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!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ESTHER by Rebecca Kanner

From the award-winning author of Sinners and the Sea comes a breathtaking new look into the timeless tale of Queen Esther.

A glittering Persian king has a vast empire that reaches farther than where the sun meets the horizon. He is bathed in riches and commands a frightening military force. He possesses power beyond any other mortal man and rules his kingdom as a god. Anything he desires, he has. Any woman he wants, he possesses. Thousands of them. Young virgins from all across his many lands.

A Jewish girl is ripped from her hut by the king’s brutish warriors and forced to march across blistering, scorched earth to the capitol city. Trapped for months in the splendid cage of the king’s palace, she must avoid the ire of the king’s concubines and eunuchs all while preparing for her one night with the king. Soon the fated night arrives, and she does everything in her power to captivate the king and become his queen.

But wearing the crown brings with it a new set of dangers. When a ruthless man plies the king’s ear with whispers of genocide, it is up to the young queen to prevent the extermination of the Jews. She must find the strength within to violate the king’s law, risk her life, and save her people.

This is a story of finding hidden depths of courage within one’s self. Of risking it all to stand up for what is right.

This is the story of Queen Esther. 

my thoughts:

Rebecca Kanner has the unique ability of bringing her characters to life.  Esther is one of the most incredible women of Biblical literature. Kanner has taken what we know, done research and created an incredible woman of strength, cunning and determination.  A woman who can only be described as a Queen.   

I love Ms. Kanner's writing style.  She brings these characters to life for us.  We are willing participants of the stories of the Bible.   Esther has always been one of my favorite women from the Bible.  

This is a wonderfully written, well researched book.  Kanner's descriptions and writing style will leave the reader breathless and wanting more.  This is a work of fiction, but I feel as if I actually know Esther the person. 

I highly recommend ESTHER, This is a fabulous book, well worth the time it takes to read.
5/5 stars

Friday, September 25, 2015

If you like Red from ONCE UPON A TIME, you'll enjoy this book.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Kingswell Teen
ISBN 1484727460 (ISBN13: 9781484727461)
edition languageEnglish

Red is 16 and lives with Granny in a cottage in the village, where boarding up the house and hiding during Wolfstime is a means of survival. Red help's Granny with Granny's baked good business, catering as well as door-to-door sales. 

Red has a constant internal battle between her wild side and her strict, overprotective upbringing, and the issue of "control" as she discovers she has a hot temper when the "mean girls" push her too far. ("When we learn to control it, we needn't fear it," Rumpelstiltskin says in the series.) She has flashbacks to her 13th year when she received her cloak and the nickname "Red."

She is plagued by nightmares that she doesn't understand, but the Once Upon a Time fans will recognize them as her wolf side coming out. 

Red balances the difficult times with Granny at home and the girls at school with an emerging and satisfying romance with Peter.

my thoughts:

If you are a fan of the show, or of Red, you will enjoy this book.  I must confess, it was longer than I anticipated and not to quick moving in many spots, however, I enjoyed it and enjoyed Red's character.

I think the TV show misused Red.  Her character should have been so much more.  The Red in this book is multidimensional and fun.  I liked her as much, if not more than the Red on the tv show.

If you want to more more about Red and Granny, as well as other characters in her life...this book is a great start.

My netgalley copy didn't include the cover....Wow, when I saw the cover I thought it perfect!

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


01_The Sisters of Versailles

The Sisters of Versailles (Mistresses of Versailles, Book One) by Sally Christie

Publication Date: September 1, 2015 Publisher: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster Formats: Ebook, Paperback Pages: 432 ISBN-10: 1501102966 Genre: Historical Fiction READ AN EXCERPT.

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   A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France's most "well-beloved" monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed. Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear. Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail. Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot - and women - forward. The King's scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power. In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie's stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood; of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.


"A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice." Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy

 "Sally Christie's The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV's France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy."  Allison Pataki, author of The Accidental Empress


ABOUT THE AUTHOR04_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.

my thoughts:

Fascinating and uniquely compelling novel..  The story of Louis XV of France and his love affair with 4/5 sisters.  All women of the Mailly-Nestle family.  Each woman very different and unique in her own right.   Louis, himself, I found to be weak and malleable.  Was he really this arrogant and childish?  Probably.  The women,  first Louise.  A genuinely sweet, simple young woman who truly loved Louis.  She was ultimately pushed aside.   Next was Pauline.  Vulgar and Vile...I can't say too much about Pauline, but even her sisters refer to her as 'the ugly one'.   Next up Marie-Anne.   A snake...no other words describe this evil woman.  She is hateful, vindictive and just nasty.  Diane is simple.  Sweet, gentle..A poor soul pulled into the decadence of Versailles against her better judgement.  Only pious, self righteous Hortense escapes the bed of Louis.   

This is a fantastic book to read.  I couldn't put it down.  I found each character incredible.   Some I loved, some not so much.  These sisters were part of Louis' life prior to the famous Madame de Pompadour.   I have a hard time keeping the Louis' straight.  I find French monarchic history difficult to follow.  Sally Christie does a wonderful job recreating French life during the years of Louis' reign. (prior to Marie Antoinette and the french revolution but after the famous SunKing.).

Fantastic book.  I loved it and highly recommend it for a fun end of summer read!


Monday, September 14 Review at Reading the Past Tuesday, September 15 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Interview & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf Wednesday, September 16 Review at Bookish Thursday, September 17 Review at The Book Binder's Daughter Friday, September 18 Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Saturday, September 19 Spotlight at Romantic Historical Reviews Monday, September 21 Review at Leeanna.me Tuesday, September 22 Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Wednesday, September 23 Review & Giveaway at History Undressed Thursday, September 24 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Friday, September 25 Spotlight at Historical Readings & Views Monday, September 28 Review & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse Tuesday, September 29 Review at So Many Books, So Little Time Thursday, October 1 Review at Genre Queen Review at bookramblings Friday, October 2 Review at Curling Up By the Fire Monday, October 5 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews Tuesday, October 6 Review at Just One More Chapter Wednesday, October 7 Review at The Lit Bitch Thursday, October 8 Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark Friday, October 9 Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession


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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Marissa Campbell, author of AVELYNN....Guest post

Today we turn BOOKLOVER'S PARADISE over to Marissa Campbell, author of AVELYNN, for a quick guest post.

The Perils of Writing Historical Fiction
Steering clear of anachronisms is a pretty big deal to those of us writing historical fiction. We are constantly battliTng how to stay true to a particular time period despite writing to a modern audience. Word usage and character traits are two of the biggest red flags when writing historical fiction, i.e., which words are considered acceptable and which ones are not, and is a character thinking and behaving in a way that reflects the world they inhabit. For example, you wouldn’t have a character in the 1600s utter the word ‘Gadzooks!” and then cruise Main Street on their horse trying to pick up chicks. ;)
Here is the definition of Anachronism according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED): Anything done or existing out of date; hence, anything which was proper to a former age, but is, or, if it existed, would be, out of harmony with the present; also called a practical anachronism. Also transf. of persons. Circa 1646
Avelynn is set in the year 869. Since writing in Old English would make the story inaccessible to a modern reader, I chose to broker a compromise. For Avelynn, I constantly consulted the OED and deemed any word in usage before the 1700s to be acceptable and fair game. In some wild and unprecedented cases, a word not used until the 1800s was more appropriate, and I threw caution to the wind and penned it.
Style of writing is another consideration. Some authors believe historical fiction should not have any contractions in the prose—no ‘didn’t’, ‘shouldn’t’, or ‘can’t’. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but personally, to my ears, had I written Avelynn that way, the narrative would have felt stuffy and pedantic. However, in saying that, I chose to make Alrik’s dialogue void of contractions. I did this to reflect the difference in language from Norse to English. I wanted his dialogue to be unique and strong (just like him :).
Another difficulty with writing historical fiction is putting strong heroines in eras and times long gone by. With Avelynn, I picked a time when women still had some power—a time when a tenacious, spitfire of a character might just fit in. Anglo-Saxon England presented me with just such a time and place. Before the Norman Conquest, women had some control and influence in their communities. They could rule kingdoms; fight at the head of armies, leading their men into battle; they could ignore their powerful fathers’ wishes and elope; they could dispute a marriage at Council and win a divorce; they could hold land and chattel and bequeath their possessions to their children; and the bride-price, a dowry of sorts, was theirs and theirs alone, no one could take it away from them. Their political sway and power was waning with the passage of time and the rise of the Catholic Church, but even the church provided some support, advocating for women’s fair treatment in marriage and divorce laws.
I spent six months alone just researching the period before I put a single word onto the page, and the research continued right up until I wrote ‘The End.’

Even the pagan elements of Avelynn’s faith were not entered into lightly. While England was predominantly Christian amongst the clergy and nobility, the peasants were another matter entirely. Charms and spells were uttered over fields using pagan language, and relief from sickness and disease was as much a placebo of faith in the leech’s ability to banish demons as from his knowledge of herbs and tonics. In a world where elf shots caused disease and witches uttered hexes and curses, magic was still very much alive and well in Anglo-Saxon England, and Avelynn was eager to play her part in all that.
I endeavoured to make Avelynn fun and accessible, giving readers a strong sense of the period and a story that resonates long after their eyes linger across the final page. I hope readers enjoy the trip in to the dark ages!
In gratitude,
Marissa xo

Thank you, Marissa.   Hope everyone enjoyed...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015



Avelynn by Marissa Campbell

Publication Date: September 8, 2015 St. Martin's Press Formats: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover Pages: 320 ISBN13: 978-1250063939 Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
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   One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and one fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut. Marissa Campbell's debut novel is a winning combination of romance, history, and adventure sure to appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon. It is 869. For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Eadlorman of Somerset has lived in an environment of love and acceptance. She hasn't yet found a man to make her heart race, but her father has not pressured her to get married. Until now. With whispers of war threatening their land, her father forces Avelynn into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status. The dreaded marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Alrik the Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers have landed. Alrik is unlike any man she has ever known, strong and intriguing. Likewise, he instantly falls for her beauty and courage. The two stumble into a passionate love affair, but it's more than just a greedy suitor who will try to keep them apart. As the Saxons and Vikings go to war, Avelynn and Alrik find themselves caught in the throes of fate. Can they be true to their people as well as to each other?



"Marissa Campbell brings a long-forgotten era splendidly to life in this adventurous and passionate debut." - Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author

 "Avelynn is a captivating tale of star-crossed lovers. He is a Viking and she is a Saxon. Their struggle to be together will lead you on an exciting journey through a background filled with rich and detailed description." - Connie Mason, New York Times bestselling author of Viking Warrior

"Marissa Campbell's Avelynn is a fast-paced, rollicking historical novel whose irresistible heroine starts out as the willful daughter of a Saxon earl and evolves into a warrior and leader, as fierce as she is passionate." - Barbara Rogan, author of A Dangerous Fiction and Suspicion

 "A hot-blooded tale of Viking invasion, Saxon valor, and a love that conquers kingdoms. Get ready to be bewitched by the bold, brave Avelynn." - Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen's Exiles


my thoughts

Avelynn is a delightfully strong Saxon noblewoman.  She is living during a time of  Viking raids.  Those Vikings, a frightful bunch of marauders, killers and vicious thugs are invading everywhere.  Well, Avelynn meets her match with one of those strange Vikings who just happens to be surprisingly civilized.   

Alrik is an educated, charming, and handsome viking.  He displayed traits Avelynn was led to believe were absent in the vicious vikings.   Alrik is an anomaly.  There are plenty of nasty rotten vikings in this story.  Lots of bloody battles. Killers, murderers...from both sides of the battleground.  

There is romance, war, and plenty of intrigue in this story.  Religious changes consistent with the times are well explained.  We meet Christians, pagans and one very special Druid.  I have a soft spot for the Druids.

The love story part of the book is a bit overdone.  I can't imagine a great deal of romance with a warrior viking, but I'm not certain this particular romance was believable.

Marissa Campbell has created a charming, elegant, suspenseful tale.  The characters are well developed.  You, as a reader, truly feel that you get to know each and every person.  Let me tell you, some of the characters will make your hair stand on end!  Others will make you cheer.  

Overall, I think this was a mesmerizing story.  For a debut novel, it's a gem.   I look forward to more by Marissa Campbell.


03_Marissa Campbell_Author

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Look for her debut historical fiction Avelynn coming September 8th, 2015, from St. Martin's Press. Currently, hard at work on the second book in the Avelynn series, she is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer's Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun! For more information visit http://marissacampbell.com. You can also follow Marissa Campbell on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Monday, September 7 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Tuesday, September 8 Review at A Chick Who Reads Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession Wednesday, September 9 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Excerpt at What Is That Book About Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish Thursday, September 10 Interview at Unshelfish Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise Friday, September 11 Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book Saturday, September 12 Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More Sunday, September 13 Review at Genre Queen Monday, September 14 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews Tuesday, September 15 Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee Friday, September 18 Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Spotlight at Romantic Historical Reviews Monday, September 21 Interview & Excerpt at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Tuesday, September 22 Review at Just One More Chapter Wednesday, September 23 Review at Curling up by the Fire Thursday, September 24 Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day Sunday, September 27 Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews Monday, September 28 Review at CelticLady's Reviews Tuesday, September 29 Review at Jorie Loves a Story Review & Giveaway at Reading Lark Wednesday, September 30 Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books Interview at Jorie Loves a Story Thursday, October 1 Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation Friday, October 2 Review at The True Book Addict

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