Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Immortal Queen, A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots by Elizabeth Byrd


This novel of Mary, Queen of Scots overflows with romance, elegance, power, treachery and court intrigue on the grand stage of Europe in a time when nations teetered on the edge of war and the Christian world was split between Catholics and Protestants.

Born with a future claim to the English throne, Mary is crowned Queen of Scotland six days after her birth. From her childhood in the French court of Henry II, through her return to her Scottish kingdom and tensions with Queen Elizabeth over the English throne, Mary’s story is captured by Elizabeth Byrd in this wonderful narrative, bringing one of the most captivating women in English history to life.

My Review:

“Immortal Queen” by Elizabeth Byrd was an absolutely fantastic read! This is the first novel that I have read that is all about Mary, Queen of Scots. I have read several novels where she has been mentioned, or was a minor character, but in this novel she was the main character, and she was a character that I loved! I can’t believe that this is the first novel I have read about her, considering how many historical fiction novels from that time period I have read. I’m so happy that I came across this novel and decided to purchase it, it was definitely worth it!

I love that the book covered her entire life, from childhood until death. Her life was a crazy soap opera, and it was interesting from beginning until end. It really helps the reader to understand her as a person better, because you get to see her grow up throughout this novel. The characters in this book were great. Mary’s character was someone that you definitely cared about and were rooting for, also, her husband Lord Bothwell and her half-brother James were also great characters. They were well-written and completely believable. Mary is a strong character, but she also has an innocence about her, and you just want someone to protect her. It seems that no matter what decision she makes, it is the wrong one. Time and time again she brings failure upon herself, and death to those who support her, though she does not do it on purpose. It seems like there is a dark cloud following her around as she gets older. At times she really frustrates me, because she is lead completely by her heart, and she doesn’t listen to the advice of others. If she would have just listened to others, and really thought about her decisions, than so many things in her life would have turned out differently, and who knows how her history would have been written in the history books?

Overall this was an excellent book. All lovers of historical fiction, especially the Tudor Era, should definitely check this book out. It’s so good that you will have difficulty putting it down after you begin reading it!

I give “Immortal Queen, A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots” a FIVE out of FIVE stars!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Queen of Bedlam by Laura Purcell

Tour Hashtag: #QueenofBedlamTour
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Myrmidon Books Ltd
Paperback; 432p
ISBN-10: 1910183016

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London, 1788. The calm order of Queen Charlotte’s court is shattered by screams. Her beloved husband, England’s King, has gone mad.

Left alone with thirteen children and a country at war, Charlotte must fight to hold her husband’s throne in a time of revolutionary fever. But it is not just the guillotine that Charlotte fears: it is the King himself.

Her six daughters are desperate to escape their palace asylum. Their only chance lies in a good marriage, but no Prince wants the daughter of a madman. They are forced to take love wherever they can find it – with devastating consequences.

The moving true story of George III’s madness and the women whose lives it destroyed.

My Review:

“Queen of Bedlam” by Laura Purcell was a very interesting and entertaining read. You can tell that a lot of research went into this novel. The research along with her great writing style definitely helped to make this novel one that was hard to put down.

The characters were excellent, and extremely well written. You could really feel Charlotte’s anguish over the slow loss of her husband to madness. You could also feel Royal’s pain and fear at the thought of never being loved or finding a husband to love. Sophia is also depressed and fearful at never finding love, and she begins to look for it in the wrong places, because she fears that she will never find love because of her sickness. It’s a very intimate look at a royal family that people on the outside would probably assume were perfect. On the outside all you see if a wealthy royal family, you don’t see the turmoil and sadness that permeates their lives.
Charlotte at times was frustrating to me. She seems a little selfish. I mean, her husband is going mad, and she’s more upset that he is showing affection to Lady Pembroke instead of her—like he knows what he’s doing! I guess everyone deals with things differently. Royal is definitely my favorite character. She has a strength that the others seem to lack, I really cared for her as a character.

Overall this was a great novel. Purcell did a great job at describing King George’s descent into madness—you are really able to picture it happening. The book was a great read, and it gave you an up close look into one of England’s great royal families.

I give this novel a FOUR out of FIVE stars.

Buy the Book

About the Author

Laura Purcell lives in Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England. She met her husband working in Waterstones bookshop and they share their home with several pet guinea pigs.
Laura is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Society for Court Studies and Historic Royal Palaces. She has recently appeared on the PBS documentary The Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace, talking about Queen Caroline’s life at Hampton Court.
Laura’s novels explore the lives of royal women during the Georgian era, who have largely been ignored by modern history. Her debut Queen Charlotte was originally self-published as God Save the King, receiving excellent reviews as an Amazon bestseller in biographical fiction.

You can find out more about Laura and read her history blog at www.laurapurcell.com.  You can also follow her on FacebookTwitterand Goodreads.
Follow the QUEEN OF BEDLAM Blog Tour: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/queenofbedlamtour

Monday, July 14, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes both values at $229. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!
The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

July Kindle
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

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Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).
There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash.
 Ends 7/31/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash.

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded.
No purchase necessary.
You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you.
The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.
The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The 9 Mirages of Love by Chiara Mazzucco


When love won’t show you what you want to see, you will do whatever it takes to make a relationship meet your expectations, even if it means sacrificing your well-being, and throwing yourself down a rabbit hole of denial. Instead of being proactive and building the life you deserve, you settle for the one you have. Why? Because it’s easier to try making the pieces fit, than it is realizing you’re putting together the wrong puzzle. When it comes to love, the only advice worth listening to is the raw, uncensored truth. How else are you supposed to move on from a toxic relationship? How else are you expected to make sense of the pain and confusion you feel in your current relationship? Rainbows and butterflies won’t have the answers you’re looking for, but this book does. Take the wishful thinking and get rid of it, once and for all. It’s time to take control of your love life again. Think of me as the awesome best friend that finally comes to the rescue and helps you get the romance you deserve. Fight the sugarcoat. You can take it.

My Review:

Chiara Mazzucco’s “The 9 Mirages of Love: How to Stop Chasing What Doesn’t Exist” was a really helpful, interesting book—definitely worth reading and contemplating. I liked the section on clinginess—I feel that a lot of women and men make this mistake. There were several other really meaningful sections in this book.

I love that her voice is so real. It could be a friend and I having a conversation about relationships. I feel like the author is a voice that can be trusted in a way. She’s very candid and open, says what’s on her mind, and doesn’t hold back. She makes reading this book more interesting that your typical, boring self-help book. The author makes the reading so much more interesting by her openness, and it really draws you in and makes you look at your relationships in a whole new perspective. It’s helpful to take a step back and look at things differently.
Self-help books are typically boring and I suffer to get through them. However, this one was relatable and it felt like I was listening to a friend giving me advice. The author’s voice was interesting and made me laugh a few times with her candidness.

I would recommend this book to anyone working on bettering their lives and relationships.

I give this novel a FOUR out of FIVE stars.

About the Author:

Chiara Mazzucco is the Founder, CEO and Editor-in-chief of The Indie Chicks, Inc - a fast growing media company devoted to empowering the woman’s sense of self - currently with an online magazine and a quarterly print publication, Indie Chick. She’s author of The 9 Mirages of Love, and is also a web designer. Driven, stubborn, and wildly ambitious, she won’t stop until she is the perfect, self-empowered role model for all of her readers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

GUEST POST AND GIVEAWAY: Moonlight Dancer by Deb Atwood

Guest Post & Giveaway: Moonlight Dancer by Deb Atwood

Deb Atwood is celebrating the anniversary of Moonlight Dancer by giving away three ebooks and three Moonlight Dancer mugs.

Book Description:

A doll...a ghost...a love that transcends time.

Kendra JinJu MacGregor can resist neither the antique Korean doll in the dusty warehouse nor the handsome Hiro Peretti who sells it to her.

Once she brings the doll home, Kendra pays little attention to misplaced objects or her beloved dog's fear. That is, until one terrifying night forces her to question her very sanity. Soon, the ethereal, brooding NanJu manifests herself, and Kendra begins her travels through time to 16th century Korea into a history of conflict and intrigue. For Kendra is about to discover the dark past of her ghostly visitor.

Now it's up to Kendra, with Hiro by her side, to interpret the past and prevent murder. Everything depends upon Kendra's success, even--she discovers to her horror--her own life.

Excerpt from Moonlight Dancer:

Jindo, Korea

By the time I reached land’s end I had renounced prayer.
Standing there, wind whipping my skirts, looking toward Jindo, I couldn’t help but think of the legend. Why not, if doing so would delay me? I welcomed even a pause of ten heartbeats. I could slice open my palm, apply a red pepper poultice to the wound, yet the pain in my heart would exceed that 10,000 times.
If only the gods had spoken that day. If only I had seen their silence as disapproval. But as we say, wheat bows its head deeper as it ripens. This means, Kendra JinJu MacGregor, wise people are humble.
On that day, I was neither wise nor humble.
Instead, I stood at the end of the land unable to move forward, unable to retreat, and recalled the legend. Long ago, in the time of the dragons, so the old ones say, a streak of hungry tigers drove the villagers from their homes. Grandmother Bbong fled, but churning seawater surrounded her so she could not cross to Modo Island where her family had rafted to safety.
At the end of the land Grandmother wailed and prayed, prayed and wailed.
That night, the Sea King appeared in her dream. “Tomorrow,” he told her, “follow the rainbow.”
In the morning, a ribbon of dazzling colors rose over the waters. As Grandmother stepped forward, the Sea King parted the waves. A walking path broke through the waters all the way to her family on Modo Island.
Every year since then, the sea splits for one hour on one day in the fourth lunar month, and the mysterious path between the islands appears.
That’s where I paused, unable to do what I came here to do. The sand beneath my feet was dry, but time was short. Below the cloud layer, a muted gray sky pressed into the sea, pressed into my heart.
I fingered a triton I had fished from the rocks. Kneeling, I kissed the baby’s ear, nuzzled the soft down on his head and offered him the shell.
“HanGyu, listen,” I said.
But he was distracted. Following his upward gaze, I spied a white-tailed eagle arcing her wings. No doubt she had cached her chicks beneath her.
An eagle protects her young.
I should have seen that as my sign.  


Deb loves Korean history and time-slip novels, and she feels a ghost is the perfect medium to bring history to life. She holds an MFA and resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and former shelter dog Nala. Deb’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies.

Please visit Deb on Twitter @deb_atwood or at her blog PenInHerHand.com. She’d love to see you there!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

GIVEAWAY: The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick

About the Book
Young Eleanor has a bright future as the heiress to wealthy Aquitaine. But when her beloved father dies, childhood is suddenly over. Forced to marry Prince Louis of France, she barely adjusts before another death catapults them to King and Queen. Leaving everything behind, young Eleanor must face the complex and vivacious French court – and all of its scandals.

About the Author
Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 20 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, The Outlaw Knight, Shadows and Strongholds, The Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Beauty and the Barbarian by Amy Jarecki

Amy Jarecki is celebrating the successful launch of Beauty and the Barbarian (Highland Force Book 3) by giving away three signed print copies! In addition, the first entry of the rafflecopter is her invitation to join the Return of the Highland Liard (Highland Force book 4) cover reveal event on Facebook. Amy loves connecting with readers and hopes you will sign up and join the fun!

Beauty and the Barbarian back cover copy:

Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the islet of Eilean Fladda for near twenty years. Warm.
When the body of a Highlander washes ashore, the innocent lass presumes him dead. Brushing the hair from the rugged warrior’s face, her fingers connect with warm flesh.

Ian MacLeod wakes to a woman so radiant, he believes her an angel. But when the lass recoils from him, he fears she knows of his evil deeds. While he heals, Ian is stunned when he exposes her witch’s mark, yet he’s spellbound by Merrin’s allure. He’d do anything to erase his haunting past and earn her love.

But there’s a henchman after Ian’s head, and when that man learns the Highlander is still alive, the couple is forced to flee Merrin’s sheltered world. Fighting for survival, destiny demands they each face their demons, but doing so may forever ruin them both.

Excerpt of Beauty and the Barbarian:

Chapter One

Sprinting onto a thin strip of beach, Ian raced for the shore. Rain pelted his face as he skidded to a stop. Gasping for air, he sucked in deep breaths and peered through the dark night—north, then south. Thank God. A lone skiff sat askew, poorly camouflaged at the tree-line edge.

His side cramping from his frantic escape, he darted to the tiny boat with a pained hitch to his step. The deerhounds’ barks grew closer. If he hesitated, they’d be upon him in a blink of an eye.

Ian’s heart hammered his chest as he bore down on the skiff and shoved it into the angry swells. He jumped over the bow and snatched an oar. With every muscle, every sinew, he paddled against the surf and ignored his fatigue. A single oar made the boat fishtail, but there was no time to set them in their locks. Ian gritted his teeth and slammed the oar into the white swells in a hurried rhythm, side to side.

Over the roar of the surf and the driving rain, dogs yelped in an excited frenzy. Men shouted. Ian didn’t turn around—he needed more distance. As sure as he breathed, they were ramming lead balls down their muskets. With luck, the rain had soaked their slow matches, rendering the guns useless.

Ian sped his determined paddling and squinted through the pelting rain—across to his home, the Isle of Raasay. He hadn’t set foot there since he was four and ten, but the sight of the island enlivened him. He could barely make out the black outline of Dùn Caan, the flat-topped peak that forever identified the isle as Clan MacLeod land.

A sharp jab struck him from behind. Ian’s body propelled forward. His nose slammed into the wooden hull. An ear-shattering musket clap followed, piercing through the wind. Something stung, burned his back. Ian slid his hand over the screaming pain. Hot blood oozed through his fingers.

More claps blasted from the beach, thudding into the tiny skiff. Ian rolled to his side. Icy water spurted over him. Frantically, he worked to hug both wooden oars against his chest. A thousand knives attacked his skin as salt water swallowed his lifeline to Raasay. The last thing he saw was the looming outline of Dùn Caan.

Blackness engulfed him.


Amy loves Scotland! She holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and now resides in Southwest Utah with her husband where she predominantly writes historical romance. She is the co-president of the Heritage Writers Guild, a member of the Romance Writers of America, and lectures on writing topics.
Amy’s novels, Captured by the Pirate Laird, and The Highland Henchman and Beauty and the Barbarian are bestsellers on Amazon's Scottish Historical Romance genre list. Her debut novel, now titled Boy Man Chief, won the League of Utah Writers award for Best Manuscript, and the St. George Spark Book Award. Since then, she has won many other writing awards.

She loves to interact with readers and writers on Facebook and Twitter or visit her website and sign up for her newsletter: www.amyjarecki.com
Twitter: @amyjarecki   https://twitter.com/amyjarecki

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