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!
Donna

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Secret Language of Stones by MJ Rose

02_The Secret Language of Stones

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose

Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages

Series: The Daughters of La Lune, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Add to GR Button

As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

A spellbinding ghost story that communicates the power of love and redemption through Rose's extraordinary, magical lens.” (Alyson Richman, internationally bestselling author of The Lost Wife)

my thoughts:

What a fabulous book!  I love MJ Rose and I loved the first book in the series The Witch of Painted Sorrows,  It focused on Sandrine and her connection to LA LUNE.  This book is about Sandrine's daughter, Opaline, also a witch.  Opaline is a jewelry maker, an artist, during the time of the Russian Revolution.  Any book that features the Russian royal family is a book for me!  Opaline is asked by the Dowager Queen to help determine if her grandchildren, children of Tsar Nicholas, were killed along side him, or if they are alive.  
Opaline also uses her talents to 'speak' with the dead soldiers of WWI.  She creates jewelry, adds a person piece from the soldier, usually a lock of hair, and the dead 'speak to her'.  What a talent! 
This book will keep you up at night.  I started and couldn't put it down until I finished.  That is usually the case with any book by MJ Rose, but this book was even better than her previous ones

5/5 teacups for The Secret Language of Stones.



I look forward to more from MJ Rose.

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

About the Author

03_M.J. Rose AuthorM.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.

Connect with M.J. Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Sign up for M.J. Rose’s newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 12
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, July 13
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 14
Spotlight at Teddy Rose Book Reviews

Friday, July 15
Review at A Dream within a Dream

Monday, July 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, July 19
Review at First Impressions Reviews

Wednesday, July 20
Review at Laura's Interests

Thursday, July 21
Review at Read Love Blog

Friday, July 22
Review at Nerd in New York
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Monday, July 25
Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, July 26
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, July 27
Interview at First Impressions Reviews

Thursday, July 28
Review at Creating Herstory

Friday, July 29
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Monday, August 1
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, August 2
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, August 3
Review at Diana's Book Reviews

Thursday, August 4
Interview at Diana's Book Reviews

Friday, August 5
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, August 9
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For

Wednesday, August 10
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, August 11
Review at Girls Just Reading

Friday, August 12
Review at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, August 15
Review at Fangirls Ahead!

Tuesday, August 16
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review at The True Book Addict

04_TSLOS_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gioconda by Lucille Turner


about the book:
Paperback304 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Granta Books (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN
1847083595 (ISBN13: 9781847083593)
Edition Language
English

A solitary child, Leonardo's only intimate is Lisa Gherardini, the girl who spies on him in his workshop. Spurned by his tutor, he is sent by his despairing father to Florence as an apprentice. Under the guiding hand of Verrocchio, the master sculptor, he begins to make his name. But success requires sacrifice; Florence demands a level of conformity impossible for him. Forced to leave, Leonardo places himself at the service of the charismatic, power-thirsty Duke of Milan. His journey leads him back to Lisa and the portrait he has waited so long to paint, the culmination of his life's work.

From the glittering court of the Medici to the mortuaries of Milan and the battlefields of the Po valley, Lucille Turner's powerful novel vividly imagines Leonardo's lonely struggle to convince others of his vision of the world.



my thoughts:

An interesting book. Very well written. We get into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci. I realize this is historical fiction, but it reads like a biography. A man full of ideas and ambitions. I expected a bit more from Leonardo's time in Milan. 

The main story focuses on the relationship/friendship between Leonardo and Lisa (Mona Lisa), throughout his life and his quest for knowledge. I was intrigued with the explanations of his human dissections, particularly interesting was the dissection involving a young, pregnant woman. He treated the bodies he dissected with reverence and care, while learning all he could about human anatomy for the advancement of knowledge. 

Leonardo's interest in medicine, weaponry and science are all explained in this book. The one thing left out, was the sodomy incident in Florence that clouded his early years. He wasn't convicted but it is still worth mentioning in any book featuring Leonardo. 

I would like to personally thank Lucille Turner for allowing me to read this book.  I really enjoyed the story and look forward to more books by her. 

I enjoyed reading this book and give it 4/5 stars


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
Add to GR Button
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

Giveaway


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.


Giveaway

To win a $40 Amazon Gift Card, sponsored by Amalia Carosella, please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.
Rules
– 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