Tuesday, October 31, 2017

G930 Book Review of Beyond Believing by D.D. Marx

Name of Book: Beyond Believing

Author: D.D. Marx

ISBN: 978-0-9972481-0-4

Publisher: Self published

Part of a Series: The Beyond Series

Type of book: coincidences, romance, meetings, friendships, death, cancer, chef, travel, falling in love, spirit guide, following dreams

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

When Olivia gets news of her best friend Dan’s fatal car accident, her life is shattered. Consumed with grief and struggling to find any meaning or purpose to life, she trudges along with a gaping void in her heart. Finally, when her frustration reaches its peak, Olivia decides to put her trust in the depth of friendship the two of them shared. That trust finally allows him to breakthrough to her, and Dan begins to guide Olivia through the twists and turns of her life, leading to something new and entirely unexpected.

When Olivia exposes a gigantic internal scandal at work, her career implodes. With no job and nowhere to turn, she escapes to Palm Springs for the sympathy and care of her beloved cousin, Garrett. However, with only weeks left before the opening of his newest store, “Gin and Tonic,” Garrett isn’t quite the comfort Olivia had expected. She yet again tries to find her way, and in the process meets someone who begins to fill that void in her heart. She’s never before experienced a love like this; it heals her soul and rekindles her spirit – and just may have been the design of her dearly departed friend all along.

Beyond Believing is a sweet, funny, and romantic story that touches the heart, serves up delicious twists and turns, and shows the reader that there’s no such thing as “coincidence.” Author D.D. Marx regards this book as her “love letter to friendship,” written in memory of her best friend, Dan.

Characters:

Main characters include Olivia and Finn. Olivia is a planner who seems to have strayed from her dreams of being a writer but at the same when the death of her friend occurs, she is beginning to believe in beyond and is trying to trust in a higher power. Finn is a talented chef and a widower who has lost his wife to cancer and who is also trying to make something of his life upon her death. Friendships do play a strong role in terms of Olivia's and Finn's friends and how much they care and worry about the protagonists. I do feel that the friends need to be more developed, but I do love what I am seeing so far in the series.

Theme:

There are no such things as coincidences in the book

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Finn's and Olivia's points of view and its set up in an intriguing way because the events that shape the characters' lives do intersect with one another but at the same time the characters grow as people. Friendship is also very strong in the book and I honestly couldn't wait until the two characters met and how they would connect to each other.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)


Buy Book #1:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads


Meet the Author:

D.D. marx came barreling into this world with the “gift of gab”. Her parents quickly identified a pattern forming when each teacher conference contained the words “she’s a little too social”. d.d.’s biggest life concern was identifying which boy she’d be chasing at recess rather than mastering math problems. She parlayed this gift into creating play dates on the playground. If friendship were a business, she would be a millionaire. She prides her life on maintaining friends from every walk of life in every corner of the country. This is the fuel that fills her tank.

Graduating with a Communication degree from the University of Dayton, she attempted to break into the world of Public Relations but was instead side-tracked with a J.O.B. At the strong encouragement of her friends and family, who dubbed her a “funny story teller”, she stretched her comfort zone by entering the Second City program in Chicago where her itch for entertainment was finally scratched. Determined to share her story and create a legacy, she decided to combine these talents and become a writer. She returned to her alma-mater to immerse herself in a 3-day writing course where this dream finally came to life. Asked to imagine if she was a super-hero, her task was to dig-deep to describe her special powers. Based on the real-life tragedy of one of her best friends, that answer came without hesitation. All she’s ever wanted was the power to visit with him one last time. This is the inspiration that catapulted her into her debut project titled, the Beyond Series. She dove into a world imagining that he never left.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest
Opinion:

There are no such things as coincidences in the book. As I imagine, if my friend Jennifer Wakefield was alive today, most likely I'd be calling her right now and talking about this book, knowing that she would enjoy the message and the story. However she is not here on this earth, yet her words and legacy live on. (Another odd coincidence is that the author has striking resemblance to my friend, and just like Olivia's friend that passed away, my friend passed away way too suddenly as well.) The writing style is a bit simplistic, but at the same time the message in the book is profound and the story is well done.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Oct 16 - Library of Clean Reads - trilogy spotlight / giveaway
Oct 16 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 17 - Cheryl's Book Nook -  review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 18 - Cindy's Love of Books - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 19 - A Holland Reads - review of Beyond Believing / guest post / giveaway
Oct 23 - Nighttime Reading Center -  review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 24 - My Reading Journeys - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 26 - Book Lover in Florida - review of Beyond Believing / guest post / giveaway
Oct 27 - Kristin's Novel Café - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 30 - Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - review of Beyond Believing 
Oct 31 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Beyond Believing
Nov 1 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
​Nov 2 - 
Amy's Bookish Life - review of Beyond Believing 
Nov 3 - Cindy's Love of Books - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 6 - Jessica Cassidy - review of Beyond Love / author interview / giveaway
Nov 7 - Cheryl's Book Nook -  review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 10 - Nighttime Reading Center -  review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 14 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Beyond Believing / guest post / giveaway
Nov 15 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 15 - 
Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - review of Beyond Love
Nov 16 - My Reading Journeys - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 17 - Amy's Bookish Life - review of Beyond Love
Nov 17 - 
Haddie's Haven - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Nov 21 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 22 - Kristin's Novel Café - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 23 - A Holland Reads - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 27 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Beyond Love
Nov 28 - Nighttime Reading Center -  review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Nov 30 - Book Lover in Florida - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Dec 1 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 4 - Cindy's Love of Books - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 5 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 6 - Cheryl's Book Nook -  review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 7 - Haddie's Haven - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Dec 8 - Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - review of Beyond Forever
Dec 12 - My Reading Journeys - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 14 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 15 - Amy's Bookish Life - review of Beyond Forever
Dec 18 - Jessica Cassidy - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 19 - Kristin's Novel Café - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 20 - Haddie's Haven - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 21 - Book Lover in Florida - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 21 - 
Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Beyond Forever
​Dec 22 - A Holland Reads - review of Beyond Forever/ giveaway
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.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

G932 Book Review of First crush Last love by Elizabeth McKenna

Name of Book: First Crush Last Love

Author: Elizabeth McKenna

ISBN: 9781548371739

Publisher: 2017

Type of book: First crushes, second chances, domestic abuse, 1980s, 1990s, homosexuality, high school, friendship, high school reunion, marriage, stalking, child abuse

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Remember your first crush? How your heart raced and your cheeks flushed whenever you saw him? Jessie Baxter does, and it’s happening again. Ten years ago, despite her best efforts, Lee Archer wanted to be just friends. Now, he wants more, but Jessie's still recovering from a psycho ex-husband. Can she learn to trust again and make her first crush into her last love?

Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the happiness of true love.

Characters:

Main characters include Jessie, Lee Archer and Billy. Other characters such as Jessie's and Lee's best friends are there, but they are more as background noise rather than as people. At first Jessie is a young woman that has a crush on Lee Archer and also has goals when it comes to journalism. She seems to also suffer from low self-esteem and hates to see herself in a friend-zone. Lee Archer seems to have his own issues when it comes to romance and commitment and he often can't see the good thing in front of him. However when he does get past his hangups, he becomes a sweet and romantic guy. Billy eventually becomes Jessie's husband and for me he seems to be in the vein of a cardboard stereotypical villain rather than someone sophisticated. No one deserves to go through what Jessie went through, but I guess I expected there to be more sophistication from Billy.

Theme:

Don't give up on love

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative from Jessie's and Lee Archer's points of view, each chapter spanning a month, or a day of the week as in the case of the third part. Personally for me, the first two parts are best described as disjointed, and its unfortunate that some of the events that happened in previous month weren't mentioned in next month. For example, in one month, Jessie's fiancee forces her to buy and wear a dress that she doesn't like in order to meet his family: however, in the next chapter, that particular event is not mentioned. What I am trying to say is that I felt more as if I didn't see the characters grow up and change, and only got information second-hand rather than first-hand. One other thing I wasn't comfortable with is the handling of homosexuality. I love reading and reviewing books that represent diversity thus I have nothing against homosexuality, but I just feel as if Jessie's brother wasn't handled well and I don't really get to know him beyond that label, I'm sad to say.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the Book:
Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble
Createspace
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).

She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write Cera's Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her site http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her first contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, as much as others have enjoyed her historical romances.

​Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn't writing, working, or being a mom, she's sleeping.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram
Opinion:

I expected a bit more from the story than what I got, and I'm sorry to admit that I ended up being disappointed by it. The story did have relevance and it does present  hope to people who have been in the main character's situation, but quite a number of things bothered me, one being that what I felt would have been relevant events are left out of the story, and the secondary characters need to be worked on more, in particular the villains of the story. The story can be read in just a few settings and the last part, when it takes place in 1994 is sweet and its where the author does shine.

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Oct 16 - The World As I See It - review / giveaway
Oct 17 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Oct 18 - Books, Dreams, Life - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 20 - Amie's Book Reviews - review / giveaway
​Oct 21 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Oct 23 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
Oct 24 - Books for Books - review
Oct 25 - My Reading Journeys - review
​Oct 26 - Haddie's Haven - review / giveaway
Oct 27 - 3 Partners in Shopping - book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 27 - Tragically Dull Adventures of an Almost Librarian - review
Oct 30 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Oct 30 - Divas With A Purpose - review
Oct 31 - The Autistic Gamer - book spotlight
Oct 31 - Olio by Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 2 - Jessica Cassidy - review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 2 - The Pen and Muse - book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 3 - A Soccer Mom's Book Blog - review om giveaway
Nov 3 - bookmyopia - review
Nov 3 - Celticlady's Reviews - book spotlight
Nov 3 - Kristin’s Novel Café - review / giveaway
TBD - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway3 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.)

Friday, October 27, 2017

G929 Book Review of Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann

Name of Book: Tribal Affairs

Author: Matt Dallmann

ISBN: 9780692894668

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: Genies, YA, fantasy, modern times, secrets, father/daughter relationship

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

Characters:

Main characters include Liana who is a teenager and is struggling with a fear that she will turn out like her mom as well as being there for her beloved father. Unfortunately I have not found her a very interesting character. For me, Taffi was more interesting and complex because he is best described as a bad boy and I would have wanted to see more of his past and history. There is also Amon who is manipulative and will do what he can to achieve his goals and Stefan, Taffi's father who is paranoid about everyone and everything. I do feel that chemistry between Taffi and Liana should have been worked on a lot more, and I also would have wanted to see more about why Amon's daughter made the choices she has.

Theme:

The strength to defeat enemy lies within

Plot:

On one hand the story is from first person narrative from a genie's point of view, but on the other hand most of the story is focused from Liana's point of view, although at times Taffi is also given a voice. The premise and the subject matter of the story is interesting, but getting there and even trying to learn a few things about genies is a difficult path. I also feel that some parts need to be explained a lot more namely Taffi.

Author Information:
(From the back of the book)

Connect with the author: Website 

Matt Dallmann ahs a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan COllege in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple FIlm Festival, Seattle's True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Mat is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Servies, Inc in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
​Add to Goodreads


Opinion:

While the story had an interesting premise, I do feel that it needs to be worked on a lot more. Genies are definitely something unique to fantasy because it seems as if Disney's Aladdin has created a monopoly on them and not many know that there are a lot more genies than just the big blue magical one. I liked part of the story when I am learning about genies and would have liked there to be more of them beyond the Ifrit and Marid. Other aspects of the story such as character development of Taffi, the various relationships between Liana and Taffi as well as making sense of what is going on need to be worked on. For me also it was difficult and a bit frustrating to remember that it was genie in the locket who was narrating the story instead of Liana. (Am really not sure why its necessary for genie to narrate instead of Liana.)

This is for iRead Book Tours

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Oct 9 - Blooming with Books - review / giveaway
Oct 9 - Writers and Authors - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 10 - Bookworm for Kids - review / giveaway
Oct 10 - Sefina Hawke's Books - book spotlight
Oct 11 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Oct 12 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 13 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review
Oct 14 - Musings Over Nothing - review / author interview / giveaway
Oct 17 - StoreyBook Reviews - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 18 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Oct 20 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 24 - The Autistic Gamer - review
Oct 25 - Pause for Tales - review
Oct 25 - Adventures Thru Wonderland - review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 25 - The Missionary Book - review / author interview / giveaway
Oct 26 - JBronder Book Reviews - review
Oct 26 - Jorie Loves A Story - book spotlight / guest post
Oct 27 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Oct 27 - The Book Drealms - book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 27 - Poesy In Chrysalis - review
TBD - Haddie's Haven - review
3 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, October 19, 2017

FFE1 Book Review of Seven Days of us by Francesca Hornbeck

Name of Book: Seven of Us

Author: Francesca Hornbeck

ISBN: B01MSAMY8Y

Publisher: Berkley

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays...

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…

Link for 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.)

G921 Book Review of Woman Enters Left by Jessica Brockmole

Name of Book: Woman Enters Left

Author: Jessica Brockmole

ISBN: 978-0-399-17851-1

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Type of book: 1952, 1926, road trip, car, Hollywood, friendship, romance, secrets, coming-of-age, death, radium, cancer, seize the day

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.

In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.

Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.

In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.

Characters:

Main characters include Florrie, Ethel and Louise. Florrie Daniels is a screenplay writer who is resourceful, talented but was forced to hide her shine due to the thought that people wouldn't be interested in what she really wrote. Florrie is also a go-getter and brave and isn't a good cook but at the same time she is afraid of going after what is really in her heart. Ethel is Louise's mother and she is a talented chef, meticulous with details as well as expenses and while she shines on her own, she also seems to be fragile and somehow broken although she is determined and doesn't give up. Louise is Ethel's daughter and she is a whole lot like Florrie rather than her mother. Louise is struggling to save her marriage from some secrets that her husband refused to share with her.

Theme:

You never know what you'll learn on the open road

Plot:

The story is told in third person narrative from Louise's point of view (the chapters that are marked 1952,) but others are first person narrative in diary and journal entries from Florrie's and Ethel's points of view, (chapters marked 1926) which is a unique take in my opinion. What I found pretty amazing are the small details that the author had Ethel include which includes finances as well as excerpts from a screenplay that Florrie wrote and on traveling by themselves. At the same time there is an unexpected twist that is haunting Florrie and Ethel and that the reader doesn't learn about until way way later in a book. All these elements create an addictive story.

Author Information:
(From the website)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iTunes | IndieBound | Kobo

About the Author

Jessica Brockmole is the author of At the Edge of Summer, the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, which was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, and Something Worth Landing For, a novella featured in Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband, two children, and far too many books.
For more information, please visit Jessica Brockmole’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Opinion:

It's hard to put into words how much I enjoyed the read but the best way to describe this read is to imagine finding something that appears too good to be true but is in fact real and without any strings or ties attached. Characters, the time, the story and coping with the hand that life dealt you are perfectly balanced within the pages, and there is something in the book that just keeps me wanting to keep on going, to see how the story will turn out for the characters. There is a lot of focus on friendships and on how important that friendship is to Florrie and Ethel and there are also elements of romance in unexpected twists as well. For an awesome open road story that is more focused on seizing life and friendship and a story that is rich in period detail, this is not a book to be missed. Also, I loved the book cover.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 4
Review at Creating Herstory
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, September 5
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 7
Interview at T’s Stuff

Friday, September 8
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 11
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, September 13
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, September 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, September 15
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Sunday, September 17
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Monday, September 18
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, September 19
Interview at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, September 20
Feature at BookLiterati

Friday, September 22
Review at A Literary Vacation

Monday, September 25
Review at Portebello Book Blog

Tuesday, September 26
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, September 27
Feature at Books of All Kinds

Thursday, September 28
Review at Jenn’s Book Vibes

Friday, September 29
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, October 2
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, October 5
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, October 6
Review at Broken Teepee

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.)

G923 Book Review of twilight empress by faith L justice

Name of Book: Twilight Empress

Author: Faith L Justice

ISBN: 9780692460511

Publisher: Raggedy Moon Books

Type of book: 410-451, 461, Roman Empire, Ravenna, Italy, Vandals, Goths, King of Goths, alliances, marriages, politics, barbarians, protection, family, Emperor, Empress, Augusta

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman—Galla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queen—Placidia does the unthinkable—she rules the failing Western Roman Empire—a life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesn’t seek, but can’t refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries. A woman as well as an Empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her strength, tenacity and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun? Or will the Dark Ages creep closer and bring down the Empire?

Characters:

Main character includes Placidia, who is both a daughter of an emperor and sister to an emperor. Placidia is open-minded, resourceful, determined and extremely powerful. She is also human and makes human mistakes as well although she tries to rectify them. Although there are other characters as well, they were given short limelight in the book and one doesn't get to know them as well as Placidia and her daughter Honoria. Honoria is Placidia's eldest daughter who seems to be extremely similar to her mother but who is best described as stunted.

Theme:

One cannot fight the time

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative, namely from Placidia's point of view although once in a while there is a switch to Placidia's brother or to her children or even to her Goth general. While the research and time as well as additional notes and details are impeccable, I do feel that the relationships between Placidia and her children could have been improved and should have been more focused on.

Author Information:
(From the website)


AMAZON US | AMAZON CAN | AMAZON UK | BARNES AND NOBLE | IBOOKS | INDIEBOUND | KOBO


About the Author



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

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

I was pretty excited to read this book, namely because I studied Roman Empire history, and second of all because I wanted to compare the atmosphere of the dying Empire versus the atmosphere of the Julio-Claudian empire,  and I have to say that differences are very striking. (Will write more about that later...) Perhaps with so much focus on Julio-Claudian Rome, I think I expected for Theodosian Rome to be the same, but it wasn't because the empire was stretched thin and one gets an impression that Placidia and others are more of figureheads to manipulate rather than someone like Augustus or Julius Caesar. The author has done a good job in capturing the dying Rome and one feels helpless watching Placidia trying to hold on to a dying empire, knowing that time is against her.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 11
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 12
Feature at The Hungry Bookworm
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, September 13
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 14
Feature at The Reading Queen

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

Monday, September 18
Review at Creating Herstory

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

Wednesday, September 20
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Muse in the Fog Reviews

Thursday, September 21
Feature at A Holland Reads

Friday, September 22
Review at Book Nerd

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

Tuesday, September 26
Feature at The True Book Addict

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 5
Review at A Bookish Affair

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.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

G913 Book Review of The Quest for the crown of thorns by Cynthia Ripley Miller

Name of Book: The Quest for the Crown of Thorns

Author: Cynthia Ripley Miller

ISBN: 9781911261124

Publisher: Fort Knox Robinson Publishing

Part of a Series: The Long Haired Saga

Type of book: 454-455, Constantinople, Rome, mystery, travel, servants, the crown and thorns of christ, marriage, teamwork, murder

Year it was published: 2017

Summary:

AD 454. Three years after the Roman victory over Attila the Hun at Catalaunum, Arria Felix and Garic the Frank are married and enjoying life on Garic's farm in northern Gaul (France). Their happy life is interrupted, when a cryptic message arrives from Rome, calling Arria home to her father, the esteemed Senator Felix. At Arria's insistence, but against Garic's better judgment, they leave at once.

Upon their arrival at Villa Solis, they are confronted with a brutal murder and the dangerous mission that awaits them. The fate of a profound and sacred object--Christ's Crown of Thorns--rests in their hands. They must carry the holy relic to the safety of Constantinople, away from a corrupt emperor and old enemies determined to steal it for their own gain.

But an even greater force arises to derail their quest--a secret cult willing to commit any atrocity to capture the Crown of Thorns. And all the while, the gruesome murder and the conspiracy behind it haunt Arria's thoughts.

Arria and Garic's marital bonds are tested but forged as they partner together to fulfill one of history's most challenging missions, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns.

Characters:

While I liked Arria and Garric, the main characters of the novel, part of me felt as if beyond a certain image I wasn't able to see them as full fledged humans. I did enjoy the relationship they had with one another and how they acted as a team in all decisions they had made. I also loved how they conferred with one another from small things to big things. Those two definitely had extremely strong and loving relationship. The character that perhaps interested me the most is Marcella, a young and conflicted half-sister to Arria. Its hard to see Marcella as completely evil because there is a lot of complexity to her character and her decisions. One becomes even curious about why she became the way she did. Other characters such as Drusus or even Marcella's mother seemed to be more clear cut rather than gray as Marcella was. I do hope to see more of Marcella in the future installments and I hope that my hunch about where the author will take her character to will prove to be correct.

Theme:

What goes around comes around

Plot:

The story is in third person narrative from multiple characters' points of view. I do feel that one does need to read the previous book of the series, On the Edge of Sunrise because some scenes do not have same impact without the knowledge from the previous book, I imagine. Aside from that, very well written and researched and something that I might recommend for people who are starting out with historical fiction but find some books too intimidating. The detail that went into the story is amazing, from the food that was cooked and eaten to the herbs to travel and to religion as well. While there are christian elements, I am happy to say that the story does not preach conversion.

Author Information:
(From the website)


AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE




About the Author

Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew, it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.

She holds two degrees and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com and The Scriptor. A Chanticleer International Chatelaine Award finalist for her novel, On the Edge of Sunrise, she has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and blogs at Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus

Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago.

On the Edge of Sunrise is the first in the Long-Hair Saga; a series set in late ancient Rome and France and published by Knox Robinson Publishing. The second book in the series, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns, was released in June 2017.

For more information please visit Cynthia Ripley Miller’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Opinion:

The author is comfortable in the novel and very careful details are laid out. If there was something that she took liberty with, its very difficult to tell. I also am not sure how to classify the novel because its part romance part mystery/thriller yet its historical fiction at its finest. (That's it, I need to read the prequel to the book now. And yes, I am hoping the third book of the series will come out soon.) I am eager to see what will happen to both heroes and the villains of the stories. I also loved seeing the cusp of medieval ages begin to make appearance. In an odd way as well, this book was sort of a sequel to another book I was reading at the same time; Twilight Empress by Faith L Justice (Review to come soon!) While the story does stand on its own, the juicy bits that are included about the characters really make the prequel too tempting to pass up.

This is for HFVBT


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 10
Excerpt at T’s Stuff

Wednesday, October 11
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, October 12
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, October 13
Review at Laura’s Interests

Monday, October 16
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Feature at A Literary Vacation

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.)
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