Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Win a Copy of " The Tudor Throne" by Brandy Purdy

Best selling author and writer of excellent Tudor Era historical fiction, Brandy Purdy, is offering us a chance to win a copy of her latest, soon to be published, novel - "The Tudor Throne ". This book will be published in the UK as "Mary and Elizabeth".

Head over to Brandy's blog for your chance to get your hands on a copy of this great new book!

I reviewed her last book, "The Boleyn Wife"....And thoroughly enjoyed it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"It Happened One Bite" by Lydia Dare

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  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402245077
Some of you may remember when I reviewed another book by this talented team "The Taming Of The Wolf" . If I was going to make a choice to buy - or not buy- these books based on the covers alone I can guarantee that they would not have made into my house. I am not, or so I have thought, a romance, bodice-ripper kind of gal. Lately, however, I have come to realize that many of my beloved historical fiction books are considered to be 'romance' books by those who are in a position to 'know' these categorizing details. I suppose then that it should come as no surprise that a very enjoyable book could also lurk between these rather tawdry covers. These are covers that make me want to consider buying a cover so that others won't see what I am reading!

"It Happened One Bite" is another utterly delightful romp into a romantic land where regular folks can inter-marry and co-mingle with  beautiful and handsome werewolfs (lycans) ,vampyers and witches.  This paranormal romance series is a delight; a rollicking romp through a world of romantic possibilities where every one's 'gifts' are appreciated and considered worthy.

Beautiful witch, Blaire Lindsey's brother Aiden inherits a key to the family inheritance of Briarcraig Castle in the Scottish Highlands. Unbeknownst to Blair,e this is the ancestral home of the "battle-born" witches. Blaire's mother was a battle-born and Lindsey inherited the battle-born legacy from her. Blaire had no knowledge about this family castle and found it odd that her mother had not passed down any information about it before her death. Blaire has heard rumor that the castle is haunted and, as soon as she and brother's enter the old rooms they feel a strange force at work.
 Blaire's brothers, Aiden and Brannock, did not inherit the same witchy qualities as Blaire has. They go about exploring the castle and the town; planning the cleaning and refurbishing of it and meeting and greeting some of the highland locals - even inviting two lovely young women and their father to dinner at the castle. No matter that the family does not, as yet, have a staff or operable kitchen. In the blink of a witches eye they're off to town to hire staff, a cook and supplies. In the meantime Blaire has discovered a locked basement room and, more to the point, she has heard odd sounds coming from the room.

What follows this puzzling discovery is a delightful tale of witches, battling vampyres (male and female) and werewolves (lycans) - that can all, when the proverbial chips are down, work together for the greater good. A love story between the last of the great battle ground witches and her vampyre love, James, Lord Kettering! There is a lot of action, love, and interaction of the species contained in the pages of this book - all of it thoroughly delightful -dare I say spell binding ! 

This series and these authors make me smile - and I want to read more of their inventive, rollicking good tales. If you can get away from the cover this is a truly entertaining, delightful book to while away a couple of the hours. You can't help but find yourself totally bewitched by the fun and imagination of it all!

Note: This book was provided to me by the publisher for the sole purpose of an honest  review. No other remuneration was received

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shaper Of Seattle" by William H. Wilson

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This review is long overdue much to my chagrin. Last year, as part of a Green Books campaign through EcoLibris, I was provided with a copy of this book. I chose this book because I live near Seattle and because it is the history of a place that always calls to me. I feel that we have to know where we have been in order to know where we're going - or where we even want to go. The same holds true for the history of a place.

This book follows the life of Reginald Heber Thompson, Seattle's city engineer 1892-1911,  and his vision of what Seattle was. Reginald was born in 1856 and his career path was quite set by 1877. The story of Seattle is intertwined with the life of Reginald Thompson - and a fascinating story it is.  Born in the East Thompson began his westward trek in 1877 when he took a train that landed him in Healdsberg, California to teach. He spent four years there before arriving in Seattle by steamer  in 1881. By 1884 he was appointed to the position of City Surveyor and, in 1892 he became the City Engineer.

The first things that Reginald Thompson tackled as Seattle's City Engineer were  the desperately needed  clean water supply and  power plant. Thompson found solutions to these and more problems that plagued the young city. Throughout his career Thompson continued to  build upon Seattle's infrastructure. He dredged waterways, reclaimed tidal flat lands, and installed bridges, tunnels and pavement. Though not without problems, Thompson's tenure as City Engineer proved to have been instrumental in developing the wonderful City Of Seattle into the Emerald City that many of us enjoy today.

Aside from being a 'green' book this is also a volume filled with wonderful photos  and maps of old town Seattle. This is not only the story of a man it is also the story of one of the Country's great cities - and of a time in history when the formation of Seattle reflected a more general westward migration . This book will appeal to Seattle and Washington residents of course, but it will hold strong appeal to all history, especially Western history, fans.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"I Am The Chosen King" by Helen Hollick

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  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402240669
  • SYNOPSIS:  The forgotten story of England’s last Saxon King. 
I find Helen Hollick's writing to be magical. As a confirmed lover of all things  European ,and of the 15th and 16th centuries, I didn't think that I would have much interest in the earlier history of Britain, let alone  11th century Saxon Britain------ that is until I read "The Forever Queen".
"I Am The Chosen King" begins in England in 1044 and follows the time line and lineage put forth in "The Forever Queen".  The first chapter begins as Queen Emma "The Forever Queen" still powerful at 54 years of age, watches as her firstborn, recently returned from exiled, son, Edward, is crowned King of England. Emma doesn't believe that the rather too delicate Edward (known as the Confessor) is fit to be King. She believes that he is as "as shallow and incompetent as his father, Athelred (Emma's first husband) had been.." . In this chapter we are also introduced to a young Earl, Harold Godwineson....thus begins the story of King Harold - the chosen King; the last Saxon King of England.

In this wickedly good read, Helen Hollick brings to life the Battle of Hastings from the English point of view "....and brings to life ... the story of the last Saxon King, revealing his ... love, determination and proud loyalty...shattered by the unforgiving needs of a Kingdom. Forced to give up his wife and risk his life for England, the chosen king led his army into the great Battle of Hastings in October 1066 with all the honor and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes...." . This last sentence is from the endpapers on the book and, I think, spells out the theme of the book better than I could paraphrase it!
Much of the action in this book is centered around battle preparations for the Norman invasion and the Battle of Hastings in October 1066. Harold, who became King after the death of Edward in January 1066, is married a beautiful commoner named Edyth. Because this is not a politically advantageous marriage he becomes pitted against his powerful family. In France, a bastard duke's son, William of Normandy, has become besotted with power and has set his sight on conquering England
This book is historically based and I think that Helen Hollick can well be called an expert on this time period. It has totally opened my eyes to this pivotal period in history when the shaping of England was, truly, in the balance. This is also a book that weaves history with romance and warfare in nearly equal measure. It's a book's that I simply have to re-read. That's how much I like it. It is, perhaps, not as much of a romance as "The Forever Queen" but, then again, the times surrounding the Battle of Hastings (fought at Senlac Hill near Hastings, East Sussex, England) were difficult and romances would have been, I think, been forced to a back burner as preparations for war were made.
I am now a confirmed fan of Saxon England! I am grateful to Ms. Hollick for bringing this fascinating period of history to lovers of great historical fiction. I will eagerly await more from this gifted writer. This book will, I think, appeal widely to fans of historical fiction, romance and, more to the point, those interested in the history behind the historic Battle of Hastings. There is much to be enjoyed in this book - and much history to read about on the side!