Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Sirens of Paris by David Leroy

Marc Tolbert, a French Born American, journeys to Paris in 1939, escaping heartbreak and looking for his place in the world. Marc starts art school, falls in love with a fellow student and enjoys the company of the Parisians around him. Like other ex-pats, Marc believed that war with Germany will never occur, until he becomes involved with the US Embassy as a diplomat. Marc watches as Paris is abandoned, and waits to flee aboard the doomed Lancastria. Marc returns to Paris, hoping to help downed US Airmen escape. But the work is risky, with German Soldiers on every street corner. Marc is betrayed, and struggles to come to terms with the war, crimes, betrayal, and life.

This novel tells the story of WWII in a different manner that I am accustomed to. I have previously read WWII books told in a German or American perspective, but never occupied Paris. The brutality of the invasion was very realistic and detailed. The tension, hunger and apprehension is all palpable and real. The secondary characters are lively. It was interesting to see how all the characters reacted to the same invasion in varied and different ways. Some became victims of fear, some joined the resistance and some joined the Germans. I also appreciated how Leroy showed the guilt, sickness and numbness of Marc's captivity.

You can purchase The Siren of Paris in Kindle e-book format from Amazon -- and learn more about this author and novel at

For more information about this virtual book tour, please visit --

I received this book as part of the above tour. 

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner

Juana, Infanta of Spain, is the third child and a daughter, never expected to inherit the Castilian Throne. Instead, an impressive marriage is made for her. Juana is sent to marry the dashing heir of the Hapsburg Empire, Phillip the Handsome. Their marriage is marked with passionate love and hate. Tragedy befalls the Spanish Catholic Majesties, with the deaths of Juana's brother, sister and nephew. Juana in turn is named heir to her mother's throne. To complete her mother's wishes she returns to Spain, relishing in returning to her homeland. After learning the Castilian Ways, Juana returns to her husband to find him duplicitous in both love and power. After her mother's passing, Juana must fight her husband for her title and right to wear the crown. She turns to her adored father, hoping that he will support her. Ferdinand breaks her trust, forming an uneasy alliance with Phillip. Using Juana's past anger, they declare that Juana is unstable, and therefore unable to rule. Trying to combat this tactic, Juana fights on. After Phillip's sudden death,  Juana thinks the battle is over. Her battle for her freedom and crown are just beginning.

This is a wonderful story of one woman's struggle for her rights and crown, chronicling the life of the ill-fated queen from her younger years to her death. While I knew a little about "Juana La Loca", Gortner introduces the reader to a Juana far different that that found in the pages of history. I was amazed at her tenacity, standing up to her husband, his mistresses, the French Monarch, her mother's corrupt advisers and even her adored father. I hated the way that the men in her life used her reactions to situations, as well as her gender to deny her the throne and her freedom. Terribly used and ruled by her husband, father and son, Juana's life was full of hardships and sadness. The Last Queen perfectly captures the Queen and Woman that Juana was. I highly recommend this book to loves of historical fiction and those who just want a good read. Gortner doesn't disappoint!!

This book was a library read.