August 27, 2014

Book Launch-The Rebel's Daughter by Anita Seymour


Release Day for The Rebel’s Daughter

http://www.amazon.com/Rebels-Daughter-Woulfes-Loxsbeare-Book-ebook/dp/B00N2005KK/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409130056&sr=1-6&keywords=the+rebels+daughter

Helena Woulfe, the daughter of a wealthy Exeter nobleman leads a privileged life, however, when rebellion sweeps the West Country, her family is caught in its grip. After Monmouth’s bloody defeat in battle at Sedgemoor, Helena sets off for Somerset to find the three missing members of her family.
 
With the Woulfe estate confiscated by the crown, Helena and her younger brother Henry hope the anonymity of the capital city will be more forgiving to the children of a convicted rebel. However, Helena finds her search for security and respectability in London are threatened by someone who wishes harm to a traitor's daughter.



The Widow's Secret by Brian Thompson

The blurb describes the main character, Bella Wallis as 'charismatic'. My impression of Bella was far from that, in fact she was extremely unlikeable, acerbic, unsympathetic, subject to irrational, sometimes violent rages, and downright cruel in her method of fictionising crimes into her sensational novels. She doesn't exhibit a need for justice so much as a cruel streak, and a vicarious pleasure in vigilante justice which makes her a good living.

Some of her character is explained by the fact Bella's husband died leaving her to discover the existence of a mistress. Unable to confront or punish him, she embarks on a lesbian relationship with the French Marie Claude, who is moody, discontent and constantly on the verge of tears. Hardly a relationship, more a penance.

Bella proceeds to take her anger out on men in general, leading them on, then when bored, discards them. She sets her cohorts, Quigley and Murch off on a trail of destruction, rejecting them if they do something which upsets her sensibilities, but happy to stand by and let them create havoc.

The author's writing style is fast paced and eloquent, but littered with cryptic conversations among characters who have historic relationships and backgrounds I was left to guess at -  so concentration is required to work out what is going on - and why. The ending is murky in that the 'good guys' don't win and the villains don't face the consequences of their actions - not in a socially acceptable way at least.

The novel isn't bad so much as confusing, though as a cozy mystery it doesn't conform to the formula.

Anita Davison also writes as Anita Seymour, her 17th Century novel ‘Royalist Rebel’ was released by Pen and Sword Books, and she has two novels in The Woulfes of Loxsbeare series due for release in late 2014 from Books We Love. Her latest venture is an Edwardian cozy mystery being released next year by Robert Hale.

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August 24, 2014

Tiger Woman My Story



Book Synopsis

The incredible life story that inspired the forthcoming new musical, Tiger Woman Versus The Beast 

Dancer, singer, gang member, cocaine addict and sometime confectionist, Betty May’s autobiography Tiger Woman thrilled and appalled the public when her story first appeared at the end of the roaring twenties.

‘I have often lived only for pleasure and excitement but you will see that I came to it by unexpected ways’

Born into abject squalor in London’s Limehouse area, May used her steely-eyed, striking looks and street nous to become an unlikely bohemian celebrity sensation, a fixture at the CafĂ© Royal, London, marrying four times along the way alongside numerous affairs.

‘I wondered why men would not leave me alone. They were alright at first when they offered to show one life, and then at once they became a nuisance’

She elbowed her way to the top of London’s social scene in a series of outrageous and dramatic fights, flights, marriages and misadventures that also took her to France, Italy, Canada and the USA.

‘I learnt one thing on my honeymoon – to take drugs’

Her most fateful adversary was occultist and self-proclaimed ‘Great Beast’ Aleister Crowley, who intended her to be a sacrificial victim of his Thelemite cult in Sicily, but it was her husband – Oxford undergraduate Raoul Loveday – who died, after conducting a blood sacrifice ritual.

Betty May’s vitality and ferocious charisma enchanted numerous artistic figures including Jacob Epstein and Jacob Kramer. A heroine like no other, this is her incredible story in her own words, as fresh and extraordinary as the day it was first told.

My Review

When Betty May wrote her autobiography in 1929, her debauched life story shocked society at the time. Now, nearly a century later, the book continues to have the same effect. When I began reading, I was immediately drawn to her narrative, one that was brutally honest and insightful. I could not help but feel sorry for Betty as she described her terrible childhood and the lack of love and attention she was denied by her parents and their circumstances. As the story progressed, I continued to be shocked by the ease into which she fell into a wayward life, partly for the sake of survival and partly for an inner coldness she seemed to possess that helped her survive. 

From the first page to the last, I was fascinated by all that she had experienced. From satanism, her numerous husbands and failed marriages, sexual encounters, prostitution, life and death threats, crimes, and drug addiction, it would be an understatement to say she lived a colorful life. 

It's not a long book, but Betty May definitely had a talent for writing for her escapades are relayed in a vibrant, shocking manner. I have to say, this is one of the most gripping autobiographies I have ever written. It is no surprise that it has endured for nearly a century. A truly fascinating woman and a tale of survival! 

August 23, 2014

Book Launch! The Novice: A Love Story by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Book Launch Announcement!


A young woman on the verge of taking her vows to become a nun. 

A desperate flight from a murderous massacre. 

One honorable man comes to her rescue. 
Another becomes her nemesis and captor. 
And a life and death search to reunite with her one true love. 

In 10th century Naples, Saracens run rampant, annihilating villages, murdering women and children. Death and despair is everywhere. Alone in the world, Sara is a young novice plagued with doubts about taking her final vows to become a nun. When her convent is attacked, she flees for her life straight into the arms of a group of Saracens who leave her to die alone in the woods. An honorable cavaliere named Nicolo comes to her rescue and offers to take her to the safety of Naples. As they journey together, they are irresistibly drawn to each other. Believing Sara to be a nun, the honorable Nicolo is torn between love and duty to respect her vows. Heartbroken, he does what honor demands and sets her free before she can tell him the truth that she is not a nun. In her search to reunite with Nicolo, she encounters Umberto, a dark and dangerous man who will stop at nothing in his obsession to possess her. With her sharp intellect, and her heart, Sara must rely on her own courage and strength to escape her abuser and find the only man she will ever love. A story that burns with intensity, intrigue, and passion from the author of the highly successful novel, Orphan of the Olive Tree.


I'm so pleased to announce the launch of my latest novel, The Novice: A Love Story. This poignant medieval Italian romance is scheduled for release September 15th, 2014 and is currently available for pre-order in the Amazon Kindle Store. The paperback will be available at a later date.

As a book launch special, the ebook is on sale for $2.99 for the month of September only!

Pre-Order THE NOVICE


Don't have a Kindle?
I love my Kindle and my Kindle apps! 
Between my Kindle, my tablet, and my smart phone, 
I can read Kindle ebooks on all these devices. 


August 18, 2014

Henna House by Nomi Eve


An evocative and stirring novel about a young woman living in the fascinating and rarely portrayed community of Yemenite Jews of the mid-twentieth century, from the acclaimed author of The Family Orchard.

In the tradition of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, Henna House is the enthralling story of a woman, her family, their community, and the rituals that bind them.

Nomi Eve’s vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920, when Adela Damari’s parents desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter. After passage of the Orphan’s Decree, any unbetrothed Jewish child left orphaned will be instantly adopted by the local Muslim community. With her parents’ health failing, and no spousal prospects in sight, Adela’s situation looks dire until her uncle arrives from a faraway city, bringing with him a cousin and aunt who introduce Adela to the powerful rituals of henna tattooing. Suddenly, Adela’s eyes are opened to the world, and she begins to understand what it means to love another and one’s heritage. She is imperiled, however, when her parents die and a prolonged drought threatens their long-established way of life. She and her extended family flee to the city of Aden where Adela encounters old loves, discovers her true calling, and is ultimately betrayed by the people and customs she once held dear.

Henna House is an intimate family portrait and a panorama of history. From the traditions of the Yemenite Jews, to the far-ranging devastation of the Holocaust, to the birth of the State of Israel, Eve offers an unforgettable coming-of-age story and a textured chronicle of a fascinating period in the twentieth century.

Henna House is a rich, spirited, and sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart.

Henna House is a deep and provocative tale about the life of a Jewish family in Yemen at the start of the 20th century. To be Jewish in Yemen during this era meant every facet of their lives was strictly controlled. Everything from what type of work was acceptable to how to ride a donkey. Failing to adhere to any of these standards meant harsh penalties. At the heart of the story is Adela whose own mother is cold and distant to her and whose father’s failing health threatens her safety. Yemeni law decrees that any child whose father dies, will be taken from the mother and given away to a Muslim family to raise, unless she is married. Despite the fact that Adela is a child under the age of 10, while her mother begins to seek a groom, Adela is introduced into the world of henna drawing by relatives.

Graced with lyrical prose, the pages of this story truly come alive with vivid details about everyday life and the art and superstitions of henna drawing. The author gives us a vibrant glimpse into a brutal regime and a harsh culture where not even the children can be safe and women are traded into marriage like sheep at the auction block. The author does not hide the cruelty and difficulties families faced. What left me moved was how women had little or no control over their fates. A great storyline, wonderful detail, and political and cultural themes are seamlessly weaved together in this poignant novel about a young girl struggling to make sense of her life and create a future for herself. A wonderful, insightful family saga! 


Advanced Reading Copy provided by Netgalley.

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (Book 1 of One Dozen Daughters)


Book Synopsis

Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Valdemar series and romantic fantasies like Beauty and the Werewolf and The Fairy Godmother. JAMES MALLORY and Lackey have collaborated on six novels. Now, these New York Times and USA Today bestselling collaborators bring romance to the fore with The House of Four Winds.

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.

Review
by

The beautiful and dramatic cover of this novel instantly drew my attention. I enjoy historical fantasy novels where the worlds recreated are realistic and close to real history, so this book was a perfect fit for my tastes. The tale is set in a 17th or 18th century world. The prologue, which reads like a Grimm’s fairy tale, describes the premise behind the series, where twelve princesses must make their way in the world due to a lack of funding for their dowries. The first of the princesses to set out is Clarice, talented with the sword and rapier. Disguised as a young man named Clarence, she hopes to sail to the new world to make her fortune. Unfortunately, her choice of ship is not a lucky one and she soon finds herself embroiled with pirates, a power struggle between a powerful sorceress, and Dominick, one of the leading sailors, in a relentless quest for a missing treasure. 

I enjoyed the story because it was realistic and believable with only a touch of fantasy. It was a great light read and a fabulous escape. The ship and its workings was realistically written, and the characters seemed authentic too. I loved the fairytale style premise of the twelve princesses that will launch further stories as each of the princesses come of age and make their way out into the world. This novel had plenty of fight scenes, intrigue, and a slow burgeoning romance that did not overpower the story. I would have liked the facts surrounding the treasure to be made more apparent as to what it was and what it would be used for. The story held my interest to the very end and it was very well written, and I will most definitely read a future book in the series. A great book by two wonderfully talented writers.
    

August 14, 2014

The Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke




In his most ambitious work yet, New York Times bestseller James Lee Burke tells a classic American story through one man's unforgettable life—connecting a fateful encounter with Bonnie and Clyde to heroic acts at the Battle of the Bulge and finally to the high-stakes gambles and cutthroat players who ushered in the dawn of the American oil industry.

In 1934, sixteen-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends with Weldon firing a gun and being unsure whether it hit its mark. 

Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland barely survives the Battle of the Bulge, in the process saving the lives of his sergeant, Hershel Pine, and a young Spanish prisoner of war, Rosita Lowenstein—a woman who holds the same romantic power over him as the strawberry blonde Bonnie Parker, and is equally mysterious. The three return to Texas where Weldon and Hershel get in on the ground floor of the nascent oil business.


In just a few years’ time Weldon will spar with the jackals of the industry, rub shoulders with dangerous men, and win and lose fortunes twice over. But it is the prospect of losing his one true love that will spur his most reckless, courageous act yet—one that takes its inspiration from that encounter long ago with the outlaws of his youth. 

A tender love story and pulse-pounding thriller that crosses continents and decades of American history, Wayfaring Stranger “is a sprawling historical epic full of courage and loyalty and optimism and good-heartedness that reads like an ode to the American Dream” (Benjamin Percy, Poets & Writers).

A Wayfaring Stranger is set during the Great Depression in the state of Texas. A young boy, Weldon Holland, lives with his mentally ill mother and grandfather. At an early age, he meets Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow as they hid out on his grandfather's property. Haunted by Bonnie's beauty, and when his grandfather shot at their fleeing vehicle, he never forget this  encounter as it helped shape his future. As Weldon matures he leaves Texas to fight in World War II and in a concentration camp, he rescues a woman named Rosita, whom he falls in love with her, and after losing contact, he sets out to search for her again, and marries her, unaffected by her Jewish / Communist background. Together, they set up their lives in Texas.  

Weldon meets the wealthy businessman Roy Wiseheart, recognized as a war hero despite the questionable circumstances. Their liaison with Roy and his wife Clara, sets of a dramatic chain of events that snowballed with each page and kept me gripping the edge of my seat until the very satisfying ending. Every character is highly complex, larger than life, with profoundly detailed backstories. Astounding dialogue, myriad twists and turns, multiple shocks and surprises, an endearing love story, and brilliant prose kept me so thrilled that I did not want to put the book down. 

James Lee Burke is a talented author and he's written a book that has it all! It is very much a story about right and wrong, of standing by one's personal convictions, and of always being wary of strangers and their motives. Truly, this book is so visual, it plays out like a gripping movie. Very highly recommended!

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