reviews

His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage

His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage

For bastard-born Robert FitzStephan, being given Eleanor díOutremer in marriage is an honour. For Eleanor, this forced wedding is anything but a fairy tale.

Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks loyally since the age of twelve. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control.

Eleanor díOutremeróNoor to familyólost her Castilian mother as a child and is left entirely alone when her father and brother are killed. When ordered to wed the unknown Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply.

Two strangers in a marriage bed is not easy. Things are further complicated by Noorís blood-ties to the Welsh princes and by covetous Edith who has warmed Robertís bed for years.

Robertís new wife may be young and innocent, but he is soon to discover that not only is she spirited and proud, she is also brave. Because when Wales lies gasping and Edward I exacts terrible justice on the last prince and his children, Noor is determined to save at least one member of the House of Aberffraw from the English king.

Will years of ingrained service have Robert standing with his king or will he follow his heart and protect his wife, his beautiful and fierce Castilian hawk?

Edward I is trying to gain control of Wales. Robert FitzStephan is Edward’s man and while fighting in the marches he kills a man, which results in a wife in the form of a daughter of the murdered man. Not the most promising start to married life. And then there is Robert’s long-time mistress who isn’t just about to let go of her man.

Oh, I’ve waited for Belfrage to get back into a medieval world and I wasn’t disappointed!

Eleanor “Noor” d’Outremer is not too happy to hear she has to marry the man who killed her father and brother. And having Welsh blood does complicate things even more. Still a young girl when she marries and having lost her whole family, she has to grow up fast in those uncertain times. The start of Robert’s and Noor’s marriage is rocky, and I wanted to slap Robert so many times. But hey, it can only get better right? He did grow on me after a bit though.

I liked Noor and it was great seeing her finding herself while at times standing up to her husband and the queen. I’m looking forward to learning more about that inheritance thing and her Castilian family.

I don’t remember if I’ve read a book that has this much Eleanor of Castile on stage. Not sure I liked her but still.

Can’t wait for the next book in the series!

4,5 stars

Published: Troubador Publishing (September 28, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, sheíd have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The Kingís Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.

More recently, Anna has published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. While she loved stepping out of her comfort zone (and will likely do so again ) she is delighted to be back in medieval times in her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward Iís invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrityóand love.

Find out more about Anna on her website or on her Amazon page. You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, October 24
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, October 26
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 28
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Friday, October 30
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, November 1
Interview at Reader_ceygo

Tuesday, November 3
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, November 4
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, November 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 9
Excerpt at I’m Into Books

Tuesday, November 10
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 12
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Monday, November 16
Review at Reader_ceygo
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, November 17
Review at Books and Zebras

Wednesday, November 18
Review at Novels Alive

Thursday, November 19
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, November 20
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Bookramblings
Interview at Books & Benches

reviews

Where Butterflies Go by Debra Doxer

Where Butterflies Go by Debra Doxer

Meira Sokolow had the misfortune of being born to Jewish parents in Warsaw, Poland, in 1912. Before she took her first breath, her fate had been sealed.

Residing in the Jewish Quarter of the city, Meiraís early life was typical. She fell in love with a local boy, got married, and had a daughter. Then the German army marched into Warsaw and everything changed. Forced into the ghetto with her family, she found survival to be a daily struggle. Hunger, disease, and unimaginable cruelty were her stark realities. When the ghetto was purged and she was sent to a concentration camp, Meira still had her family, and that was all that mattered. Then the camp was liquidated, and only a handful of survivors remained out of thousands. Meira Sokolow was one of them.

No longer a wife or mother, Meira emigrated to New York City. After World War II, the world wanted to move on and start a new chapter, but Meira couldnít turn the page so easily. She walked through her days alone, like a ghost with nothing to tether her to the earth. Then she met Max, a handsome American, who first mistook her for one of the boring socialites he encountered every day. He soon learned she was unlike anyone he had met before, seeing her strength and resilience, even when she couldnít. Max knew he could breathe life into her again, if only she would let him.

Tragic and heartfelt, Where Butterflies Go is based on the harrowing true story of one womanís survival during the Nazi occupation of Poland, and her struggle to find meaning in the aftermath.

The first part of the book focuses on Meira’s life in Warsaw before and during the war and the second part of her life after the war after she emigrates to the US.
Meira falls for the boy that her parents intended for her sister resulting in a fractured relationship with her sister. She is a married woman with a small child when anti-semitism is on the rise and Jews are moved into a ghetto where she works as a seamstress.

After the war, she has lost everything and is trying to create a new life for herself in the US. Her only surviving relative is her sister and they have a strained relationship after what happened with Avrom, Meira’s husband. Zotia moved to the US before the war so she and her husband’s experience of the war are very different than Meira’s.

It was really interesting to read about Meira’s life after the war and the hardship there since most of the book concentrates on the wartime. It was also interesting to see Zotia’s family’s reaction to Meira since their view and experience of the war was so different. I haven’t read many books that focus on life after the war so this interesting. Seeing the every-day hardship as an immigrant in a strange land. Where no one wants to hear what really went on.

This was an emotional book that is based on the life of the author’s great-aunt.

4/5

Published: October 7, 2020
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When not writing, she’s walking her Havanese puppy and forcing her daughter to listen to new wave 80s music.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 13
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Wednesday, October 14
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Monday, October 19
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, October 22
Review at Books, Writings, and More
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Saturday, October 24
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 26
Feature at I’m All About Books

Wednesday, October 28
Review at Robin Loves Reading
Review at Tangents and Tissues

Friday, October 30
Interview at Novels Alive

Sunday, November 1
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Wednesday, November 4
Interview at Books & Benches

Thursday, November 5
Review at Girl Who Reads

Friday, November 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Monday, November 9
Review at History from a Womanís Perspective

Tuesday, November 10
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, November 12
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, November 13
Review at Bookramblings

reviews

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there’s always a price – the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day. Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.

Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever. (publisher)

Curses, devils, doomed loves. What’s not to like? I mean you really should be careful what you wish for…

Addie is born in a small village in 17th century France. She doesn’t want to marry the man she is supposed to marry and ends up making a deal with that comes with a price. People won’t remember her and that can be difficult and not an ideal situation to have a relationship. Until she meets a boy that changes all that.

The story flips between Addie’s story through the years and the year 2014. The story starts a bit slow getting the back story, but it does pick up soon-ish. There’s no adventures and action like in Shades of Magic series.

My one problem was that nothing really changes with Addie. You would think that in 300 years she would change and grow up, but she doesn’t. I still loved the book but that was something I wish was explored better. I must say though that I liked the devil. But despite all that, I did like the book.

4/5

Published: Titan Books (October 6, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

reviews

Firefrost by Camille Longley

Firefrost: A Flameskin Chronicles Novel (Flameskin Chronicles #0) by Camille Longley

She’s a huntress: Sol d’Hillerod is sent on a desperate mission through a treacherous winter pass. She carries with her the only hope of her village’s survival, and she will do whatever she must to keep her world from burning.

He’s a monster: Lieutenant Kelan Birke has spent his whole life fighting for his freedom and his soul. As his control slips, and the war rages on, he knows it won’t be long before he loses himself entirely to the fire that flows through his veins.

Sol and Kelan are enemies in an age-old war, forced to depend on each other to survive a perilous journey through the mountains. As fire melts the ice in Sol’s heart, she questions everything she’s been taught to believe, and Kelan becomes more desperate to fight the flames that consume him. Together they discover that their struggle will have repercussions for both sides of this burning war. (publisher)

Flameskins have this fire “spirit” thing inside them called pyra and when they grow up it consumes them and takes over. They are feared, hated and persecuted for it. Flameskins and a kingdom called Tokken has been at war for a long time. Sol, a Tokken huntress, and Kelan, a flameskin soldier, end up travelling together and things happen.

I really liked the idea of flameskins and how pyra just takes control pretty much turns them into a demon. We get the story from both sides as every other chapter is from Sol’s pov and every other is from Kelan’s pov. The plot revolves mostly around Sol and Kelan and their relationship from enemies to lovers. I liked Kelan instantly and I did like Sol, but she was so hung up on her ideals at first.

My complaints are that there was little of world-building. We didn’t really learn about like the cultures and people in it. Sold and Kelan are most of the book alone in the mountains but still. But apparently, this is a prequel to the actual series, and I hope the world-building gets better in that. And I would have liked less focus on romance and more focus on world-building.

That being said, I didn’t want to put the book down because I wanted to know what happens next. So that’s a good thing. A great debut book.

4/5

Published: BooksGoSocial (September 21, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

reviews

Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

When her village in Albion is sacked by the Roman general Vespasian, young Aislin is left without home and family. Determined to exact revenge, she travels to Rome, a sprawling city of wealth, decadence, and power. A “barbarian” in a “civilized” world, Aislin struggles to comprehend Roman ways. From a precarious hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, she becomes the mistress of a wealthy senator, but their child Faolan is born with a disability that renders him unworthy of life in the eyes of his father and other Romans.

Imprisoned for her efforts to topple the Roman regime, Aislin learns of an alternate philosophy from her cellmate, the Judean known today as the apostle St. Paul. As the capital burns in the Great Fire of 64 AD, he bequeaths to her a mission that will take her to Jerusalem. There, Yohanan, son of Zakkai, has been striving to preserve the tradition of Hillel against the Zealots who advocate for a war of independence. Responding to the Judeans’ revolt, the Romans—again under the leadership of Vespasian—besiege Jerusalem, destroying the Second Temple and with it, the brand of Judean monotheism it represents. Yohanan takes on the mission of preserving what can be preserved, and of reinventing what must be reinvented. (publisher)

Aislin is a young girl in Albion (Britannia) whose village, and everyone she loves, are killed when Roman general Vespasian attacks her village. She is determined to get vengeance and ends up in Rome. There she manages to get a sort of vengeance and then her road leads to Jerusalem. While there, she meets a teacher called Yohanan.

There are quite a lot of characters and several points of views in the book. But it was interesting to see how the people’s stories intertwined through the book.

I’m not a religious person and honestly don’t know much about anything related to it so I don’t really know how many, apart from few exceptions, of the characters were real people. But even though there is a religious theme in the book, it doesn’t come off as preachy.

I loved the writing style even if I missed the finer points of the religious themes. I loved Kaplan’s previous book By Fire, By Water so I was excited to read this, and I wasn’t disappointed.

4/5

Published: Regal House Publishing (September 1, 2020)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 262
Source: Author