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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

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Interview at Reader_ceygo

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Review at YA, It’s Lit

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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

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

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

This Son of York by Anne Easter Smith

This Son of York by Anne Easter Smith

“Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by This Son of York…” — William Shakespeare, Richard III

Richard III was Anne’s muse for her first five books, but, finally, in This Son of York he becomes her protagonist. The story of this English king is one of history’s most compelling, made even more fascinating through the discovery in 2012 of his bones buried under a car park in Leicester.

This new portrait of England’s most controversial king is meticulously researched and brings to vivid life the troubled, complex Richard of Gloucester, who ruled for two years over an England tired of war and civil strife. The loyal and dutiful youngest son of York, Richard lived most of his short life in the shadow of his brother, Edward IV, loyally supporting his sibling until the mantle of power was thrust unexpectedly on him.

Some of his actions and motives were misunderstood by his enemies to have been a deliberate usurpation of the throne, but throughout his life, Richard never demonstrated any loftier ambitions than to honorably discharge his duty to his family and his country.

In a gentler vein, despite the cruel onset of severe scoliosis in his teens, Richard did find love, first with a lover and then in his marriage to Anne Neville. Between these two devoted women in his life, he sired three and perhaps four children.

Bringing the Plantagenet dynasty to a violent end, Richard was the last king of England to die in battle. This Son of York is a faithful chronicle of this much maligned man.

The book is told from Richard’s point of view and covers his life from childhood to his death.

This was the first book I’ve read from the author, even though I own a couple. Overall, I liked the book, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the characterization of Richard. He just came off as whiny and without backbone and it grew old very soon. I like Richard III but too often he’s described either just too good or either very bad like a Disney character or something. I like something in the between.

Every chapter starts with a quote from Philippa Langley, who was present during the whole research process for Richard’s bones. I found those quotes unnecessary, but I seem to be in minority with this so…

All this being said, I did enjoy the book even if it may sound like I didn’t. It also made me realize that I haven’t read a book about Richard for so long.

3/5

Published: Bellastoria Press (November 10, 2019)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Anne is the award-winning author of The King’s Grace and the best-selling A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, Queen By Right, and Royal Mistress. She is an expert on Richard III, having studied the king and his times for decades. Her sixth book, This Son of York, will be published soon. She grew up in England, Germany and Egypt, and has been a resident/citizen of the US since 1968. Anne was the Features Editor at a daily newspaper in northern New York State for ten years, and her writing has been published in several national magazines.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, November 10
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Monday, November 11
Excerpt at Words and Peace
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, November 12
Review at Passages to the Past
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, November 13
Review at Macsbooks
Interview at The Writing Desk

Thursday, November 14
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, November 15
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Saturday, November 16
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Review & Excerpt at Nursebookie
Review at Red Headed Book Lady
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, November 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings