Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Louisiana Fever

Louisiana Fever by D.J. Donaldson
Publication date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions, LLC 
Source: publisher provided digital edition for an honest review
Description provided by publisher:
When Kit goes to meet an anonymous stranger—who’s been sending her roses—the man drops dead at her feet before she could even get his name. Game on.

Andy Broussard soon learns that the man carried a lethal pathogen similar to the deadly “Ebola”—a highly contagious virus, feared worldwide for killing its victims (grotesquely) in a matter of days. When another body turns up with the same bug, widespread panic becomes imminent. The danger is even more acute, because the carrier is mobile. The man knows he’s a walking weapon and… he’s targeting Broussard.

And when Kit Franklyn investigates her mystery suitor further, she runs afoul of a cold- blooded killer, every bit as deadly as the man searching for her partner.


Louisiana Fever is written in Donaldson’s unique style:  A hard-hitting, punchy, action-packed prose that’s dripping with a folksy, decidedly southern sense of irony.  Mix in Donaldson’s brilliant first-hand knowledge of forensics, along with the sultry flavor of New Orleans, and readers will be fully satisfied with this irresistibly delectable mystery.


My Take:
This is the first of the Broussard and Kit novels that I have read. Even though I didn't read the first book that introduces the characters, I enjoyed Louisiana Fever. It was a fun, fast-paced read.

Andy Broussard is an interesting character - a medical examiner with sophisticated taste in food who doesn't skimp on the serving size. He has a good sense of humor, is excellent at his job and inspires loyalty from his friends and employees. He also has a taste for Louis L'Amoor novels.

Kit Franklyn, his sidekick, is smart and feisty. In this book she actually spends most of her time in captivity, so I didn't get as much of a sense for her working style as I'd like. 

I found the story interesting and entertaining with lots of detailed information about the autopsy procedures as well as the investigative techniques used by Broussard, Kit as well as the police.  

If you are interested in a fast-paced, exciting, mystery with lots of technical and investigative details, you might enjoy this fun novel by D.J. Donaldson. 

Direct links to book here:
Astor + Blue     Amazon          B&N


Monday, July 29, 2013

Indiscretion Blog Tour and Review

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow
Publication date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review
Synopsis:
Harry and Madeleine Winslow have been blessed with talent, money, and charm. Harry is a National Book Award–winning author. Madeleine is a woman of sublime beauty and grace. The Winslows play host to a coterie of close friends and acolytes eager to bask in their golden radiance, whether they are in their bucolic East Hampton cottage, abroad in Rome, or in their comfortable Manhattan brownstone.
One weekend, Harry and Maddy meet Claire, who eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But soon her reverence transforms into a dangerous desire, and she no longer remains one of their hangers-on.

A story of love, lust, deception, and betrayal as seen through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter, a narrator akin to Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, Indiscretion is an irresistibly sensual page-turner.

My Take:

Indiscretion, the debut novel by Charles Dubow, was just so good. I was rather impressed with the book as a whole. But how to explain exactly why? I really liked Dubow's writing style. I liked how the book closely examines each character and their lives, their decisions. Not that the reader can condone or even understand some of the decisions, but like real life, sometimes people do things that we just can't understand. But the decisions are made, things happen, there are consequences.

Our narrator is Walter, a lifelong friend of Maddy's and more recent, but loyal friend to Harry and godfather to their son, Johnny. Walter comes from an established family, meaning "old money". He and Maddy grew up next door to each other. He tells the tale and explains how he knows what he knows and how he learned it as the book goes along.

Claire, the young, beautiful, social climber that she is, happens to show up at the Winslow's party with Clive, her current step on the rung to the lifestyle she craves. Clive is wealthy, handsome, rather coarse and very nouveau riche. He has the money, but none of the class Claire can see in the Winslows. Once she sets her sights on Harry, it isn't long before Claire drops Clive and starts charming her way into their little circle and then, well, you just have to read the book to see just how far she will go. And while on several occasions Walter states that she was an innocent, I never once believed it. There were other hints that she might not be what she seemed. I may be wrong, but I don't think so - Claire is a conniving little b--- um, brat. She is very good at playing a part.

Harry, star athlete, turned author, is married to the lovely, wealthy Maddy. I think Harry always felt a little inadequate around Maddy and her crowd. He came from a respectable family, but without the money and history that Maddy and Walter had. Harry was living the dream, but not quite as self confident as he let on. Claire provides a bit of fresh air and she makes him feel young and admired.

Maddy was probably the most likable, but also the most fragile character in the book. She wants someone to love her for herself, not her money or her beauty, or anything else; she wants truth and loyalty.

Indiscretion is a wonderfully written book that tells the story of a group of friends and how their lives intersect with a newcomer, then watch as choices are made, actions are taken and then lives slowly and painfully fall into disorder, deception, betrayal. I loved the book so much. I loved the writing style, I loved the twists and little tricks the author plays on the reader.  This is one of those books that I'll be suggesting to friends and pretty much anyone who will listen to me.  Highly recommended.



About Charles Dubow

Charles Dubow was born in New York City and spent his summers at his family’s house on Georgica Pond in East Hampton. He was educated at Wesleyan University and New York University. He has worked as a roustabout, a lumberjack, a sheepherder in New Zealand, and a congressional aide, and was a founding editor of Forbes.com and later an editor at Businessweek.com. He lives in New York City with his wife, Melinda; children, William and Lally; and Labrador retriever, Luke. This is his first novel.
Follow Charles on Twitter.

Charles’ Tour Stops

Thursday, July 11th: Under a Gray Sky
Tuesday, July 16th: Read Lately
Wednesday, July 17th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, July 18th: Lisa’s Yarns
Monday, July 22nd: Conceptual Reception
Wednesday, July 24th: Books in the Burbs
Thursday, July 25th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Monday, July 29th: A Book Geek
Thursday, August 1st: The Little Reader Library 
TBD: The House of the Seven Tails

TBD: Proud Book Nerd




Monday, July 22, 2013

Fallen Masters

Fallen Masters by John Edward
Publication Date: September 18, 2012 by Tor Books
Source: borrowed from the library
Description from Goodreads:
What do you get if you combine William Young’s The Shack with Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons? The answer is Fallen Masters, by New York Times bestselling author John Edward.

In the near future, signs and portents have begun to appear that point to a rushing cataclysm.  Both political and religious world leaders see the patterns, and the scientific community confirm evidence of what they call “a dark matter” that is expanding into our universe, threatening the very fabric of our world. 


But it will not be governments or religions upon whose actions the fate of the world rests.  Rather it will be up to a small diverse group of men and women who will have to decide to use their free will to aid in the last great cosmic battle between good and evil as these apocalyptic forces clash—both here on Earth and on the Other Side.   

An internationally renowned psychic, John Edward has helped millions of people to connect with loved ones on the Other Side. In Fallen Masters, Edward has written a riveting novel of metaphysical suspense, a final confrontation between good and evil as it unfolds on both the Earthly plane and the Other Side.


My Take:
I read Fallen Masters for my book club and that is the only reason I read it. I tried to keep an open mind and read it like a regular science fiction book. The premise was okay and I was on board with the beginning of the book, however, the further into the book I got, the less I could believe it and the less I liked it.

I liked that the world religious leaders met and basically agreed that the particular religion you chose wasn't as important as your heart and that you worked for the overall good. In fact, this was probably my favorite thing about the book.

I could go along with the ideas about good vs. evil, but the way the descriptions went on and on trying to explain everything just got on my nerves after awhile. I thought the author should have stopped trying so hard to make the premise work. By the time I was between half way and two-thirds through the book, I just didn't care anymore. The world's going to end? So what -- just make this book stop.

I also had major issues with how unlikely most of the events at the end of the book were. I just didn't buy it. However, most of the other members of my book club did like the book, so there is an audience for this book - I am just not part of that audience.


Friday, July 19, 2013

The Queen's Vow Blog Tour and Review

The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner
Publication Date: July 2, 2013 by Ballantine Books
Source: review copy provided by publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review

Synopsis:
No one believed I was destined for greatness.
So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.
As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.

My Take:
I'm not sure how, but somehow I had never read any of C.W. Gortner's books before reading The Queen's Vow. I will be addressing that situation soon. The Queen's Vow was a great introduction to his work. I always think it is a difficult thing to try to write historical fiction about such a well know historical person such as Isabella of Castile because most people are at least somewhat familiar with her. I was very pleasantly surprised at how well C.W. Gortner handled the controversies of her reign as queen while at the same time making her very human and sympathetic.

By beginning the book right as her father is dying and her half-brother Enrique is about to become the next king, Gortner is able to establish the precarious nature of life for Isabella, her mother and brother Alfonso as they are swept away to a place of safety by Archbishop Carrillo. The reader gets to see how dangerous life could be for family members that are a bit too high in the line of succession.

I thought the author did a nice job of explaining the political situation as well as describing the rumors and gossip regarding Enrique's court and the fear that Isabella's mother had to live with regarding the safety of her children. The descriptions of Enrique and his life of decadence and his personal weakness goes far in helping to explain some of Isabella's opinions, beliefs and actions later.

This is an incredibly complicated and turbulent time and I was thoroughly involved in the story throughout the book - even though I knew the history, the way the story is woven together made it seem new. I thought the author did an admirable job with the complexity of portraying Isabella as a child, a young woman trying to find her way and then as a wife, mother and queen. By allowing the reader to follow Isabella through difficulties big and small on her path to become queen, we are able to see her as the human being she was, not just as a monarch.

I thought Gortner handled the contradictions of her personality, the contradictions between her beliefs and her actions, and the controversies of her actions as queen extremely well. There are many things about Isabella's reign that truly bother me, but this novel allowed me to see things in a slightly different way. I still have issues and questions, but I really liked that a historical fiction novel made me stop and reconsider some ideas.

Isabella was an intriguing and complicated person who had some strong ideas and some admirable goals - and she also made some decisions that are quite notorious. The period of time covered was turbulent and so exciting and dangerous and makes for a great tale.

The Queen's Vow provides a fascinating look at the life of Isabella of Castile and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction, books about royalty and intrigue, anyone interested in Spain, and actually pretty much everyone. I was so glad I had the chance to read this book and I can't wait to read other books by C.W. Gortner.


CWGAbout the Author

C.W. Gortner is the author of The Last Queen, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Tudor Secret and The Queen’s Vow. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has experienced life in a Spanish castle and danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall. Half-Spanish by birth, he lives in Northern California.

You can find more information on C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 2
Review at The Book Barista
Wednesday, July 3
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, July 4
Review at Sweet Tidbits
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Friday, July 5
Review at Twisting the Lens
Review at Geri, the History Lady
Monday, July 8
Review at nomadreader
Tuesday, July 9
Review at Babies, Books, and Beyond
Guest Post at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Wednesday, July 10
Review at From L.A. to LA
Thursday, July 11
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Monday, July 15
Review at The Bluestocking Society
Review at Paperback Princess
Tuesday, July 16
Review at Book Nerds
Review at WTF Are you Reading?
Wednesday, July 17
Review at Book Addict Katie
Review at Always with a Book
Thursday, July 18
Review at Alternate Readality
Interview at WTF Are you Reading?
Friday, July 19
Review at A Book Geek
Monday, July 22
Review at Jo Jo Loves to Read
Tuesday, July 23
Review at Lost in Books
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Wednesday, July 24
Review at Legacy of a Writer
Thursday, July 25
Review at Booktalk & More
Guest Post at Lost in Books
Friday, July 26
Review at The Relentless Reader
Monday, July 29
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Tuesday, July 30
Review at Long Ago Love
Review & Interview at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Wednesday, July 31
Review at My Reading Room
Thursday, August 1
Review at vvb32 Reads
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at My Reading Room
Friday, August 2
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Amused by Books
Monday, August 5
Review at Reader Girls
Review at Review From Here

Tuesday, August 6
Review at Layered Pages
Guest Post at Review From Here




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gracianna Blog Tour and Review

Gracianna by Trini Amador
Publication date: July 23, 2013 by Greenleaf Book Group Press
Source: Review copy provided by author/publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest reveiw
Synopsis:
The gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.
Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.
Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it means using lethal force.

As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.


My Take:


Gracianna by Trini Amador is a beautiful book. It is beautiful for several reasons. The cover is just amazing - it catches the eye and the imagination and it is poignant somehow. Just lovely. Gracianna is the fictionalized version of Gracianna's life as her great-grandson imagined it to be after listening to the family's retold memories combined with his own research and questioning. The story feels like just that - a story passed down through the family. I think that in this way also, the book is beautiful. I love a good family story, especially one that is fleshed out, contradicted or substantiated by other family members.

I will admit that when I first started reading Gracianna, I was a little perplexed by the format. It didn't seem to read like a typical novel. However, once I decided that it felt like a family story told over and over again often with almost the exact same phrasing, I began to really get into the story.

The story begins with descriptions of life growing up in the Pyrenees and explains Gracianna's early life with her grandmother Anastasia  and sister Constance. Anastasia was a perfectionist and trained Gracianna to be the same way - she strove for perfection in everything she did.  The reader is treated to some wonderful descriptions of how sheep ranching worked in the Pyrenees and the traditions and customs of the Basque people who had lived there for so very long. There is history of their people, the area, the various battles, invasions, as well as traditions and the faith of her family and the Basque woven throughout the novel.

I enjoyed the beginning of the novel, but once Gracianna makes her way to Paris and begins her new life, things really got interesting. I was completely drawn into the drama and danger of her life during this chaotic time in France. It is quite the tale and I could easily see this story as a movie. Gracianna ends up working for the French Resistance and has quite an important role to play in her attempt to rescue her sister from a Nazi camp. It has intrigue, danger, spies, rebels, deception and so much action. This story is a great example of the lengths that people will go to in the attempt to rescue someone they love.

Gracianna's sister, Constance, also factors strongly in the novel. She is the dark sheep of the family and doesn't have the same goals in life as her sister. Despite their very different personalities and aspirations, they are still sisters and love each other. Constance makes some decisions that put her in grave danger and then her actions spur a series of horrible events that ends with her being sent to a Nazi camp. The incident illustrates just how precarious life was for people - especially women -  living in Paris at the time of the Nazi occupation.  Constance had her own kind of strength and I was really pulled into her story of survival of the events leading up to and then inside Auschwitz. Another example of beauty in the book is evidenced in both sisters, Gracianna and Constance, who were examples of strength, determination, loyalty, and love.

I found Gracianna to be a wonderful family tale that manages to develop complex characters that the reader can empathize with and understand. The relationships seem authentic and deep. I found the novel as a whole to be so compelling and I think the fact that it is based on a true family story made it so much more engaging.

Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, books about WWII, the French Resistance, and family histories will enjoy this amazing story of this young Basque woman who would stop at nothing to help get her sister out of a Nazi camp.


About the Author

Trini Amador vividly remembers the day he found a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering through his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun. This experience sparked a journey towards Gracianna, Amador’s debut novel, inspired by true events and weaving reality with imagination. It’s a tale drawing from real-life family experiences.
Mr. Amador is a traveled global marketing “insighter.” He is a sought-after guru teaching multinational brand marketers to understand how customer and consumer segments behave based on their needs, values, motivations, feeling and values. He has trained over five thousand brand marketers on how to grow brands in over 20 countries in the last 15 years. His counseling has been valued at global brands including General Electric, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google, Jack Daniel’s, The J.M. Smucker Co., DuPont, Mattel, and Rodale, Inc..

Amador is also a founding partner with his wife and children of Gracianna Winery, an award-winning winery located in Healdsburg, California. The winery also pays tribute to the Amador Family’s maternal grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. Her message of being thankful lives on through them. The Gracianna winery strives to keep Gracianna’s gratitude alive through their wine. Learn more at: www.gracianna.com, like Gracianna Winery on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GraciannaWinery.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, July 15
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, July 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, July 17
Review at A Book Geek
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, July 18
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Guest Post at Jenny Loves to Read
Friday, July 19
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Monday, July 22
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 23
Review at Reflections of a Bookaholic
Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, July 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at West Metro Mommy
Thursday, July 25
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Layered Pages
Friday, July 26
Review at Raging Bibliomania
Monday, July 29
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Giveaway at A Writer’s Life
Tuesday, July 30
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, July 31
Review at The True Book Addict
Thursday, August 1
Review at Impressions in Ink
Guest Post & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Friday, August 2
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Monday, August 5
Review at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, August 6
Review at My Reading Room
Guest Post at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 7
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Interview & Giveaway at My Reading Room
Thursday, August 8
Review at Sir Read-a-Lot
Review at Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Friday, August 9
Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Interview at Sir Read-a-Lot




Monday, July 8, 2013

The Queen's Rivals Blog Tour and Review

The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy
Publication Date: June 25, 2013 by Kensington Books
Source: Review copy provided by publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
Synopsis:
Their ambitions were ordinary, but they were born too close to the throne…
As cousins of history’s most tempestuous queens, Ladies Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey were born in an age when all of London lived beneath the Tower’s menacing shadow. Tyrannized by Bloody Mary and the Virgin Queen, the sisters feared love was unthinkable —and the scaffold all but unavoidable…
Raised to fear her royal blood and what it might lead men to do in her name, Mary Grey dreads what will become of herself and her elder sisters under the reigns of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I. On their honor, they have no designs on the crown, yet are condemned to solitude, forbidden to wed. Though Mary, accustomed to dwelling in the shadows, the subject of whispers, may never catch the eye of a gentleman, her beautiful and brilliant sisters long for freedoms that would surely cost their lives. And so, wizened for her years, Mary can only hope for divine providence amid a bleak present and a future at the whim of the throne — unless destiny gains the upper hand.
A gripping and bittersweet tale of broken families and broken hearts, courage and conviction, The Queen’s Rivals recounts an astonishing chapter in the hard-won battle for the Tudor throne.

Please note this book will be published in the UK on September 12, 2013 as THE FALLEN QUEEN by Emily Purdy.


My Take:

I have to admit that before reading The Queen's Rivals, I didn't know much more about Jane Grey than what I learned from the movie Lady Jane (1986). I know, this is bad. But I am happy to say that I feel that I learned so much from reading The Queen's Rivals and checking Google and historical sites as I read. I was quite impressed with the detail and accuracy of the book.

I found the choice of narrator as Lady Mary, the smallest, and probably least well known of the Grey sisters to be a unique and very effective one. While Jane considered herself to be the brilliant one, I would actually argue that Mary was the most intelligent because she had such common sense and a much more accurate view of the world they lived in. Despite her astute observations and practical outlook on her situation as a female and a dwarf with a certain standing, she was quite sentimental and very understanding of others' situations and misfortune, especially her sisters'.

These three girls are used as pawns in the plans of other powerful aristocrats, including their own parents, in various attempts to increase their own wealth and power. Mary seems to be the most aware of what is going on despite her inability to actually change anything. I thought The Queen's Rivals provided an interesting perspective into this precarious time in history. The Grey sisters were just a bit too close in succession to the throne for Edward VI, Mary, or Elizabeth to be comfortable and reading about their situation, how they coped - or didn't - and the various maneuverings of their families and other aristocrats was very interesting.

The descriptions of the clothing and hairstyles is quite detailed and anyone interested in these kinds of details will really enjoy this book. I enjoyed reading about the details of the stitching and the symbols, flower meanings, personal history included in the elaborate stitching on the clothing.

One aspect of the book that I found particularly enjoyable and interesting, was the way the fact that the Greys and the monarchs, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth are all family. I thought the family relationships were well described and made all the troubles between them seem very realistic. At times it seemed like some of the occasions  were very dangerous family reunions - instead of someone getting mad and going off in a huff and not speaking to the family member for years, someone could be imprisoned or put to death over some small slight - real or perceived.

I enjoyed The Queen's Rivals and found it to be very detailed and the characters well developed. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Tudor history, the Grey sisters, historical fashions, historical fiction in general.


About the Author

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at www.brandypurdy.com, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 17
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Tuesday, June 18
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, June 20
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Monday, June 24
Review & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, June 27
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria
Monday, July 1
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, July 3
Review & Giveaway at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Friday, July 5
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, July 8
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, July 9
Review & Giveaway at One Book at a Time
Wednesday, July 10
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Friday, July 12
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Monday, July 15
Review & Giveaway at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, July 17
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Giveaway at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Thursday, July 18
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, July 19
Review at Psychotic State Book Reviews
Monday, July 22
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
Wednesday, July 24
Review & Giveaway at My Reading Room
Monday, July 29
Review & Giveaway at The Broke and the Bookish
Wednesday, July 31
Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book
Monday, August 5
Review & Giveaway at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books

Wednesday, August 7
Review & Giveaway at Cheryl’s Book Nook




Monday, July 1, 2013

City of Hope Blog Tour and Review

City of Hope by Kate Kerrigan
Publication date: June 25, 2013 by William Morrow
Source: ARC provided by publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review
Synopsis:

The heartrending and inspiring sequel to Ellis Island, Kate Kerrigan’s City of Hope is an uplifting story of a woman truly ahead of her time
When her beloved husband suddenly dies, young Ellie Hogan decides to leave Ireland and return to New York, where she worked in the 1920s. She hopes that the city will distract her from her anguish. But the Great Depression has rendered the city unrecognizable. Gone are the magic and ambiance that once captured Ellie’s imagination.

Plunging headfirst into a new life, Ellie pours her passion and energy into running a refuge for the homeless. Her calling provides the love, support, and friendship she needs in order to overcome her grief—until, one day, someone Ellie never thought she’d see again steps through her door. It seems that even the vast Atlantic Ocean isn’t enough to keep the tragedies of the past from catching up with her.


My Take:
When I agreed to review City of Hope, I didn't realize that it was a sequel to Ellis Island, but this did not hinder my enjoyment of the book at all. There is enough background given throughout the book that I didn't feel I was missing anything from the previous book and by the time I finished reading City of Hope, I had determined that I would have to read Ellis Island just because I wanted to read more about Ellie.

At first I wasn't sure what I thought about Ellie - she was so different from the other people in her town and definitely not like her husband, who wanted a quiet life on his farm. Ellie just wanted more from life. She is independent and very strong-willed - things I admire and encourage in my own daughters. Ellie seemed to be trying to adapt herself to this smaller, quieter life, but it was hard on her. She had ambition and dreams. I felt so sorry for her in her grief and guilt over her husband's sudden death. Her reaction to his death was extreme, and I couldn't really understand quite that drastic a move, but I could understand her desire to distract herself from the pain.

Her return to New York City didn't turn out quite the way she had imagined. The city was a completely different place than she remembered from her earlier trip - the Great Depression was in full force and life in the city wasn't the full time party she remembered. I enjoyed reading about how Ellie made all her plans come to life and how she managed to help so many families. The down-on-their-luck families were interesting and diverse and I enjoyed that Ellie learned from each one of them. She helped them when they were in a bind, but they also helped Ellie work through her grief and she could count on them when needed. I  loved reading about this little community that developed and grew and then managed to sustain itself.

I am hoping there will be another book that tells the further adventures that Ellie has. She has such a head for business and isn't afraid to try things. I think that anyone who enjoys historical fiction, books with strong, independent women and/or reading about the Depression or Ireland will enjoy this book.



About Kate Kerrigan

Kate Kerrigan is the author of three previous novels. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two sons.
Visit Kate’s website at www.katekerrigan.ie and follow her on Twitter: @katekerrigan.



Kate’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, June 25th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, June 26th: Books in the City
Wednesday, June 26th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, June 27th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Friday, June 28th: Diary of an Eccentric
Monday, July 1st: A Book Geek
Wednesday, July 3rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, July 4th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Monday, July 8th: Dwell in Possibility
Tuesday, July 16th: Peppermint PhD
Monday, July 22nd: Becca’s Byline
Tuesday, July 23rd: The House of the Seven Tails

Thursday, July 25th: The Maiden’s Court