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!

Monday, December 22, 2014



Publication Date: October 15, 2014 Blank Slate Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback Pages: 324 Series:
Althaia of Athens Mystery Genre: Historical Mystery

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 All Althaia wants on her trip to Delphi is to fulfill her fatherís last wish. Finding the body of a woman in the Sacred Precinct is not in her plans. Neither is getting involved in the search for the killer, falling for the son of a famous priestess, or getting pulled into the ancient struggle for control of the two most powerful oracles in the world. But thatís what happens when Theron, Althaia's tutor and a man with a reputation for finding the truth, is asked to investigate. When a priest hints that Theron himself may be involved, Althaia is certain the old man is crazy ó until Nikos, son of a famous priestess, arrives with an urgent message. Theron's past, greedy priests, paranoid priestesses, prophecies, and stolen treasures complicate the investigation, and as Althaia falls for Nikos, whose dangerous secrets hold the key to the young womanís death, she discovers that love often comes at a high price and that the true meaning of family is more than a bond of blood.

Praise for Oracles of Delphi

Mysticism, murder and mystery in ancient Delphi: Marie Savage weaves intrigue and suspense into wonderfully researched historical fiction while introducing the reader to Althaia, a spirited Athenian woman with a flair for forensic detection (Elisabeth Storrs, author of The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice)

Oracles of Delphi is an original and compelling mystery. Savage's complex characters and deft writing shine as she pulls readers into the fascinating world of fourth century B.C. Greece. A wonderful debut! (Sarah Wisseman, author of the forthcoming Burnt Siena Flora Garibaldi art conservation mystery and the Lisa Donahue archaeological mystery series) 

It is hard to make a female character both strong and vulnerable, but Marie Savage has done just that with Althaia of Athens. Well done! (Cynthia Graham, author of the forthcoming Beneath Still Waters)

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About the Author02_Marie Savage_Author Photo

Marie Savage is the pen name of Kristina Marie Blank Makansi who always wanted to be a Savage (her grandmotherís maiden name) rather than a Blank. She is co-founder and publisher of Blank Slate Press, an award-winning small press in St. Louis, and founder of Treehouse Author Services. Books she has published and/or edited have been recognized by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), the Beverly Hills Book Awards, the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction, the British Kitchie awards, and others. She serves on the board of the Missouri Center for the Book and the Missouri Writers Guild. Along with her two daughters, she has authored The Sowing and The Reaping (Oct. 2014), the first two books of a young adult, science fiction trilogy. Oracles of Delphi, is her first solo novel. For more information visit Kristina Makansi's website and the Blank Slate Press website. You can also follow Krisina Makansi and Blank Slate Press on Twitter.

my thoughts

Murder, Mystery and Mayhem in Ancient Greece.

I couldn't wait to read this book, and quickly zipped through the story. This well written historical novel revolves around incidents occurring at Delphi. Sound familiar? Most people know of the Oracle at Delphi, but did you know of the cult of Gaia? The Earth Mother and Apollo sharing the same sacred land. Well, as you may guess, two powerful deities cannot share a sacred spot without problems. Murder...

The main characters of this novel are Althaia of Athens, a wealthy educated woman and Theron of Thessaly, a philosopher who assumes the role of ancient homicide detective, as well as a supporting cast of priestesses, priests, slaves and sycophants.

These characters are multi dimensional people. You, the reader, will have a vested interest in their personal lives. We become close to Althaia, Theron and the others and fear for them, we laugh with them and we cry with them. 

I must say, I followed the clues of this murder mystery, but at the end, I was flabbergasted. I never saw it coming!

Marie Savage uses the backdrop of ancient Greece to masterfully tell a story full of intrigue while educating us on the religions and myths of ancient Greece. She is a wonderful storyteller. She expertly spins a tale and will leave you stunned and on the edge of your seat!

I hope she continues to write as I anxiously await her next novel. 

Oracles of Delphi Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 8 Review at The Mad Reviewer Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, December 9 Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

  Wednesday, December 10 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

  Thursday, December 11 Interview at The Maiden's Court Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

  Monday, December 15 Review at Book Nerd

  Tuesday, December 16 Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

  Thursday, December 18 Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

  Monday, December 22 Review at Book Lovers Paradise

  Tuesday, December 23 Review at Book Babe

  Monday, December 29 Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

  Tuesday, December 30 Guest Post & Giveaway at The Book Binder's Daughter

  Thursday, January 1 Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

  Friday, January 2 Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

  Monday, January 5 Review at A Bookish Affair

  Tuesday, January 6 Review at Book Drunkard

  Wednesday, January 7 Review at bookramblings Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, January 9 Review at Book Dilettante

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As a bonus, I am including an excerpt of the book:

Delphi in the Region of Phokis
in the Month of Mounichion in the First Year
of the 110th Olympiad (340 BCE)

Chapter One
Nikos’s heart pounded against his rib cage like a siege engine. He pressed his back into the stone wall, closed his eyes and tried to calm his breathing. He couldn’t believe he’d been such a fool. “Next time I’ll surrender the prize,” Charis had always promised. Next time he would claim it, he always hoped. But instead….

He pulled himself to the top of the wall and lay flat. The moment of escape calmed him. The gates of the Sacred Precinct were locked, and he’d had to climb out the same way he’d climbed in. On the way out, though, he wasn’t carrying a body.

He glanced to his side, toward the theater, and then down to the Temple of Apollon where he’d left Charis’s body for the priests to find. Stars winked in and out as clouds drifted across the black dome blanketing the night sky. He crouched, reached for a nearby branch, and swung down to land on the ground with a soft thud.

It wasn’t the first time he’d taken a life. But he’d never killed a woman, never killed anyone unarmed. Not that he’d killed Charis. Not exactly, anyway. His shoulders, red with teeth and claw marks, throbbed. And his face. He ran his tongue across his lip. At least the bleeding had stopped.
He could still smell her. Still see how she licked her lips as she loosened her braids, taste the sweetness of her breast, and feel her hot breath as she put his fingers, one by one, in her mouth, wetting them, running her tongue over them, sucking gently until his whole body trembled. When she pulled him down into the soft pile of hay and wrapped her legs around his waist, he had been ready to give her anything—even the gold tiara. His partners would never know. There were other treasures from the Sacred Precinct to sell.

Of course, none of that mattered now. None of that mattered the moment he felt her brother’s blade against his throat and the trickle of blood drip across his collar bone. The moment Charis scrambled up from beneath him and laughed in his face. Brother and sister. What a pair. Charis’s brother had picked up the tiara and threatened to go to Nikos’s partners with proof he was double-dealing—unless he split his take fifty-fifty. And not just on the tiara. On everything. He’d still be a rich man, Charis promised, laughing.

Her brother was still laughing when Nikos’ dagger pierced his heart. Didn’t they know nobody bested him with a blade?

Before he could grab the tiara, Charis snatched it from her brother’s grasp and backed away. “You’ll pay for this,” she’d hissed, tears in her eyes, her voice sharp as serpent’s fangs. She held the tiara above her head, waving it like booty from a hard-fought battle. “I’ll tell Heraklios. I’ll tell everyone you killed him. I’ll tell your mother.”

She was cornered, wild-eyed, desperate. Nikos yanked his blade from her brother’s chest and circled her. “It’s your word against mine, and your brother’s reputation as a thief and a brigand will not help your cause.” She’d always been an untamed thing. That had been one of the reasons he’d wanted her, and he was used to getting what he wanted.

“Ha!” He laughed. “My mother may not love me, but she will not believe you. No one will.”
“She’ll believe me if I have proof. Proof you killed him, that you’re the one selling the stolen goods from the temple.”

“What proof will you have, Charis?” He spoke softly, trying to calm her. “Stop this nonsense. Your brother was foolish enough to hold a knife to my throat, and he paid the price. But we can come to terms.” He took a step forward, his hand held out to her. “Come. We can still do business, you and I.” He let a small smile flit across his lips, but kept his eyes on hers. He knew she was not to be trusted. He’d always known that, but still … he watched her, trying to anticipate her next move. He could wait all night, but she’d be expected at the naming ceremony. She’d be missed. “Phoibe is waiting. It’s time for us to come to an understanding. I’ll give you—”

She jumped at him and in an instant, fingernails scraping against skin, stole his most prized possession. She yanked the silver chain from around his neck and clasped the polished orb tight in her fist. He watched, too startled to stop her, too afraid of hurting her.

“Give it back.” He demanded, taking a step toward her. He held out his hand.

“No.” She scrambled backward. “When your mother sees this, she’ll know I’m telling the truth. She’ll know you murdered my brother. Everyone will have to believe me.”

“No one will believe you, Charis.” He took yet another step toward her. “Do you think I will let you leave with that?” He held out his palm. “Give it to me before we’re both sorry.”

“You’re the one who’ll be sorry.” Cornered, she crouched low like a cat ready to pounce.
Nikos took another step and stopped, waiting. He could easily overpower her and take the necklace back, but he didn’t want to hurt her. Unlike Diokles, he didn’t believe in violence unless his back was against a wall. Charis’s brother had been a different story. He’d held a weapon to Nikos’ throat. But Charis was different. An almost-lover, an almost-friend. But she had to know he wouldn’t let her take the necklace. To her, it was just another bargaining tool, and he’d play along until he got what he wanted.

Then she screwed up her face and spat at him, turned and darted out the open door of the storage shed. He looked down at his chest where the spittle was sprayed dark across the white fabric. She’s mad, he thought. He leapt after her, overtaking her quickly. He grabbed her shoulders and wrenched her around to face him. She fell back and he was on her, trying to pry the necklace from her clenched fist, but she kicked and bucked like an unbroken colt and then, wresting her arm free, she shoved the round silver ball and finely wrought chain into her mouth and clamped her jaw shut.

Stunned, it took him a moment to realize what she’d done. Then he grabbed her face and tried to pry her lips apart. She fought and scratched at his face, clamping her jaw shut even tighter as she struggled against him, clawing and growling like one who’d lost her senses.

She was possessed, and though he had no fear of the gods, there was something about her that scared him. Desperation flowed from her, charging the air like lightning. He could smell her fear; it wrapped around them both like a fetid fume. He sat back on his heels, but she reached for him, gurgling and gagging, eyes wide, arms whirling at him like windmills.

Then he knew. But it was too late. Too late to do anything to keep her from choking. He’d tried to hold her still, to pry open her jaw and grab hold of the chain to pull it free, but in her panic, she bit at him, clawed at him. “By the gods, Charis, stop! Don’t fight me,please,” he begged her. But she bucked beneath him, making it impossible to get a purchase on the chain. Did she think I wanted to kill her? Once she was still, he opened her mouth and probed her throat for the chain or the precious silver ball, but his fingers were too big, too awkward, even without her fighting him. He pulled her jaw wide and stuck his blade in, trying to catch the loop of the chain. But it was no use. Finally, he sat back and stared at her sprawled in the dirt. Hay and dust settled in her hair like a halo. He reached out and pulled her chiton down over her legs, and for the first time in more years than he could remember, he cried.

He could slice open her neck and retrieve his necklace, but he was reluctant to desecrate her body. Having grown up amongst priestesses who honored the dead and conducted burial rites with care and precision, it was a line he feared to cross. Damn her! He picked up his knife and held it poised above her neck, then slowly pressed the tip into the tender hollow at the base of her throat, the soft place his lips had lingered countless times. She’s dead; what does it matter? He steadied his hand and took a deep breath. It would be a clean cut, over in a moment, and he’d have his treasure back. The necklace is mine. She has no right to take it to the grave with her. He closed his eyes and prayed. In the distance an owl hooted and he jerked back his hand. An evil omen. He shuddered, then wiped his eyes and stood. So be it. I am a man now, he told himself. The necklace had been a boy’s trinket. The smooth silver ball and ornately crafted chain represented nothing more than a dream, a memory that wasn’t even his. It was time to let it go.

He’d gone back into the shed and retrieved Charis’s cloak, then picked her up and wrapped it around her. He didn’t care about her brother—the wolves were welcome to feast on his bones—but he wouldn’t leave Charis to be devoured like carrion. They had a history. They’d almost been lovers.
Now he cocked his head and listened. Not even a leaf rustled in an occasional spring breeze. Around him, Delphi slept shrouded in darkness. Under the new moon, dull patches of snow clung to nooks and crannies up and down the mountainside. The oracle wouldn’t start hearing supplicants for another few weeks, and without a swarm of pilgrims, Delphi was just another remote mountain village.
In the morning, Apollon’s priests would find Charis on the temple steps wrapped snug in her winter cloak. Philon and Kleomon would wait for her brother to claim her, and, after a few days, they would stop waiting and give the body to Phoibe for burial. Nikos’s treasured necklace would go to the underworld with her. Maybe it was just as well.

He took a deep breath and checked to make sure the gold tiara was still tied securely to his belt. Then he ran his fingers through his hair, brushed the dust from his clothes, and headed down the path toward the Dolphin’s Cove Inn.

If you enjoyed this excerpt...don't miss the book.  Links to purchase are listed above.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


02_A Grave Inheritance_Cover

Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Carina Press

Series: Goddess Born
Genre: Historical/Paranormal/New Adult/Romance

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Selah Kilbrid may descend from the goddess Brigid, but her heart beatsóand breaksóthe same as any human. Yet enduring the scorn of London's most noble lords and ladies is a small price to pay for a chance at true happiness. Selah would endure much more for love, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan, is prepared to challenge anyone foolish enough to stand in their wayóeven another goddess born.

But when a captivating young gentleman draws Selah into a world shadowed by secrets, she is forced to confront her darkest fears. What if some differences are too great to overcome and a future with Henry is doomed from the start?

With these doubts threatening her impending marriage and the very last of Brigid's fire draining from her soul, a violent attack on an innocent child pushes Selah to the very edge of her power. She must find a way to cross into the Otherworld and regain her strengthóor forfeit the streets of London to death and disease.

Buy the eBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Selah and Henry continue their story.  They are now in England, amid the discontented Princess Amelia (Henry's betrothed), most of London and King George...yes even the king is in on it.   

There are much darker forces at work.  An evil is keeping the two apart, this evil is after Selah...
We are introduced to many new characters throughout this book.  I loved most of them. 

Action, intrigue, adventure...this page turner has it all, as well as one incredible cliff hanger. Stay tuned for the third installment. 

If you enjoyed the first book, you will love this one..

About the Author03_Kari Edgren

Kari Edgren is the author of the Goddess Born series. In 2010 and 2011 she was a semifinalist for the Amazon Break Through Novel Award. In 2013, she was a RWA Golden Heart finalist. Ms. Edgren enjoys writing both historical and contemporary fiction, so long as thereís a spark of paranormal. She resides on a mountain top in the Pacific Northwest where she spends a great deal of time dreaming about the sun and torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts.

For more information please visit Kari Edgrenís website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgrenís Newsletter.

A Grave Inheritance Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 2
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 4
Review at A Book Geek
Review at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Friday, December 5
Spotlight at The Reader's Hollow

Monday, December 9
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, December 11
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Monday, December 22
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Friday, December 26
Review at The Book Nerd

Monday, December 29
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, December 30
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Thursday, January 1
Review at Mel's Shelves

Friday, January 2
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, January 5
Review at Book Babe
Review at The True Book Addict

Friday, January 9
Review at Romantic Historical Reviews

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014


02_A Grave Inheritance_Cover

Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Carina Press

Series: Goddess Born
Genre: Historical/Paranormal/New Adult/Romance

Add to GR Button

Selah Kilbrid may descend from the goddess Brigid, but her heart beatsóand breaksóthe same as any human. Yet enduring the scorn of London's most noble lords and ladies is a small price to pay for a chance at true happiness. Selah would endure much more for love, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan, is prepared to challenge anyone foolish enough to stand in their wayóeven another goddess born.

But when a captivating young gentleman draws Selah into a world shadowed by secrets, she is forced to confront her darkest fears. What if some differences are too great to overcome and a future with Henry is doomed from the start?

With these doubts threatening her impending marriage and the very last of Brigid's fire draining from her soul, a violent attack on an innocent child pushes Selah to the very edge of her power. She must find a way to cross into the Otherworld and regain her strengthóor forfeit the streets of London to death and disease.

Buy the eBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

About the Author03_Kari Edgren

Kari Edgren is the author of the Goddess Born series. In 2010 and 2011 she was a semifinalist for the Amazon Break Through Novel Award. In 2013, she was a RWA Golden Heart finalist. Ms. Edgren enjoys writing both historical and contemporary fiction, so long as thereís a spark of paranormal. She resides on a mountain top in the Pacific Northwest where she spends a great deal of time dreaming about the sun and torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts.

For more information please visit Kari Edgrenís website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgrenís Newsletter.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Heloise and Abelard

01_The Sharp Hook of Love
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Gallery Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 352

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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The first retelling of the passionate, twelfth-century love story since the discovery of 113 lost love letters between Heloise díArgenteuil and Pierre Abelardóthe original Romeo and Juliet.

"While I sleep you never leave me, and after I wake I see you, as soon as I open my eyes, even before the light of day itself." óAbelard to Heloise

Among the young women of twelfth-century Paris, Heloise díArgenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.

But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Notre-Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the loversí own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of historyís greatest romances, and to loveís power to transform and endure.

my thoughts:
Heloise and Abelard. .

I've thought of them as the original Romeo and Juliet. Their story full of wonder and sadness. Well this is a sad story.

The starcrossed lovers who could not catch a break.

Heloise is a strong, forward thinking woman in a time when women were quiet and not well educated. Abelard was a philosopher who became her teacher. They committed the ultimate sin by falling in love. Love a sin? Apparently so.

I can't say I was very sympathetic to Abelard. I found him to be selfish and less than amazing, however, I don't believe he deserved his punishment for love.

Heloise, on the other hand, was an amazing character. She was strong, charming and an empathetic character. I cannot understand, nor agree with some of her decisions.

The actual writings of the two are threaded throughout the book. I must admit, the short pieces of their letters to each other have me yearning to learn more about this couple.

I enjoyed this book and encourage anyone interested in romance or history to read this well written book.

would you like an excerpt from the book?
I think excerpts are a perfect way to 'try out' the book before deciding to buy and read.
So, here goes....from THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE.

His voice broke and quivered. “For one night with you, my love, I would give my life, which, without you, would be no life at all.”

His murmurs turned to whispers as he held me close, closer, kissing my ear, stroking my hair, my love, my lovely Heloise, words bubbling like a spring from his tongue. I, trembling against his chest, heard his heart’s beat and, playing like a song, his words more beautiful than any poem: my love my love my love.

The Sharp Hook of Love, page 79

But why would a man of his eminence sing in the place for me? My star might rise, but would never shine as brightly as his. A woman, I was only a pale moon in a world of suns, reflecting the light of men but emitting none of my own. What use had the sun for the moon? What use had Pierre Abelard for me?

The Sharp Hook of Love, page 17

When I lifted my gaze so shyly to his face, did he behold the
girl dancing inside me? Could he hear the music playing so
sweetly? At night, alone in the study of my uncle’s house, reading
the Porphyry assigned to me and writing my arguments, I would
hear that tune begin quietly, as if played by a distant piper, then
increase until it had filled me to overflowing and drowned out all
thoughts but those of Abelard. How intently he gazed into my
eyes as I spoke, pouring out my very soul to him in our long
talks. Who had ever listened to anything that I said? Who had
ever responded with smiles and compliments? With him, I
became utterly myself as never before—and, to my astonishment,
when I looked into his eyes like mirrors reflecting myself back to
me, I admired the person I beheld there. Thinking of him,
bathed in that sweet music, I would take up a new tablet and
write verses to accompany that tune—words not of feigned love,
as in our letters, but of the elation that had seized me on the day
we met, and which aroused my spirit more with every moment I
spent in his presence.

For him, I’d told myself, our letters made up an elaborate
game of elocution, and no more. Every teacher played similarly
with his scholars, writing letters as an exercise, an amusement.
Love? What had a philosopher to do with love?

To one who is sweeter from day to day, is loved now as much as
possible and is always to be loved more than anything. Standing in
the cathedral, reading these words, I felt a fullness in my chest, as
though my heart expanded. Who had ever loved me?

The Sharp Hook of Love, page 26

I could hardly hear myself think over my pulse’s throb. Heat
rose from him like breath. When he grasped my waist and pulled
me close to him, I thought I might burst into flame. A feral cry
escaped my lips.

Abelard slipped his arms around me and murmured my name,
a sound more delightful to my ear than angels’ harps. I knew I
should resist, but I had forgotten everything I had ever learned,
forgotten even God and that he watched us, or, rather, I did not
fear him. How could he be displeased, being the source of all

The rattle of the door latch caused us to fly apart. In the next
moment Abelard sat in his chair, stylus in his hand, and I had
turned to close the shutters of my window.

I had not yet smoothed my tunic or quelled the flush in my
cheeks when the door swung open and my uncle walked into the
room, a long switch of birch in his right hand. “I heard a cry.”

I averted my gaze from the switch and from his glittering eyes,
praying he would not notice my crimson face.

“I had to discipline your niece, as you predicted,” Abelard
lied. “We disagreed in our debate, and she called me a bouffe.
Forgive me for losing my temper, friend.”

“My niece must learn to control her tongue.” Uncle glared at
me. “I’m surprised you haven’t needed to correct her before now.”

Turning to Abelard, he added, “My niece can be most obstinate—
obstinate! She must learn to submit to authority, or she
will never succeed at Fontevraud. You will need to punish her
again, I am certain. But the cane you use on your scholars is too
harsh for a woman’s tender flesh.” Uncle held the switch out to

 “Thank you, Fulbert, my friend.” Will I ever forget the gleam
in Abelard’s eyes as he took the weapon in hand? “Heloise, be
forewarned. Do as I say—everything I say, or you will feel my

He lifted the long, quivering branch and lashed it in my direction.
I turned away; its tip grazed my backside, causing a brief,
sharp flicker of pain. Heat flooded my face, and my bottom tingled
where the switch had stung me. I looked down at my
clasped hands, hiding my sudden elation. Never had I felt so vividly
The Sharp Hook of Love, pages 84-85

Praise for The Sharp Hook of Love

"Heloise is the sort of heroine you cannot help rooting for: brilliant and naÔve, vulnerable and tough. The Sharp Hook of Love will have you up all night holding your breath as you turn each page." (Rebecca Kanner author of Sinners and the Sea)

"Jones weaves history and passion in a tale full of emotional heft that questions what it means to truly love someone..." (Kirkus Reviews)

"A sensual journey into twelfth century Paris. With a sharp eye for historical detail, Jones weaves an unforgettable, compelling tale about enduring love." (Lynn Cullen nationally bestselling author of Mrs. Poe)

"Passion and treachery mingle in Sherry Jones's explosive novel The Sharp Hook of Love. Wrenching and erotic, this is a grand romance in every sense of the word." (Mary Sharratt author of Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen)

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Simon & Schuster

About the Author02_Sherry Jones Author

Sherry Jones is the author of five biographical fiction books: The Sharp Hook of Love, about the famed 12th-century lovers Abelard and Heloise; The Jewel of Medina and The Sword of Medina, international ó and controversial ó best sellers about the life of Aíisha, who married the Muslim prophet Muhammad at age nine and went on to become the most famous and influential woman in Islam; Four Sisters, All Queens, a tale of four sisters in 13th century Provence who became queens of France, England, Germany, and Italy, and White Heart, an e-novella about the famous French ìWhite Queenî Blanche de Castille.

For more information please visit Sherry Jones's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Goodreads.

The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 24
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, November 28
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, November 29
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lusty Literate

Monday, December 1
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Mina's Bookshelf

Wednesday, December 3
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 4
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, December 5
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Feature at Romantic Historical Lovers
Interview at To Read or Not to Read

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pompeii, in all it's glory! PLUS a GIVEAWAY!!!

Please join historical novelists Vicky Alvear Shecter, Sophie Perinot, Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, and Stephanie Dray as they tour the blogosphere for A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, from October 27-December 5 with HF Virtual Book Tours!

In honor of the Blog Tour the authors have included a very special giveaway of a beautiful one-of-a-kind Roman style Necklace (18") and Earring set inspired by jewelry from the ancient world. Handcrafted of real carnelian, the most popular semi-precious gemstone of the ancient world, it was designed to commemorate the release of ìA Day of Fire.î Wear it yourself and imagine you are in Pompeii (not on the day of disaster of course), or, with the holidays approaching, it would make a great gift for a fan of ancient roman historical fiction.

01_A Day of Fire Cover
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Knight Media, LLC
eBook; 315p

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . . and these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets.
An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.
An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.
A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.
A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.
A priestess and a whore seek resurrection and redemption as the town is buried.

Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others' path during Pompeii's fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

my thoughts:
Who doesn't like a good story about Pompeii?  Well, in this book you get not one but SIX interwoven tales.  All stories contain dynamic characters who happened to be in Pompeii on that fateful day in 79AD.  (on 79CE).  Through these fantastic authors, we glimpse the day to day workings in an ancient Roman city.  We will visit the brothels, the amphitheater, and several other places.  We meet a Senator, both Pliny and Pliny the Younger, a prostitute and many many others.   

Usually in a book like this, I expect to find one or two stories to my liking.  In this book, all six were fantastic.   The descriptions of the volcano erupting are amazing.  We witness the courage and the fear of the poor people of Pompeii, unaware of the danger.

I encourage all to read this book.  If you are a fan of even one of these amazing authors, you may become a fan of the others!  

Pre-order/Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Authors

Stephanie Dray

STEPHANIE DRAY is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical womenís fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical Nile series about Cleopatraís daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt's ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Learn more at www.StephanieDray.com

Ben Kane Ben Kane

BEN KANE worked as a veterinarian for sixteen years, but his love of ancient history and historical fiction drew him to write fast-paced novels about Roman soldiers, generals and gladiators. Irish by nationality but UK-based, he is the author of seven books, the last five of which have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers.Benís books have been translated into ten languages. In 2013, Ben walked the length of Hadrianís Wall with two other authors, for charity; he did so in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. He repeated the madness in 2014, over 130 miles in Italy. Over $50,000 has been raised with these two efforts. Learn more at http://www.benkane.net

Eliza Knight Eliza Knight

E. KNIGHT is an award-winning, indie national best-selling author historical fiction. Under the name, Eliza Knight she writes historical romance and time-travel. Her debut historical fiction novel, MY LADY VIPER, has received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Historical Novel Society 2015 Annual Indie Award. She regularly presents on writing panels and was named Romance Writerís of Americaís 2013 PRO Mentor of the Year. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and a very naughty puppy. For more information, visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com.

Sophie Perinot

SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of the acclaimed debut, The Sister Queens, which weaves the story of medieval sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became queens of France and England respectively. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the groupís North American Conferences, serving as a panelist at the most recent. When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls, VA. Learn more at www.SophiePerinot.com

Kate Quinn Kate Quinn

KATE QUINN is the national bestselling author of the Empress of Rome novels, which have been variously translated into thirteen different languages. She first got hooked on Roman history while watching "I, Claudius" at the age of seven, and wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome. She and her husband now live in Maryland with an imperious black dog named Caesar. Learn more at http://www.katequinnauthor.com

Vicky Alvear Shecter Vicky Alvear Shecter

VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the award-winning author of the young adult novel, Cleopatraís Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The LA Times called Cleopatraís Moon--set in Rome and Egypt--"magical" and "impressive." Publisherís Weekly said it was "fascinating" and "highly memorable." Her young adult novel of Pompeii, Curses and Smoke (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), released in June 2014. She has two other upcoming books for younger readers, Anubis Speaks! and Hades Speaks! Vicky is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.vickyalvearshecter.com/main

A Day of Fire Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 27
Review at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, October 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 30
Review at leeanna.me

Monday, November 3
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, November 5
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, November 10
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Thursday, November 13
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Book Babe

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Reading the Past

Wednesday, November 26
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, November 28
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 1
Guest Post at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, December 4
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, December 5
Review at Let Them Read Books


To enter to win this beautiful one-of-a-kind Roman style Necklace (18") and Earring set, hand-crafted with real carnelion, and inspired by jewelry of the ancient world, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on December 6th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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about the book:

This groundbreaking book by brilliant debut author Sonja Sadovsky shines new light on how three profound minds shaped the course of history. The fantasy novels of Dion Fortune, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Diana L. Paxson influenced the image of the priestess in Neopagan and Goddess-centered spirituality throughout the world. The Priestess and the Pen shows how their work revolutionized womanhood, created space for women to reclaim their power, and energized the women's equality movement.

Presenting a radical reinterpretation of the Goddess as four-fold rather than three-fold, The Priestess and the Pen adds dimension and relevance to the traditional Triple Goddess archetype in a way that has never before been considered with such daring reverence. This revolutionary work is poised to become the foremost historical resource and contemporary interpretation of the Pagan priestess, taking up the torch of Drawing Down the Moon and Triumph of the Moon. 

Paperback, 240 pages

Expected publication: December 8th 2014 by Llewellyn Publications
ISBN 073873800X (ISBN13: 9780738738000)

my thoughts:

The Priestess and the Pen is a powerful piece of work. It is labeled "groundbreaking". This is a fair assessment of Sonja Sadovsky's book.

Using the writings of Pagan authors such as Dion Fortune, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana Paxson, Sadovsky explains each authors influence on goddess worship and modern paganism.

This is not light reading material. The reader must sit and concentrate on the subject at hand, but it will be worth it. Sadovsky was able to open my mind, broaden my thoughts and increase my understanding of her viewpoint. 

Some key ideas from the book:
"Priestess is a symbol of independent female authority, and a living link to the Goddess she serves."
There are four types of Priestess', each type is reviewed and explained in the book.
1. Earth Mother
2. Moon Mistress
3. Witch Queen
4. Warrior Queen

The Goddess herself is:
1. eternal
2. light and dark
3. maiden, mother and crone
4. dark mother of mystery.

Sadovsky further explains that the threefold goddess is not always accurate nor fitting. The goddess has a 4th face, "hidden but key to personal power and self identity."

The author herself sums up the Priestess and the Pen in the introduction by writing "Priestess and Pen focuses on the literary character of the Priestess in 20th century fiction"

I think she more than adequately succeeds in her goal. My understanding of Modern Paganism is greatly enhanced by reading this book and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in Paganism, or the works of the three spotlighted authors.

FYI- everything in quotation marks was directly quoted from Ms. Sadovsky's work, the PRIESTESS AND THE PEN.

Monday, November 10, 2014

THE TIGER QUEENS, by Stephanie Thornton....and a GIVEAWAY...from one of my FAVORITE authors.

02_The Tiger Queens 

Publication Date: November 4, 2014 | NAL Trade | Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

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In the late twelfth century on the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, following a violent feud between blood brothers, the victor Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself Genghis Khan. But behind one powerful man stand many strong womenÖ

After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, darkness looms over Borteís life. She becomes an outcast among her clan and after seeking comfort in the arms of an aristocratic traveler, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man she was betrothed to years ago but who abandoned her long before they could marry. And he will only leave her behind again.

Temujin will make Borte his khatun, his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new empire. Their daughter, a fierce girl named Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, seeks revenge against the Mongol barbarians who destroyed her city and murdered her family, but in the end will sacrifice everything to protect the Golden Family. Demure widow to Genghisí son, Sorkhokhtani positions her sons to inherit the Empire when it begins to fracture from within.

As Genghis Khan sets out to expand his conquests and the steppes run red with blood, Borte and the women of the clan will fight, love, scheme, and sacrifice, all for the good of their family and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls...

Praise for The Tiger Queens

"A gripping epic of sacrifice, revenge, and conquestÖkept me riveted from beginning to end!" --Michelle Moran, bestselling author of The Second Empress

ìFrom under the felted ger tents of Genghis Kahn emerge four powerful women. It is a testament to Thorntonís writing prowess that she can so intricately whittle heroines that are both compassionate and ruthless from the bones of our ancestors...a stunning achievement!" -- Barbara Wood, New York Times bestselling author of The Serpent and the Staff and Rainbows on the Moon

"A vivid depiction of warrior women tough as the harsh, windswept steppes which nurtured them and who, as the warring Mongol clans battle for supremacy, survive... to ensure their men emerge the victors. Gripping stuff!" --Alex Rutherford, author of the Empire of the Moghul series

"A sprawling historical saga centering on the wives and daughters of Genghis Khan. These bold, courageous women make tremendous sacrifices in the face of danger, revenge and high-stakes survival, all in the name of family love and loyalty. Be prepared to be swept away by Thorntonís richly drawn epic of an empire and its generational shifts of power.î --Renee Rosen, author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants

ìThey were the Golden Family of Genghis Khan. Yet their lives were anything but golden as they struggled to hold together the very center of the largest empire the world has ever known. An empire that was built in one lifetime, and would have been destroyed in the next had it not been for the wives and daughters of the Great Khan. This is historical fiction at its finest.î -- Gary Corby, author of The Marathon Conspiracy

"Three generations of strong women live, love, suffer, and triumph in a fresh and gritty settingóGenghis Khanís forging of an empire in thirteenth century Mongolia. Marginalized in most histories, these Mongol mothers and daughters, empresses and slaves, claim their voices again in Stephanie Thorntonís The Tiger Queens. Unusual and imaginative!" --Elizabeth Loupas, author of The Second Duchess and The Red Lily Crown

ìStunning. The Tiger Queens sweeps the reader into the ruthless world of Genghis Khan's wives and daughters with a gritty realism as intense as the eternal blue sky and blood-soaked steppes. Vivid characterization and top-notch writing. This story of strong women, their enduring friendships and passions give a rare glimpse into a shadowy period of history. A worthy successor to Taylor Caldwell's The Earth is the Lord's.î --Judith E. French, author of The Conqueror, The Barbarian, and The Warrior

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

About the Author

03_Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

"The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora" and "Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt" are available from NAL/Penguin. "The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan" will hit the shelves November 4, 2014, followed by "The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great" in November 2015.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

my thoughts;

Stephanie Thornton is one of my favorite authors.   
Prior to reading this novel, I had little knowledge of Genghis Khan.  However, I chose to read and review this book because it was authored by Ms. Thornton.

I was astounded!  This is perhaps her best book yet. 

Ms. Thornton likes to write about strong, empowered women of history.  The Tiger Queens focuses on several women connected to Genghis.   His Empress,  his daughter, and daughter in law.  This is a story about women who lived and thrived in a man's world.  Women of substance, strength and power.  You will fall in love with these women, you will envy and encourage them.  You will cry with them, laugh with them and triumph with them.  Don't get me wrong, there are also one or two characters that will set your teeth on edge..

Genghis himself is quite a character.  We watch him grow from young boy to old man.  I've always thought of him, and his people as mindless marauders.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  

I encourage anyone with a love of history and strong women to read this novel.  It will leave you thirsting for more by Stephanie Thornton.

open to US residents.  Simply leave a comment and I will chose a winner at the end of the blog tour.

The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 1
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 2
Review at Let Them Read Books

Monday, November 3
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 4
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 5
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, November 6
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, November 7
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Scandalous Women

Monday, November 10
Review at Reading the Past
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, November 11
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, November 12
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 13
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, November 14
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, November 17
Review at Turning the Pages

Tuesday, November 18
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, November 19
Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, November 20
Review at Layered Pages

Friday, November 21
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, November 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Tuesday, November 25
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, November 26
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Friday, November 28
Review at Book Babe

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Such Thing as Perfect



Author: Sarah Daltry


College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect. For Lily Drummond, life is about following the rules. To be specific, her mother’s rules. College fit into the plan – maintain perfect grades, date the perfect guy, and live the perfect life. On her own, though, Lily realizes that she doesn’t actually have a plan. Without being told what to think and do, she keeps making mistakes. Away from home, the perfect facade is beginning to shatter. When Lily herself starts to break, it’s the support of an unlikely friend that teaches her how much of a lie perfect really is – and how to be whole on her own terms. Release Date: December 12, 2014 (tentative) Preorders to be available in November unless something changes. trailer

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qo-riKNlss]

name’s Lily and James Naismith ruined high school for me,” I offer. It’s too hot in this room. The window fan is blowing nothing but heat over us, along with some old dust or dirt from the window. It makes the noise of plastic that is being asked to do more than plastic can do; the fan’s cheapness makes it too weak to be a fan and it groans with its own failure. I’m not good with social events. This is some kind of mandated floor meeting for all new students and I’m sitting in the middle of my RA’s room with ten other girls, all of us in pajama pants, and trying to sound interesting. “I mean, he didn’t personally. I think he died almost a hundred years ago,” I stutter. “So why don’t you explain how the inventor of basketball did ruin high school then?” one girl asks. She’s angry, but I don’t know her. I don’t know anyone, except my roommate Kristen and so far all I know about her is that she’s majoring in education, she brought the fridge, and she’s decorated her side of our dorm room to look like the inside of a Pepto-Bismol bottle. This girl doesn’t want to hear my story. She doesn’t want to be here, but I don’t, either, and now that I’m here, I was the one dumb enough to open my mouth. “It was gym class,” I try to explain. “I don’t know. Something about ed reform. We had homework and tests and all that in gym now and I’d been up all night writing an essay about James Naismith. I hadn’t slept and I was in a rush trying to make the bus that morning.” It had been cold, the rushing towards winter that mirrors the years that aren’t like this one. This is one where summer lingers and it resists every attempt to make it yield to fall. I remember the leaves were already falling that year, even though it was only early September. Some years it seemed like they were in a greater rush to die. In the moments between life, each leaf took its suicidal leap and fell slowly while no one noticed. We always only notice when they’re all dead and suddenly the sky hangs on us and we crave shade. The bus was about to pull away from the curb near my house and I cried out for it, running faster and slipping on a clump of leaves. The entire patch was squishy. I wondered as I fell if I had taken out a small family of worms in my descent. My outfit was ruined, but it wasn’t the clothes that scared me… “I tripped on leaves and fell on the driveway hard. The gravel left a slash along my cheek and it looked like someone had punched me. That was the day of school pictures, which we used for the yearbook and our IDs. Not to mention the fact that my mom…” I can’t finish. I don’t want to take about my mother. I certainly don’t feel like confiding in these girls about how disappointed she was that I had ruined everything. It wasn’t my fault that fall had come early, but I ruined the pictures and in her album of school photos, my freshman year still remains a giant, empty black page. A constant reminder that I will never be whole, never be perfect, never be what she wanted. “What about your mom?” someone else asks. “Nothing.” I don’t want to tell my story anymore. I want the fan to stop trying. I want it to be tomorrow and the day after and any day when I can start in the morning and get through to night without making a mistake. It’s dropped, though, anyway, because Ellie, the RA, turns to someone else who is pocketing a handful of condoms. “You don’t need to take them all,” she barks. “I have plenty, but other people practice safe sex, too. Unless you’re planning on having a massive orgy tonight, you can probably come back and get some later.” The condom hoarder blushes and returns half her pile and the floor meeting turns back to pointless small talk and ice breakers that no one wants to be a part of. The fan clicks another meaningless rotation. I’ve been a college student for six hours now and I’ve never been so lonely in my entire life.


Sarah Daltry is a YA author, hardcore gamer, sarcastic nerd, and obsessive Anglophile who watches too much BBC TV. She is the author of Backward Compatible: A Gamer Geek Love Story, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Modern Reimagining, Bitter Fruits, and the upcoming YA fantasy, Dust. No Such Thing as Perfect was inspired by Sarah's original Flowering series, but is a completely different take on similar concepts. When she's not writing, Sarah spends a lot of time with her Xbox and her cats.