Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Edith Pargeter
"British novelist Pargeter is better known as Edgar Award-winner Ellis Peters, creator of the popular Brother Cadfael mysteries and the Inspector Felse series. This reissue contains her early historical novels, long unavailable in U.S.: The Heaven Tree , The Green Branch and The Scarlet Seed . Written in 1960, 1962 and 1963, respectively, they are well plotted and proficiently detailed in their depictions of domesticity, history, architecture and warfare, but they may disappoint some Cadfael fans, for they lack the crisp, canny characterization and punchy action of Pargeter/Peters's craft at its most maturely honed. The setting of each is the raucous 13th century, when King John "Lackland" clashed with the Pope and the Welsh nobility. In The Heaven Tree , sensitive Harry Talvace's artistic vision drives him to design a great church on the Welsh/English border for imperious patron Ralf Isambard, but his compassionate impulses make him a misfit in harsh feudal society. Rivalry springs between Harry and Isambard over Madonna Benedetta, a statuesque, titian-haired ex-courtesan who lives with the lord but loves the artist. Isambard condemns her to die with Harry, but one of the intended victims escapes to resurface in The Green Branch , the trilogy's best read. Here, Harry's son grows up vowing to slay the hated Isambard and gets trapped in the villain's castle, while the Welsh subplot features an adulterous liaison and its brutal aftermath. The Scarlet Seed wraps up the action with revised relationships and gothic surprises. Although not quite up to the high standards of Pargeter's later work, these colorful narratives--which rousingly depict artistic, political and romantic passions--are nonetheless a treat for her fans".

Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion by Janet Mullany

"It is 1810, and the Damned are out of favor—banished from polite society. Jane Austen’s old undead friends have become new neighbors, raising hell in her tranquil village just in time to interrupt Jane’s work on what will be her masterpiece. Suddenly Jane’s niece is flirting dangerously with vampires, and a formerly respectable spinster friend has discovered the forbidden joys of intimate congress with the Damned (and is borrowing Jane’s precious silk stockings for her assignations). Writing is simply impossible now, with murderous creatures prowling the village’s once-peaceful lanes. And with the return of her vampire characteristics, a civil war looming between factions of the Damned, and a former lover who intends to spend eternity blaming her for his broken heart, Jane is facing a very busy year indeed".

Dracula In Love by Karen Essex
"This variation on Bram Stoker’s Dracula tells the story from Mina Murray Harker’s point of view. As a child, Wilhemina was given to strange dreams and sleepwalking, which so alarmed her parents that at age seven she was sent to a boarding school for young ladies to “learn to control herself and her urges.” And she did become a proper young lady, with a proper fiancé, a young solicitor named Jonathan Harker. But the bewildering dreams continue, and one summer, which she is spending in Yorkshire with her friend Lucy Westerna, she sees a mysterious shipwreck at Whitby. After that the dreams become more like memories, and a presence, which she cannot see, follows her. Essex, who has been praised for her historical novels, has drawn a detailed picture of England at the end of the nineteenth century, including some of the horrendous psychological practices introduced from Germany. Essex’s twist on Stoker’s plot is sufficiently original, and the quality of her writing makes this novel stand out among the vampire offerings".

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Lady of the Rivers Philippa Gregory US Book Tour

In stores 10.18.2011
Book Tour Schedule
16th October - NEW YORK - New York Times 2011 Great Literary Conversation, The Times Centre, 11:00am. With Rita Mae Brown, Lee Child, and Sapphire.

17th October – NEW YORK – Landmark on Main Street with Port Washington Library, Jeanne Rimsky Theatre, 7:30pm

18th October – ATLANTA - Ivy Hall Writers Series with Savannah College of Art & Design, 6:30pm

20th October – MILWAUKEE - Shully’s High Tea at Shully’s Garden Pavillion with Next Chapter Bookshop, 2:00pm

23rd October - CHICAGO - Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College with Anderson’s Bookshop, 2:00pm

25th October – SAN FRANCISCO - Commonwealth Club of California, 6:00pm

26th October - SAN FRANCISCO - Diablo Country Club with Rakestraw Books, 7:00pm

27th October - SAN FRANCISCO - Osher Marin Jewish Community Center with Book Passage, 7:00pm

29th October - MADISON, CT - Polson Middle School with R.J. Julia, 4:00pm

30th October - ROCKLEIGH, NJ - Rockleigh Country Club with Books & Greetings, 10:00am

1st November - TORONTO - St. Barnabas Church with Indigo Books, 7:00pm
Information curtsey of PG Notice Board

"Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines".
For more on Philippa Gregory check out her site, her Facebook page, and Twitter.
Amazon: The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins' War)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Early Mailbox Monday

Why Read Moby-Dick by Nathaniel Philbrick
"The New York Times bestselling author of seagoing epics now celebrates an American classic.

Moby-Dick is perhaps the greatest of the Great American Novels, yet its length and esoteric subject matter create an aura of difficulty that too often keeps readers at bay. Fortunately, one unabashed fan wants passionately to give Melville's masterpiece the broad contemporary audience it deserves. In his National Book Award- winning bestseller, In the Heart of the Sea, Nathaniel Philbrick captivatingly unpacked the story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex, the real-life incident that inspired Melville to write Moby- Dick. Now, he sets his sights on the fiction itself, offering a cabin master's tour of a spellbinding novel rich with adventure and history.

Philbrick skillfully navigates Melville's world and illuminates the book's humor and unforgettable characters-finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. A perfect match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? gives us a renewed appreciation of both Melville and the proud seaman's town of Nantucket that Philbrick himself calls home. Like Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life, this remarkable little book will start conversations, inspire arguments, and, best of all, bring a new wave of readers to a classic tale waiting to be discovered anew".

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Want a Czech copy of The Boleyn Wife by Brandy Purdy?

PURDYOVÁ BRANDY: PANÍ BOLEYNOVÁ(which translates into English as Ms. Boleyn)

Nesmělá a nehezká dvorní dáma Jane Parkerová se na dvoře krále Jindřicha VIII., plného lesku a intrik, necítí nejlépe - dokud nepotká hezkého George Boleyna. Je zcela naplněna štěstím, když s ním její otec dohodne sňatek, ale její radost naruší setkání s novou švagrovou Annou. George je plně oddaný pouze své sestře, ke své nevěstě je naopak chladný a lhostejný. Kolem Anny se začíná rozrůstat okruh obdivovatelů, mezi něž patří i král, a Janina zášť roste...

"If anyone would like a copy of the Czech edition of The Boleyn Wife they can have one for the cost of postage, US only, I am sorry to do it that way but I spend over $200 a year on postage sending out copies for reviews and giveaways. By charging for it I am not making anything it goes to postage and the few cents left over towards the padded envelope". For more information you can contact Brandy Purdy directly through her blog. She is also on Facebook.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lizzie's Rocker Girl

This one was a random one but thought I would share just for fun. This is what happens to when you listen to Aerosmith and paint.

With a editing filter.

 With no editing

The whole picture with the same filter as above.
The original made completely in watercolor pencils.
Here is what started it all: Aerosmith Cryin'


Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Ten Years Later

"Remember the HEROES and those who gave their lives on 9-11-01. We honor their memory on this day. NO terror, NO enemy, NO destruction...will control us, strike fear in us, break our will. We stand UNITED and STRONG today and every day"!

Feel FREE to post this image or add it to your site.
"Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. Recognize the endurance of those who survived the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours. May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance. “Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “ REMEMBER | REFLECT | RENEW | MOURN | RESPECT | HONOR

A Place of Remembrance: Official Book of the National September 11 Memorial (9/11 Memorial)
9/11 - The Filmmakers' Commemorative Edition
A Decade of Hope: Stories of Grief and Endurance from 9/11 Families and Friends
Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11
Remembering 9/11
The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Official Edition)
Fahrenheit 9/11
9/11 Ordinary People: Extraordinary Heroes: NYC - The First Battle in the War Against Terror!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mailbox Monday

The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins' War)The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins' War) Philippa Gregory

"Passion. Danger. Witchcraft . . .
The Lady of the Rivers is #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s remarkable story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the Wars of the Roses.
Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.

Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty.

Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.

A sweeping, powerful story rich in passion and legend and drawing on years of research, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother of the white queen".

Renaissance (Abbeville Stylebooks)Renaissance (Abbeville Stylebooks), Tracy Elizabeth Cooper

"YA--This hand-sized guide begins with an overview of the Age of Exploration, then concentrates on Renaissance architecture and design. The insides and outsides of buildings and furnishings of palaces and apartments, villas and farmhouses, public buildings, churches, gardens, theaters, piazzas, and the ideal city are all given attention. The double-page format includes many well-annotated photographs and reproductions. The book has sufficient information for brief reports or can be used as a good beginning for a more comprehensive investigation".

Thursday, September 08, 2011

HOT Historical Fiction September

9.1.2011 Lady of the English, Elizabeth Chadwick
Two very different women are linked by destiny and the struggle for the English crown. Matilda, daughter of Henry I, is determined to win back her crown from Stephen, the usurper king. Adeliza, Henry's widowed queen and Matilda's stepmother, is now married to William D'Albini, a warrior of the opposition. Both women are strong and prepared to stand firm for what they know is right. But in a world where a man's word is law, how can Adeliza obey her husband while supporting Matilda, the rightful queen? And for Matilda pride comes before a fall ...What price for a crown? What does it cost to be 'Lady of the English'?

9.1.2011 The Queen's Gamble, Barbara Kyle
Young Queen Elizabeth I's path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.
Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen's loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth's trust only goes so far—Isabel's son will be the queen's pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel's husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.
Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen's Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty. . .

The Unknown Ajax9.1.2011 The Unknown Ajax, Georgette Heyer
A Georgette Heyer Regency romance that takes a close look at the smuggling trade of the period, full of humor, and with a scene of family bonding and theatrics that readers will remember forever.
When a Yorkshire cousin becomes heir to the noble Darracott name and fortune, he pretends to be the country bumpkin they're all expecting. Then a family crisis thrusts Hugo into the role of an unlikely savior, and the family farce begins to unravel. But not before Hugo establishes himself as the undisputed head of the family, and his beautiful cousin Anthea discovers she's met her match.

Road from the West: Book I of the Chronicles of Tancred9.2.2011 Road from the West: Book I of the Chronicles of Tancred, Rosanne E. Lortz

You've heard of the Knights Templar, you've heard of Richard the Lionheart--now learn the story that started it all with the adventures of the First Crusade.

Haunted by guilt from the past and nightmares of the future, a young Norman named Tancred takes the cross and vows to be the first to free Jerusalem from the infidels. As he journeys to the Holy Land, he braves vast deserts, mortal famine, and the ever-present ambushes of the enemy Turks--but the greatest danger of all is deciding which of the Crusader lords to trust. A mysterious seer prophesies that Tancred will find great love and great sorrow on his journey, but the second seems intent on claiming him before he can find the first. Intrigues and passions grow as every battle brings the Crusaders one step closer to Jerusalem. Not all are destined to survive the perilous road from the West.

9.6.2011 The Women of the Cousins' War: The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's Mother, Philippa Gregory, Non-Fiction Release
PHILIPPA GREGORY and her fellow historians describe the extraordinary lives of the heroines of her Cousins’ War books: Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford; Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV; and Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII.
In her essay on Jacquetta, Philippa Gregory uses original documents, archaeology, and histories of myth and witchcraft to create the first-ever biography of the young duchess who survived two reigns and two wars to become the first lady at two rival courts. David Baldwin, established authority on the Wars of the Roses, tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the first commoner to marry a king of England for love; and Michael Jones, fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes of Margaret Beaufort, the almost-unknown matriarch of the House of Tudor.
In the introduction, Gregory writes revealingly about the differences between history and historical fiction. How much of a role does speculation play in writing each? How much fiction and how much fact should there be in a historical novel? How are female historians changing our view of women in history?
The Women of the Cousins’ War is beautifully illustrated with rare portraits and source materials. As well as offering fascinating insights into the inspirations behind Philippa Gregory’s fiction, it will appeal to all with an interest in this period.

9.13.2011 Sunrise of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan & Isolde, Anna Elliott
She is a healer, a storyteller, and a warrior. When Britain is faced with threats both old and new, the strength of her love may be the kingdom’s downfall . . . or salvation.
Their love has overcome endless obstacles. Never ones to shy away from danger, former High Queen Isolde and Trystan, a mercenary with a lonely and troubled past, have already endured a perilous journey to keep the underhanded Lord Marche from the throne of Britain. But now a new traitor lurks amongst the kings on Britain’s High Council—and just when they’ve realized the depth of their love for each other, a new danger calls Trystan from Isolde’s side to test the strength of their secret marriage vow. Only Isolde knows that she is carrying Trystan’s unborn child.
As Britain’s armies prepare for a final battle in which they will either turn back the tide of the invaders or see their kingdom utterly destroyed, Isolde must undertake yet another daring mission—one that will bring her even nearer to a secret that Trystan has kept for seven long years. As the clouds of war gather, Trystan and Isolde must once again fight to protect Britain’s throne. Together, they hold the key that can defeat the Saxon king, Octa of Kent, and Lord Marche. But the cost of Britain’s sovereignty may be their own forbidden love.
Based on the earliest written version of the Arthurian tales, Anna Elliott’s Sunrise of Avalon breathes new life into an age-old legend and brings the story of Trystan and Isolde to an unforgettable end.

The Traitor's Wife: A Novel9.26.2011 The Traitor's Wife: A Novel, Kathleen Kent
This novel was originally published under the title The Wolves of Andover.
In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and his mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of the role he played in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. At once a love story and a tale of courage, The Traitor's Wife confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories from the dramatic background of America's earliest days.

9.15.2011 History of Ancient Britain, Neil Oliver
Who were the first Britons, and what sort of world did they occupy? In A HISTORY OF ANCIENT BRITAIN Neil Oliver turns a spotlight on the very beginnings of the story of Britain; on the first people to occupy these islands and their battle for survival. There has been human habitation in Britain, regularly interrupted by Ice Ages, for the best part of a million years. The last retreat of the glaciers 12,000 years ago brought a new and warmer age and with it, one of the greatest tsunamis recorded on Earth which struck the north-east of Britain, devastating the population and flooding the low-lying plains of what is now the North Sea. The resulting island became, in time, home to a diverse range of cultures and peoples who have left behind them some of the most extraordinary and enigmatic monuments in the world. Through what is revealed by the artefacts of the past, Neil Oliver weaves the epic story - half -a-million years of human history up to the departure of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century AD. It was a period which accounts for more than ninety-nine per cent of humankind's presence on these islands. It is the real story of Britain and of her people.

9.27.2011 The Favored Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII's Third Wife, Carolly Erickson

From The New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a powerful and moving novel about Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, who married him only days after the execution of Anne Boleyn and ultimately lost her own life in giving him the son he badly needed to guarantee the Tudor succession
Born into an ambitious noble family, young Jane Seymour is sent to Court as a Maid of Honor to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s aging queen. She is devoted to her mistress and watches with empathy as the calculating Anne Boleyn contrives to supplant her as queen. Anne’s single-minded intriguing threatens all who stand in her way; she does not hesitate to arrange the murder of a woman who knows a secret so dark that, if revealed, would make it impossible for the king to marry Anne. 
Once Anne becomes queen, no one at court is safe, and Jane herself becomes the victim of Anne’s venomous rage when she suspects Jane has become the object of the king’s lust. Henry, fearing that Anne’s inability to give him a son is a sign of divine wrath, asks Jane to become his next queen. Deeply reluctant to embark on such a dangerous course, Jane must choose between her heart and her loyalty to the king.

Acclaimed biographer and bestselling novelist Carolly Erickson weaves another of her irresistible historical entertainments about the queen who finally gave Henry VIII his longed for heir, set against the excitement and danger of the Tudor Court.
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