Final Cover Reveal: Platinum Doll by Anne Girard!

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How stunning is that! 
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Synopsis:

Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, novelist Anne Girard tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film.

It’s the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She’s chasing a dream; to escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights.

In California, Harlean has everything a girl could want;a rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friends; except an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambition–to be an actress on the silver screen. With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she’s thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truth–that fame comes at a price, if only she’s willing to pay it.

Amid a glittering cast of ingenues and Hollywood titans: Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes; Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all.

Naked {A Review!}

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Synopsis: We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story.

We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva’s ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for ‘peeping Tom’) and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.

Naked
is an original version of Godiva’s tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion,Naked brings an epic story new voice.

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Alright, so firstly, in case you didn’t know; yes, Lady Godiva was a real person. Yes, she took that ride.

But why? That’s the question that most people want to know.

Fortunately, Ms. Redgold delves into Lady Godiva’s mind and weaves together the story of her life. It is a bit more on the romance side of things, which I wasn’t expecting, but didn’t really turn me away. There was enough history that it kept me happy. I do wish there was more detail into the  way the world was in the 11th century. I didn’t feel that there was enough description of that. There are very few books based in that time period, so I wanted the full experience. I also found that the description of the Saxons and Danes a bit amusing…the Saxons have a code of honor and are gentlemanly whereas the Danes are a pack of heathens hellbent on taking over. It seemed biased to me.

I found that Godiva was a bit of a feminist for the time, refusing to marry Leofric unless he allowed her to keep and rule her lands–alone. That was unheard of for the time, that I know of. Also, riding through Coventry in the nude was something no one would ever have considered, but such is the love she has for her people that she takes her fateful ride.

I enjoyed the story and though I have some complaints, it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed it a good deal of the time. Ms. Redgold has a gift for storytelling, I only wish that she had endeavored to be a slight bit more descriptive. Her explanation of the ruling classes showed me that she very much cared about this time period and wanted us to understand how things were and for that I am appreciative because I really didn’t know. Also, her characterization of Leofric and Godiva was enjoyable, they were well developed and kept me going. Theirs was a romance that most would envy and was uncommon in those days as most marriages were arranged and not love matches.

I think you ought to give it a read and be sure to tell me how you enjoyed it!

3star

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03_Eliza Redgold_AuthorEliza Redgold is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.

 

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Enchantress of Paris {A Review!}

11825211_10204908173967565_2329225093377148735_nSynopsis: Fraught with conspiracy and passion, the Sun King’s opulent court is brought to vivid life in this captivating tale about a woman whose love was more powerful than magic.

The alignment of the stars at Marie Mancini’s birth warned that although she would be gifted at divination, she was destined to disgrace her family. Ignoring the dark warnings of his sister and astrologers, Cardinal Mazarin brings his niece to the French court, where the forbidden occult arts thrive in secret. In France, Marie learns her uncle has become the power behind the throne by using her sister Olympia to hold the Sun King, Louis XIV, in thrall.

Desperate to avoid her mother’s dying wish that she spend her life in a convent, Marie burns her grimoire, trading Italian superstitions for polite sophistication. But as her star rises, King Louis becomes enchanted by Marie’s charm. Sensing a chance to grasp even greater glory, Cardinal Mazarin pits the sisters against each other, showering Marie with diamonds and silks in exchange for bending King Louis to his will.

Disgusted by Mazarin’s ruthlessness, Marie rebels. She sacrifices everything, but exposing Mazarin’s deepest secret threatens to tear France apart. When even King Louis’s love fails to protect Marie, she must summon her forbidden powers of divination to shield her family, protect France, and help the Sun King fulfill his destiny.

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Well, as you guys know, I was looking so forward to this book. Sadly, I have no credit card and I don’t live near a bookstore (the horror!), so I entered every contest I could find in order to get this; that didn’t work either. Fortunately, I get to plug my local library and give their e-book borrowing system a shoutout because I was able to borrow it. I was surprised they had it so quickly, but i decided not to question it, I just went with it and very happily borrowed it.  (Always be sure to check your library, guys!)

It goes without saying, since I read this in one night, how I felt about it. Ms, Jefferson is a very gifted storyteller and I was delighted to be brought to the Sun King’s court. It is sometimes hard to envision the grandeur, but that was done here. I fell in love with her style of writing with her first novel, ‘The Girl on the Golden Coin’ and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this one. I was not disappointed at all. Well, I was disappointed when I got to the last page. You always hope for more; however, good things come to those who wait, or at least that’s what my great-grandmother used to tell me, God rest her soul. Patience has never been my strong suit.

Now, most of us have heard of the Sun King and his illustrious reign over France. In fact, he was the longest reigning monarch of Europe, reigning at 72 years and 110 days. I was surprised to read that at first, he really wasn’t in charge of anything. Okay, let me rephrase, he was four when he came to the throne, so obviously the Queen was his regent until he came of age; but when he was old enough to reign on his own, he was almost like a puppet king; his strings controlled by his mother and by the Cardinal Mazarin. This is something Marie Mancini, Mazarin’s niece who has been in a convent, discovers as she gets to know him and makes her personal mission to change. She sees the greatness within him and encourages him. Given that he is considered one of France’s greatest monarchs, I like to think her influence helped him realise it.

“He must be convinced subtly, and that will take time. But when I’m ready to tell the king what I know, it will shake the very foundations of Paris.”

Marie Mancini wasn’t supposed to be part of the illustrious French court as she was supposedly born under a “bad star”, in fact, Marie’s mother on her deathbed  urged Cardinal Mazarin to send her to a convent because she would bring disgrace to the whole family. However, fate had other plans. Marie never went back to the convent after her mother’s death, she was made a part of court since her sister, Olympia (the King’s mistress), ends up pregnant and needs to be married. The Cardinal urges Marie to take her sister’s place and that she does, albeit hesitantly as it means she would be working as an agent of her uncle.  Marie steals the King’s heart and tries her damndest to make him realise that it is he who rules, not the Cardinal.

I liked their relationship; it was sweet and tender. I truly believe that Marie was the great love of the King’s life and he was hers. Unlike Olympia, Marie did not give in and sleep with him straight away and as the book progressed, you see that the feelings  are genuine and that they deepen.

It seems strange to me that I had never heard of Marie before since there are countless letters and mentions of her in books written by her contemporaries. That she very nearly became Queen of France says how the King felt about her. Their love story was sweet and I really was rooting for them, but of course…well…you know what I’m going to say here. No Spoilers!

The descriptions are rich, the characters exceptionally well rounded. I admit, I found the twirling of Cardinal Mazarin’s moustache amusing; it usually meant something was going down. Mostly I just wanted to reach into the book and kick him in the…well, you know. He was a foul character, but this says a great deal about Ms. Jefferson’s writing that you feel so strongly. Marie, though naive at first, is a quick learner and grows into a strong woman. I really enjoyed seeing her transformation and her story.

Keep your eyes open, by the way, Frances Stuart may or may not have made an appearance in the book. 😉

Rating:

4auqZQi

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Years after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University, immersing herself in a Quality Assurance nursing career, and then having children, Marci realized she’d neglected her passion for history and writing. She began traveling, writing along the way, delving into various bits of history that caught her fancy. The plot for GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN evolved slowly after a trip to London, where she first learned about the Stuart royals. Marci is a member of the Historical Novel Society. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, making hair-bows for their daughter, trying not to step on their son’s Legos, and teaching a tiny Pacific Parrotlet to talk.

Spotlight: Honor Among Thieves

02_Honot Among Thieves_Cover [14983]Honor Among Thieves (Hope & Steel: Book I)
by J.M. Aucoin

Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Sword & Cape
eBook &  Paperback; Pages: 330

Series: Hope & Steel (Book One)
Genre: Historical Adventure/Swashbuckler

France, March 1609. The French Wars of Religion are over, but forces still conspire against the crown…

Darion Delerue, former soldier turned highwayman, has only two things of value—the hope in his heart and the steel at his side. After a heist on a royal ambassador goes wrong, Darion is thrown into a political plot to undermine the crown, pitting his old life as an honorable soldier against his new life as a thief and bandit. His actions could send France back into civil war.

Honor Among Thieves is a gripping tale of daring sword-play and political intrigue, with superb historical detail of 17th Century France that will have readers wanting to draw their swords and fight for glory!

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

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03_Justin Aucoin [14984]Author. Fencer. Sometimes actor. Full-time nerd. J.M. AUCOIN is the product of when a five-year-old boy who fell in love with reruns of Guy William’s Zorro grows into a mostly functional adult. He now spends his time writing swashbucklers and historical adventure stories, and has an (un)healthy obsession with The Three Musketeers.

When not writing, he practices historical fencing, crafts historical outfits, and covers the Boston Bruins for the award-winning blog Days of Y’Orr. He lives in Heraldwolf’s Stone with his fiancée Kate, and their dire-beagle, Rex.

For more information visit J.M. Aucoin’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, August 24
Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Guest Post at Carpe Librum

Tuesday, August 25
Review at Genre Queen
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, August 26
Review at Book Babe
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, August 27
Review at Book Nerd
Excerpt at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, August 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Saturday, August 29
Spotlight at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Sunday, August 30
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, August 31
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies

I’m so excited to be able to share it with all of you! Several of my favorite authors are in here; I am so excited to read this and I imagine that I’m going to need a few tissues handy as well. This is the synopsis; I hope you guys will be checking it out when it’s released! ❤
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Coming in March 2016! How beautiful is this cover?

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Top voices in historical fiction deliver an intensely moving collection of short stories about loss, longing, and hope in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.

A squadron commander searches for meaning in the tattered photo of a girl he’s never met…

A Belgian rebel hides from the world, only to find herself nursing the enemy…

A young airman marries a stranger to save her honor—and prays to survive long enough to love her…

The peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918, may herald the end of the Great War but for its survivors, the smoke is only beginning to clear. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives will take courage, resilience, and trust.

Within crumbled city walls and scarred souls, war’s echoes linger. But when the fighting ceases, renewal begins…and hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

AMAZON ➜ http://amzn.com/0062418548
BARNES & NOBLE ➜ http://bit.ly/1IozyWw
BOOKS-A-MILLION ➜ http://bit.ly/1Dtut0z
INDIEBOUND ➜ http://bit.ly/1SUCimS

The Lady and the Minstrel {A Review!}

The Lady and the Minstrel
by Joyce DiPastena

Publication Date: January 29, 2015
Publisher: Sable Tyger Books
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Pages: 601
ISBN: 9780986239618

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

A forbidden love and a past they can’t leave behind . . .

In King John’s England, Robert Marcel chafes against the law that holds him bound as a villein on his lord’s manor. He tries to make a daring escape and is nearly caught by his cruel master, but a young girl helps him slip away.

Years pass and Robert takes up trade as a minstrel. Invited to play at a banquet for the notorious Earl of Saxton, he is stunned to come face to face with the girl he’s never forgotten—now Lady Marguerite of Winbourne, betrothed to the earl. Her status as a noblewoman puts her completely out of Robert’s reach, but he knows they are meant to be together. He vows to make her his wife no matter what the cost.

Lady Marguerite has often thought of the young man she helped escape. Her tender feelings for him quickly turn into much more when they are brought back into each other’s lives. She longs to be free to marry Robert, the man she loves, but that will require her to sacrifice all she holds dear.

They are tested at every turn by those bent on driving them apart and destroying what they have found together. Can their love truly conquer all?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | ITUNES | KOBO | SMASHWORDS

Continue reading “The Lady and the Minstrel {A Review!}”

Review: The Forgotten Flapper

25728453Publication Date: August 1, 2015
Publisher: Sepia Stories Publishing
Formats: eBook & Trade Paperback
Pages: 411

Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical

Synopsis:  A presence lurks in New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre when the lights go down and the audience goes home. They say she’s the ghost of Olive Thomas, one of the loveliest girls who ever lit up the Ziegfeld Follies and the silent screen. From her longtime home at the theater, Ollie’s ghost tells her story from her early life in Pittsburgh to her tragic death at twenty-five.

After winning a contest for “The Most Beautiful Girl in New York,” shopgirl Ollie modeled for the most famous artists in New York, and then went on to become the toast of Broadway. When Hollywood beckoned, Ollie signed first with Triangle Pictures, and then with Myron Selznick’s new production company, becoming most well known for her work as a “baby vamp,” the precursor to the flappers of the 1920s.

After a stormy courtship, she married playboy Jack Pickford, Mary Pickford’s wastrel brother. Together they developed a reputation for drinking, club-going, wrecking cars, and fighting, along with giving each other expensive make-up gifts. Ollie’s mysterious death in Paris’ Ritz Hotel in 1920 was one of Hollywood’s first scandals, ensuring that her legend lived on.

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In the silent film, “The Flapper” in 1920.

As I’m writing this, I am listening to an album on Spotify called Show Tunes of the 1920’s. The first song playing is called Shaking the Blues away. Whilst the song came out after our narrator, Olive Thomas, passed away; it’s a swell song that’ll send you flying back to the time frame of our story. Now, I had heard of Zeigfeld’s Follies, the dance troupe that really introduced ‘flappers’ to the world. Yet, I had never heard of Olive Thomas but having read her story, I wish I had heard of her sooner. What a life! What a story! I promise that by mentioning she died, I am not giving away a big spoiler. The prologue is Olive talking about being a ghost, after all. No, seriously. She’s said to be at the New Amsterdam Theatre in NYC. So if you’re ever there, be sure to say hello. There’s apparently been a lot of sightings…which I think is spiffy, she seems like a hell of a lady.

The narrative grabs you straight away and I lost a night of sleep as I was so drawn into this book. As I mentioned in another post, I find historical fiction based in America hard to come by. And okay, whilst Olive wasn’t fictional and her story is true, I found its novelization to be a good, strong story that kept me drawn in the whole time. Her life could have been a fiction novel. Had I not realised she was real, hell, I would have taken it for fiction.

Olive was a firecracker…it almost seems fitting that she died so young as I think she burned too brightly for this world. That said, it is worth mentioning how well the characters are fleshed out. Truly, that made it even better. I was afraid that as I went on, the characters would lose some of thier dimensions, but they did not. It was interesting to see the Pickford family, Ziegfeld’s girls and the man himself, of course. Also, the mention of Billie Burke was fun–most of us know her as Glinda, the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. I enjoyed being transported to New York and to Hollywood back in the early 20th century, it’s a refreshing take. I also loved hearing about silent films. They’re very much underappreciated, I think. The gifs I’ve included are from some of Olive’s films.

Its hard to fully summarize the book without giving anything away but I think you’ll really enjoy getting a look into Olive’s life before she was discovered as “The Most Beautiful Girl” in NYC and a look at pre-Depression America. As I said, the references of all the old silent film stars and the old hangouts are pleasant and plentiful. Reading about the popularity of the Ziegfeld Follies was also fabulous and also the behind the scenes stuff was eye-opening! I had no idea just how popular and admired they were. Reading about Olive and Jack Pickford’s romance was a delight too. I just kind of said that, didn’t I? People think Jack had something to do with Olive’s passing, but most say he was broken up about

The only thing I didn’t like was when it was all over. I wanted to be taken back into the world of “The Forgotten Flapper”. (See what I did there? Haha!) For now, I am listening to some music of the age, truly enjoying the afterglow of such an enjoyable read.

“I think that when your time comes you die, and not until then. I don’t think you can change anything that is going to happen any more than you can change anything that has already happened to you. That’s why I don’t think people should think themselves better than others.”
–Olive Thomas-

Rating:
4auqZQi

drawing-separatorUntitled-3A native of Austin, Texas, Laini Giles grew up the daughter of bookworms, and became a Nancy Drew devotee early on. When she realized there might be no escape from hairy tarantulas and bad guys with guns, she put her detective dreams on hold and wrote about them instead, finishing her first mystery novel with custom illustrations when she was eight. It was this love of mystery combined with a love of old MGM musicals and The Marx Brothers that led her to check Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon out of the library during her formative years. Ideas began to simmer.
A graduate of the University of North Texas, she put the writing on hold for a while when real life got in the way (i.e.—she met and married her Canadian husband and headed north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer). She highly recommends moving to another country and not being able to work for a year for finishing any novels you may have laying around.
Laini and her husband live in Edmonton, Alberta with their three gray girl cats, nicknamed The Supremes.