Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Tapestry Book Blast and Giveaway

02_The TapestryThe Tapestry (Joanna Stafford #3) by Nancy Bilyeau

Paperback Publication Date: March 22, 2016 Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Paperback; 416 Pages
Series: Joanna Stafford
Genre: Historical Mystery

  Add to GR Button  

   "Fans of the Tudor era, you're in for a treat" --InStyle magazine

 Henry VIII's Palace of Whitehall is the last place on earth Joanna
Stafford wants to be. But a summons from the king cannot be refused.

 After her priory was destroyed, Joanna, a young Dominican novice, vowed to live a quiet life, weaving tapestries and shunning dangerous conspiracies. That all changes when the king takes an interest in her tapestry talent.

 With a ruthless monarch tiring of his fourth wife and amoral noblemen driven by hidden agendas, Joanna becomes entangled in court politics. Her close friend, Catherine Howard, is rumored to be the king's mistress, and Joanna is determined to protect her from becoming the king's next wife--and victim. All the while, Joanna tries to understand her feelings for the two men in her life: the constable who tried to save her and the friar she can't forget.

 In a world of royal banquets, jousts, sea voyages and Tower Hill executions, Joanna must finally choose her future: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier.

The Tapestry is the final book in a trilogy that began in 2012 with The Crown, an Oprah magazine pick. Don't miss the adventures of one of the most unforgettable heroines in historical fiction.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound


Praise

“In Joanna Stafford, Bilyeau has given us a memorable character who is prepared to risk her life to save what she most values.” (Deborah Harkness)

“Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy, and this third book will not fail to thrill readers. Warmly recommended!” (Alison Weir, author of The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I)

 "A rip-roaring Tudor adventure from Nancy Bilyeau! Novice nun turned tapestry weaver Joanna Stafford returns to the court of Henry VIII. She's that great rarity of historical fiction: a fiercely independent woman who is still firmly of her time. A mystery as richly woven as any of Joanna's tapestries." (Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City)

 "The Tapestry takes its history seriously, but that doesn't stop it from being a supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau's most thrilling - and enlightening - novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet." (Andrew Pyper, International Thriller Writers Award winner of The Demonologist and The Damned)

"A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with the sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations . . . Bilyeau breathes life into history." (Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King)

"In The Tapestry, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well." (Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife’s Tale)

“In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau’s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape.” (Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl)

“These aren't your mother's nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest.” (Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire)

About the Author

02_Nancy BilyeauNancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013, and THE TAPESTRY in 2015.Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter please visit her official website.


Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, March 22
Just One More Chapter
Historical Fiction Addicts
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 23
Passages to the Past
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Thursday, March 24
Impressions In Ink
The Life & Times of a Book Addict

Friday, March 25
The Reading Queen
Queen of All She Reads

Saturday, March 26
A Holland Reads

Sunday, March 27
Layered Pages

Monday, March 28
A Book Drunkard
Historical Readings & Reviews

Tuesday, March 29
Book Nerd
Carpe Librum

Wednesday, March 30
The Lit Bitch
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Thursday, March 31
A Book Geek
What Is That Book About

Friday, April 1
CelticLady's Reviews
A Dream within a Dream

Saturday, April 2
So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday, April 3
Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, April 4
100 Pages a Day
A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, April 5
The Tudor Enthusiast
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Giveaway

Two paperbacks of The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau are up for grabs! To enter, please use the GLEAM form below. Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US addresses 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. The Tapestry Book Blast 03_The Tapestry_Book Blast Banner_FINAL

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Death Sits Down to Dinner Blog Tour and Review

02_Death Sits Down to Dinner

Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2) by Tessa Arlen

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher via NetGalley for an honest review

  Add to GR Button 

 Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

 Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.  

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO

 

Advance Praise

“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews

 “The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly

 “VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal  


My Take:

When I was presented with the opportunity to read and review Death Sits Down to Dinner by Tessa Arlen, I jumped at the chance because I so thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Lady Montfort Mysteries, Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.  

Once again, Tessa Arlen succeeds in capturing my interest early in the book and keeping it throughout the novel. Instead of the country, this novel takes place in London at Montfort House and at Hermione Kingsley's London house. The big party is in honor of Winston Churchill, whom Lord Montfort cannot stand, so that made for an interesting and amusing episode. That is to say, it was amusing  until someone gets murdered during the entertainment. This crime sets Lady Montfort on a quest for more information about everyone and everything associated with the event. Despite the wishes of her husband, Lady Montfort just can't help herself when it comes to solving murders. She enlists her trusted Jackson to come up from Iyntwood to help with the fundraiser that Hermione Kingsley puts on each year and also- mostly- to help her solve the murder. 

I really like this duo of Lady Montfort and Jackson - they are so good together and while maintaining all rules of decorum and station, they have a close and mutually beneficial relationship.  I was completely caught up in the descriptions of Edwardian London life among the aristocracy and the efforts to solve the mystery itself. I enjoyed the depiction of Churchill and the others in Lady Montfort's social group. There are so many interesting characters and social situations and complicated relationships. 

Once again, I was unable to guess who the murderer was before the reveal - and while I did hazard a guess about some other things that occurred, I was still surprised and enjoyed the whole reveal sequence. 

The Lady Montfort Mysteries are at the top of what I call my "Comfort Reads" list -- books that I read to calm my nerves and to revel in the descriptions of the houses, furnishings, clothes, and mostly the manners. 

As with Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, I will be strongly recommending Death Sits Down to Dinner to anyone who will listen to me. I think that both books will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good historical mystery, Edwardian England,  or Downton Abbey.




About the Author


02_Tessa ArlenTESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen's website. Read Tessa Arlen's blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen's Newsletter.  

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 28
Review at Laura's Interests
Interview at Books and Benches

Tuesday, March 29
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, March 30
Interview at AustenProse

Thursday, March 31
Review at Buried Under Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, April 1
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Monday, April 4
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, April 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, April 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, April 8
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, April 11
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 12
Interview at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Room With Books

Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 18
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, April 19
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, April 20
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, April 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 29
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read

04_Death Sits Down to Dinner_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Death of an Alchemist Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

02_Death of an Alchemist

Death of an Alchemist: A Bianca Goddard Mystery (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 2) by Mary Lawrence

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher via NetGalley/HFVBT for an honest review

  Add to GR Button     

In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.

Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound



My Take:

While I haven't read the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mysteries, The Alchemist's Daughter, it wasn't difficult to gather all the necessary backstory to enjoy the second book, Death of an Alchemist. Bianca is the intelligent and curious daughter of a notorious alchemist who has fallen from the king's favor. She has an extremely strained relationship with her father but uses some of the techniques from his alchemy work to create her medicinals and salves. 

Bianca seeks out another alchemist named Ferris Stannum so she can learn more about a technique she is trying to master. While with him, she learns that he has actually created the Elixir of Life. This news is important since there is a possible outbreak of the sweating sickness and could save lives. This discovery sparks a string of events that draws Bianca and her friends into a search for a murderer, a treatment for a sickness and a fight for their own lives.

I found the story to be engaging and I particularly enjoyed that the story takes place among the poor, working people of the 1540's London area instead of the people at court. While the location isn't glamorous or pretty, it was more interesting and felt more real. I especially enjoyed the Dogberry-like character of Constable Patch - he is a troublesome constable who constantly uses the wrong words while he is trying to impress others with his importance. He owes his promotion to a case that Bianca solved and although he doesn't like her, he does realize that she is smart and useful.

Death of an Alchemist works as a mystery and as historical fiction - the mystery was quite engaging and for the first time in quite a while, I didn't guess the culprit before the reveal. The cause of the sickness - whatever it is -  was also an interesting mystery and brings out the uncertainty about disease and medicine during the period. 

I think that Death of an Alchemist would appeal to a wide range of readers - those who enjoy mysteries certainly, as well as historical fiction readers. I also think it will appeal to readers who love good books about smart, adventurous women. 




Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)

“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley

“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper

About the Author

03_Mary LawrenceMary Lawrence studied biology and chemistry, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Cytotechnology. Along with writing and farming, Lawrence works as a cytologist near Boston. She lives in Maine. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series.

For more information please visit Mary's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 21
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, March 22
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Guest Post at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, March 23
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, March 24
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, March 25
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Book Connection

Monday, March 28
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Tuesday, March 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, March 30
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, March 31
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Friday, April 1
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

To enter the Death of an Alchemist giveaway, please use the GLEAM form below. Four winners will receive a signed copy and the Grand Prize Winner will receive a signed copy plus a $15 Amazon Gift Card! Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US addresses 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. Death of an Alchemist Blog Tour

04_Outrageous_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Death of an Alchemist Book Blast

02_Death of an Alchemist

Death of an Alchemist: A Bianca Goddard Mystery (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 2) by Mary Lawrence

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery

  Add to GR Button   

 In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone. 

Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound


Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)

“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley, author of the Ursula Blanchard Mystery Series

“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper, author of The Poyson Garden (Elizabeth I Mysteries) Series

About the Author

03_Mary LawrenceMary Lawrence studied biology and chemistry, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Cytotechnology. Along with writing and farming, Lawrence works as a cytologist near Boston. She lives in Maine. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series.

For more information please visit Mary's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


Book Blast Schedule


Monday, March 7
Passages to the Past
Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, March 8
Book Nerd
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Wednesday, March 9
The Book Connection
Seize the Words: Books in Review

Thursday, March 10
Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, March 11
Rambling Reviews

Saturday, March 12
Time 2 Read

Sunday, March 13
Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, March 14
CelticLady's Reviews
Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, March 15
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, March 16
A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 17
A Book Geek

Friday, March 18
The Lit Bitch A Holland Reads

04_Outrageous_Book Blast Banner_FINAL