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, February 3, 2016


                                         02_The Secrets of Lizzie Borden

The Secrets of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy

Publication Date: January 26, 2016 Kensington Books eBook & Print; 384 Pages Genre: Historical

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   In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime. Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters. Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes… Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

my thoughts:

Insightful view of one of America's most infamous characters. I grew up in New England. Grew up skipping rope to "Lizzie Borden took and axe, gave her mother 40 whacks...".. I've read many books about the infamous murders and have even visited the famous house in Fall River. 

I love this telling of Lizzie's story. She has many demons which plague her existence from early childhood throughout her life. I know this is a fictionalized account. No one really knows what happened on that fateful day when Abby and Andrew were killed, but I truly like this version. This novel is gritty, gory and full of speculation. Very well written and well researched. Lizzie is a character you can actually like. Much different from other novels written about the Borden's. I hated Andrew, felt sorry for Abby, disliked Emma, but liked Lizzie. I felt sorry her as well. Living with Andrew was portrayed as being extremely difficult. He was verbally abusive towards her and mean as well as stingy.

Brandy Purdy has done a remarkable job of telling Lizzie's story. This book is written as a diary. We hear the events from Lizzie's point of view. We hear of how her life is less than fulfilling. How Andrew denied his children even basic comforts, because they 'cost too much'. Lizzie holds nothing back. I loved this book and encourage anyone with an interest in the Borden murders to read!!

Isn't the cover of this book just chilling?  She looks guilty!
I give this book 4/5 stars


About the Author

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN'S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), THE QUEEN'S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN), THE BOLEYN BRIDE, and THE RIPPER'S WIFE. An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at www.brandypurdy.com, you can also follow her on Facebook as Brandy Purdy aka Emily Purdy.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, January 26 Review at Julz Reads Review at Unshelfish Wednesday, January 27 Review at Time 2 Read Review at 100 Pages a Day Thursday, January 28 Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Friday, January 29 Review at A Chick Who Reads Interview at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Monday, February 1 Review at A Bookish Affair Tuesday, February 2 Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book Wednesday, February 3 Review at Broken Teepee Thursday, February 4 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Friday, February 5 Review at The True Book Addict Monday, February 08 Review at Brooke Blogs Tuesday, February 09 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews Interview at Brooke Blogs Wednesday, February 10 Review at A Literary Vacation Thursday, February 11 Review A Book Geek Friday, February 12 Review at History From a Women's 

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Hardcover, 272 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Delacorte (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN 0385744714 (ISBN13: 9780385744713)
edition languageEnglish

about the book:
Fear Not the Unexpected. 

Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom.

As if leaving New York City and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad (DMS), weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past.

Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a strange picture of a red-haired lady are the first in a series of clues that takes the members of the Detective Mystery Squad on an amazing adventure.

my thoughts:

A fantastic book for kids of all ages. This book has everything a kid could want in a story! Adventure, strange old house with eerie sounds and strange happenings, good friends, and a detective agency! The characters are delightful and entertaining.
This is a story that will be enjoyed by both boys and girls! My son and I both read this book several years ago, before the authors published this fantastic book. My son so loved the story, he was in the 5th grade at the time, he took it to school. His teacher loved the story and read the book to the class. She has since made it part of her reading and continues to read it each year to her class! I highly encourage anyone, adult or child, to get this book!

Hopefully, the authors will write more!

On a side note, for those familiar with our beyond 5stars book category,(books that are so good, they exceed the 5 star rating)  THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW was our first initiate into this group.  These are books that we at BOOKLOVERS PARADISE have deemed  "spectacular, fantastic, and marvelous". 

you can purchase this book, hardcover or ebook on 
Barnes and Noble

Monday, December 14, 2015


02_Becoming George Washington

Becoming George Washington By Stephen Yoch

Publication Date: September 1, 2015 Wise Ink Creative Publishing Paperback & Ebook; 382 Pages Genre: Historical Fiction

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READ EXCERPTS. George Washington, action hero . . . Long before Washington was the old man on the dollar bill, he was a fatherless boy with few resources and even less education. So how did he become the most famous person in American history? Becoming George Washington tells the story of a young man with boundless energy, bravery, and passion, who grew from a fatherless boy into a self-confident leader. At the same time, he struggled to suppress both an awful temper and his love for a married woman, Sally Fairfax. A courageous war hero, Washington rose to the pinnacle of Virginia politics. His experiences as a young man allowed him, decades later, to lead the Revolution. This compelling historical novel reveals the person behind the famous face and how he grew to become America's leading Founding Father.

my thoughts:

An ambitious tale of an ambitious character. George Washington before the Presidency, before the Revolutionary War.  A tale of a talented, bright, motivated young man.

This book takes place during Washington's early 20's. During his rise in the military. We see his relationships grow with his brother Lawrence, his friend Sally Fairfax and his dear mentor Colonel Fairfax. George suffers many failures as a military man. Not everything is roses and sunshine. We see his as an ambitious, sometimes angry man. One who will rush into war. He's not the patient successful Washington we all know and love.

I recommend this novel to anyone who likes historical fiction and anyone who enjoys reading about the youth of our founding fathers.


About the Author

Steve doesn't golf or fish and is a below average hunter, but his love of history and writing compelled him to pick up his pen and tell the little-known stories behind the men that made American history. After years of extensive research, Steve wrote his first book on young George Washington. Steve lives in a suburb north of St. Paul, Minnesota with his supportive wife and two fantastic teenage sons. He graduated with honors from Boston College and the University of Minnesota Law School. He has enjoyed over two decades of practicing law in the Twin Cities, helping individuals and businesses solve complex problems.


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 14 Review at Book Lovers Paradise

  Tuesday, December 15 Review at The Maiden's Court

  Wednesday, December 16 Interview at Layered Pages Spotlight at Historical Readings and Reviews

  Thursday, December 17 Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

  Friday, December 18 Interview at Flashlight Commentary

  Monday, December 21 Review at Bookish

  Tuesday, December 22 Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

  Wednesday, December 23 Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Guest Post & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

  Thursday, December 24 Review at Book Nerd

  Monday, December 28 Review at Just One More Chapter Spotlight at Puddletown Reviews

Tuesday, December 29 Review at The Absurd Book Nerd Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, December 30 Review at Luxury Reading Guest Post at The Absurd Book Nerd

Thursday, December 31 Review at Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

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Monday, December 7, 2015


02_A Year of Ravens_Cover

A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica's Rebellion

by Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, and Russell Whitfield
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Knight Media LLC
eBook & Paperback; 440 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Britannia: land of mist and magic clinging to the western edge of the Roman Empire. A red-haired queen named Boudica led her people in a desperate rebellion against the might of Rome, an epic struggle destined to consume heroes and cowards, young and old, Roman and Celt . . . and these are their stories. A calculating queen sees the sparks of revolt in a king's death. A neglected slave girl seizes her own courage as Boudica calls for war. An idealistic tribune finds manhood in a brutal baptism of blood and slaughter. A conflicted warrior hovers between loyalty to tribe and loyalty to Rome. A death-haunted Druid challenges the gods themselves to ensure victory for his people. An old champion struggles for everlasting glory in the final battle against the legions. A fiery princess fights to salvage the pieces of her mother's dream as the ravens circle. A novel in seven parts, overlapping stories of warriors and peacemakers, queens and slaves, Romans and Celts who cross paths during Boudica's epic rebellion. But who will survive to see the dawn of a new Britannia, and who will fall to feed the ravens?

my thoughts:

A brutal and gruesome story of war. Boudica vs the might of the Empire of Rome. This is not a romanticized story of a frail queen who revolts against big, bad Rome, but of an indomitable warrior queen who rises up and dares to challenge the empire. (think Star Wars with a different ending).

For those who are unfamiliar with the history, Boudica is an Iceni (celtic) queen, wife of King Prastagus. He is a client king of Rome, meaning, he is allowed to remain in power as king as long as he bends to Roman will. He dies without a male heir, not a problem to the Iceni people, but a great problem to male dominated Rome. Boudica argues that she, as wife to the king, is the new ruler and will not bow down to Rome. The result? She is flogged, her two daughters raped. This sets the scene for a violent, brutal war.

We watch this war progress through the eyes and writings of seven very talented authors. This is not a one sided book. We, the readers, are witness to the fears and desires of both the Romans and the Iceni. In fact, my favorite character, Andecarus, son of Duro, is an Iceni male taken as a 'hostage' to Rome. He is raised in a roman household as a foster son. He returns to the Iceni as an adult and is compelled to fight alongside the Iceni. He, having been raised a roman, is not trusted by his countrymen. Caught between two worlds, he exemplified courage, strength and honor.

This is a tale told in multiple views, by very talented authors. Don't skip any of the stories, read them in order, as the expand upon the story with each passing page.

A Year of Ravens Authors

                       Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, and Russell Whitfield

Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney, & Russell Whitfield

Blog Tour Schedule

 Tuesday, December 8 Review at Book Lovers Paradise

  Wednesday, December 9 Review at I'm Shelfish

  Thursday, December 10 Review at Boom Baby Reviews

  Friday, December 11 Review at Historical Readings & Reviews

  Monday, December 14 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

  Tuesday, December 15 Review at CelticLady's Reviews

  Wednesday, December 16 Review at A Literary Vacation Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

  Thursday, December 17 Review at The True Book Addict Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, December 18 Review at Broken Teepee Review, Excerpt, & Interview at Unshelfish


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a Celtic inspired set of silver tone metal and red Swarovski crystal beads, including a necklace, bracelet, and earrings inspired by the setting of A Year of Ravens! Please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Rules  Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.  Giveaway is open to residents in the US and UK. 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 ñ Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. A Year of Ravens

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Thursday, December 3, 2015


A few days ago, I featured the book THE CONQUEROR'S WIFE, by Stephanie Thornton (One of my ALL TIME favorite authors).  Today we have the privilege of having a guest post by Ms. Thornton.  So,  welcome Stephanie... and a special thank you to Amy Bruno of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for allowing me to be part of this tour and for introducing me to the fabulous works of Stephanie Thornton.

It’s said that behind every strong man is a strong woman.

Well, there was a veritable army of fearsome (and sometimes downright terrifying) women flanking Alexander the Great.

The first, his mother Olympias, reputedly slept with snakes and eventually helped govern Macedon while Alex was off campaigning at the ends of the earth. Before Alexander became king, his father had threatened to make a younger son by a lesser wife his heir. Strangely enough, Philip soon dropped dead of an assassin’s blade and even more shocking, Olympias later congratulated and crowned that same assassin. People suspected Olympias’ involvement in the murder, but her son now sat on the throne so it wasn’t as if anyone was going to put her on trial. And if you can get away with murder once…

Well, let’s just say Olympias was the original Tiger Mom.

Next we have Roxana, Alexander’s Persian wife. It might come down to a coin toss to see who was more devious and cruel: Olympias or Roxana. Lovely Roxana was the daughter of a minor Persian noble and caught Alexander’s eye after he stormed the fortress at Sogdian Rock. The two were soon married and eventually Roxana birthed Alexander’s one and only legitimate son. (Too bad Alexander had dropped dead only months before, thus ushering in a bloody civil war.) Perhaps in a quest to outdo even Olympias’ brutality, Roxana was willing to commit any crime to keep her power.

Pretty, young Roxana could have given Lizzie Borden a run for her money.

Finally we have Thessalonike, Alexander’s sister. Ancient sources are fairly silent until Thessalonike made a power marriage, but she was daughter to one king, sister to another, and wife to a third. Her mother died shortly after her birth, leaving her to be raised by Olympias. (Poor unfortunate soul!) Yet rather than let her evil stepmother scar her for life, Thessalonike seemed to have learned political maneuvering at Olympias’ elbow. She bided her time until after Alexander’s death and helped quell the raging civil war as everyone fought for control of Alex’s empire. She went on to bear three sons and have a city, Thessaloniki, named after her.

So what’s the moral of the story if you’re mother, sister, or wife to one of the world’s greatest conquerors?

Be ready to play dirty, or hide on the sidelines until everyone else is dead.

Don't miss these other exciting novels by STEPHANIE THORNTON

The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora
by Stephanie Thornton 

Where Theodora went, trouble followed…

In sixth century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds, and rose from being a common theater tart to become empress of a great kingdom, the most powerful woman the Roman Empire would ever know. But the woman whose image was later immortalized in glittering mosaic was, in fact, a scrappy, clever, conniving, flesh-and-blood woman full of sensuality and spirit whose real story is as surprising as any ever told…

When her father dies suddenly, Theodora and her sisters face starvation on the streets. Determined to survive, Theodora makes a living any way she can—first on her back with every man who will have her, then on the stage of the city’s infamous amphitheater in a scandalous dramatization of her own invention. When her daring performance grants her a back-door entry into the halls of power, she seizes the chance to win a wealthy protector—only to face heartbreak and betrayal. 

Ever resilient, Theodora rises above such trials and by a twist of fate, meets her most passionate admirer yet: the Emperor’s nephew. She will thrive as his confidant and courtesan, but many challenges lie ahead. For one day, this man will hand her a crown. And all the empire will wonder—is she bold enough, shrewd enough, and strong enough to keep it?

Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
by Stephanie Thornton 

Egypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt...and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Horus Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall....

The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan
by Stephanie Thornton 

In the late twelfth century, across the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, brilliant, charismatic Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself the Great, or Genghis, Khan. But it is the women who stand beside him who ensure his triumph.... 

After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, gifted Borte becomes an outsider within her clan. When she seeks comfort in the arms of aristocratic traveler Jamuka, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man who agreed to marry her and then abandoned her long before they could wed.

Temujin will return and make Borte his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new kingdom. Their daughter, the fierce Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, will transform her desire for revenge into an unbreakable loyalty. And Sorkhokhtani, a demure widow, will position her sons to inherit the empire when it begins to fracture from within.

In a world lit by fire and ruled by the sword, the tiger queens of Genghis Khan come to depend on one another as they fight and love, scheme and sacrifice, all for the good of their family...and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls.

The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great
by Stephanie Thornton 

We are the women who loved Alexander the Great. We were lovers and murderers, innocents and soldiers.
And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.
Instead he was a god.

330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny.

His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander's boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia's throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side.

Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire more vast than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…