Monday, August 25, 2014

Mailbox Monday: Leslie Carroll & Anne Rice

Releasing 9.2.2014 Inglorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll
"It’s no secret that the marriages of monarchs are often made in hell. Here are some of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history....

In a world where many kings, queens, and princes lacked nothing but true love, marital mismatches could bring out the baddest, boldest behavior in the bluest of bloodlines. Margaret Tudor, her niece Mary I, and Catherine of Braganza were desperately in love with chronically unfaithful husbands, but at least they weren’t murdered by them, as were two of the Medici princesses were. King Charles II’s beautiful, high-spirited sister “Minette” wed Louis XIV’s younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did. Forced to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumania—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria—proved herself one of the heroines of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles.

Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start".

Pandora by Anne Rice
"Anne Rice, creator of the Vampire Lestat, the Mayfair witches and the amazing worlds they inhabit, now gives us the first in a new series of novels linked together by the fledgling vampire David Talbot, who has set out to become a chronicler of his fellow Undead. The novel opens in present-day Paris in a crowded cafe, where David meets Pandora. She is two thousand years old, a Child of the Millennia, the first vampire ever made by the great Marius. David persuades her to tell the story of her life.

Pandora begins, reluctantly at first and then with increasing passion, to recount her mesmerizing tale, which takes us through the ages, from Imperial Rome to eighteenth-century France to twentieth-century Paris and New Orleans. She carries us back to her mortal girlhood in the world of Caesar Augustus, a world chronicled by Ovid and Petronius. This is where Pandora meets and falls in love with the handsome, charismatic, lighthearted, still-mortal Marius. This is the Rome she is forced to flee in fear of assassination by conspirators plotting to take over the city. And we follow her to the exotic port of Antioch, where she is destined to be reunited with Marius, now immortal and haunted by his vampire nature, who will bestow on her the Dark Gift as they set out on the fraught and fantastic adventure of their two turbulent centuries together".

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: I, MONA LISA by Jeanne Kalogridis

Lisa di Antonio Gherardini was born into a life of secrets layered upon even more secrets. At this time Florence Italy was ruled by the de’ Medici. Lorenzo the magnificent co ruled with his brother Giuliano during the golden age of the Renaissance. Before Lisa was born Giuliano de’ Medici was tragically murdered in the dumo. His tragic end sent Florence into instant turmoil. Giuliano’s murder would scar each and every person who loved him for the rest of his or her lives.  Stricken with the grief of his brother’s death Lorenzo hunted down his brother’s murders with a cruel vengeance. All of them except one was found and destroyed. “The pennant” was the man that gave the first lethal blow to Giuliano and only Lorenzo’s faithful artist Leonardo da Vinci saw the face of the man. Leonardo never forgot a face and had struck a deal with Lorenzo that should he find the elusive pennant he was to be left to live because Leonardo did not believe in capital punishment. The pennant was never found and yet even with Giuliano gone his death would continue to haunt all of Florence.

Lisa’s father was very strict and her mother was sick; her home life was anything but pleasant. On the verge of womanhood her mother told her of Giuliano’s murder and had taken her to the dumo where her mothers only link to the past still existed. All questions about her mothers ties to him were left unanswered because her mother was brutally murdered by the evil propaganda preacher Savonarola. Her father had been taken in by this fanatical preacher and truly believed his radical sermons. He had dragged her sick mother to one of these sermons to meet Savonarola and she had fallen into a fit during the service. God’s work held all accountability for murdering her mother. Lisa would never be able to forgive Savonarola or her father for not helping her mother and for pushing her into an early grave.  Lisa in that instant saw another side of her father she had never seen before.

Since Lisa’s father was a rich wool merchant his family had been employed by the de’ Medici for generations. It was her mothers final wish that Lorenzo be the only man to play matchmaker for Lisa and her future husband. She met Lorenzo in her finest gown and Lisa made introductions with some of Florence’s finest artists, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. After meeting all of these new fascinating people Lisa had a firm new conviction that she was ready for a new life far away from her fanatical father.

Lorenzo’s son named after his beloved uncle, Giuliano met Lisa at the end of her first visit to the de’ Medici household.  It was love at first sight and he wanted to ask for permission to have her hand but his father’s health was in rapid decline while the fanatical preacher Savonarola was quickly on the rise. All of Florence flocked to this mad man that was apparently an anti de’ Medici fraction. He was succeeding in turning Florence against the de’ Medici while Lorenzo lay dying.  Lorenzo’s eldest son Piero was going to struggle in taking over his father’s rule of Florence. Taking a dramatic hold on life Lisa and Giuliano married with out her fathers consent and barely two days a married woman all of Florence turned against anything de’ Medici. Piero was ousted and fled for his life and Giuliano had tragically died trying to find Lisa. With him gone there was no reason to live but live, as she must Lisa must find justice and the truth because it was all she had left.

4/5 Excellent story lines, I really enjoyed this one because it was a real mystery surrounding Mona Lisa’s mother all the way to the very end. I loved this one but I defiantly would not recommend this one to my readers that need historical accuracy because their were a lot of liberties taken here by the author.

R-Rating for violence

FTC this novel is from my personal collection.
AmazonI, MONA LISA by Jeanne Kalogridis

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review: URBAN WATERCOLOR SKETCHING by Felix Scheinberger

What an awesome little book on my favorite two subjects sketching and watercolors. I found many useful tips in this book but I really enjoyed the history of paint. It was incredible to read about where all of the beautiful colors came from and where they come from now. I was really surprised that to make purple in ancient times it was made from “the secretions of a small sea snail” and to make “3.5 ounces of dye 100,000 snails sacrificed their lives”. This purple was also the same dye the Romans used to dye their togas. Even more interesting was the color green. Green used to be made with toxic “metal oxide such as copper oxide dissolved in arsenic”, which meant that if a artist happened to lick or chew his paintbrush it would have cost them their lives. Shocking I know but I guess that is why green is always associated with poison. My favorite little fact in this whole book was that Napoleon Bonaparte’s choice of wallpaper killed him in the end because it was green; all of the wallpaper was “treated with a dye that contained arsenic”. The history of paint really surprised me I had no clue that there was so much history there and that in modern times we really take for granted the beautiful selections of paints that we have available to us today.

5/5 This is a really neat book. It is really pleasing to the eye with all the unusual ink and watercolor artwork. I liked the art because it was different and it kind of reminded me of one of my own styles that I like to use. I also discovered that this book gave me a confidence boost and I realize now that it is okay to have an unusual style because it is mine and I should just let go more and let the paint do what it does. I would highly recommend this book to watercolor artist because it made me want to be my unusual self because being different has it advantages when it comes to art.

G-rating for all readers alike

FTC-this novel was sent to me by Blogging for Books for review. I received no compensation for this review.
Amazon ~ Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color by Felix Scheinberger
For more on this book:
Urban Watercolor Sketching Press ReleaseMore InfoAuthor Bio~Lizzie~

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mailbox Monday: Anne Rice

Vittorio the Vampire by Anne Rice
"With Pandora, Anne Rice began a magnificent new series of vampire novels. Now, in the second of her New Tales of the Vampires, she tells the mesmerizing story of Vittorio, a vampire in the Italian Age of Gold.
Educated in the Florence of Cosimo de' Medici, trained in knighthood at his father's mountaintop castle, Vittorio inhabits a world of courtly splendor and country pleasures - a world suddenly threatened when his entire family is confronted by an unholy power.

In the midst of this upheaval, Vittorio is seduced by the vampire Ursula, the most beautiful of his supernatural enemies. As he sets out in pursuit of vengeance, entering the nightmarish Court of the Ruby Grail, increasingly more enchanted (and confused) by his love for the mysterious Ursula, he finds himself facing demonic adversaries, war and political intrigue.

Against a backdrop of the wonders - both sacred and profane - and the beauty and ferocity of Renaissance Italy, Anne Rice creates a passionate and tragic legend of doomed young love and lost innocence'.~Lizzie~

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Book Review: A TRIPLE KNOT by Emma Campion

Joan of Kent was born in a tumultuous time in medieval England. The regent queen Isabella as a wrongfully accused traitor to the crown executed her father. Upon her fathers death Joan became a ward of her uncle King Edward III. Growing up with her royal cousins it was clear that even at a tender age her cousin the heir to the throne prince Edward was madly in love with Joan. Edward wanted Joan to be his queen but his parents had other ideas for his future. Headstrong as Edward and Joan both were Edward could not be swayed from his devotion to Joan. This made things complicated for the king and queen and they decided the best plan of action was to make Joan unavailable for Edward by marrying her off but Joan had her own plans for the future.

Joan fell head over heels in love with Thomas Holland the moment they met. He was a young man clearly below her station. He was one of the king’s respectable knights and he lived his live by the value of his honor. Her uncle King Edward had proposed a marriage for Joan and to thwart his plans she took her life into her own hands and married Thomas in secret with the help of their friends. Her Family would hear nothing of her secret marriage to Thomas and forced her into a new marriage to a man she would never love. Her heart would always belong to Thomas and now they were not only separated but also fighting for validation of their clandestine marriage. For over a decade Joan Fought off her forced husband and she never gave up hope that someday Thomas would be successful in petitioning the papal courts to rule their marriage valid. Thomas' battle was a hard fight that seemed to never end. To add more urgency to their battle Joan's current living situation had taken a violent turn for the worse. Her forced husband was extremely bitter that Joan could never love him. All throughout her husbands bitterness, the young Prince Edward had become the great hero of Crecy and Poitiers. He had never wavered in his love for Joan, which now meant Joan had three men fighting over her yet she only wanted one.

It took ten long agonizing years to get a papal ruling, the Pope had ruled in Thomas' favor and Joan's second marriage was declared void instantly. Joan married Thomas again and immediately they secreted off to his country manor to start their new lives together far far away from the intrigues of court. Blissfully happy they had four children in no time and Thomas continued his service to the king even though his health was rapidly deteriorating. With Thomas' health on the decline Joan prepared for the worst, she was loosing her Thomas. When the worst time of her life had set darkness upon her none other than Prince Edward stepped out of the shadows right back into her life. He helped Joan pick up the pieces that had become her. Edward always had a darker side to him and through out the years Joan noticed that mixed with his passion he had been capable of anything if it meant that he could have her all to himself. Losing the love of her life Joan found the courage to live and maybe even love again.

5/5 LOVED this novel and what a spin on Joan of Kent. I never anticipated where the story was going yet after I read the author's notes on how she came to her conclusion I decided it does make sense. I would highly recommend this novel to medieval historical fiction lovers because Joan of Kent Is one of my favorite medieval ladies to read about because they could not have even invented a better story than the real one Joan Lived.

R-Rating for violence
FTC- this novel was sent to me by the publisher for review. I received no compensation for this review.
For more on Emma: check out her site www.EmmaCampion.comFacebook as and Twitter .
Amazon: A Triple Knot by Emma Campion
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