Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Blood Debts (Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries) by Ashley Gardner

Retired gladiator and his slave investigate the murder of a money-changer in ancient Rome.

The time period is certainly a change of pace for this author. I enjoyed it, and I think the new series has definite potential, but I'm not looking forward to it quite as much as I am the Kat Holloway series, another new mystery series from the same author. I'll certainly be reading both though!

One thing I noticed though, I don't think time keeping in ancient Rome was as precise as down to the half hour, or even hour. But I liked the characters and the plot, even though it was only a short novella. I normally feel like they don't allow for enough character development, but I am finding that's not the case with this author.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Flight of the Sparrow

This was a well written and very interesting novel about the ordeal of the historical Mary Rowlandson, who was captured by Native Americans and held captive for nearly 3 months before she was ransomed back to her husband.

Overall, I thought it was a fascinating story and subject matter, told in third person present tense, but my main complaint was that I found it hard to believe Mary would want to stay with the Native Americans after only being with them for 3 months. To be fair, her transformation didn't feel abrupt or rushed in the narrative of the book, but when I realized everything that had happened while she was with the Native Americans happened within 3 months, it didn't feel like enough time had passed for her to change so greatly, unless maybe she was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (and it didn't seem like that was the author's intention). Particularly because Mary admits that she only had one friend in the entire Native American camp, why would you want to stay in a community where you don't exactly have friends? I understand she ironically enjoyed freedoms as a slave to the Native Americans that she felt couldn't in Puritan society, but also important to psychological health is friendship, and a human connection, which she admitted herself she only found with one person. If you only have one friend in a whole community, wouldn't you feel more like an outcast? Why would you want to stay in such a place? I also understand that she learned to adapt to their culture to survive, and that allowed her to learn and grow as a person, but adapting to a place doesn't necessarily mean that's where you want to remain. Not after only 3 months, anyway.

Regardless, it was a good story and I was constantly wanting to know what would happen next. I myself have ancestors who were attacked and taken hostage by Native Americans, so it allowed me some insight into what they might have experienced.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ebook Deals

Click the cover to view and buy the book in the Kindle store. While I only post links to the Kindle store, often times you can find the same titles on sale at other stores.

Disclaimer: Ebook prices are subject to change anytime. I can only promise they are under a certain price at the time I post them.

US Kindle Deals, fiction under $4, non-fiction under $6:


UK Kindle Deals, fiction under £3, non-fiction under £4:


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Upcoming Releases in Historical Fiction

The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

Release Date: January 2, 2018

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The English Wife by Lauren Willig

Release Date: January 9, 2018

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he's the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he's recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she's having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay's sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Mrs. Osmond: A novel by John Banville

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Isabel Archer is a young American woman, swept off to Europe in the late nineteenth century by an aunt who hopes to round out the impetuous but na├»ve girl's experience of the world. When Isabel comes into a large, unexpected inheritance, she is finagled into a marriage with the charming, penniless, and—as Isabel finds out too late—cruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond, whose connection to a certain Madame Merle is suspiciously intimate. On a trip to England to visit her cousin Ralph Touchett on his deathbed, Isabel is offered a chance to free herself from the marriage, but nonetheless chooses to return to Italy. Banville follows James's story line to this point, but Mrs. Osmond is thoroughly Banville's own: the narrative inventiveness; the lyrical precision and surprise of his language; the layers of emotional and psychological intensity; the subtle, dark humor. And when Isabel arrives in Italy—along with someone else!—the novel takes off in directions that James himself would be thrilled to follow.

The Woman in the Shadows by Carol McGrath

Release Date: August 4, 2017

When beautiful cloth merchant’s daughter Elizabeth Williams is widowed at the age of twenty-two, she is determined to make herself a success in the business she has learned from her father. But there are those who oppose a woman making her own way in the world, and soon Elizabeth realises she may have some powerful enemies – enemies who also know the truth about her late husband…  Security – and happiness – comes when Elizabeth is introduced to kindly, ambitious merchant turned lawyer, Thomas Cromwell. Their marriage is one based on mutual love and respect…but it isn’t always easy being the wife of an influential, headstrong man in Henry VIII’s London. The city is filled with ruthless people and strange delights – and Elizabeth realises she must adjust to the life she has chosen…or risk losing everything.
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