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Showing posts from April, 2016

(Review) The Jane and Bertha in Me, Poems by Rita Maria Martinez

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Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 90
Source: Free ebook copy from Poetic Book Tours, and Rita Maria Martinez, in exchange for a review.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.

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Rita Maria Martinez is a Cuban-American poet from Miami, Florida. Her writing has been published in journals including the Notre Dame Review, Ploughshares, MiPOesias, and 2River View. She authored the chapbook Jane-in-the-Box, published by March Street Press in 2008. Her poetry also appears in the textbook Three Genres: The Writing of Fiction/Literary Nonfiction, Poetry and Drama, published by Prentice Hall; and in the anthology Burnt Sugar, CaƱa Quemada: Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish, published by Simon and Schuster. Martinez has been a featured author at the Miami Book Fair International; at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida; and at the Palabra Pura reading series sponsore…

(Review) The Guardian: A Tale of Andrew Murray, A Tale of Scottish Independence by Jack Whyte

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Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Forge Books
Genre: Scottish history, historical fiction, 13th century, the Battle of Stirling Bridge
Pages: 560
Source: Free advanced reader copy from Forge Books in exchange for a review
Rating: 4 stars for very good

Link for book at the publisher: The Guardian

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The Guardians Trilogy:
The Forest Laird, William Wallace
The Renegade, Robert Bruce--this book can be confusing in the title. It is newly titled as Robert the Bruce
The Guardian, Andrew Murray, also known as Andrew de Moray

I noticed there is a discrepancy in the change of book titles. This can be confusing. All of the trilogy books are A Tale of Scottish Independence and The Guardian Series. The first book is about William Wallace, the second is Robert the Bruce, and the third is Andrew Murray.

I wish there was a map included in my advanced reader copy. This link includes an easy to understand…

(Review) Midnight in Berlin by James MacManus

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Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martins
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 416
Source: Free hardcover copy from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc., in exchange for a review
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

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JAMES MACMANUS is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. His other novels includeThe Language of the Sea, Black Venus and Sleep in Peace Tonight. In 2006, his film script about the life of British journalist George Hogg, based on his novel Ocean Devil, became the major motion picture, The Children of Huang Shi, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. For more information, please visit www.jamesmacmanus.com
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British Colonel Joel Macrae is a military attache. His new post is Berlin, Germany. Macrae's wife is Primrose. They are both middle-aged, no children. Early in the story it is apparent their relationship has chilled to the point of tepid water.
It is the spring of 1939. Macrae's job is to gather i…

(Review) The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie

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Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books/Simon and Schuster
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 448
Source: Free copy from France Book Tours and Atria Books. 
Rating: 4 stars for very good.

The Rivals of Versailles is book two, in a three part series of The Mistresses of Versailles. 
The first published book in the series is The Sisters of Versailles. 
The third book is (unpublished) The Enemies of Versailles. 

Links for further reading:
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Britannica
Madame de Pompadour, Biography
This is Versailles, Blogger
Chateau De Versailles

Link for the book tour page @ France Book Tours. 

Synopsis: 
In this scandalous follow-up to Sally Christie’s clever and absorbing debut, we meet none other than the Marquise de Pompadour, one of the greatest beauties of her generation and the first bourgeois mistress ever to grace the hallowed halls of Versailles. The year is 1745. Marie-Anne, the youngest of the infamous Nesle sisters and King Louis XV’s most beloved mistress,…

(Review) The Spy of Venice, William Shakespeare Thriller 1 by Benet Brandreth

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Publication Date: March 24, 2016.
Publisher: Twenty7 Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Fiction.
Genre: Historical fiction, William Shakespeare.
Pages: 448.
Source: Free advanced reader copy from Twenty7 in exchange for a review.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

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About the Author:
Benet Brandreth is a highly-regarded barrister, rhetoric coach and authority on Shakespeare.  He works regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar and others on Shakespeare’s use of language.  He has also written and performed for radio and the stage.  His one-man show, “The Brandreth Papers”, was a five-star reviewed sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and on its London transfer.  He is qualified as an instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts and as a stage combat choreographer.  He lives in London with his wife and two sons and is exhausted from all his efforts at becoming a Renaissance Man.
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Summary:
Spring, 1585.
Young William Shakespeare is unhapp…

(Review) Forgetting Tabitha by Julie Dewey

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Publication Date: January 1, 2016
Publisher: Holland Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 221
Source: Free copy from Julie Dewey in exchange for a review
Rating: 4 stars for very good (the first 1/3 of book). 2 Stars for okay (for the rest of the book).

Julie Dewey website

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Summary:
Tabitha Salt is a first generation American. She is the daughter of Irish immigrants. After her father died, she and her mother move to a tenement in the Five Points district of New York City. Tabitha's mother makes a living by taking in laundry. They survive but barely. Within a a year of her father's death her mother dies. Tabitha is left an orphan at age ten. She has two choices: live on the streets, or live in a children's home managed by the Sisters of Charity.

Further reading:
Five Points Neighborhood from About Education
Urbanography


My Thoughts:
I believe the strength of the story is in the descriptions of life in the Five Points neighborhood of NYC. The first thirt…

(Review) Grendel's Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife by Susan Signe Morrison

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Publication Date: September 25, 2015
Publisher: Top Hat Books Genre: Historical fiction, Anglo-Saxon literature, Beowulf, Grendel.
Paperback and eBook Pages: 238
ISBN-10: 1785350099 Source: Free copy from Susan Signe Morrison and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a review.  Rating: 5 stars for excellent. 
Shortlisted for the 2014-2015 Sarton Literary Award for Historical Fiction.
Summary: 
An amber bead. A gold and glass drinking horn. A ring engraved with Thor’s hammer – all artifacts from a Germanic tribe that carved a space for itself through brutality and violence on a windswept land. Brimhild weaves peace and conveys culture to the kingdom, until the secret of her birth threatens to tear apart the fragile political stability. This is her story – the tale of Grendel’s Mother. She is no monster as portrayed in the Old English epic, Beowulf. We learn her side of the story and that of her defamed child. We see the many passages of her life: the brine-baby who floated myster…