Welcome to Book Lovers Paradise

Welcome to my attempt at blogging. I am a true to heart bibliophile. Here I will discuss and review books as I read them. You are welcome to do the same. The only rules are no profanity, no politics, no religion, and have fun!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Portrait of a Conspiracy, DaVinci's Disciples by Donna Russo Morin

02_The Portrait of Conspiracy

Portrait of Conspiracy: Da Vinci's Disciples - Book One by Donna Russo Morin

Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Diversion Books
eBook & Paperback; 290 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
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One murder ignites the powderkeg that threatens to consume the Medici's Florence. Amidst the chaos, five women and one legendary artist weave together a plot that could bring peace, or get them all killed. Seeking to wrest power from the Medici family in 15th Century Florence, members of the Pazzi family drew their blades in a church and slew Giuliano. But Lorenzo de Medici survives, and seeks revenge on everyone involved, plunging the city into a murderous chaos that takes dozens of lives. Bodies are dragged through the streets, and no one is safe. Five women steal away to a church to ply their craft in secret. Viviana, Fiammetta, Isabetta, Natasia, and Mattea are painters, not allowed to be public with their skill, but freed from the restrictions in their lives by their art. When a sixth member of their group, Lapaccia, goes missing, and is rumored to have stolen a much sought after painting as she vanished, the women must venture out into the dangerous streets to find their friend and see her safe. They will have help from one of the most renowned painters of their era the peaceful and kind Leonardo Da Vinci. It is under his tutelage that they will flourish as artists, and with his access that they will infiltrate some of the highest, most secretive places in Florence, unraveling one conspiracy as they build another in its place. Historical fiction at its finest, Donna Russo Morin begins a series of Da Vinci's disciples with a novel both vibrant and absorbing, perfect for the readers of Sarah Dunant.

"A riveting page-turner unlike any historical novel you’ve read, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition into the first of a trilogy by a masterful writer at the peak of her craft." -C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de’ Medici and The Vatican Princess

my thoughts:

Portrait of Conspiracy is a book you cannot put down!

First of all, I love anything to do with the Renaissance, the Medici family, and Leonardo da Vinci. This was a win-win for me. There was no way I wouldn't love this story.

The characters are so multi dimensional, you feel like you actually know each and every one of them. Some you'll love, some you'll hate, but you will get to know everyone, except perhaps Lorenzo de Medici. His role, while pivotal, is small in the actual dialogue of the book. This is such a well woven story, any reader with any interest in renaissance italy will love this book!

The women who become Da Vinci's Disciples are amazing. I loved Viviana, she was my favorite character. Women from all walks of life who become leaders, albeit underground, of a movement. Women, strong women, who led by a man without prejudice, will become masters at their craft.

I can't wait for more by Donna Russo Morin.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

About the Author

03_Donna Russo MorinDonna Russo Morin is the award winning of author of historical fiction. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, she lives near the shore with her two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress. Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at www.donnarussomorin.com; friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @DonnaRussoMorin.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 10 Review at Unshelfish Review at The Maiden's Court Wednesday, May 11 Spotlight at Passages to the Past Thursday, May 12 Review at CelticLady's Reviews Friday, May 13 Review at Let Them Read Books Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book Monday, May 16 Review at Just One More Chapter Interview at A Literary Vacation Tuesday, May 17 Review at Seize the Words Wednesday, May 18 Review at Flashlight Commentary Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book Thursday, May 19 Review at Worth Getting in Bed For Interview at Flashlight Commentary Friday, May 20 Guest Post at Layered Pages Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book Monday, May 23 Review at Broken Teepee Tuesday, May 24 Review at #redhead.with.book Interview at Reading the Past Wednesday, May 25 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Thursday, May 26 Review at Puddletown Reviews Friday, May 27 Review at The True Book Addict Monday, May 30 Review at A Bookish Affair Tuesday, May 31 Guest Post at A Bookish Affair Wednesday, June 1 Review at The Book Connection Thursday, June 2 Review at Book Nerd Review at Bookramblings Friday, June 3 Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog


To enter to win an eBook of PORTRAIT OF A CONSPIRACY by Donne Russo Morin please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. FIVE copies are up for grabs! Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Portrait of a Conspiracy

04_Portrait of a Conspiracy_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hades and Persephone had a daughter!

(book info copied from Goodreads.com)
Chrys has been in the Underworld for thousands of years, hidden away by her father, Hades, from all of the other gods. He's afraid that if someone finds out about her, they will destroy her because of the dichotomous power that she holds, the power of life and death. So she has remained in the Palace of Hades all her life, making very few friends and always bored out of her mind.

Huntley would have never guessed that after he died he would wake up with a beautiful girl standing over him. And that she would be the Dark Lord of the Underworld's daughter. Yet, for some reason, she keeps him around as her tutor, as if he knows anything about the world. But Huntley knows that all she really wants is a friend; being trapped in the Underworld can get pretty lonely. 

That is, until Chrys decides she wants to run away to the human world after a big fight with her mother Persephone. Chrys claims her father is just over reacting and that nothing bad will come of it. There's no way that the gods will notice she's there for only a couple of days...right?

my thoughts

I liked this book.  It was quirky and fun.  I don't care for some of the language. It's not necessary to drop the 'f bomb' to get a point across.  I also don't care for the character of Persephone.  The story of Hades and Persephone has always been one of my favorite Greek mythology stories.  Hades, in my opinion, was one of the best of the Greek gods.  He got a bad rap because he was the god of death, but he was the most honest, and faithful of the gods.

Chrys is the daughter of Hades and Persephone. She is the strongest goddess of them all, She has the combined power of both Hades and Persephone.  She's stuck in the underworld because of her power.  Well, you can imagine what happens.  A young teenager who wants to see the world.  She and two friends escape the underworld and end up in London.  What happens is definitely worth a read!

This is the first of a series.  I'll be looking forward to the next book in the series.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Blog Tour By Helen's Hand (Helen of Sparta #2) by Amalia Carosella

Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback;
Genre: Historical Fiction

about the book:

With divine beauty comes dangerous power.
Helen believed she could escape her destiny and save her people from utter destruction. After defying her family and betraying her intended husband, she found peace with her beloved Theseus, the king of Athens and son of Poseidon
But peace did not last long. Cruelly separated from Theseus by the gods, and uncertain whether he will live or die, Helen is forced to return to Sparta. In order to avoid marriage to Menelaus, a powerful prince unhinged by desire, Helen assembles an array of suitors to compete for her hand. As the men circle like vultures, Helen dreams again of war—and of a strange prince, meant to steal her away. Every step she takes to protect herself and her people seems to bring destruction nearer. Without Theseus’s strength to support her, can Helen thwart the gods and stop her nightmare from coming to pass?

My thoughts:
What a fabulous version of what might have happened to Helen. 

I love the Iliad. Love everything about the classic novel. Amalia Carosella 
has taken everything good about Helen's tale and enhanced it. She's brought 
the characters to life. Helen is no squirming little twit, as she's been portrayed 
in film, but a strong lead character. I must admit, I see Paris in a different light 
after reading this book. I've always thought him a bit of a coward. Well, 
thoughts can change. 
 Amalia gives a voice to those who may have lived so long ago.
 I can't subscribe to the idea that THE ILIAD is just a story. For me, it's a real 
event. Actual people lived and died in Troy. Crazy, maniacal Agamemnon and 
his equally crazy brother Menelaus were real people, in my mind. Ms. Carosella 
has brought them to life! She has 'filled in the blanks' left by Homer. I love 
the way each character is allowed to speak, we are allowed into the minds 
of each character. We see their strengths and weaknesses. 

Does everything turn out well for Helen? I'm not going to say.  What I will say
is that I really enjoyed this book. Everything fits together.  Just don't forget 
to read HELEN of SPARTA first!

about the author

Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog atwww.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.
You can also connect with Amalia on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter here and here.


To win a $40 Amazon Gift Card, sponsored by Amalia Carosella, please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Enter the giveaway here

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie

02_The Rivals of Versaille

The Rivals of Versailles (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy #2) by Sally Christie

Publication Date: April 5, 2016 Atria Books eBook & Paperback; 448 Pages Genre: Historical Fiction
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   And you thought sisters were a thing to fear! In this compelling 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 and Louis XV’s bed is once again empty. Enter Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a beautiful girl from the middle classes. As a child, a fortune teller had mapped out Jeanne’s destiny: she would become the lover of a king and the most powerful woman in the land. Eventually connections, luck, and a little scheming pave her way to Versailles and into the King’s arms. All too soon, conniving politicians and hopeful beauties seek to replace the bourgeoise interloper with a more suitable mistress. As Jeanne, now the Marquise de Pompadour, takes on her many rivals—including a lustful lady-in-waiting, a precocious 14-year-old prostitute, and even a cousin of the notorious Nesle sisters—she helps the king give himself over to a life of luxury and depravity. Around them, war rages, discontent grows, and France inches ever closer to the Revolution. Enigmatic beauty, social climber, actress, trendsetter, patron of the arts, spendthrift, whoremonger, friend, lover, foe: history books say many things about the famous Marquise de Pompadour. Alongside Catherine the Great of Russia and Maria Theresa of Austria, she is considered one of the three most powerful women of the 18th century, and one of the most influential royal mistresses of all time. In The Rivals of Versailles, Christie gets to the heart of Pompadour’s legendary relationship with Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” king. Pompadour was not only his mistress, but his confidante and influential political adviser for close to twenty years. Full of historical insight, decadence, wit and scandal, The Rivals of Versailles is about one woman’s trials and triumphs, her love for a king, and her role in shaping a nation.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Kobo

The Mistresses of Versailles Series

About the Author

04_Sally Christie_Author

I'm a life-long history buff - and I mean life-long. One of the first adult books I read was Antonia Fraser's masterful Mary, Queen of Scots. Wow! That book just blew my little ten year old mind: something about the way it brought the past right back to life, made it live again on the page. I date my obsession with history to that time, but I'd been writing ("writing") ever since I was able to hold a pencil. If you'd told my 12-year old self that I'd not be a writer when I grew up, I would have laughed you out of the tree house. With a few detours along the way, to work overseas in consulting and development, as well as to go to business school, I've finally come full circle to where I think I should be. I currently live in Toronto and when I'm not writing, I'm playing lots of tennis; doing random historical research (old census records are my favorite); playing Scrabble, and squirrel-watching (the room where I write has French doors leading out to a deck; I avidly follow, and feed, a scruffy gang). For more information please visit Sally Christie's website. You can also find her on Goodreads and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, May 1 Review at A Book Drunkard Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Monday, May 2 Review at Caroline Wilson Writes Tuesday, May 3 Interview at The Maiden's Court Wednesday, May 4 Review at To Read or Not to Read Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway at History Undressed Thursday, May 5 Review at Bookish Friday, May 6 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Monday, May 9 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Guest Post at leeanna.me Tuesday, May 10 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews Wednesday, May 11 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Thursday, May 12 Review at The Lit Bitch Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Friday, May 13 Review at #redhead.with.book Sunday, May 15 Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction 

my thoughts:

   Charming trip through France during the reign of Louis XV. (I'll be honest,
I always get the Louis' mixed up).

   In part one of this series, we met the Nesle sisters, former mistresses of Louis,
in this book, we meet Madame de Pompadour.  Jeanne Poisson.
In her youth, a gypsy woman predicts that Jeanne will win the heart
of a king.  She takes this to heart and with the help of her mother and
some powerful allies, she becomes mistress to the King of France.

   We witness a young, innocent girl change into an older, wiser woman.
One who deals with the court machinations on a daily basis, and
emerges as the winner!

    Jeanne is not loved at court.  The snobby nobility looks down upon
her because of her lack of noble breeding.  They all consider her
beneath them.  Well, she has the last laugh, as one by one each of
her enemies is banished from court.

    She is charming and delightful. Louis, however, was a spoiled
rotten brat who needed a mother more than a mistress.  I spent a
great deal of time hoping someone would just slap him.

   We watch as Jeanne becomes less of a lover, and more of a dear
friend to a man-child who needs all the friends he can get. She was
able to get through to him in a manner others could only admire. The
only thing I found annoying was her lack of confidence in her
perception of his love for her.

Sally Christie has done a wonderful job of showing us court life
at Versailles.  She masterfully tells a story.  I was enthralled and
couldn't put this book down!
I can't wait for the conclusion of this trilogy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lucille Turner's Giaconda: A Novel of Leonardo Da Vinci book blast

Giaconda: A Novel of Leonardo Da Vinci

Publication Date: August 1, 2012
Granta Books
ebook and paperback, 304 pages

Genre: historical fiction

In a world where everyone wants to tell you how to think, what do you do when you know that they are wrong?

Anchiano 1452. A boy is born to a father who will never understand him. Unless he finds the power to become what he could be, he will remain what he is, the son of a notary from a hamlet in the hills, nobody. As he grows up out of step with everyone around him, Leonardo must follow his instincts if he is ever to fulfil the vow he makes: to save people from each other — to save them from themselves. But the time will come when he will have to make a choice. Does he share his knowledge and pay the price for it? Or does he do what his hands have always told him to do? Hide it.

He looks at his aching hands. Runs them over his bony face and rough beard. How long before his body gives up, and when it does, what of it? If he stops now, what will happen – will he live more? What is more, more of what?

"Gioconda proposes an elegant solution to the problem of why the portrait of the wife of a silk merchant was never delivered ... Gioconda is a qualified success, scrupulous with its sources, careful with its conclusions." -Financial Times

"An elegant, historical debut novel... cleverly constructed and imagined ... full of vivid characters and well-drawn incidents. Turner's careful research and graceful prose style make Gioconda a pleasure to read." -Tina Jackson, Metro

"Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci's astonishing genius is brought to life in this vividly atmospheric novel. From his solitary childhood to the conception of his iconic masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, this richly imagined life story will inspire you to re-examine his ideas, drawings and paintings." -Easy Living

"Lucille offers a fresh and intimate perspective on da Vinci's life ...From the first page she draws the reader in with such a natural easy style you feel you were observing Leonardo da Vinci as he really was." -Bournemouth Echo

About the Author

Author of Gioconda, a novel about the life of Leonardo Da Vinci, Lucille Turner is an international prize-winning novelist who lives between England and France. She has an MA in Comparative Literature and teaches part-time at university in France.

For more information please visit Lucille Turner's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book blast schedule
Thursday, May 5

Friday, May 6

Saturday, May 7

Monday, May 9

Tuesday, May 10

Wednesday, May 11

Thursday, May 12

Friday, May 13


To enter to win a paperback copy of Gioconda by Lucille Turner please follow the link to enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form. Two copies are up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.