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!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

THE MEDICI BOY...one year anniversary

It's the one year anniversary of a fantastic book.  

about the book:

The worlds of art, politics and passion collide in John L’Heureux’s masterful new novel, The Medici Boy. With rich composition, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s Renaissance Italy—directly into his bottega, (workshop), as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant. While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to Agnolo’s brutal murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save the life of Donatello, even if it means the life of the master sculptor’s friend and great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici. John L’Heureux’s long-awaited novel delivers both a monumental and intimate narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With incisive detail, L’Heureux beautifully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the powerful and highly competitive Medici and Albizzi families. The finished work is a sumptuously detailed historical novel that entertains while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence. 

I will repost my review of this fantastic novel.

To begin, I was given a copy of this book for review. I was neither asked,nor encouraged to write a positive review.

Now, with housekeeping out of the way, I truly enjoyed this novel.
The Renaissance period is amazing..and this book is no exception.
We see the inner workings of the workshop of the great Donatello, through the eyes of Luca Matteo.
Luca is a young man who, himself, is fascinated by the great Donatello. 

We learn about the fine artisanship that occurs in the master's workshop, we learn about several high placed renaissance individuals (Cosimo de Medici) and we come to know the master himself.

Mostly, this is a book about forbidden love. We watch as Donatello creates his DAVID statue, while he himself, the mighty Goliath of this time is being brought to his knees by his love for the model for David.

I found myself feeling pity for the great master, as well as for Luca, the teller of the story.

I give this book 4/5 stars and encourage anyone interested in art, or Renaissance Florence to read this well written book. You will not be disappointed. But...if you can't tolerate gore, skip over the part about the cat..

Now, the author has graciously offered an excerpt:


IT IS RIGHT and just to confess at the very start that it was fornication that took me out of the Order of Friars Minor and set me on the path of sin. I am an old man—perhaps sixty-seven—and make this confession at leisure and in detail since, imprisoned in this monastery, I have nothing left but time. And, to speak truly, I write this for pleasure as well. Having long left behind me the possibilities of lusting and loving, I find satisfaction in watching my quill move across the page. There is no waste; I use the reverse side of paper that has already been ruined by false starts, ink stains, the wanton mistakes of inattentive copyists. On the finer side of this confession, blotted, you will find Holy Scripture, a nice irony. I have myself served as copyist—and do yet—and I know it is easy to err, even in the service of God.

The unwanted son of a rich merchant and his Dalmatian slave girl, I was taken in by a dyer of wool and consigned as a boy to the Fratelli of Saint Francis where I proved a failure as a monk. Later I failed as a painter and still later as a sculptor. From birth I have been a creature of lust and misadventure and I have continued on in the usual way of men who have come to nothing. Thus I have no claim to your attention. I can make none. I presume to write this only because of my long association with two men: the cattivo Agnolo Mattei who is burning now in hell, God have mercy, and Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, my master, whom the whole world reveres today as Donatello, the greatest sculptor of our time.

I was born—perhaps—in the year 1400, a time of great portents that the world was ending. It rained blood in Orvieto, there was a plague of frogs in Pisa, in Florence fire was seen in the sky for three nights sequent. It is said that in Paris a two-headed baby was born speaking Latin and Greek, but that of course was harmless folly, and in any case the world continued on as wise and foolish as it had always been. No worker in dyes knows the date of his birth, though everyone remembers the turn of one hundred years, and it is certain many unwanted sons were born in 1400 and so perhaps was I. My mother, Miryam, was a Dalmatian slave in the house of a rich merchant of Prato, and when it was clear that he had made her pregnant, he married her off—with a persuasive dowry of forty florins and a chest of bed linen—to a wool dyer in the Via dei Tintori. Thus was I born, officially legitimate, to Matteo Franchi and his new wife, Miryam, who two days after my birth died of the Black Pest. The pestis atra, the Black Pest, has marked the most important moments of my life. It was the Black Pest that carried off my mother two days after my birth and it was the Black Pest that released me for a time from the Rule of
Father Saint Francis and I used to think—but no longer—that in the end the Black Pest would see me off, swollen and foul smelling, to the silence that never ends. But I cannot repent its ill favors since it was the Black Pest that brought me, hastened on by my sins, to the bottega of my lord Donatello.
* * *
John L’Heureux is an award-winning poet, novelist, short story writer, and has taught at Georgetown University, Tufts, Harvard, and (for more than 35 years) in the English Department at Stanford University where he was Lane Professor of Humanities.  There he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and earned it again in 1998.
A prolific writer, L’Heureux has written more than twenty books of fiction, short fiction and poetry.  His works have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and have been included in dozens of anthologies including Best American Stories and Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards. John L’Heureux has twice received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2006 he was awarded a Guggenheim Grant to do research for The Medici Boy, his new novel.
He is retired and lives in Palo Alto with his wife Joan.
Book Buy Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1kBnJ2g 

Thursday, March 5, 2015


02_The Witch of Painted Sorrows Cover

Publication Date: March 17, 2015 Atria Books Formats: Hardcover, Ebook Pages: 384 Genre: Historical Mystery
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 Possession. Power. Passion. International bestselling novelist M.J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this erotic, gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle epoque Paris. Sandrine Salome runs away to her grandmother's Parisian mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it's dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine's deepest desires. Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten ñ her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She's become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse. This is Sandrine's wild night of the soul, her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love and witchery.

Praise for the novels of M.J. Rose

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

"Rose's new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris a perfect match for the author's lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers hungry for the next volume. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting. "(Kirkus Reviews)

"A haunting tale of possession."(Publishers Weekly)

The Collector of Dying Breaths

"Breathtaking...combines fascinating history, torrid romance and a compelling mystery into a marvelous package that will entice fans of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon." (Associated Press)
 "A page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be charmed by her well-drawn and memorable characters, and they will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey." (Library Journal (starred))
 "A terrific piece of entertainment." (CT Post)
 "Wondrously original... elegantly written. Rose manages to utterly suspend our disbelief in a book that leaves us, appropriately enough, breathless." (Providence Journal)
 "Mysterious, magical, and mythicalÖwhat a joy to read!" (Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants)


"Atmospherically romantic and perfectly toned. Classy and elegant literary seduction of the highest measure. As wondrously crafted as it is original." (Providence Journal)
 "Readers will be enchanted by M.J. Rose's supernaturally charged novel Seduction, inspired by Victor Hugo's self-imposed exile on the British island of Jersey in the 1850s." (USA Today)
"Has just about everything a thriller fan could wish for."(Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Full of well-researched history, the paranormal, and modern intrigue, this atmospheric tale of suspense is fully engrossing to those willing to suspend their disbelief." (Library Journal (starred review))

The Book of Lost Fragrances

"A compelling page turner...Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted." (Associated Press)
 "M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself." (Laura Lippman)
 "The Book of Lost Fragrances resonates with spirit, blending myth with reality, tragedy with triumph, pain with joy. You'll find yourself questioning everything you believe--and wanting more." (Steve Berry)
" Provocative in a sweeping sense of romance [and] history."(Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Buy the Book

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About the Author03_M.J. Rose Author

M.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.

my thoughts:

I love the cover of this book.  Anyone who looks at the cover will be drawn to the story inside, and what a story!  Unique and entertaining.

.. This book had me on the edge of my seat from beginning until it's amazing end.   I loved this book.   The main characters are fantastic.  Imagine having a famous courtesan as your grandmother, and living in Paris in a 'haunted house'.  I'm not going to give too much away, just believe me, you have to read this book.  Sandrine is a character the reader will love and one with whom a reader can easily identify. Her life is not a storybook, more like a train wreck.  She's married to a man she despises, recently loses her father, and moves to Paris to be with a grandmother she barely knows.  A grandmother who seems less than thrilled to see her.   Intrigue, power, ghosts, art,  it's all here.

   This book is a masterpiece!