reviews

Forged by Iron by Eric Schumacher

Forged by Iron (Olaf’s Saga Book 1) by Eric Schumacher

From the bestselling author of Hakonís Saga comes Forged by Iron, the first in a series of thrilling tales about Olaf Tryggvason, one of the most legendary and enigmatic kings of the Viking Age.

Norway, AD 960. The fabric that has held the Northern realm together is tearing. The sons of Erik Bloodaxe have returned and are systematically killing all opposition to the High Seat. Through treachery, Harald Eriksson slays Jarl Trygvi, an heir to the throne, and then he comes for Trygviís wife, Astrid, and son, Olaf.

Astrid and Olaf flee their home with the help of Astridís foster father, Torolv Loose-beard, and his son, Torgil, who are oath-sworn to protect them. The group escapes east, through the dark, forested land of the Swedes and across the treacherous East Sea, all the while evading the clutches of Haraldís brutal henchmen.

But the gods are fickle and the group is torn apart, leaving them to fend for themselves in Forged by Iron, a must-read for all who enjoy action-packed historical fiction.

The book is told from Torgil’s point of view and at the start of the book he is a 12-year old boy who is charged with looking after 8-year old prince Olaf who loves to get into trouble. Olaf’s father King Trygvi is betrayed and killed so Olaf, his mother Astrid escape with few others first to Sweden and then to what is now Estonia.

I wasn’t overly fond of Olaf who certainly knows he’s a prince. He came off as an arrogant brat, but it will be interesting to see how he’ll turn out as a grown-up. Torgil, who as a child was kinda shy, holds a bit of resentment and jealousy for Olaf but they grow closer during their ordeals. I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship will turn out now that their both adults and back together. How far Torgil’s sense of duty for looking after Olaf will take him?

I enjoyed reading the book and learning more about Olaf and of this time. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

4/5

Published: Legionary – A Next Chapter Imprint (April 15, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Eric Schumacher (1968 – ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005.

To date, Schumacher has published three novels, collectively known as Hakonís Saga, and one novella. More information about him and his books can be found on his website. You can also connect with Schumacher on Twitter,†Facebook,†Goodreads, and†AuthorsDB.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, April 20
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Wednesday, April 22
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, April 23
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, April 26
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, April 28
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, April 29
Feature at I’m All About Books
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, April 30
Guest Post at Historical Graffiti

Friday, May 1
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Monday, May 4
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, May 8
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, May 10
Review at Journey in Bookland

reviews

Blog Tour: Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power.

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why. (publisher)

The book is set in a fictional sort of Elizabethan England kinda world. I mean the queen is called Bethany and her predecessor Maris, a new religion has replaced the old one. You get the idea. I think I spent too much time thinking who this court lady is supposed to be in real life… The set up was interesting but weird. I had not heard of Sin Eaters before so I had to do some googling and apparently, the role existed but very little is known about it.

The story is told by May’s point of view as she tries to adjust to her new life as a Sin Eater and being shunned by everyone. And it’s such a dark and lonely life when you’re not allowed to even speak. Basically, all you do is hear people reciting their sins before they die and then you eat the food that symbolizes the confessed sins. And there’s court intrigue where May gets involved and needs to uncover.

It was a well-written and imaginative story. May was a likable character who was determined to uncover the mystery. Since she can’t talk and doesn’t know how to read, she has to learn all by herself which was interesting. I didn’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this. And that’s in a good way.

What a great debut! I really enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author. And I think the cover is cool.

4/5

Published: Atria Books (April 7, 2018)
Format: ebook
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

reviews

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the depths of a nineteenth-century winter, a little girl is abandoned in the narrow streets of London. Adopted by a mysterious stranger, she becomes in turn a thief, a friend, a muse, and a lover. Then, in the summer of 1862, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she retreats with a group of artists to a beautiful house on a quiet bend of the Upper Thames . . . Tensions simmer and one hot afternoon a gun-shot rings out. A woman is killed, another disappears, and the truth of what happened slips through the cracks of time.
Over the next century and beyond, Birchwood Manor welcomes many newcomers but guards its secret closely – until another young woman is drawn to visit the house because of a family secret of her own . . .

As the mystery of The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton begins to unravel, we discover the stories of those who have passed through Birchwood Manor since that fateful day in 1862. Intricately layered and richly atmospheric, it shows that, sometimes, the only way forward is through the past. (goodreads)

The book follows many people through time, from 1862 to 2017, who have some connection to a house called Birchwood Manor. Elodie is an archivist who finds an old satchel with a photograph of a woman inside it. She’s determined to find out who it had belonged and who the woman is.

I don’t really know what to say about this. The book started a bit slow and was quite hard to get into but then suddenly it got better. I’m not usually a huge fan of the “present-day” pov’s but here it was my fav and I enjoyed Elodie’s story most. I didn’t mind the time changed, it was well stated where we were, but there could have been fewer characters to keep track of.

While this wasn’t bad, it certainly wasn’t as good as the previous books I’ve read by the author. I would suggest this isn’t the first book to try by this author.

3/5

Published: Mantle (September 20, 2018)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 596
Source: Library

spotlight

A King Under Siege by Mercedes Rochelle spotlight

A King Under Siege by Mercedes Rochelle

Publication Date: January 5, 2019
Sergeant Press
eBook & Paperback; 310 Pages

Series: The Plantagenet Legacy, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical

 

 

Richard II found himself under siege not once, but twice in his minority. Crowned king at age ten, he was only fourteen when the Peasants’ Revolt terrorized London. But he proved himself every bit the Plantagenet successor, facing Wat Tyler and the rebels when all seemed lost. Alas, his triumph was short-lived, and for the next ten years he struggled to assert himself against his uncles and increasingly hostile nobles. Just like in the days of his great-grandfather Edward II, vengeful magnates strove to separate him from his friends and advisors, and even threatened to depose him if he refused to do their bidding. The Lords Appellant, as they came to be known, purged the royal household with the help of the Merciless Parliament. They murdered his closest allies, leaving the King alone and defenseless. He would never forget his humiliation at the hands of his subjects. Richard’s inability to protect his adherents would haunt him for the rest of his life, and he vowed that next time, retribution would be his.

“This story is rich in historical detail. It has so obviously been meticulously researched. I cannot but commend Rochelle for this exceptional work of scholarship. A King Under Siege: Book One of The Plantagenet Legacy is one of those books that once started is impossible to put down. This book is filled with non-stop action. There are enough plots and conspiracies to satisfy any lover of historical fiction. This is storytelling at its very best.” Mary Anne Yarde from Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots Blog

About the Author

Born and raised in St. Louis MO, Mercedes Rochelle graduated with a degree in English literature from the University of Missouri. Mercedes learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, February 27
Review at A Darn Good Read

Saturday, February 29
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Monday, March 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, March 4
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, March 6
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, March 10
Review at Nurse Bookie

Thursday, March 12
Feature at I’m All About Books

Friday, March 13
Review at bookramblings
Review at Impressions In Ink

Monday, March 16
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, March 18
Interview at Passages to the Past

 

reviews

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates 1) by A. K. Larkwood

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due. (publisher)

Csorwe is an Oshaaru and her people worship the Unspoken One. Csorwe is a Chosen Bride, someone who will be sacrificed to the god on her 14th birthday. But on the day of the sacrifice, a stranger called Belthandros Sethennai makes her an offer that she can’t refuse and helps her to run away.

Sethennai is a wizard in exile and has his own reasons for helping Csorwe; she can help him to return to his land.

I have mixed feelings about this one. It had good things and then the not so good things. But it’s not a bad book by any means, especially for a debut.

I liked the world-building and it’s impressive but there is quite much to take in. The book is divided into several parts and I liked the first part most where it focuses on young Csorwe. But the transitions between parts were somewhat awkward with time-jumps. Fast forward a few years and suddenly she is all trained to fight. Then 5 years have passed, and she has worked with Tal for 5 years and they hate each other. We’re missing huge chunks of her life and I didn’t connect with her, or the others, because so much happens behind the scenes. It just made me detached from the characters.

It dragged a bit in the middle and I felt the book could have been shorter. And if I’m honest, the most boring thing was Csorwe’s love-interest Shuthmili. She’s a super talented wizard who must be kept safe. And who had a non-existing personality. I just couldn’t understand why her?

I realize that I’m making it sound worse than it was because it wasn’t bad. There were lots of good things in it. But I really wanted to like it more. And since this was a debut book, I’m interested to see where the author will go from here.

3/5

Published: Tor Books (February 11, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley