wednesday, August 26
Review at Bookish
Spotlight at The True Book Addict
Thursday, August 27
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Guest Post at Romantic Historical Reviews
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch
Friday, August 28
Review at A Book Drunkard
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Interview at Let Them Read Books

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Forgotten Flapper Book Blast

02_The Forgotten Flapper_CoverThe Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas (Forgotten Actress Series, Volume 1)
by Laini Giles

Publication Date: August 1, 2015
Publisher: Sepia Stories Publishing
Formats: eBook & Trade Paperback
Pages: 411

Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical

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A presence lurks in New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre when the lights go down and the audience goes home. They say she’s the ghost of Olive Thomas, one of the loveliest girls who ever lit up the Ziegfeld Follies and the silent screen. From her longtime home at the theater, Ollie’s ghost tells her story from her early life in Pittsburgh to her tragic death at twenty-five.

After winning a contest for “The Most Beautiful Girl in New York,” shopgirl Ollie modeled for the most famous artists in New York, and then went on to become the toast of Broadway. When Hollywood beckoned, Ollie signed first with Triangle Pictures, and then with Myron Selznick’s new production company, becoming most well known for her work as a “baby vamp,” the precursor to the flappers of the 1920s.

After a stormy courtship, she married playboy Jack Pickford, Mary Pickford’s wastrel brother. Together they developed a reputation for drinking, club-going, wrecking cars, and fighting, along with giving each other expensive make-up gifts. Ollie's mysterious death in Paris’ Ritz Hotel in 1920 was one of Hollywood’s first scandals, ensuring that her legend lived on.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR03_Laini Giles_Author

A native of Austin, Texas, Laini Giles grew up the daughter of bookworms, and became a Nancy Drew devotee early on. When she realized there might be no escape from hairy tarantulas and bad guys with guns, she put her detective dreams on hold and wrote about them instead, finishing her first mystery novel with custom illustrations when she was eight. It was this love of mystery combined with a love of old MGM musicals and The Marx Brothers that led her to check Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon out of the library during her formative years. Ideas began to simmer.

A graduate of the University of North Texas, she put the writing on hold for a while when real life got in the way (i.e.—she met and married her Canadian husband and headed north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer). She highly recommends moving to another country and not being able to work for a year for finishing any novels you may have laying around.

Laini and her husband live in Edmonton, Alberta with their three gray girl cats, nicknamed The Supremes.

For more information visit Laini Giles' website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads.


Monday, August 3
Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 4
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, August 5
Book Blast/Spotlight at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, August 6
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, August 7
Book Blast/Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 10
Review at Book Babe

Tuesday, August 11
Book Blast/Spotlight at Room With Books

Wednesday, August 12
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, August 13
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Friday, August 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read

Saturday, August 15
Book Blast/Spotlight at Please Pass the Books

Monday, August 17
Book Blast/Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, August 18
Book Blast/Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, August 19
Review at A Book Drunkard

Thursday, August 20
Spotlight & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse

Friday, August 21
Book Blast/Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, August 24
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, August 26
Review & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl

Thursday, August 27
Book Blast/Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Owen Archer by Candance Robb Book Blast

The summer is heating up with the re-issue of Candace Robb's Owen Archer historical crime series! Nine of the ten books were just released in eBook format, with all new, beautiful covers, and is now available to download for your eReader! At only $2.99 per eBook, it's a FAB deal on a great series!

The Apothecary Rose (Small)


"Suspenseful, historically accurate, and blessed with a wonderful cast of characters, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is an absolute delight from start to finish..." — Charles de Lint, author of the Newford Series

In the year of our Lord 1363, two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary’s Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby’s ne’er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton. In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to York to find the murderer.

Under the guise of a disillusioned soldier keen to make a fresh start, Owen insinuates himself into Wilton’s apothecary as an apprentice. But he finds Wilton bedridden, with the shop being run by his lovely, enigmatic young wife, Lucie. As Owen unravels a tangled history of scandal and tragedy, he discovers at its center a desperate, forbidden love twisted over time into obsession. And the woman he has come to love is his prime suspect.

Lovingly detailed, beautifully written, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is a captivating and suspenseful tale of life, love, and death in medieval England.

The Lady Chapel (Small) (2)


“A lovingly detailed background informs and animates the plot at every point.” —KIRKUS

Perfect for fans of both Ellis Peters and CJ Sansom, THE LADY CHAPEL is a vivid and immersive portrait of court intrigue and a testament to the power of the medieval guilds.

Summer in the year of our Lord 1365. On the night after the Corpus Christi procession, a man is brutally murdered on the steps of York Minster. The next morning his severed hand is found in a room at the York Tavern—a room hastily vacated by a fellow guild member who had quarreled with the victim.

Archbishop Thoresby calls on Owen Archer to investigate. As Owen tracks the fleeing merchant, he uncovers a conspiracy involving a powerful company of traders, but his only witness is a young boy who has gone into hiding, and his only suspect is a mysterious cloaked woman. When Owen discovers a link between the traders and a powerful coterie in the royal court, he brings his apothecary wife Lucie into the race to find the boy before he is silenced forever by the murderers.

The Nuns Tale (Small)


“[An] engrossing tale…imbued with the flavor of English medieval life, Robb’s story melds true events with fiction to create a gripping historical mystery.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Based on an enigmatic entry in the records of Clementhorpe Nunnery, this authentic, gripping mystery conjures a 14th century ripe with forbidden passions and political intrigue.

When young nun Joanna Calverley dies of a fever in the town of Beverley in the summer of 1365 she is buried quickly for fear of the plague. But a year later, Archbishop Thoresby learns of a woman who has arrived in York claiming to be the resurrected nun, talking of relic-trading and miracles. And death seems to ride in her wake.

The archbishop sends Owen Archer to retrace the woman’s journey, an investigation that leads him across the north from Leeds to Beverley to Scarborough. Along the way he encounters Geoffrey Chaucer, a spy for the king of England, who believes there is a connection between the nun’s troubles, renegade mercenaries, and the powerful Percy family. Back in York, however, Owen’s wife Lucie, pregnant with their first child, has won the confidence of the mysterious nun and realizes that there are secrets hidden in the woman’s seemingly mad ramblings...

The Kings Bishop (Small)


“Robb continues to adeptly blend politics with period detail and three-dimensioned characterizations in the Owen Archer tales.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

From the marshy Thames to the misty Yorkshire moors, murder stalks Welsh soldier-sleuth Owen Archer and one of his oldest friends.

On a snowy morning in 1367, Sir William of Wyndesore’s page is found in the icy moat of Windsor Castle, and some whisper that the murderer was Ned Townley—a former comrade-in-arms of Owen Archer. Burdened with a reputation as a notoriously jealous lover, Ned cannot hope to clear his name; even Mary, his ladylove, is unsure of the truth. Hoping to put Ned out of harm’s way while solving the murder, Owen places his friend in charge of a mission to Rievaulx Abbey at the edge of the moors. But when the travelers receive news of Mary’s drowning, Ned vanishes into the wild.

Riding out in search of his old friend, Owen does not know whether he will be Ned’s savior or executioner. With his one good eye, Owen sees more than most, but now he must find a way to penetrate the curtains of power that surround the Church and England’s royal court and discover the truth of Ned’s innocence or guilt...

The Riddle of St (Small)


“Gripping and believable…you can almost smell the streets of 14th-century York as you delve deeper into an engrossing plot.” —PRIMA

In the year of our Lord 1369 the much-loved Queen Philippa lies dying in Windsor Castle, the harvest has failed, and the pestilence has returned. In York, the atmosphere of fear and superstition is heightened by a series of thefts and violent deaths at St. Leonard’s Hospital and rumors that these crimes are connected to the hospital’s dwindling funds. The Master of St. Leonard’s, Sir Richard Ravenser, hurries north from the queen’s deathbed to summon Owen Archer, soldier-spy, to investigate the scandal before it ruins him.

While Owen’s wife Lucie faces the plague-panicked townsfolk at the apothecary, Owen encounters a seemingly random series of clues: a riddle posed by one of the victims at the hospital, a lay sister with a scandalous past, the kidnapping of a child from the hospital orphanage, and a case of arson. The answer to the riddle of St. Leonard’s lies in the past, and as Owen’s family is caught up in the sweep of the pestilence, he must abandon them to race across the countryside to save the next victim.

A Gift of Sanctuary (Small)


“Robb deftly interweaves a complex story of love, passion and murder into the troubled and tangled fabric of Welsh history, fashioning a rich and satisfying novel.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Under the pretense of escorting his father-in-law and the archbishop’s secretary on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of St. David’s in Wales, Owen Archer and Geoffrey Chaucer are carrying out a mission for the Duke of Lancaster. England and France are at war, and the southern coast of Wales is vulnerable to invasion—Owen and Geoffrey are to recruit archers for the duke’s army and inspect his Welsh fortifications on the coast, while quietly investigating whether the duke’s steward at Cydweli Castle is involved in a French plot to incite rebellion in Wales.

But trouble precedes them in the cathedral city of St. David’s. On Whitesands Beach beyond the city a young man is beaten and left for dead, then spirited away by a Welsh bard. Shortly afterward a corpse clothed in the livery of the Duke of Lancaster is left at the city gate, his shoes filled with white sand. And at Cydweli Castle a chain of events begun by the theft of money from the castle’s exchequer ends in a violent death and the disappearance of the steward’s beautiful young wife. Owen and Geoffrey begin to see connections linking the troubles in city and castle, and see they must unravel the complex story of betrayed love and political ambition to prevent more deaths.

But in the course of his investigations in the land of his birth, Owen is haunted by doubts about his own loyalties...

A Spy for the Redeemer (Small)


“Fascinating…crisp, evocative writing…. The tapestry here is rich and varied.”—CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

Late spring in the year of our Lord 1370, and Owen Archer is anxious to leave Wales for home. His mission for the Duke of Lancaster complete, he attempts to arrange safe passage on a ship sailing for England, but the hanging of a stonemason interrupts his plans. On the surface it appears the young man was driven to suicide by a broken heart, but to Owen the signs all point to murder. As his investigation stretches on, however, Owen finds himself drawn into the influence of the leader of a Welsh rebellion whose manifesto speaks to his heart, and a choice is offered to him: join or die.

At home in York, Owen’s wife Lucie is troubled by rumors that her husband’s long absence is permanent, as well as threats by a customer who claims she was poisoned by a physic from the Wilton apothecary. Meanwhile, Lucie is tempted by the attentions of a friend’s steward, even as she uncovers a shattering betrayal in her own household.

The Guilt of Innocents (Small)


“It’s…the Machiavellian intrigue that makes this such an enjoyable read. When the iron curtain came down people said the spy-thriller genre was dead. They were wrong. This is as full of intrigue as a Deighton or a Le Carré.” —THE GUARDIAN

Winter in the year of our Lord 1372. A river pilot falls into the icy waters of the River Ouse during a skirmish between dockworkers and the boys of the minster school, which include Owen Archer’s adopted son Jasper. But what began as a confrontation to return a boy’s stolen scrip becomes a murder investigation as the rescuers find the pilot dying of wounds inflicted before his plunge into the river. When another body is fished from the river upstream and Owen discovers that the boy Jasper sought to help has disappeared, Owen Archer convinces the archbishop that he must go in search of the boy. His lost scrip seems to hold the key to the double tragedy, but his disappearance leaves troubling questions: did he flee in fear? Or was he abducted?

On the cusp of this new mystery, Owen accepts Jasper’s offer to accompany him to the boy’s home in the countryside, where they learn that a valuable cross has gone missing. A devastating fire and another drowning force Owen to make impossible choices, endangering not only himself, but the two innocents he fights to protect. The bond between fathers and sons proves strong, even between those not linked by blood.

A Vigil of Spies (Small)


“As always, Candace Robb writes a powerful story intertwined with genuine characters of the day.” —HISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW

Archbishop Thoresby of York, the second most powerful cleric in England, lies dying in his bed. The end of his life is seen by the great families of the North as a chance to promote one of their own as his successor, and Thoresby himself announces he will leave the matter to the dean and chapter of York. On the eve of this decision, the dying archbishop agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales, wife of the Black Prince, heir to the throne of England, and Thoresby’s captain of the guard, Owen Archer, has no doubt that trouble will follow.

As soon as the company rides into the palace yard he is proved right: they arrive burdened with the body of one of their party, and Owen finds evidence that the man’s death was no accident. Within days of this discover, a messenger carrying an urgent message for the Archbishop is found hanging in the woods. With guards surrounding the property, it is clear that the murderer walks among the palace guests. The powerful Percy and Neville families are well represented in the entourage, including a woman who remembers an afternoon tryst with Owen as much, much more. Even the princess’ son is suspect. As Owen races to unmask the guilty and rid the palace of the royal party, his final wish for his lord is that he might die in peace.



Growing up, Candace Robb wanted to be a ballerina, tap dancer, folk singer, journalist—but on the day that she walked into Liz Armstrong’s undergraduate class on Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, that all changed. A gifted teacher, lively, witty, always laughing even when cringing at a lazy response, Dr. Armstrong launched into the opening stanzas, and within a few lines Candace’s ears adjusted to the middle English—and she was hooked. Chaucer’s psychological study of the two lovers was a revelation to her. The next quarter was The Canterbury Tales. That clinched it. Candace went on to graduate work in medieval history and literature, and ever since she’s been engaged in bringing to life the rich culture of the period, from the arts to the politics. She is the internationally acclaimed author of thirteen crime novels featuring the sexy, brooding, clever Owen Archer, who solves crimes for John Thoresby, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England, and the young Margaret Kerr, searching for her missing husband and her role in a Scotland overrun by English soldiers. Candace is currently under contract with Pegasus Books for a new crime series set in 15th century York, the Kate Clifford mysteries, which will debut in 2016.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published two historical novels about the women of the English court in the 14th century, A Triple Knot and The King’s Mistress.

Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Candace grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she loves for its combination of culture, natural beauty, and brooding weather so like Yorkshire, Wales, and Scotland, which she visits as often as possible. She has taught the art of writing the crime novel in the University of Washington’s certificate program, and offers workshops in writing the historical novel and in creating and plotting the crime series. Candace (and Emma) blog about writing and medieval topics at A Writer’s Retreat,



Monday, August 17
The Reading Queen
CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, August 18
Genre Queen
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 19
The Lit Bitch
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, August 20

Friday, August 21
Boom Baby Reviews
Buried Under Books

Saturday, August 22
Book Nerd

Sunday, August 23
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, August 24
A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, August 25
Puddletown Reviews

Wednesday, August 26
A Book Geek

Thursday, August 27
A Chick Who Reads

Friday, August 28
A Fold in the Spine


3 Sets of THE APOTHECARY ROSE, THE LADY CHAPEL, and THE NUN’S TALE in eBook are up for grabs! Enter using the Rafflecopter Widget below.


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Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 3.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)

 Book Two: Myths of Creation

 Part III: The Primordial Light

106. God's Garment of Light

Issue:A brief tale on the possibility of how G-d created heavens, either wrapping Himself up in a tallit of light, or draping the six days of creation around Him, and even stretching out light.

107. The Light of the First Day

Issue: Before creation of the world, G-d thinks to create light to illuminate the world which is a different light than the one created on Day 4. There is a claim that Adam saw the light, and it allowed for him to see the whole history of the world. A brief story of how the G-d made sure there was that particular light is also retold, Questions are also asked and debated about how long the primordial light lasted. although it is agreed that as soon as Adam and Eve tasted forbidden fruit, the light was taken away. Also numerous fates of primordial light are also told, and that when Messiah will return, the light will come back.

108. The First Cloak 

Issue: Light was the first thing that was created, mention that out of primal light angels were created and that they surround G-d.

109. The Tzohar

Issue: The story of creation of light is retold, starting with what primordial light is, then when Adam and Eve ate forbidden fruit and were expelled, they were given a stone called Tzohar which contained primordial light. Adam passed the jewel to Seth who passed it to Enoch and Enoch passed the stone to Methuselah and then to Lamech, to Noah who lost it when he got drunk from grapes. Years later, Abraham was abandoned in the cave where the stone was found by him and angel Gabriel. Abraham passed it to Isaac, Isaac to Jacob, and Jacob to Joseph. The stone then passed on to Moses and continues to burn above every Ark of the Torah in a synagogue.

110. How Light and Darkness were created

Issue: G-d asked for an invisible thing to become visible, thus Adoil became visible and gave birth to light. G-d made Adoil foundation for everything high. Arkhas also became visible and gave birth to darkness and G-d made him in charge of lower beings. Then G-d mixed light and darkness together and created water, and pathway for stars out of it.

111.  Creation by Light

Issue: G-d contracted light again and again until physical bodies were created.

112. The Light of Prophecy 

Issue:  Description of how prophecy is created as well where it comes from and how it it diminishes as it goes down and it becomes a spirit that inspires prophets.

To Be Continued

G622 Book Review of Heart Dancing a story alchemy adventure by Kathryn Eriksen

Name of Book: Heart Dancing a story alchemy adventure

Author: Kathryn Eriksen

ISBN: 9780990849728

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: spiritual, troubles, secrets, divorce, broken family, inner wisdom, dancing, philosophy, concepts

Year it was published: 2014


Brian, his wife Christine and their 14-year-old daughter, Savanna, are a typical American family. Their lives begin to unravel when a dark secret from their past threatens to destroy them. Divorce is imminent unless they discover a miracle.

Savanna refuses to stand by and watch her family self-destruct. A mysterious young woman and her dog show Savanna how to look past the physical and see the spiritual side of her situation. A leap of faith and willingness to change her perspective gives Savanna a new view of her life, her values and her purpose.

But can the adults give up their stories about the past that are tearing them apart?

Brimming with inspiration, transformation and empowering messages, Heart Dancing is life changing. It also introduces the 4 step process called "Story Alchemy," which transforms the character’s stories that threaten their peace and happiness.

The Story Alchemy Process can give you the same benefits. You will notice that:
•you are calmer and more grounded in the present moment;
•you no longer get upset or angry about past events or people; and
•your heart starts dancing with joy, love and acceptance.

As you cheer for the individual choices made by Brian, Christine and Savanna Hartt, you will also reflect on your own stories that keep you playing small.

Heart Dancing – it’s the only way to live!


The main characters include Savana, a thirteen year old girl that struggles with the fact her parents no longer want to be together, school and a deep secret that her mother has revealed to her. She is very curious and open minded towards different thoughts. Christine is Savana's mother and has a secret that she obsesses about, and she also refuses to acknowledge the real truth why she had done what she had done. Avery is Savana's mentor who has a golden retriever named Avatar and she is the that teaches the Hartt family about different truths and mindsets. Jane Andersen is the school principal who used to work as a marriage counselor and like Avery, Jane is intelligent and explains things and concepts very well.


You are in charge of creating your own story


The story is in third person narrative from a lot of characters' points of views, although main ones are Savana and Christine. I have to admit that the transitions between the points of view is sudden and tended to be without a warning. Something that I liked is that the characters struggle with the concepts and they feel human instead of someone who are not realistic, and just like humans, they have setbacks as well.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the book here:   Amazon ~  Barnes & Noble
Kathryn Eriksen author pic
Meet the author:  

Kathryn Eriksen is known as the "Story Alchemist." She has touched many people with her inspirational books, blog and articles about living your best life. A lawyer by training, she transformed her own life story from anger and frustration to love, joy and peace through the use of the same techniques that she shares in "Heart Dancing."

Connect with the author:    Website    Twitter    Facebook


I'm really not a stranger to reading books that discuss spiritual aspects of life, but unfortunately, this is one of the times when I felt a bit uncomfortable reading this particular story. Why? I'm not really sure, maybe because I often wondered what would someone in third world country make of the story, or perhaps the use of the word "god" had me raise my defenses, and the fact that I often equate the word god and love with christian proselytizing. I think I would have felt more comfortable with terms like "higher power" would have been used instead. The story is well written, although a bit improbable for my tastes, but its a cool concept and I can see what the author is trying to do.

This is for iRead Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

Aug 10 - Unshelfish - review / giveaway
Aug 11 - Readers Muse - review / author interview
Aug 12 - Did YOU Hear About the Morgans? - review
Aug 13 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Aug 14 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Aug 16 - Writer and Authors - book spotlight
Aug 17 - The Autistic Gamer - review
Aug 19 - Book Stop Corner - review / author interview / giveaway
Aug 20 - Jessica Cassidy - review / guest post / giveaway
Aug 21 - Sarah Rehmatullah - review
Aug 21 - Create With Joy - review / giveaway
Aug 24 - Life as Leels - review
Aug 25 - Book and Ink - review / giveaway
Aug 26 - Reading Authors - review
Aug 27 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Aug 28 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / giveaway
TBD - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

G625 Book Review of When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi

Name of Book: When the Moon is Low

Author: Nadia Hashimi

ISBN: 978-0-06-239919-9

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: Afghanistan 1960s-2000s, Taliban, take over, underworld, survival, refugee laws for Turkey, Greece and France, migration, escape, hiding, prostitution, coming of age, violence

Year it was published: 2015


Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.

Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family.

Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe's capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.


The main characters include Fereiba, a modern woman who has had misfortune of lacking a mother but eventually fate blesses her with education and a mother-in-law that encourages her to go back to school and become a school teacher. Mahmood is Fereiba's husband and is a modern thinking man, and in this instance, the arranged marriage served them right and is an engineer. Even though Mahmood detests the rules, he still follows them. Saleem is their son and when he gets a chance to narrate the story, I could see that this is coming-of-age for him through darkness and underworld that no one can imagine facing and going through. Saleem is friendly, resourceful, loyal and very tenacious, refusing to give up in any circumstances. He is also a bit lucky because of the people he meets along the way help him through many difficulties.


I just realized something through The Pearl that broke its shell and When the Moon is Low; those who suffered the most are women and children, even young boys also suffered when Taliban took over Afghanistan.


The story is written in first person narrative, from Fereiba's and third person narrative from Saleem's points of views. Fereiba instantly grew on me and I was excited about reading her story and seeing the world of Afghanistan through her eyes, a world that was equivalent of modernized society. She was a powerful narrator and I kept reading the story, wanting to know what happens afterwards to her. I have to admit that I wasn't taken in by Saleem as much as by Fereiba but as Saleem grows up and the reader sees how much of a burden is placed upon his young shoulders (to be responsible for his mother and two younger siblings as well as dealing with loss of his father and adolescence,) I became heartbroken by the tragedies that happened to him and started to admire his tenacity in trying to do the right thing by his family.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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Purchase Links

About Nadia HashimiNadia Hashimi

Nadia Hashimi’s parents left Afghanistan in the 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. She was raised in the United States, and in 2002 she visited Afghanistan for the first time with her parents. Hashimi is a pediatrician and lives with her family in suburban Washington, D.C.
Find out more about Nadia at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.


When I saw that When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi is coming out this year, I was giddy. I previously read and reviewed The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and found it to be a beautiful book and story, as well as the importance of stories that we all take for granted. What I was curious about is the unmentioned history of The Pearl that Broke Its Shell. How did Afghanistan become what it did in 21st century? How has that happened? When The Moon Is Low answers that question, that prior to wars and Taliban control, Afghanistan was just like any other country, and I have to admit it was difficult for me to imagine Afghanistan as something like Turkey or some Western city in When the Moon is Low. I also liked that men from Afghanistan such as Saleem and his father Mahmood are more of modern thinking men instead of someone like in The Pearl That Broke Its Shell. I also wondered why the book is titled this way, and figured out that it has something to do with family's adventures, the underside of the world that we don't hear or pay attention to. For western society I imagine that the story will be equivalent to a slap in the face because of the mindset that everything is peachy keen and fine and its 21st century, thus these things shouldn't even exist.

This is for TLC

Nadia’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, July 22nd: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, July 29th: Raven Haired Girl
Thursday, July 30th: Books on the Table
Monday, August 3rd: Novel Escapes
Tuesday, August 4th: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, August 7th: BookNAround
Monday, August 10th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Tuesday, August 11th: Literary Lindsey
Friday, August 14th: Many Hats
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
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