Thursday, July 31, 2014

Upcoming Release: The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory

The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory Releasing~ 9.9.2014

"This is the story of deposed royal Margaret Pole, and her unique view of King Henry VIII’s stratospheric rise to power in Tudor England. Margaret Pole spends her young life struggling to free her brother, arrested as a child, from the Tower of London. The Tower – symbol of the Tudor usurpation of her family’s throne – haunts Margaret’s dreams until the day that her brother is executed on the orders of Henry VII. Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret is buried in marriage to a steady and kind Tudor supporter—Sir Richard Pole, governor of Wales. But Margaret’s quiet, hidden life is changed forever by the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon, as Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple. Margaret’s destiny, as an heiress to the Plantagenets, is not for a life in the shadows. Tragedy throws her into poverty and rebellion against the new royal family, luck restores her to her place at court where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine and watches the dominance of the Spanish queen over her husband, and her fall. As the young king becomes increasingly paranoid of rivals he turns his fearful attention to Margaret and her royal family. Amid the rapid deterioration of the Tudor court, Margaret must choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, Henry VIII, or to her beloved queen and princess. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret has to find her own way and hide her knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors, which is slowly coming true . . ."

"This is a novel which changed its nature, content and significance from when I started research until publication. Right up until the last stage of copy editing I was revising and adding material and characters to this dark story. I started it, thinking that it would be a relatively simple telling of the tragic story of Margaret Pole - daughter of George, Duke of Clarence and Isabel Neville. George was the brother of Edward IV, probably drowned in a vat of Malmsey wine for treason against Edward and Queen Elizabeth. As the book progressed I discovered that Margaret was a central figure in the Tudor court, and probably actively involved in the endless conspiracies against the Henry VIII and his advisors. This hidden rebellion reached its peak in the uprising of the North called the Pilgrimage of Grace. The pilgrims won their aims of defending the Roman Catholic traditions and the return of the traditional advisors, but Henry reneged on his promises and sent his troops for a terrible persecution to men who held a royal pardon. Margaret, and her entire family, came under suspicion too and this novel moved far from the template of a persecuted heroine and became the story of a merciless murder of a family. Margaret's betrayer, and her defenders all come under the gaze of a king who was increasingly frightened and, I believe delusional. It's been a chilling and powerful book to write and the image of Henry VIII, composer of 'Greensleeves' beloved of primary school history, will never be the same again for me. He was a serial killer and this book traces his steps towards psychosis. THE BOOK OPENS IN 1499 England is under a Tudor king, Henry VII has two sons with Elizabeth of York which should have secured his line, yet his court is still filled with fear and suspicion. Plantagenet is a dangerous name to carry and the heiress Margaret Pole is swiftly married off to a staunch Tudor supporter, but her brother Edward's claim cannot be ignored. Henry executes him on Tower Hill, leaving Margaret to face a lifetime of uncertainly". Source: Philippa Gregory

For more on Philippa Gregory's book check out her really cool site that puts all the book in order by time periods 
Amazon ~ The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mailbox Monday" Carolly Erickson, Posie Graeme-Evans, and more!

The Uncrowned Queen by Posie Graeme-Evans
"The thrilling climax to the trilogy that began with The Innocent and The Exiled brings Posie Graeme-Evans's bittersweet story of two lovers divided by the throne of England to its dramatic conclusion.
As England tears itself apart in the War of the Roses, Anne de Bohun lives far from the intrigues of cities and courts. Once King Edward IV's mistress, Anne has found safety with their son in Brugge. But now Edward himself is a hunted fugitive, and Anne's real father, King Henry VI, rules again from Westminster. Summoned by an enigmatic message from her lover, Anne is drawn once more to the passion, the excitement, and the deadly danger that Edward brings into her life. But now, the girl who was once a penniless servant has a child to protect and an inheritance to defend. Can she let her love for Edward threaten everything she has? Or will she need his help to protect her from the powerful enemy who means to destroy her?

Boasting an extraordinary heroine and intense, intersecting plots, The Uncrowned Queen is a dazzling and satisfying finale to Anne de Bohun's incredible story".

Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson
"From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a novel about the bitter rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and her fascinating cousin, Lettice Knollys, for the love of one extraordinary man.

Powerful, dramatic and full of the rich history that has made Carolly Erickson’s novels perennial bestsellers, this is the story of the only woman to ever stand up to the Virgin Queen— her own cousin, Lettie Knollys. Far more attractive than the queen, Lettie soon won the attention of the handsome and ambitious Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a man so enamored of the queen and determined to share her throne that it was rumored he had murdered his own wife in order to become her royal consort. The enigmatic Elizabeth allowed Dudley into her heart, and relied on his devoted service, but shied away from the personal and political risks of marriage.

When Elizabeth discovered that he had married her cousin Lettie in secret, Lettie would pay a terrible price, fighting to keep her husband’s love and ultimately losing her beloved son, the Earl of Essex, to the queen’s headsman.

This is the unforgettable story of two women related by blood, yet destined to clash over one of Tudor England’s most charismatic men".

A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander
"Secrets prove deadly in this new novel from Tasha Alexander featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves. Some very prominent people in London are waking up to find their doorsteps smeared with red paint, the precursor to the revelation of a dark secret – and worse – by someone who enjoys destroying lives
Newly returned to her home in Mayfair, Lady Emily Hargreaves is looking forward to enjoying the delights of the season. The delights, that is, as defined by her own eccentricities—reading The Aeneid, waltzing with her dashing husband, and joining the Women’s Liberal Federation in the early stages of its campaign to win the vote for women. But an audacious vandal disturbs the peace in the capital city, splashing red paint on the neat edifices of the homes of London’s elite. This mark, impossible to hide, presages the revelation of scandalous secrets, driving the hapless victims into disgrace, despair and even death. Soon, all of London high society is living in fear of learning who will be the next target, and Lady Emily and her husband, Colin, favorite agent of the crown, must uncover the identity and reveal the motives of the twisted mind behind it all before another innocent life is lost".

The Atlas of Pern by Karen Wynn Fonstad
"Rear cover notes: "Pern, where firebreathing dragons and their human riders join to fight the threads that threaten to destroy all life! Here's the perfect companion and guide for Anne McCaffrey's beloved stories of the Dragonriders of Pern. Karen Wynn Fonstad brings out every detail of the world and history of Pern in fascinating graphics and lucent text. Tour the land whose very existence depends on the dragons and their riders! Detailed two-color maps showing every place and feature yet discovered on Pern; Follow F'lar's research as he learns how to predict Threadfall! Charts tracking the fall of Thread, the deadly spores that periodically ravage Pern; See the hatchling grounds where Jaxom impressed the white dragon Ruth! Schematics of the great Weyrs - the homes of the telepathic dragons and their riders; Visit Ruatha Hold where F'lar found Lessa, his future weyrwoman! Plans of the Holds, where most of the people of Pern live and work; And lots more covering all the books in the great series! The Atlas of Pern provides a spellbinding tour of the world where the harassed settlers from Earth fight to ovecome seemingly impossible odds and to carve out a new life for themselves and the future."

Atlantis Illustrated by H.R. Stahel
"Stahel illustrates Atlantis exactly in the proportions that Plato described it in his dialogues, Timaeus and Critias".

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Up Coming Release "PRINCE LESTAT" by Anne Rice

I know what your thinking what does "The Vampire Chronicles" have to do with historical fiction? For me it has everything to do with historical fiction. My love for historical fiction started with this series by Anne Rice because Anne's vampires have something that "Twilight" and any other vampire series never had... history. The best part of this series is that you live and breath a vampires life from the beginning to present time. Anne has set her characters in my favorite time periods ancient Egypt, Renaissance Italy, Revolutionary France, Revolutionary America, and so many more. After retiring her series "The Vampire Chronicles" Anne Rice has decided to break out with a brand new second part to the series starting with this new release "Prince Lestat". The title itself is very suggestive of what may come to be for the handsome vampire Lestat.

The series includes Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, Tail of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, The Vampire Armand, Merrick, Blood and Gold, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle and if you want to go in another branch of the vampire's you can pick up The New Vampire Tales duo: Pandora and Vittorio the Vampire. Farther yet you can also check out The Vampire Companion by Katherine Ramsland.

 I would highly recommend this series to history lovers because this whole series focuses on the history of the era and if you can handle a bit of vampire gore then this is for you but keep in mind there are NO sparkly vampires here. The only thing that sparkles in Lestat is his personality. I can  not wait to read this novel but I am very disappointed to hear that Barnes and Noble had autographed pre-ordered copies up for sale for less than a few hours before they were all gone. Sadly I could not get a copy but I will wait in high anticipation for the 11th book in the series. I can not wait to see where Anne takes Lestat this time.

Releasing 10.28.14
"A stunning departure, a surprising and compelling return…From Anne Rice, perennial best seller, single-handed reinventor of the vampire cosmology-a new, exhilarating novel, a deepening of her vampire mythology, and a chillingly hypnotic mystery-thriller.
"What can we do but reach for the embrace that must now
contain both heaven and hell: our doom again and again and
again…" -from The Vampire Lestat

Rice once again summons up the irresistible spirit-world of the oldest and most powerful forces of the night, invisible beings unleashed on an unsuspecting world able to take blood from humans, in a long-awaited return to the extraordinary world of the Vampire Chronicles and the uniquely seductive Queen of the Damned("mesmerizing" -SF Chronicle), a long-awaited novel that picks up where The Vampire Lestat ("brilliant…its undead characters are utterly alive" -New York Times) left off more than a quarter of a century ago to create an extraordinary new world of spirits and forces-the characters, legend, and lore of all the Vampire Chronicles.

The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis…vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned…Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco.

As the novel moves from present-day New York and the West Coast to ancient Egypt, fourth century Carthage, 14th-century Rome, the Venice of the Renaissance, the worlds and beings of all the Vampire Chronicles-Louis de Pointe du Lac; the eternally young Armand, whose face is that of a Boticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet, Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true Child of the Millennia; along with all the other new seductive, supernatural creatures-come together in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel to ultimately rise up and seek out who-or what-the Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why…

And, at the book's center, the seemingly absent, curiously missing hero-wanderer, the dazzling, dangerous rebel-outlaw-the great hope of the Undead, the dazzling Prince Lestat…"
Amazon: "PRINCE LESTAT" by Anne Rice , The Vampire Chronicles

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: DUCHESS OF MILAN by Michael Ennis

Beatrice d’Este Duchess of Bari was married to one of the most powerful men in Italy during the Italian Renaissance. Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Bari, Regent for the Duke of Milan ruled Milan for his incapable nephew Gian Galeazzo Sforza. Gian prior to Beatrice’s marriage had married her cousin Isabella of Aragon. The cousins had shared a grandfather, Ferrante I, King of Naples and were not strangers to the brutal rivalries between Italy’s powerful leading families.

The cousins had been reunited upon Beatrice’s marriage and it was clear from the beginning there was no cousinly love between them at all. An intense rivalry was instantly born, hate at first sight, as I like to call it. The cousins knew they could each be each others undoing yet at times they found they did love each other but really could not stop the rivalry that had escaladed as the years progressed. On the cusp of the Italian Wars the cousins find each other at odds over titles and the rights to rule Milan. Beatrice had everything to loose and Isabella had already lost everything. Faced with an uprising and the French practically at the city gates the cousins discover their fates are forever intertwined with the survival of Milan.

4/5 I enjoyed this novel but it was a bit on the dramatic side. I enjoyed the liberties the author took and found it a bit on the smutty side at times. This is not a novel I would recommend to my more reserved readers. Yet if you’re anything like me you enjoy a little bit of smut in your history then this is the novel for you!

X~ Rating for graphic sexual encounters.

FTC~ this novel is from my personal collection. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: THE NEW COLORED PENCIL by Kristy Ann Kutch

What a wealth of colored pencil knowledge. This small book is more like a college art class just on colored pencils. As many of you know colored pencils and watercolor pencils are my favorite art medium. I have struggled with the more technical aspects of using colored pencils and I think this book really will help me in the future. After reading this book I discovered that I have been using the wrong kind of paper all this time and had no idea that my choice of paper affected my pieces so much. With in this book there are numerous colored pencil tips that really will help me and I cannot wait to try them all.

Here are some of the key tips that I found really useful. For my style I need to use Bristol board because it works the best for artists who layer their pieces. I would love to try using colored paper because then the background is the paper and I always struggle with how to make a decent background. I think it would also be helpful if I keep a log of the colors I use because then I will be able to easily go right back to what I started with. I am astonished I never thought of doing that until it was mentioned in this book. I would love to try the “grid method” because this book gave detailed directions on how to do a grid for making a photo into a colored pencil work. I also found that I really could benefit from investing in a battery-operated eraser which I had no idea existed until this book. I found the section on how to create delicate lines impressions very helpful because I would like to try it and had no clue how to go about it until now. By far one of the most helpful sections I found was on watercolor paper. Hot press paper verses cold press paper and it actually showed how the paper affects the watercolor pencils with pictures and all. Since I mentioned that I struggle with how to create backgrounds the section on creating muted foliage backgrounds was a real eye opener on how easy it can be to create a natural backdrop. Last but not least I really liked that at the end of the book it had a complete index of color pencil brands with a full color chart of their pencils. This would be immensely helpful if I was in the market for a new pack of pencils. It really gives you an idea of what you get for your money and can give you a jump off point of which brand would best suite your style and taste.

5/5 this book is a quick read, informative, and a perfect addition to any color pencil artist’s reference library. Small as this book was it really was a wealth of knowledge that I hope to apply to my future projects.

G~Rating for art reference.
FTC~ I received this free novel from Blogging for Books for review, I received no compensation for this review.
Amazon: THE NEW COLORED PENCIL by Kristy Ann Kutch

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mailbox Monday: Kate Furnivall and Allison Pataki

The White Pearl by Kate Furnivall
"National bestselling author of The Russian Concubine, Kate Furnivall spins a tale of war, desperation, and the discovery of love off the coast of Malaya.
Malaya, 1941. Connie Thornton plays her role as a dutiful wife and mother without complaint. She is among the fortunate after all-the British rubber plantation owners reaping the benefits of the colonial life. But Connie feels as though she is oppressed, crippled by boredom, sweltering heat, a loveless marriage. . .

Then, in December, the Japanese invade. Connie and her family flee, sailing south on their yacht toward Singapore, where the British are certain to stand firm against the Japanese. En route, in the company of friends, they learn that Singapore is already under siege. Tensions mount, tempers flare, and the yacht's inhabitants are driven by fear.

Increasingly desperate and short of food, they are taken over by a pirate craft and its Malayan crew making their perilous way from island to island. When a fighter plane crashes into the sea, they rescue its Japanese pilot. For Connie, that's when everything changes. In the suffocating confines of the boat with her life upended, Connie discovers a new kind of freedom and a new, dangerous, exhilarating love".

The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki
"A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America's most infamous act of treason . . . Everyone knows Benedict Arnold--the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British--as history's most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold's co-conspirator, Major John Andre, who was apprehended with Arnold's documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold's age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride's beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John Andre. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold".~Lizzie~

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Isabella d'Este Marchesa of Mantua

Isabella d'Este Marchesa of Mantua done in watercolor pencil and colored pencil. I recently fell in love with Isabella and her sister Beatrice in one of my new favorite novels "Leonardo's Swans" by Karen Essex. Isabella was a leading lady in The Italian Renaissance. She was a avid art collector and benefactor to many of the artist that had made the Italian Renaissance. I was moved not by her deeds but by her life. Like many of the strong leading women of history I love, Isabella's life was filled with turmoil and tragedy. Considered a great beauty of her times she was also a very well educated woman that excelled in trying new things. She was also politically savvy and played a major role in the Italian Wars that had also involved her sister The Duchess of Milan. I was truly inspired by a bust that I came across on the web of Isabella. Beautiful does not even describe this bust and yet I am saddened by the history that the Nazi's had stolen it during WWII. Luckily for me and the future generations of the world The Monuments Men had a very intriguing story of how the bust was recovered. It is sad to think that the bust could have been lost forever and I never would have even seen it had they not found it. This is my ode to Isabella and the insight she had brought to the start of a art revolution that even today continues on. She is gone but will never be forgotten.

"Isabella d'Este (18 May 1474 – 13 February 1539) was Marchesa of Mantua and one of the leading women of the Italian Renaissance as a major cultural and political figure. She was a patron of the arts as well as a leader of fashion, whose innovative style of dressing was copied by women throughout Italy and at the French court. The poet Ariosto labeled her as the "liberal and magnanimous Isabella", while author Matteo Bandello described her as having been "supreme among women". Diplomat Niccolò da Correggio went even further by hailing her as "The First Lady of the world".

She served as the regent of Mantua during the absence of her husband, Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua and the minority of her son, Federico, Duke of Mantua. In 1500 she met King Louis XII of France in Milan on a diplomatic mission to persuade him not to send his troops against Mantua.

She was a prolific letter-writer, and maintained a lifelong correspondence with her sister-in-law Elisabetta Gonzaga. Lucrezia Borgia was another sister-in-law; she later became the mistress of Isabella's husband". -Wiki
Attributed to Gian Cristoforo Romano, Italian (c. 1465– 1512)

Portrait of a Woman, Probably Isabe!a d’Estec. 1500 T erracotta, formerly polychromed
21-3/8 x 21-1/2 in. (54.3 x 54.6 cm
"This summer, the Monuments Men Foundation and Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas announced that a Renais- sance portrait bust in the Kim- bell collection had been stolen by the Nazis during World War II and was one of thousands of works of art found in the Al- taussee Salt Mine in Austria.
This incredible discovery oc- curred in conjunction with an unrelated project. In the fall of 2009, while researching the missing albums containing photographs of the works of art destined for Adolf Hitler’s Linz
Museum, we came across a war- time photograph of the Steinberg salt mine in Altaussee, Austria. In early May 1945, during the closing days of the war, the Monuments Men were in a race against time to locate the last great Nazi repository of stolen works of art. A key tip led them to the Steinberg mine. They arrived to discover that a Nazi plot to destroy the salt mine and its priceless contents, including more than 6,000 paint- ings, had only hours before been thwarted, a harrowing story recounted in The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest
Treasure Hunt in History.
Hidden inside the mine were many of civilization’s greatest artistic mas- terpieces including Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna, Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece, and two Vermeer paintings (The Astronomer and The Artist’s Studio), to name just a few. Of the many photos taken inside the salt mine, we had not come across the photo above before. The photo shows the Kimbell's terra cotta bust of Renaissance art patron Isabelle d'Este being removed from the mine. We recognized the sculpture imme- diately and knew it had to be the Kimbell's version and not a copy be- cause of the vertical firing-line cracks on the sculpture's front. We were aware that the Kimbell’s provenance for the bust made no mention of be- ing in Hitler's art hideout. 

When the Monuments Men discovered the cache of artwork in the Altaussee salt mine, they had to remove the art as quickly and as carefully as they could from a narrow mine shaft. The artworks were then taken to the Munich Collect- ing Point, which was housed in the former Nazi party head- quarters in Munich, as it was one of the largest buildings left standing after the war. Upon the arrival of the works of art in Munich, the Monuments Men created property index cards for each object. In researching those cards we discov- ered the “smoking gun”: Altaussee inventory card number 1246, which documented the arrival in Munich on June 28, 1945 of the terra cotta bust of Isabelle d’Este, which at the time was “attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.” The back of the inventory card revealed that the sculpture was returned to the Netherlands on June 3, 1946". -Monuments Men Foundation

For more on Isabella d'Este Check out the other good reads on her:
Light on Lucrezia by Jean Plaidy
The Duchess of Milan by Michael Ennis
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...