Browsing Tag

medieval

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

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

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.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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

reviews

Imperial Passions: The Porta Aurea by Eileen Stephenson

Imperial Passions: The Porta Aurea by Eileen Stephenson

At the center of Byzantine society, fifteen-year old orphaned Anna Dalassena lives with her grandparents among the most powerful men and women in Constantinople. But the cutthroat politics of the Great Palace sends the family into exile in a distant corner of the mepire. Her bleak situation finally turns promising after meeing a handsome young soldier, John Comnenus, and his brother Isaac, before the are finally permitted to return home.

The vicious power struggles, uprisings, and betrayals at the highest levels of the empire push Anna and John unwillingly into its center as they struggle to deal with their own tragedies. When rebellion puts her life and those of everyone she loves at risk, is the reward a throne for her family – too big a gamble?

I’m not very familiar with Byzantine so this was an interesting read. At times it was rather difficult trying to keep the characters in order since everyone seems to be named either Anna or Michael…

We see the young orphaned girl grow into a confident and strong woman. Her family is connected enough to the rulers to be caught up in the power struggles. The book covers Anna’s life from a teenager until her brother-in-law Isaac Comnenus’ coronation. Last year I read a book about Anna Dalassena’s granddaughter, also called Anna, and it was interesting to learn more about her younger years.

This was my first book from the author and I’m looking forward to reading more.

3,5/5

Published: Blachernae Books (April 24, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, but after a peripatetic childhood ended up in the Washington, DC area, where I attended college, married, worked a day job in finance, and raised three children.

My first book, Tales of Byzantium, contains short stories taking place in the middle years of the Byzantine Empire. My second book and first novel, Imperial Passions – The Porta Aurea, introduces Anna Dalassena, the extraordinary mother of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Comnenus, and an unstoppable force in her time.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 19
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, November 21
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 22
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, November 23
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, November 26
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, November 27
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, November 28
Excerpt at Tea Book Blanket

Thursday, November 29
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, December 3
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, December 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 6
Excerpt at Introvert Booklover

Friday, December 7
Feature at Jathan & Heather
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, December 10
Review at Bookramblings

reviews

The Monastery Murders by E.M. Powell

The Monastery Murders by E.M. Powell

Their lives are ones of quiet contemplation—and brutal murder.

Christmas Eve, 1176. Brother Maurice, monk of Fairmore Abbey, awaits the night prayer bell. But there is only silence. Cursing his fellow brother Cuthbert’s idleness, he seeks him out—and in the darkness, finds him brutally murdered.

Summoned from London to the isolated monastery on the Yorkshire Moors, Aelred Barling, clerk to the King’s justices, and his messenger Hugo Stanton, set about investigating the horrific crime. They quickly discover that this is far from a quiet monastic house. Instead, it seethes with bitter feuds, rivalries and resentments. But no sooner do they arrive than the killer strikes again—and again.

When Barling discovers a pattern to these atrocities, it becomes apparent that the murderer’s rampage is far from over. With everyone, including the investigators, now fearing for their lives, can Barling and Stanton unmask the culprit before more blood is spilled?

Barling and Stanton are sent to Fairmore Abbey, an isolated Cistercian Abbey cut off from world, to investigate a series of murders that happened there. While summoned by the Abbott, they’re not taken in with enthusiasm and the monks are reluctant to have an outsider to help them.

This is a second book in a series but works well as a standalone.
Barling and Stanton are learning to work together and starting to trust each other better. Their too different personalities still cause friction between them at times but they’re getting to know each other better. We also learn more about Barling’s past when he tells Stanton how he knows the Abbott from his youth in Paris.

Great addition to the series and I’m looking forward to reading their next mystery.

4,5/5

Published: Thomas & Mercer (September 27, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

E.M. Powell’s historical thriller Fifth Knight novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers. The King’s Justice is the first novel in her new Stanton and Barling medieval murder mystery series. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill magazine, blogs for English Historical Fiction Authors and is the social media manager for the Historical Novel Society.

Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in North-West England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog.

Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 22
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 24
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, October 27
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, October 29
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, October 30
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, November 5
Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, November 9
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, November 15
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Monday, November 19
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Wednesday, November 21
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Thursday, November 22
Review at Jaffa Reads Too

Monday, November 26
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Wednesday, November 28
Review at Rachael’s Ramblings

Thursday, November 29
Review at Impressions In Ink

Friday, November 30
Review at A Darn Good Read

Monday, December 3
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Tuesday, December 4
Review at A Book Geek

Wednesday, December 5
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, December 6
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, December 7
Review at Bookramblings