meme

Mailbox Monday (19.10.2015)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

I did a shopping trip to our capital city Helsinki and I had some gift cards to use and here’s what I got:

books18-10-2015
The Chosen Queen by Joanna Courtney
Battlemage by Stephen Aryan
Herald of the Storm by Richard Ford
Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France by Caroline Moorehead
Rebellion by Livi Michael
Succession by Livi Michael
Seduction: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose
Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C.W. Gortner

reviews

1066: What Fates Impose by G.K. Holloway

10661066: What Fates Impose by G.K. Holloway

King William then utters the following words to the room: ‘I appoint no one as my heir to the Crown of England, but leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am and who orders all things. For I did not attain that high honour by hereditary right, but wrested it from the perjured King Harold in a desperate bloody battle.’

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold.

Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose? (Goodreads)

The book follows the events up to the Battle of Hastings and The Conquest. It’s told from third person narrative with huge cast of characters. Luckily for me I’ve read from the period before but there is list of characters in the beginning of the book. Which for me is useless when reading ebooks but maybe that’s just me. Anyway…

Although I found some trouble connecting with the characters, I did feel sympathy for Harold. I don’t know if William the Conqueror was as evil as portrayed here but I really hoped someone would kill him and the other Normans. Harold is likeable character who is intelligent and honorable while William is sometimes cruel, brutal and then at times like a whiny, spoiled brat. Made you root for Harold even more.

There’s politics, brutal fights and nothing is sugarcoated. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to live in those times. The book gives good idea of the complicated political climate of the time and how it led to the Battle of Hastings.

4/5

Published: Matador (March 4, 2013)
Format: eBook
Pages: 456
Source: from author for review

reviews

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel by Sally Christie

01_The Sisters of Versailles

The Sisters of Versailles (Mistresses of Versailles 1)
by Sally Christie

A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.

Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.

Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.

Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot – and women – forward. The King’s scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie’s stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood; of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.

I haven’t read much about Louis XV, or about French history in general, and I hadn’t heard about the Nesle sisters before. I’ve heard of Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry but that’s about it.

The chapters alternate between the five sisters and it starts with old Hortense remembering what happened in the past.

It’s rather surprising how much I enjoyed this book despite the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters. I hated both Pauline and Mary-Anne, I felt bad for Louise but she should have just stood up for herself, Diane is so oblivious about everything that it’s not even funny and pious Hortense was too righteous. It doen’t give very good picture about Louis either. He’s a weak king who isn’t interested in governing the country and easy to manipulate. When there’s any trouble, he just leaves someone else to sort it out.

There isn’t anything about politics but every time any of the characters speak about the common people, I want to beat them up. Seriously. You definitely can see the seeds of the revolution.

3,5/5

Published: BookTrope Publishing (September 1, 2015)
Format: eBook
Pages: 432
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

ABOUT THE AUTHOR04_Sally Christie_Author

I’m a life-long history buff – and I mean life-long. One of the first adult books I read was Antonia Fraser’s masterful Mary, Queen of Scots. Wow! That book just blew my little ten year old mind: something about the way it brought the past right back to life, made it live again on the page. I date my obsession with history to that time, but I’d been writing (“writing”) ever since I was able to hold a pencil.

If you’d told my 12-year old self that I’d not be a writer when I grew up, I would have laughed you out of the tree house. With a few detours along the way, to work overseas in consulting and development, as well as to go to business school, I’ve finally come full circle to where I think I should be.

I currently live in Toronto and when I’m not writing, I’m playing lots of tennis; doing random historical research (old census records are my favorite); playing Scrabble, and squirrel-watching (the room where I write has French doors leading out to a deck; I avidly follow, and feed, a scruffy gang).

For more information please visit Sally Christie’s website. You can also find her on Goodreads and Pinterest.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, September 14
Review at Reading the Past

Tuesday, September 15
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, September 16
Review at Bookish

Thursday, September 17
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Friday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Saturday, September 19
Spotlight at Romantic Historical Reviews

Monday, September 21
Review at Leeanna.me

Tuesday, September 22
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, September 23
Review & Giveaway at History Undressed

Thursday, September 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, September 25
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Views

Monday, September 28
Review & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse

Tuesday, September 29
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, October 1
Review at Genre Queen
Review at bookramblings

Friday, October 2
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Monday, October 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, October 6
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, October 7
Review at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, October 8
Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Friday, October 9
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

05_The Sisters of Versailles_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

 

 

reviews

The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees, Bill Flippin

The Sleeping KingThe Sleeping King by Cindy Dees, Bill Flippin

The Sleeping King is the start of a new fantasy series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Cindy Dees.

Dees has won a Golden Heart Award, two RITAs for Category Suspense and Adventure and has also twice snared RT’s Series Romantic Suspense of the Year. She is a great storyteller, and the adventures in her more than fifty novels are often inspired by her own life. Dees is an Air Force vet-the youngest female pilot in Air Force history-and fought in the first Gulf War. She’s had amazing adventures, and she’s used her experiences to tell some kickass stories.

But as much as she love romances, Cindy’s other passion has been fantasy gaming. For almost twenty years she’s been involved with Dragon Crest, one of the original live action role-playing games. She’s the story content creator on the game, and wanted to do an epic fantasy based on it, take a look she got inspiration from www.casinodames.com, with the blessing and input of Dragon Crest founder Bill Flippin.

The Sleeping King is the first in an epic fantasy series, featuring the best of the genre: near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king who’s said to be the savior of the races . . . and two young people who are set on a path to save the day. (publisher)

I have to confess that I was a bit confused at the beginning because there are so many characters and it jumps between those characters at first. You can see this is first book in a series so there is lot of introducing and world building to do.

Basically we have seven characters on this quest to wake the Sleeping King but the main people are Will; who learns family secrets after family is murdered and Raina; a healer who runs away from family. Sleeping King is supposed to save the world from this evil Emperor who we see on the first chapter. I wish there would have been more about him and the court but hopefully in the next book.

There’s adventure, battles, betrayals, evil emperors, orcs, elves etc. Lots of stuff happening! And I do have a weakness for elves…

One interesting fact was that death isn’t always permanent but you can be resurrected. It makes sense since the book is based on an RPG game but I though it was cool.

4/5

Published: Tor Books (September 8, 2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 496
Source: ARC from NetGalley