Friday, January 31, 2014

Hot Historical Fiction January 2014

The Lion and the Rose (The Borgias, #2) by Kate Quinn
"From the national bestselling author of The Serpent and the Pearl comes the continuing saga of the ruthless family that holds all of Rome in its grasp, and the three outsiders thrust into their twisted web of blood and deceit . . .
As the cherished concubine of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI, Giulia Farnese has Rome at her feet. But after narrowly escaping a sinister captor, she realizes that the danger she faces is far from over—and now, it threatens from within. The Holy City of Rome is still under Alexander’s thrall, but enemies of the Borgias are starting to circle. In need of trusted allies, Giulia turns to her sharp-tongued bodyguard, Leonello, and her fiery cook and confidante, Carmelina.

Caught in the deadly world of the Renaissance’s most notorious family, Giulia, Leonello, and Carmelina must decide if they will flee the dangerous dream of power. But as the shadows of murder and corruption rise through the Vatican, they must learn who to trust when every face wears a mask . . ."

House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty
"In the early 1600s, Elizabeth Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess, ruled Čachtice Castle in the hinterlands of Slovakia. During bizarre nightly rites, she tortured and killed the young women she had taken on as servants. A devil, a demon, the terror of Royal Hungary—she bathed in their blood to preserve her own youth.400 years later, echoes of the Countess’s legendary brutality reach Aspen, Colorado. Betsy Path, a psychoanalyst of uncommon intuition, has a breakthrough with sullen teenager Daisy Hart. Together, they are haunted by the past, as they struggle to understand its imprint upon the present. Betsy and her troubled but perceptive patient learn the truth: the curse of the House of Bathory lives still and has the power to do evil even now.

The story, brimming with palace intrigue, memorable characters intimately realized, and a wealth of evocative detail, travels back and forth between the familiar, modern world and a seventeenth-century Eastern Europe brought startlingly to life.

Inspired by the actual crimes of Elizabeth Báthory, The House of Bathory is another thrilling historical fiction from Linda Lafferty (The Bloodletter’s Daughter and The Drowning Guard). The novel carries readers along with suspense and the sweep of historical events both repellent and fascinating".

Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble
"Lilly secures a job as lady's maid in a grand manor in Austin, Texas. But even far from home, her past lurks around every corner.
When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers' famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers.

Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling.

Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she's attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal--someone from her past?

Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex"?

The Queen's Dwarf by Ella March Chase
"It's 1629, and King Charles I and his French queen Henrietta-Maria have reigned in England for less than three years. Young dwarf Jeffrey Hudson is swept away from a village shambles and plunged into the Stuart court when his father sells him to the most hated man in England--the Duke of Buckingham.
Buckingham trains Jeffrey to be his spy in the household of Charles' seventeen-year-old bride, hoping to gain intelligence that will help him undermine the vivacious queen's influence with the king. Desperately homesick in a country that hates her for her nationality and Catholic faith, Henrietta-Maria surrounds herself with her "Royal Menagerie of Freaks and Curiosities of Nature"--a "collection" consisting of a giant, two other dwarves, a rope dancer, an acrobat/animal trainer and now Jeffrey, who is dubbed "Lord Minimus."

Dropped into this family of misfits, Jeffrey must negotiate a labyrinth of court intrigue and his own increasingly divided loyalties. For not even the plotting of the Duke nor the dangers of a tumultuous kingdom can order the heart of a man. Though he is only eighteen inches tall, Jeffrey Hudson's love will reach far beyond his grasp--to the queen he has been sent to destroy.

Full of vibrant period detail and with shades of Gregory Maguire's Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool, The Queen's Dwarf is a rich, thrilling and evocative portrait of an intriguing era".

Ravenscliffe by Jane Sanderson
"For fans of Downton Abbey . . . The peaceful beauty of the English countryside belies the turmoil of forbidden love and the apprehension of a changing world for the families of Netherwood

Yorkshire, 1904. On Netherwood Common, Russian émigré Anna Rabinovich shows her dear friend Eve Williams a gracious Victorian villa—Ravenscliffe—the house Anna wants them to live in. There's a garden and a yard and room enough for their children to play and grow.

Something about the house speaks to Anna, and you should listen to a house, she believes...Ravenscliffe holds the promise of happiness.

Across the square, Clarissa and her husband, the Earl of Netherwood, are preparing for King Edward's visit. Clarissa is determined to have everything in top shape at Netherwood Hall—in spite of the indolent heir to the estate, Tobias, and his American bride—and much of it depends on the work going on downstairs as the loyal servants strive to preserve the noble family's dignity and reputation.

As Anna restores Ravenscliffe to its full grandeur, she strikes up a relationship with hardworking Amos Sykes—who proposed to Eve just one year ago.

But when Eve's long-lost brother Silas turns up in their close-knit mining community, cracks begin to appear in even the strongest friendships.

As change comes to the small town and society at large, the residents of Netherwood must find their footing or lose their place altogether".

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
"A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930-Justice Joseph Crater's infamous disappearance-as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best.
They say behind every great man, there's a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge's wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge's bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband's recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city's most notorious gangster, Owney "The Killer" Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge's involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge's favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks-one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale-of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages".

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin
"In 1872 the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste was discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo was intact and there was no sign of struggle, but the crew was gone. They were never found.
This maritime mystery lies at the center of an intricate narrative branching through the highest levels of late-nineteenth-century literary society. While on a voyage to Africa, a rather hard-up and unproven young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle hears of the Mary Celeste and decides to write an outlandish short story about what took place. This story causes quite a sensation back in the United States, particularly between sought-after Philadelphia spiritualist medium Violet Petra and a rational-minded journalist named Phoebe Grant, who is seeking to expose Petra as a fraud. Then there is the family of the Mary Celeste's captain, a family linked to the sea for generations and marked repeatedly by tragedy. Each member of this ensemble cast holds a critical piece to the puzzle of the Mary Celeste.

These three elements—a ship found sailing without a crew, a famous writer on the verge of enormous success, and the rise of an unorthodox and heretical religious fervor—converge in unexpected ways, in diaries, in letters, in safe harbors and rough seas. In a haunted, death-obsessed age, a ghost ship appearing in the mist is by turns a provocative mystery, an inspiration to creativity, and a tragic story of the disappearance of a family and of a bond between husband and wife that, for one moment, transcends the impenetrable barrier of death".

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Celebrate DAUGHTERS OF THE NILE with authour Stephanie Dray

"Based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter…

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty.

With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind.

Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line"?

"In commemoration of the opening of the Ara Pacis on January 30, 9 BC and in celebration of Daughters of the Nile, I'm hosting a mega-event for history and book lovers to talk about ancient Rome, Augustus, and win goodies just for showing up from some of the genre's hottest authors.

Stephanie Dray 12pm-10pm
Jeannie Lin at 12pm
M.m. Bennetts at 12:30pm
Kate Quinn at 1pm
Erika Shephard Robuck at 1:15pm
Heather Webb at 1:30pm
Vicky Alvear Shecter at 1:45pm
J.F. Ridgley at 2pm
Kristina McMorris at 2:15pm
Donna Russo Morin at 3pm
Amy Phillips Bruno at 3:30pm
Eliza Knight at 4pm
Gillian Bagwell at 4:15pm
Sophie Perinot at 4:30pm
Kathryn Kimball Johnson (aka Mary Hart Perry) at 5pm
Audra Friend at 6pm
Helen Hollick at 6:15pm
Alma Katsu at 7pm
Roberta Oliver Trahan at 8pm
Marci McGuire Jefferson at 8:15pm
Stephanie Thornton at 8:30pm
Stephanie Cowell at 9pm
Sabrina Darby at 9:45pm

To participate, just join the event now, and pop intomorrow at your convenience.

Also Stephanie will be signing books at Turn the Page bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland this February 15th, 12-2pm. People come out from all over the country for this particular signing, so if you're in the area, you've got no excuse not to come on out and join the fun!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

GRAMMARLY the ONLY editor you will ever need

Hey all I had to share this new website I got to try. It is an editor that is kind of like Word but a million times better. I will be the first to admit that I have a track record of bad grammar. I swear I try to not go there but what is a girl to do when Word just is not enough? Word gives you no explanation and misses common issues. When I started using Grammarly I noticed right off the bat there is a button to scan for the dreaded plagiarism! I used Grammarly's plagiarism check because I always have this nagging feeling that I am saying the same things over and over. What if I was copying myself? The plagiarism button checked the web and compares your document to text on the internet to see if there is anything else like it out there. If it finds something, it gives you the site link to view it.  I was please to see that there was a similar one detected, but it was not mine. The link it pulled up was so distantly related it really was not the same as my review, but it was nice to know. 
To start you pick your different paper type like general, business, academic, technical, creative,  and casual. Then you hit the review button and a report covers your document and editing categories appear like citation audit, use of articles, use of adjectives and adverbs, comparing two or more things, verb form use, wordiness, passive voice use, and commonly confused words. My second favorite feature is the synonyms button. It loads the text with underlines on all major words then if you click a word a pop up window shows up and you can change your word with choices like a thesaurus.

When you are all done editing you can do a report and save it as a pdf to your desktop or you can go over its sections like plagiarism, contextual spelling check, grammar, punctuation, style and word choice. When I used my most recent book review to practice on I was shocked by how many grammatical errors I had. I think to start it had at least 40 errors. I re-edited my review then I uploaded the new review, and it is so much better than before. Thank you Grammarly for letting me try it out I love that it actually gives a real explanation for us grammar dummies.

More on Grammarly
"You can now use Grammarly on your computer
s well! Grammarly for Desktop includes MS Office™ integration and other features. As a Grammarly member, you will have FREE access to Grammarly Answers - ask any English grammar or usage-related question and get free advice from Grammarly experts".
FTC-this is a sponsored advertisement.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: ROYAL SISTERS by Jean Plaidy

Revolution was in the air, and the new King James II was about to be the victim of his own ignorance. England made a call for “no popery” yet James refused to hear the wishes of the people of England.  James was firm in his Catholic beliefs, and he would bring about his own destruction. England demanded a Protestant ruler, and they cried for James' Protestant daughter Mary. Mary and her husband the “Protestant usurper” William of Orange was invited by the people of England to rule in place of her father. William greedily accepted but only after he made one condition on his wife. William would be co ruler with Mary because his ego would never let him tolerate being merely a royal consort.

James daughters betrayed him for the crown, and he was forced to flee with a broken heart. James was a good father. He loved his girls even in a time when male children were favored. He doted on his girls particularly Mary. Upon Mary’s coronation, she received a scathing letter from her father cursing her for taking the crown from him.  Mary still went on with the coronation, and since she was never blessed with a child her sister Anne was proclaimed heir. William and Mary’s reign began with turbulence, and their reign was not a free loving one like her uncle Charles II. England hated William; he was cold and never did anything fun. Worse yet he was severe to not only Mary but also everyone else around him. Just like in the previous novel, William continued to ill-treat Mary with his cruel uses.

Sadly the sisters had a falling out not long into Mary’s reign. Childhood friend Sarah Churchill was the source of this falling out. Mary did not like Sarah, and she also was clever enough to see that Sarah Churchill directed the Princess Anne in all things. Mary became determined not to let Sarah Churchill arise any farther than she already had. Anne was determined not to lose her long time best friend and moved from the palace cutting off all communication with her queenly sister. At that point, the only thing the two sisters shared was the love of Anne’s only surviving child, the little Duke of Gloucester.

The “little Duke” was the little treasure of the family and oh how he twinkled. The whole family doted on the boy and were in perpetual worry about his health because his “head was abnormally large”. It was said that he had water on the brain, and he hardly walked without the aid of others. As the little Duke grew he became a “serious soldier”. The Princess gave her son his own “soldiers”; imagine ninety little nine-year-old boys in uniform under the little Duke’s command. These good times for the royal family were eventually marred by the bad, and it seemed there would be no peace for any of the Stuart's unless it was in the grave.

4/5 I enjoyed this one, but there were too many people to hate in it. William of Orange I have already established my dislike for him, but the overwhelming Sarah Churchill reared her ugly head. She has taken William’s place as my most hated person during this period. I unquestionably loved the little Duke and his “army of men” they were so bad and funny all at the same time. I even found myself laughing out loud at his antics. Jean Plaidy is highly recommended here. This novel is one you have to read just to read about Gloucester because he made this novel great.

FTC-this novel is from my personal collection

PG-13 some violence

"Royal Sisters" by Jean Plaidy
The Stuart Saga by Jean Plaidy

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Send the Seal Contest: Diana Gabaldon

Fresh from Diana Gabaldon's newsletter:

"Dear Outlander fans,
Have you Sent the Seal yet? Send an excerpt of OUTLANDER to your friends on Facebook and unlock the first chapter of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEARTS BLOOD. You'll also be entered for a chance to win a flyaway to meet Diana Gabaldon herself, get a sneak peek at the new STARZ TV show, and hang out with other OUTLANDER fanatics. Also, tell all your friends that OUTLANDER is only $1.99 in eBook for a limited time. So what are you waiting for? Send the Seal today"!

Diana Gabaldon

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...