Friday, October 3, 2014

The Fairest of Them All by Caroline Turgeon

Rapunzel was raised in the forest by her foster mother, Mathena. Sheltered from men and the outside world, Rapunzel helps Mathena tend to women in need. One day Prince Josef stumbles upon the castle and falls in love with Rapunzel, though he must marry another. When Rapunzel loses the Prince's child, her life changes. After his wife's death, Josef is back to marry Rapunzel. But life in the castle is a big adjustment for Rapunzel.
This melding of two fairy tales was amazing. Though Rapunzel had issues, I still was sympathetic with her to a point. I loved how Turgeon kept the Grimm outlook on the stories, with dark twists and turns. It's an amazing book, well worth your time. It's completely devourable! Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault

Alexander the Great has been praised by many. But who was the boy before he was a man. Starting with Alexander's youngest years as a pawn between husband mother, Olympias and his father, Phillip, Renault tells Alexander's story. Sent to learn from Aristotle  with a group of teens who would become his friends, allies and brothers, Alexander is shaped to be different from his parents. Alexander may still be mortal, but his story is legendary.
This was my first Mary Renault book. I loved it, but it's highly  detailed storyline got a bit heavy at times. The action flowed well when action was called for and then turned introspective for a while. I found myself drawn to all the characters, including Alexander's parents. I really enjoyed this novel!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The King's Hounds by Martin Jensen

The year is 1018 and Cnut sits on the united English throne. Halfdan, the half Danish son of an English lord is down on his luck. Stripped of his lands, he wanders the Kingdom living off theft and charm. He intends to rob Winston,  a former monk and illustrator, but ends up saving his life. Winston invites Halfway to accompany him as a strong arm to Oxford to see the King. The duo arrives in Oxford and are tasked by Cnut to solve a murder. As a Dane and Englishman, no one can question their justice. But will the duo live to see the light of another day.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the chemistry between Winston and Halfdan. The story is action packed and very quick. The setting seemed real. I enjoyed the humor, banter and dialogue. I do wish Cnut had been portrayed more.
As a resounding recommendation, I purchased the next book in the series after finishing the first.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Freemantle

Katherine Parr, the recently widowed Lady Latimer, has rejoined Henry VIII's court. As she mourns her loss, she finds comfort in Thomas Seymour. But Katherine has also attracted the attention of the King. Soon, Thomas is dispatched to a foreign court and Katherine becomes Queen Katherine. Katherine tries to find contentment in her new position, but longs for her lost lover.
Told by Katherine's maid Dot, this book charts the last years of Queen Katherine Parr. I liked Dottie. She kept the story interesting and different. She showed a different side of Katherine, more motherly. I really enjoyed this book. A really great book. I can't wait to read another book by Elizabeth Freemantle.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kiya 2: Mother of a King by Katie Hampstead

Kiya is forced to flee Armana with Malachi and her children. Back in Thebes hiding as Naomi, she faces danger and heartbreak of a different kind. Her family, even her beloved father, had given her up for dead.  Malachi is welcomed back into his family, but Naomi and her children are shunned. Just as Naomi seems to adjusting to her former life, Horemheb arrives unannounced. Now Tut is in danger. Naomi must become the mother of a King.
The second book in this series is even better than the first. The danger is much more vivid, and he stakes have been raised. I see the appeal of Malachi, but I like the darkness of Horemheb. This book was well done and very enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kiya: Hope of a Pharoah by Katie Hampstead

Naomi, a almost Jewish princess living in Egypt volunteers to save her sisters from the Pharaoh's harem by going in their stead. At Armana, Naomi is given a new name and declared mother of the heir to the throne. This declaration puts Kiya in danger from the King's favorite and harem ruler, Nefertiti. Kiya allies herself with Horemb, the palace commander. Kiya must steal the Pharaoh's heart and bear his child, but staying alive might prove impossible.
This novel brings a different view of Ancient Egypt into view. Her Jewish customs clash harshly  with the pagan Egyptian customs. Kiya is fiesty and lively and she makes a great heroine. Akhenaten and Horemeb are great characters, while Nefertiti is evil. It was an easy story to get sucked into. A entertaining read.


Monday, June 9, 2014

HFVBT Book Blast The Lost Duchess

Please join author Jenny Barden as she tours the blogopsphere for The Lost Duchess from May 26-June 20.

The Lost DuchessPaperback Publication Date: June 5, 2014

Ebury Press

Paperback; 448p

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An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan's rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep...

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; 'The Lost Duchess' explores what might have happened to the ill-starred 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke.

Buy the Book

Amazon (AUS)

Amazon (UK)

Book Depository

About the Author

I've had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan 'lost colony' of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I've written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the 'Get Writing' conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers' Association, the Romantic Nevelists' Association and the Society of Authors. I'll be co-ordinating the RNA's annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I'm not so keen on coming down!).

Author Links




Jenny Barden's Blog

English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Also by Jenny Barden

Mistress of the SeaPublication Date: June 20, 2013

Ebury Press

Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Mistress Cooksley may be a wealthy merchant's daughter, but she blushes at my words and meets my eyes look for look. Yet I cannot hope to court her without fortune, and a dalliance with a pretty maid will not hinder me from my path.

Captain Drake's endeavour might bring me gold, but I, Will Doonan, will have my revenge.

The Spaniards captured my brother and have likely tortured and killed him. For God and St George, we'll strike at the dogs and see justice done.

I thought I'd left Mistress Cooksley behind to gamble everything and follow Drake, and here she is playing the boy at the ends of the world. She's a fool with a heart as brave as any man's. Yet her presence here could be the ruin of us all...

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 26

Book Blast at Reading the Ages

Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Book Blast at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, May 27

Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary

Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, May 28

Review at Carole's Ramblings and Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Thursday, May 29

Book Blast at The Maiden's Court

Book Blast at Cheryl's Book Nook

Book Blast at Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Friday, May 30

Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Book Blast at Curling Up by the Fire

Saturday, May 31

Book Blast at From L.A. to LA

Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Sunday, June 1

Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads

Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, June 2

Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast

Book Blast at The Bookworm

Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, June 3

Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Book Blast at West Metro Mommy

Book Blast at bookworm2bookworm's Blog

Wednesday, June 4

Review at The Wormhole

Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Book Blast at Kelsey's Book Corner

Thursday, June 5

Book Blast at Books and Benches

Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, June 6

Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Book Blast at Kincavel Korner

Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Saturday, June 7

Book Blast at Royal Reviews

Book Blast at History Undressed

Sunday, June 8

Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, June 9

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Book Blast at The Musings of a Book Junkie