Monday, May 15, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: April 28, 2017
Matador eBook & Paperback; 424 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction


Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over. After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster. In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much. When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.

My Review

Anna Belfrage does an amazing job at completing the third book in The King's Greatest Enemy series. Under the Approaching Dark is the third book in the series, and it really brings all of the action and drama together for the reader. 

While reading this series, I definitely became connected to the main characters, Kit and Adam. The ability to connect with, and to like the main character(s) (or at least admire), is always my number one requirement for a great book. I also love when historical fiction authors are able to stay relatively close to being true to history, yet use a bit of creative license in order to make things interesting, and to add elements of adventure and suspense throughout the book. Anna Belfrage does a great job of creating adventure upon adventure for her main characters, yet also keeping true to the history of England at that time. The events happening at this time in England did not really need an author to make them interesting, as the real people of that time were doing a good job of creating drama all on their own! During this time period, King Edward II has been captured and put in prison, his crown taken from him due to his poor leadership, and his son, King Edward III is newly crowned. However, due to his young age, he is being led by his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer. Things are definitely strained in the country, and sides are being chosen. Many of the nobles are angry at the closeness of Mortimer to the crown, and his influence on the new King; not to mention his position in the Queen's bed. Also, King Edward III is beginning to grow weary of his mother and her lover micromanaging his every move, and undermining his power. As he grows more resentful of their relationship and gains more confidence in himself, it is clear that something is going to give. 

Ms. Belfrage weaves the lives of her main characters, Kit and Adam, in among those historical figures who are well known throughout history.  They are forced to find their way in a court full of intrigue and danger, and to be successful in doing so. Definitely a great book to read, especially if you love historical fiction. Although this novel CAN be read as a stand-alone, I would highly recommend beginning with book one of the series, In the Shadow of the Storm. There is so much that happens in the first two novels, both historically and with Kit and Adam, that there would definitely be some confusion if you began with this novel. Plus, the books are great, so why wouldn't you start with the first one? A solid FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!

"The writing is impeccable. The story has everything. Under the Approaching Dark is just perfect in every sense" - Sharon Bennett Connolly, History The Interesting Bits

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About the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she's multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive… For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she's still there. Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, May 2
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, May 3
Review at A Book Drunkard
Thursday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads
Friday, May 5
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
Monday, May 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, May 9
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, May 10
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Thursday, May 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Friday, May 12
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, May 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, May 16
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company
Wednesday, May 17
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, May 18
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Friday, May 19
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog
Monday, May 22
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Tuesday, May 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at The Muse in the Fog Book Reviews
Wednesday, May 24
Excerpt at Jo's Book Blog
Spotlight at The Paperback Princess
Thursday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Friday, May 26
Spotlight at Laura's Interests
Sunday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Books and Benches
Monday, May 29
Guest Post at Yelena Casale's Blog
Tuesday, May 30
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog


To win a copy of Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below. 


 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open internationally.
 – Only one entry per household.
 – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Under the Appraoching Dark

Thursday, March 16, 2017

BLOG TOUR: The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie


The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

Publication Date: March 21, 2017
 Atria Books eBook & Paperback; 416 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles, Book Three

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   In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress. “That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”  After decades of suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns. Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

My Review

Having read the first two novels in this series, I couldn’t wait for Enemies of Versailles to come out! While it did start a little slower than the first two, it definitely picked up and I enjoyed it as much as the others in the series. Her portrayal of characters, both major and minor, is amazing. I always feel like I’m reading an actual historical novel, and that the dialogue and actions of these historical figures is how everything really played out in the past. The author, Sally Christie, obviously does her research when writing her novels, because everything she writes about feels like it could have actually happened the way it is written.

Madame Adelaide, the king’s daughter, is a bit difficult to take at times. She is so full of herself and believes that if SHE thinks one way about something, than everyone around her also thinks that way. In the end, I do believe she always means the best for those she loves, but she is a demanding figure that was very off putting for many in her time, and a big for myself as well! Comtesse du Berry was fun to read about. I had heard of her in a few books that I have read about Marie Antoinette, and she always came across as a horrible person. It was nice to see a different perspective of her. One that shows her as charming and sweet, yet not particularly intelligent, at least as far as book smarts go. However, she was raised the position she ended up in through more than just her good lucks. She knew what the king needed, and she became that person. The king was older, and he didn’t want a woman to match wits with, he wanted a woman to love him and in a way, to “mother” him. He definitely got that with Comtesse du Berry.

Overall, this book is a great read. I would definitely recommend the entire series to readers who are interested in historical fictions, especially in what was going on in Versailles that helped to lead up to the French Revolution. You get an idea of just how frivolous the people of wealth were during this time, and how little room they had in their minds to care about what was going on outside of Versailles. They were all in their own little world full of intrigue, far from the downtrodden people of France who had nothing. It’s easy to see how these people might become bitter after seeing the amount of money the court went through for unnecessary items. Definitely a great book worth purchasing!

Praise for The Sisters of Versailles

“Such an extraordinary tale makes for compelling reading and, as the lead book in a planned trilogy, will draw in readers who are interested in royal lives before the French Revolution….historical fiction fans, unfamiliar with the history of the Nesle sisters, will be intrigued.” (Library Journal)

 "Sally Christie's The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV's France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy." (Allison Pataki, author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS )

 “A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” (Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy ) “Tantalizing descriptions and cliff-hangers will leave the reader rapidly turning the pages in anticipation… A wickedly delightful read.” (New York Daily News)

About the Author

03_sally-christie_authorSally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.

 Visit to find out more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, March 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Interview at T's Stuff
Thursday, March 16
Review at
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, March 17
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Saturday, March 18
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life
Sunday, March 19
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, March 20
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, March 21
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Wednesday, March 22
Review at First Impressions Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, March 23
Review at Broken Teepee
Friday, March 24
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Sunday, March 26
Review at The Gadoury Dreamer
Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads It All
Monday, March 27
Review at The Reading Queen
Tuesday, March 28
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Wednesday, March 29
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Thursday, March 30
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Friday, March 31
Review at Bookramblings
Review at CelticLady's Reviews


Five copies of The Enemies of Versailles are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Enemies of Versailles


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Death at St. Vedast: A Bianca Goddard Mystery by Mary Lawrence

Death at St. Vedast: A Bianca Goddard Mystery by Mary Lawrence

5/5 Stars

Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (December 27, 2016)
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services


During the tempestuous reign of Henry VIII, London alchemist Bianca Goddard has seen up close what keeps a man alive—and what can kill him. A good thing, for she will need all her knowledge to keep a friend away from the gallows . . .

Bianca and her husband John are delighted to share in the glad fortune of their friend, Boisvert, the silversmith, who is to wed Odile, the wealthy widow of a goldsmith. But a pall is cast over the upcoming nuptials when the body of a pregnant woman is found beneath the bell tower of St. Vedast, the very church where the betrothed are to be married.

Tragedy strikes again at the couple’s reception, when Odile suddenly drops dead in the middle of the wedding feast. The constable suspects Boisvert poisoned his new bride for her money, but there’s not a trace of poison in her food or wine. Could the two deaths be connected? To prove their friend’s innocence, Bianca will need to employ her knowledge of alchemy—for if she can determine how the bride was killed, she may find the person responsible for her murder—before another victim is added to the death toll . . .

My Review

This is the third book in a series involving the talented and intelligent alchemist, Bianca Goddard. I was immediately drawn to this novel, as it is set during the reign of King Henry VIII. This was a time period where no one was truly safe, even the king's wives. Whether it be disease, childbirth, infection, witchcraft, plague, or other illnesses, both physical and mental; it was a very dangerous time to be alive in!

Bianca is determined to discover what is causing the mysterious deaths that are happening right around and involving the Church at St. Vendast. In one instance a pregnant woman climbs to the top of the church spire, all while singing and acting in an insane manner, than falls to her death. Then there is another death, this one a wealthy widow. Bianca begins to piece together this mystery, and the reader is kept on the edge of their seat as she does. I found myself wanting to skip pages to find out what was going to happen next! The writer definitely has a great talent when it comes to writing mystery novels. Usually I am not a huge fan of mysteries, however I love most novels that are set during medieval times, especially Tudor times, and this novel is no different.

If you're looking for a novel that is going to keep you up at night, because you can't put the book down until you find out what happens next, than this is perfect for you! It's a lovely historical mystery novel, and I definitely recommend it! 

Bianca Goddard Mystery Series:

Book One: The Alchemist's Daughter
Book Two: Death of an Alchemist
Book Three: Death at St. Vedast

About the Author

Mary Lawrence lives in Maine and worked in the medical field for more than twenty-five years before publishing her debut mystery, The Alchemist’s Daughter (Kensington, 2015). The book was named by Suspense Magazine a “Best Book of 2015” in the historical mystery category. Her articles have appeared in several publications, including the national news blog The Daily Beast. Book 2 of the Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Death of an Alchemist, released in February 2016. 

Visit the author at

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: A Kingdom's Cost: A Novel of Scotland by J.R. Tomlin

5/5 Stars

Publisher: Albannach Publishing (April 5, 2016)
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Print Length: 281 pages


Eighteen-year-old James Douglas can only watch, helpless, as the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, is hanged, drawn, and quartered. Even under the heel of a brutal English conqueror, James's blood-drenched homeland may still have one hope for freedom, the rightful king of the Scots, Robert the Bruce. James swears fealty to the man he believes can lead the fight against English tyranny.

The Bruce is soon a fugitive, king in name and nothing more. Scotland is occupied, the Scottish resistance crushed. The woman James loves is captured and imprisoned. Yet James believes their cause is not lost. With driving determination, he blazes a path in blood and violence, in cunning and ruthlessness as he wages a guerrilla war to restore Scotland's freedom. James knows he risks sharing Wallace's fate, but what he truly fears is that he has become as merciless as the conqueror he fights.

My Review

As a fan of the historical fiction author, J.R. Tomlin, as well as a huge fan of Scotland's history, especially The Black Douglas, I was more than excited to read this novel. The author does an amazing job of staying as true to Scotland's history as possible, without coming across as though you were reading a textbook. "A Kingdom's Cost" is yet another great historical fiction novel by J.R. Tomlin, and The Black Douglas, aka James Douglas, is brought to life for the reader. 

I've read a couple of books dealing with his life, and I felt that I was able to get to "know" him, and what drove him to become so determined and loyal to Scotland, best with this novel. James Douglas was loved by Scotland's people and their king, Robert the Bruce; however, this meant that he was one of England's greatest enemies at one point in time. His intelligence and knowledge of ways to beat the English, even though greatly outnumbered and having much less artillery, made him a legend in his country. This novel is the first in a series of three, and it gives you a look into exactly why he chose the path of fighting for his country's freedom, no matter the personal cost; and he did suffer a great amount of personal loss. The author does a great job of showing his readers what James Douglas was up against, his strength of character, as well as his loyalty to his country and king.

If you are a fan of Scotland's history, with William Wallace, The Bruce, The Black Douglas, etc., than I 100% recommend this book (and series) to you. In fact, I recommend all of J.R. Tomlin's novels, as I am a huge historical fiction fan, and she does a fantastic job of bringing real people, who died long ago, back to life for the reader. She is definitely one of my top 10 favorite authors for this genre. A solid five out of five star rating from me!

About the Author

J. R. Tomlin is the author of seven historical novels: The Black Douglas Trilogy (A Kingdom's Cost, Countenance of War, and Not for Glory), A King Ensnared, A King Uncaged and Freedom's Sword, as well as a historical mystery, The Templar's Cross. She has also co-authored several fantasies with C. R. Daems: Blood Duty, Talon of the Unnamed Goddess, The Shadow Ryana, and The Shadow Gypsy.

She has close ties with Scotland since her father was a native Scot, and she spent substantial time in Edinburgh whilst growing up. Her historical novels are set in Scotland. You can trace her love of that nation to the stories of the Bruce and the Good Sir James her grandmother read her when she was small and to her hillwalking through the Cairngorms where the granite hills have a gorgeous red glow under the setting sun.

In addition to spending time in Scotland, she has traveled in the US, Europe and the Pacific Rim. She now lives in Oregon.

Author's Social Media

Purchase The Black Douglas Trilogy on Amazon

Thursday, November 10, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Annelisa Christensen, Author of The Popish Midwife - Why I Love Seventeenth Century Midwives

Why I Love Seventeenth Century Midwives

If there’s any group of women anywhere I have the greatest respect for, it’s the midwives. The job they do, even now, requires different roles. They support a pregnant woman before birth; they can be present at the birth and then they often provide post-birth advice and care. This means they are frequently the source of the most constant contact between the mother, her children and the medical profession throughout large portions of her childbearing years. Having a good midwife can make the difference between being comfortable and happy with the new role of motherhood, help recovering physically, and mentally and emotionally adapting to a life with a new dependent. A good midwife can help make that transition smooth; a more disengaged one can leave a new mother feeling uncertain, insecure, unhappy.
And that’s now.
Three hundred years ago, many women could act as a midwife for the birth of a family member, friend or neighbour. And, indeed, it often fell on ladies of quality to tend to births not only one of their own household, but also of those working for them. For many of these women, the only experience they might have is of being present at other births, perhaps watching their mother or another female relative at the bedside. There was no formal training, only networking. Any woman might fall into this group.
But there was another group: midwives who regularly attended births both near and far away, and were paid for it, made a living from it. A decent living at that, in many cases. Good midwives were highly sought after, and when a woman found one, they continued to retain them for future births, as well as spread the word this was a midwife you could trust. These woman often learned their trade through apprenticeships lasting many years, and obtained a licence to practice based on the testimonials of several different women who had been birthed by them.
I’ve discovered something special about this group of women. They have certain qualities that make them stand out at a time when women were supposed to be subservient. Perhaps it is because they were able to retain a certain level of independence, or perhaps it is because they were given certain privileges of entry into places other women were forbidden (if the wife of a coffee house owner was having a baby, the midwife was bound to be allowed entry, when they wouldn’t otherwise be). Or perhaps it is because they had to bravely walk to and from births whether by day or through dark, unlit streets at all hours of the night. Something made this group of
women brave.
As I did my seventeenth century research for The Popish Midwife, delving into the life of Elizabeth Cellier who stood up in court for her belief, I came across Anne Hutchinson in Boston, famous for defending the right of a person to think for herself. At least three others wrote a book (Louise Bourgeois in France; and Jane Sharp and Elizabeth Cellier in England). There were many more outstanding midwives.
The story I’m currently writing is different from these. It’s about infamous rather than famous midwife, Marie Desormeaux. She murdered her husband and planted bits of his body to be found all over London. However, I argue that, after years of abuse, she was desperate enough to take her life into her own hands. I no way condone murder, but in that time beating your wife was condoned, desirable even, to bring her under control. And when that power fell into the hands of a man who physically, emotionally and sexually abused his wife, several times to the point of near-death, I can understand her desperation. It was either him or her.
Even in this awful situation, Marie showed aspects of character similar to the other midwives of the time – that inner strength, confidence and belief in herself.
So many midwives of the time stood out, whether for good or for bad; accused of witchcraft but more likely employed to search for witch-marks; of being a whore, yet conversely of their wisdom in the lore of nature and birth; of being drunks or for their calm in dealing with births going wrong. Whatever their reputation, there was something about them that brought forth strong feelings one way or another. And for that I’m grateful. It means they were talked about, recorded, for good or ill, leaving traces and trails to follow today.
I came upon Elizabeth Cellier’s story by accident (I won pages recording her trial in an auction), but once I saw what an interesting person she was, her notoriety, that she was talked about, made fun of, I was able to find clues about her in so many different places, all waiting for me to put together and create her story. I think you’ll agree her story is exciting and worth reading.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Blog Tour - Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula's Rome by Sherry Christie

02_Roma Amor

Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula's Rome by Sherry Christie

Publication Date: April 15, 2016
Bexley House Books 
Paperback; 496 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Marcus Carinna hears a voice whisper, "Your turn," as he rides past his family tomb. An unseen presence also startles the Germanic priestess Aurima, whom he is bringing to Rome. But hardheaded Romans scoff at ghosts, and Marcus can't believe it's a warning from his brother, who killed himself three years earlier. 37 AD: To great acclaim, 25-year-old Caligula Caesar has become Rome's new master. No one is more pleased than Senator Titus Carinna, who helped him succeed to the throne. It's a shame the Senator's older son--Caligula's closest friend--committed suicide after being charged with treason. But that still leaves Marcus, his second son. Headstrong and hot-tempered, Marcus would rather prove his courage by leading legions against Rome's enemies than take his brother's place. Yet when his father orders him to befriend Caligula, he has no choice. Caught in a web of deceit, conspiracy, and betrayal, he will uncover a secret that threatens his family, the woman he desires, even his life... and may bring chaos to the young Roman Empire.

My Review

"Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula’s Rome", is a complete page turner by author Sherry Christie! I had shied away from reading historical fiction set during the Roman Empire the past couple of years, but I thought this one sounded interesting, so I gave it a chance. So glad I did! I feel like I was able to learn so much about the inner workings of the Roman Empire as I read, but never once did I feel as though it lagged or became overly text book like. Prior to this novel, my only experience with Caligula was a movie I picked up at Family Video with the title “Caligula.” What a mistake that was! It was a 1970’s or 80’s film, and it was basically a soft core porno! It wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that I had sat down to watch it with my parents, thinking it would be an interesting historically based movie! I think I turned 10 shades of red before finally making an awkward exit up to my bedroom. This book was a MUCH better experience than that one!

Marcus’ character is definitely one that draws female attention. He’s strong, wealthy, from the upper class, a warrior, and a bit of a bad boy. However, he is set on reforming himself, and making his father as proud of him as he was of his first son, Publius, who had been sentenced to death by the previous Roman Emperor, Tiberius. Marcus also develops a fascination with a Marcomanni Priestess named Aurima, who is a hostage of Rome after being taken prisoner during battle. His fascination leads him to do things that could possibly have serious consequences for his family’s good name, and possibly his life, but he finds that he is drawn to her, and unable to stop thinking about her.

"Roma Amor" is definitely one of the better books I’ve read recently. I found myself reading until two or three in the morning sometimes, unable to put it down for the night. Though it is a good sized book, I finished it quickly, because it was impossible to walk away from! If you are a fan and/or have interest in historical fiction, especially history dealing with the Roman Empire, than I would highly suggest getting this book. The author’s writing is fantastic, and never feels stiff or uneven, and the characters are so well-written that you can truly believe they were all real people, straight out of the past. Without a doubt, this is a FIVE out of FIVE STAR novel!


"The first installment in a page-turning saga that revisits the heroes and villains of the grandest city of the ancient world.... Comes alive with the long gone characters who were its lifeblood"
-Kirkus Reviews

''Combines current political concerns, the wide lens of the serious historical novel, and emotional maturity and realism with an utterly splendid grasp of what it must have been like to live in Rome under Caligula's reign.'' -Sarah Smith, Agatha Award winner and New York Times Notable author

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

03_Sherry ChristieAfter earning a Phi Beta Kappa creative award in college for an early draft about a nobly born charioteer, Sherry Christie spent many years of research and revision developing ROMA AMOR into the story about fathers and sons that it wanted to be. It's a joy to immerse myself in the lives of first-century Romans--and a distinct change from my day job as a . In addition to writing, Sherry is a professional copywriter. She lives on the coast of Maine with a native-born Viking and two cats. For more information, please visit Sherry Christie's website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 24
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, October 25
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, October 26
Review at Kinx's Book Nook
Friday, October 28
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Monday, October 31
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, November 1
Review at Bookfever
Wednesday, November 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, November 4
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Monday, November 7
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, November 9
Review at Bookramblings
Review at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, November 10
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
Friday, November 11
Review at Beth's Book Nook
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at The True Book Addict


To win a paperback copy of Roma Amor: A Novel of Caligula's Rome by Sherry Christie, please enter via the Gleam form below. 2 copies are up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Roma Amor


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

TWO Years Since Serial's Debut on Audio--Check Out Serial's Best Spin-Offs!

Two years since Serial's audio debut 

On Friday 3rd October 2014, the podcast that became a worldwide cultural phenomenon made its debut. Serial, described by critics as an audio game-changer, gripped the world with its exploration of Adnan Syed’s 1990 conviction for the murder of his former girlfriend, Hay Min Lee. The podcast was downloaded over 20 million times in 2014 alone and went on to win a Peabody Award in 2015. Two years on from Serial, the editors at have selected the best Serial spin-offs and investigatory true-crime, for those who still can’t let go…

1. Adnan's Story: The Case That Inspired the Podcast Phenomenon Serial
Author: Rabia Chaudry
Narrated by: Rabia Chaudry

'The first letter I received after being arrested in 1999 was from Rabia. Since that time until now, she has believed in my innocence and been committed to my exoneration.... There is no one better to help tell my story, and no one that I trust more to tell it, than Rabia.' (Adnan Syed)

Rabia Chaudry, a family friend, always believed him and has never given up the hope that he might someday be released. By 2013, however, after almost all appeals had been exhausted, things looked bleak. That was when Rabia contacted Sarah Koenig, a producer at This American Life, in the hopes of finding a journalist who would bring greater attention to Adnan's story and might shed new light on the case.

Woven with personal reflections from Adnan himself, and the story of his family, community, and public advocate Chaudry, the audiobook offers new insight into the story that captivated the attention of millions as his legal and investigatory team seek to find out the truth of what really happened on that day in 1999.

2. In The Dark
 Created by APM Reports
 Free on the iTunes store

A podcast about a 27-year child abduction investigation that changed the nation.

Child abductions are rare crimes. And they're typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the
abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, changed how adults parent their kids and led to the nation's sex-offender registries.

3. Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime
 Author: Val McDermid
 Narrated by: Sarah Barron

The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: how they lived, how they died--and who killed them.

Val McDermid uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine with groundbreaking research and her own experience. Along the way you'll wonder at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death and how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer.

4. Undisclosed
Written and narrated by: Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller

The Undisclosed podcast investigates wrongful convictions, and the U.S. criminal justice system, by
taking a closer look at the perpetration of a crime, its investigation, the trial, and ultimate verdict... and finding new evidence that never made it to court.

Series One explores the State of Maryland's case against Adnan Syed. The podcast revisits the case from the beginning, looking at all available evidence - not only what was presented in Serial, but new evidence that we uncovered in the team’s investigation. The podcast is written by three attorneys and as such it delves deeply into the legal side of the case, aiming to get to the truth of what happened on January 13, 1999.

5. The Innocent Man
 Author: John Grisham
 Narrated by: Craig Wasson

In the major league draft of 1971, the first player chosen from the State of Oklahoma was Ron Williamson. When he signed with the Oakland A's, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue his dreams of big league glory.

Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits-drinking, drugs, and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother.
In 1982, a 21-year-old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter was raped and murdered, and for five years the police could not solve the crime. For reasons that were never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with capital murder.

With no physical evidence, the prosecution's case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to death row.

If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.

6. Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony
 Author: Jeff Ashton
 Narrated by: Jeff Ashton
It was the trial that stunned America. On July 5, 2011, nearly three years after her initial arrest, Casey Anthony walked away, virtually scot-free, from one of the most sensational murder trials of all time. She'd been accused of killing her daughter, Caylee, but the trial only left behind more questions: Was she actually innocent? What really happened to Caylee? Was this what justice really looked like?

In Imperfect Justice, prosecutor Jeff Ashton, one of the principal players in the case's drama, sheds light on those questions and much more, telling the behind-the-scenes story of the investigation, the trial, and the now-infamous verdict. Providing an inside account of the case, Ashton, a career prosecutor for the state of Florida, goes where the press and pundits have only speculated, detailing what really happened during the investigation, showing how the prosecution built their case, and explaining how a woman so shrouded in suspicion was proclaimed innocent. Ashton examines what the prosecution got right, what they got wrong, and why he remains completely convinced of Casey Anthony's guilt.

7. Criminal
 Co-created by: Phoebe Judge, Lauren Spohrer, Eric Mennel

Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Hosted by Phoebe Judge, this podcast is just as addictive as Serial, and one that’s sure to get you hooked.