Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis

Pub. Date: May 2005
Format: Paperback, 528pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city's opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare's irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias' sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Upcoming Release: Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain

Pub. Date: July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 544pp
Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
They say I'm mad and perhaps it's true.
It is well known that lust brings madness and desperation and ruin. But upon my oath, I never meant any harm. All I wanted was to be happy, to love and to be loved in return, and for my life to count for something.
That is not madness, is it?

So begins the story of Eleanor Glanville, the beautiful daughter of a seventeenth-century Puritan nobleman whose unconventional passions scandalized society. When butterflies were believed to be the souls of the dead, Eleanor's scientific study of them made her little better than a witch. But her life-set against a backdrop of war, betrayal, and sexual obsession-was that of a woman far ahead of her time.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Suddenly Sunday

Since The Sunday Salon is closed to new members, I have created my own weekly event of Suddenly Sunday! Feel free to join in the fun, just link back to this blog :)
Hi everyone, I hope you have had a good week! Can you believe it's the last Sunday of April! Summer is fast approaching, and so is the warm weather; I have all the windows open right now and it is so beautiful outside. This wonderful weather has been quite a distraction to my reading, hopefully we will buy a patio table soon so I can read outside :) 

Two reviews went up this week:

In my mailbox for review: 

Don't forget to check out my two current giveaways!

Have a great week everyone & happy reading!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Book Review: The Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullany

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)

 "Regency heiress Philomena Wellesley-Clegg has rather strong opinions about men and clothing. As to the former, so far two lords, a viscount, and a mad poet have fallen far short of her expectations. But she is about to meet Inigo Linsley, an unshaven, wickedly handsome man with a scandalous secret. He's nothing she ever dreamed she'd want—why then can she not stop thinking about how he looks in his breeches?
A delightful marriage of Pride and Prejudice with Bridget Jones's Diary, Janet Mullany's The Rules of Gentility transports us to the days before designer shoes, apple martinis, and speed dating—when great bonnets, punch at Almack's, and the marriage mart were in fashion—and captivates us with a winsome heroine who learns that some rules in society are made to be broken."

My Review:

Philomena Wellesley and Inigo Linsley are two very opinionated people who have a certain dislike for each other from the start. Although they might irritate one another, they do have one thing in common, the desire to evade their disagreeable marriage prospects. When one of Philomena's suitors finally manages to gain her fathers blessing for their marriage, she is distraught. To her immense and shocking pleasure, Inigo swiftly proposes a false engagement, which will give them both a means to find their own happiness...

As Philomena and Inigo act out their false engagement, they start to realize it might be a bit more difficult then they first expected. As secrets are revealed and emotions run high, even more is at stake then when they began this charade; for now, their hearts have been thrown in the mix...

With unspoken feelings, denied passions and devastating misunderstandings, hearts are broken and rash actions are taken. Philomena soon finds herself in a dire situation with no hope for escape, but when Inigo learns of her plight he will risk everything to save and win back the woman he just might have fallen in love with...

This was a cute and delightful read. Told from the perspective of both Philomena and Inigo, it gave the reader a chance to have a complete and satisfying vision of the story. Another enjoyable aspect of the book were the witty comments. There were many subtle remarks and thoughts that were amusing and often I found myself laughing throughout. Although this is an easy read with a more basic plot, the end did have a few unexpected twists that not only brought new information but completed some random events in the beginning, creating a very satisfying conclusion. I am exceedingly happy that I chose to read this book after having it for so long; it was just the type of book to read on a relaxing spring day.

I also reviewed this over at Royal Reviews!

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: White Rose Rebel by Janet Paisley

Pub date: March 2008
Format: Hardcover 40pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
White Rose Rebel tells the riveting and turbulent story of the historical figure known as "Colonel Anne"--Scottish heroine and female "Braveheart"--who risked everything for the love of her country and its rightful king.

Anne Farquharson, a tempestuous and independentminded daughter of Scotland, is elated when the Jacobites rebel in 1745, fighting to regain the Stuart throne of Scotland for Bonnie Prince Charlie, and horrified when her husband, Aeneas Macintosh, joins the English army. She raises his clan and, with her previous lover at her side, joins the uprising to become its legendary "Colonel Anne." Incorporating fascinating historical detail about the military role of Scottish women during the eighteenth century, Janet Paisley creates a marvelously entertaining tale of this extraordinary young woman who used her heart, sexuality, intellect, and sword to defend her people.

Rich in intrigue and period detail and with a compelling cast of characters certain to captivate fans of Philippa Gregory, White Rose Rebel marks the exciting debut of a wonderfully fresh and vivid voice in historical fiction, as it explores the grand themes of civil war, women's rights and national identity, love and marital discord, loyalty and betrayal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's New Wednesday: A Look at next Weeks New Releases

Pub date: April 27th
Format: Paperback 352 pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
When young Mary Howard receives the news that she will be leaving her home for the grand court of King Henry VIII, to attend his mistress Anne Boleyn, she is ecstatic. Everything Anne touches seems to turn to gold, and Mary is certain Anne will one day become Queen. But Mary has also seen the King's fickle nature and how easily he discards those who were once close to him. . .

Discovering that she is a pawn in a carefully orchestrated plot devised by her father, the duke of Norfolk, Mary dare not disobey him. Yet despite all of her efforts to please him, she too falls prey to his cold wrath. Not until she becomes betrothed to Harry Fitzroy, the Duke of Richmond and son to King Henry VIII, does Mary finds the love and approval she's been seeking. But just when Mary believes she is finally free of her father, the tides turn. Now Mary must learn to play her part well in a dangerous chess game that could change her life--and the course of history.

Pub date: April 27th
Format: Paperback 384pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
From an obscure country parsonage came three extraordinary sisters, who defied the outward bleakness of their lives to create the most brilliant literary work of their time. Now, in an astonishingly daring novel by the acclaimed Jude Morgan, the genius of the haunted Brontës is revealed and the sisters are brought to full, resplendent life: Emily, who turned from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination; gentle Anne, who suffered the harshest perception of the stifling life forced upon her; and the brilliant, uncompromising, and tormented Charlotte, who longed for both love and independence, and learned their ultimate price.

Pub date: April 27th
Format: Hardcover 432pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
In this astonishing novel, a brilliant mélange of fact and fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams, and sorrows of literature’s most famous sisters—and imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectedly found Charlotte Brontë.

During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of life’s splendors—travel, literature, and art. Now, back home in the Yorkshire moors, duty-bound to a blind father and an alcoholic brother, an ambitious Charlotte refuses to sink into hopelessness. With her sisters, Emily and Anne, Charlotte conceives a plan to earn money and pursue a dream: The Brontës will publish. In childhood the Brontë children created fantastical imaginary worlds; now the sisters craft novels quite unlike anything written before. Transforming her loneliness and personal sorrow into a triumph of literary art, Charlotte pens her 1847 masterpiece, Jane Eyre.

Charlotte’s novel becomes an overwhelming literary success, catapulting the shy and awkward young woman into the spotlight of London’s fashionable literary scene—and into the arms of her new publisher, George Smith, an irresistibly handsome young man whose interest in his fiercely intelligent and spirited new author seems to go beyond professional duty. But just as life begins to hold new promise, unspeakable tragedy descends on the Brontë household, throwing London and George into the background and leaving Charlotte to fear that the only romance she will ever find is at the tip of her pen. But another man waits in the Brontës’ Haworth parsonage—thequiet but determined curate Arthur Nicholls. After secretly pining for Charlotte since he first came to work for her father, Arthur suddenly reveals his heart to her. 

Pub date: May 1st
Format: Paperback 800pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
A Burning Desire for One Country, One Love, and One Legacy That Will Last Forever.

Llewelyn, prince of Gwynedd, dreams of a Wales united against the English, but first he must combat enemies nearer home. Llewelyn and his brothers-Owen Goch, Rhodri, and David-vie for power among themselves and with the English king, Henry III. Despite the support of his beloved wife, Eleanor, Llewelyn finds himself trapped in a situation where the only solution could be his very downfall...

Originally published in England as four individual novels, The Brothers of Gwynedd transports you to a world of chivalry, gallant heroes, and imprisoned damsels; to star-crossed lovers and glorious battle scenes; and is Edith Pargeter's absorbing tale of tragedy, traitors, and triumph of the heart.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Giveaway Update!!!

Thanks to the generosity of author Kate Quinn, I have a second copy of Mistress of Rome up for grabs in my current giveaway! To enter for a chance to win this splendid novel, enter here:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Masterpiece Monday

Christina Robertson. Portrait of Grand Duchesses Olga Nikolaevna and Alexandra Nikolaevna. 1840

Book Review: The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"In this exhilarating cross between The Da Vinci Code and The Birth of Venus, an irrepressible young woman in 15th-century Italy must flee for her life after stumbling upon a deadly secret when she serves as a model for Botticelli...
When part-time model and full-time prostitute Luciana Vetra is asked by one of her most exalted clients to pose for a painter friend, she doesn't mind serving as the model for the central figure of Flora in Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece "Primavera." But when the artist dismisses her without payment, Luciana impulsively steals an unfinished version of the painting--only to find that somone is ready to kill her to get it back.
What could possibly be so valuable about the picture? As friends and clients are slaughtered around her, Luciana turns to the one man who has never desired her beauty, novice librarian Brother Guido. Fleeing Venice together, Luciana and Guido race through the nine cities of Renaissance Italy, pursued by ruthless foes who are determined to keep them from decoding the painting's secrets.
Gloriously fresh and vivid, with a deliciously irreverent heroine, The Botticelli Secret is an irresistible blend of history, wit, and suspense."

My Review:
Luciana Vetra is a girl who lives day by day. Abandoned at a young age, she succumbs to life on the streets and the occupation of prostitute. When given the opportunity to model for one of the famous painters of the city, Luciana is thrilled at the idea of her beauty being admired by all and the prospect of a chance for something greater in life...

Unfortunately, the painting session is not as lucrative as Luciana imagined; a startling situation takes place and she is cast out with her only payment being confusion and shock. Angered at modeling all day and receiving no proper payment, Luciana steals the painting she modeled for. She immediately feels the pettiness of her action and is determined to return the art, but little does she know that her theft has already resulted in some deadly consequences...

Thrown into a web of political intrigue and vile murder, Luciana must discover what secret she has stumbled upon with the stolen painting. Forced to make rash decisions, live moment to moment, and flee shrouded murderers across the country, Luciana must unravel this mystery and save innocent lives from unthinkable destruction...

While reading this novel, I was constantly undecided weather I liked it or not; but even in those moments of dislike there was always something that kept me wanting to read further. The plot was very complex and well thought out, and even though it seemed a bit far stretched at times, it always kept the reader guessing with its many twists. I had a couple issues with this novel, with the most prominent one being the main character. Luciana was a very crass figure who's language was quite vile, even for that of a prostitute. No matter how much I tried, I found it impossible to have positive feelings towards her. This inability to connect with Luciana might have been less apparent if not for the abrupt beginning, which is my second issue. The reader is thrown into the intense plot right from the start, and there is no time to gain any understanding of Luciana's harsh character. This abrupt start also had an unfortunate result of giving the reader a disconnected feeling, never feeling submerged in the story and just simply reading a book. Although these issues were very frustrating, I am very happy that I finished the book because the ending was great. It brought closure to every aspect and left the reader happy with the conclusion. This great ending managed to ease my frustrations and brought my rating up to a solid 3 stars. 

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I received this book for review from the publisher. As always, these are my own opinions.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Suddenly Sunday

Since The Sunday Salon is closed to new members, I have created my own weekly event of Suddenly Sunday! Feel free to join in the fun, just link back to this blog :)

Hi everyone, I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday! It was really nice to have some awesome friends down for a visit over the weekend; and thanks to some lovely weather, we went to the lake for the first time this year. Another exciting thing for me over the weekend was scapbooking! It was so fun to be able to scrapbook with such a wonderful friend, and although we probably talked more then anything, it was priceless. I am definitely looking forward to this week; going to be starting a great book tonight, the weeks weather forecast is great and this weekend is the rodeo :) I have only been to a rodeo once before, but I remember how much I enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to my little girls reaction to all the animals. Well, enough talk about my personal week, lets see what went on here this week!

I was happy to be apart of the blog tour for Christy English's new novel, The Queen's Pawn, this week. If you happened to miss any of it, here is everything that went on here:

Also reviewed on Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog for the week was:

Arriving for review:

Have a great week and happy reading!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Firemaster's Mistress by Christie Dickason

Pub. Date: September 2008 (In Stores Now)
Format: Paperback, 544pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
England in the early reign of James I: an unsteady nation adapts to its new king; Shakespeare labors over the tragedies of Othello and Macbeth; bearbaiting is a popular diversion . . . and Guy Fawkes, with a small group of desperate men, hatches a terrifying plot to assassinate the king and all of Parliament by explosion.

Francis Quoynt is a firemaster who would rather make fireworks than war. Kate Peach is a poor glovemaker and a mistress to the powerful Hugh Taylor, who is forced to hide her Catholicism as she spends her days looking out on noisy, teeming London streets crowded with prostitutes and drunks.

Once Francis and Kate were lovers before the firemaster abandoned her and the plague destroyed her family. Now they will meet again—as enemies—caught up in the maelstrom of treachery and violence surrounding Fawkes's malevolent plot. In the midst of chaos and madness, the flame of their romance will be dangerously rekindled, as their lives and the London they know are changed forever.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book Review: The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"A young lady in disgrace should at least strive to behave with decorum...
Dispatched from America to England under a cloud of scandal,
Mr. Darcy's incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning!
And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin, to the delight of a neighboring gentleman. Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her "keeper" Mrs. Jenkinson, simply...vanishes. But the trouble really starts when Clarissa and Georgiana both set out to win the heart of the same young man..."

My Review:

The story of Pride and Prejudice continues with this delightful and charming novel. Although the characters are the same, besides some new additions, we find that there is much more to the their personalities then what is currently known. 

When Clarissa Darcy arrives from America, Georgiana is at once taken by her confident personality and coy ways. Determined to be alluring for her first London season, Georgiana tries to emulate her cousin in every way...

Daring and borderline careless, Georgiana and Clarissa embark on a series of escapades that, although done with good intentions, lead to devastating consequences. Through all the trouble that befalls them, it would seem that nothing could cause a rift between these two; but when they are both intent on winning the affections of the dashing Mr Channing, they begin to loose sight of what matters most. In the midst of all the drama and uncertainty, can Georgiana discover what she has truly been seeking for, and if she does, will it be to late?...

There is always a bit of hesitation when starting a spin off of a classic piece of literature, but that usual hesitation was quickly diminished after reading just a bit of this charming novel. It was great to have a story with Georgiana being so in depth and full of spirit, and I found myself greatly enjoying her debates with Mr. Gately. The main characters were very vivid, and their contrast to each other was perfect. The plot was well laid out and easily followed, but it was also in this plot that my one issue laid. While I thought hidden personality behind Anne was brilliant and her disappearance quite intriguing, I felt as though after she disappeared, that part of the plot was quickly dropped and then suddenly picked back up at the end. Besides this little issue, I found the book to be highly enjoyable and will be adding the authors previous novels to my reading list.

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I recived this book for review from the publisher. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Author Interview: Christy English talks about The Queen's Pawn

Today I am happy to bring you the very talented Christy English, author of The Queen's Pawn, which you can read my review for here: The Queen's Pawn review
Thank you Christy, for giving "Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog" a deeper look into your exciting novel!

The Queens Pawn is told from both Alais and Eleanor's perspective. Did you enjoy writing from one of their perspectives more? If so, why?
I loved writing from both of their perspectives. They are such different women, coming from such different backgrounds and experiences. Eleanor was born knowing her own strength, while Alais in my novel is just beginning to know hers. Both women kept me fascinated from page one all the way to the end.

What inspired you to write about Alais and Eleanor?
I first saw THE LION IN WINTER when I was in high school, but I didn’t think much about those characters again until I had moved to New York and was wondering what in the world my next book was going to be. That’s when Alais showed up…she tiny, quiet voice said, “Remember the princess from THE LION IN WINTER? I want to share her side of the story.” I sat down the next week and got to work on THE QUEEN’S PAWN. When a character shows up, I listen. Which is why they keep showing up. Thank God.

During the novel, King Henry tells Alais a couple times that she has changed. What change did he see in her and did she realize what it was?
Henry saw her strength beginning to be born. He saw her ruthlessness, and her ability to be a political player at a time when most women sat on the sidelines and did nothing. For Alais to emerge from the convent and strike out on her own, even with some training from Eleanor, made Alais an extraordinary woman.

Eleanor has a very different opinion about religion compared to Alais. What caused this strong opinion and was this a trait Eleanor had in real life?
We do not know for certain what Eleanor of Aquitaine really thought about anything, because if she wrote anything down, nothing of that survived. I took the liberty of making her position on religion the polar opposite of Alais’. I did not do this on my own, though. The character of Eleanor as I conceived her was very clear on the fact that she felt that religion was to control the masses, not for those in power.

While doing research for The Queen's Pawn, did you come across anything special or exciting that really made your day?
Knowing that Eleanor of Aquitaine within her lifetime endowed many monasteries and abbeys. When I found that bit of knowledge, I did not think, “Oh, what a pious lady.” I thought, “Oh, what a fabulous spy network.” That may say more about me than the historical Eleanor.

Is there any advise you can give for aspiring authors?
Keep writing. Stay in the chair until you find your voice. Because no one else can tell your story. You are the only one. Stick with the work, even in the dark times, even when it is hard, no matter what anyone else says, until you are able to tell the story you are given.

Svea, thank you so much for hosting me on your site and for reading my book. These questions are wonderful. I have really enjoyed my time with you.

If you would like to learn more about Christy and her works, you can visit her website:

Also, for a chacnce to win this exciting novel, you can enter in my current giveaway here: The Queen's Pawn giveaway!

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Review: The Queen's Pawn by Christy English

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"A historical novel of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine and the one person she loved more than power-her rival for the throne. 
At only nine, Princess Alais of France is sent to live in England until she is of age to wed Prince Richard, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is an innocent pawn on the chessboard of dynastic marriage, her betrothal intended to broker an uneasy truce between the nations.
Estranged from her husband, Eleanor sees a kindred spirit in this determined young girl. She embraces Alais as a daughter, teaching the princess what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But as Alais grows to maturity and develops ambitions of her own, Eleanor begins to see her as a threat-and their love for each other becomes overshadowed by their bitter rivalry, dark betrayals, conflicting passions, and a battle for revenge over the throne of England itself."

My Review:
Leaving her beloved country of France behind, Princess Alais sets out for England prepared to fulfill her duty by marrying Prince Richard. Wary and guarded, Alais arrives at the court of her fathers enemy. Having thought England would be a cold and friendless place, she is taken by surprise when she is welcomed as a daughter by England's queen and fathers former wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. A close bond forms between the two, and with Eleanor's direction, Alais blooms into a young lady of courage and strength. When Alais meets her betrothed, a tender and blissful love ensues. So in love and ignorantly happy, nothing could possibly tear her world asunder...

Alas, as time goes on, Alais soon realizes everything is not as it seems. With bitter betrayals, harsh retaliations and struggles for power and love, Alais soon realizes she is but a pawn in the life she leads. Ignoring all consequences, Alais sets out on a path that will give her the power she needs to control her own destiny...

The Queen's Pawn is an exciting and emotional journey that takes you through the intriguing courts of medieval England. Told from the alternating perspectives of Eleanor and Alais, the reader is given an intense understanding of their feelings and the knowledge of what really motivates these two women to such dramatic actions. From the beginning, I knew that I would completely enjoy this reading experience. I was entranced by the authors ability to change the readers sympathies whenever the same scene was told from both their perspectives. The only issue I had with this novel was that after such a brilliant beginning and intense plot build up, the last 1/4 of the book seemed to be a bit rushed which deflated some of the plots build up. Overall this was a great read and a stunning debut. With The Queen's Pawn, Christy English has definitely shown her talent for writing historical fiction, and I am absolutely looking forward to reading her next novel!

A Little Extra:
Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a great interview with the author, Christy English!

Are you intrigued by The Queen's Pawn? Great news! I have a brand new copy available for one lucky winner...enter in this exciting giveaway here: The Queen's Pawn Giveaway.

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Suddenly Sunday

Since The Sunday Salon is closed to new members, I have created my own weekly event of Suddenly Sunday! Feel free to join in the fun, just link back to this blog :)

Good morning everyone! I hope your week has been good and that you had some lovely spring weather. I have been completely mixed up this week with my dates. On Friday I thought it was Tuesday, on Saturday I thought it was today and so it continued; hopefully this week will be a bit better LOL. The weather still does not want to make up its mind, but when it did choose to be nice, my little girl and I had a blast having picnics at the park :) I am definitely looking forward to watching the Tudors tonight! Therefore I am going to try and catch up on some reading so I can relax and completely enjoy it. I think this just might be one of my longest Suddenly Sundays so lets get started...

I had the pleasure of being apart of the Mistress of Rome blog tour this week! Here are all the events that took place on my blog:

I did not receive any books for review this past week, which is probably a good little break since I have a large list of ARC's to complete. Of course I could not resist the temptation of obtaining at least one book for the week, so...I checked out my local used bookstore and was happy to find some good stuff! 
I know I know, I bought more then one book, but they were such great finds and it was a bit of a treat for me since I have not purchased a book since January! (That is the longest I have ever gone without buying a book LOL)

Coming up this week, I will be hosting part of The Queen's Pawn blog tour! Be sure to check back Monday and Tuesday for my book review followed by a great interview with the author, Christy English.

I have been so honored to be the recipient of some lovely awards recently so I want to take a moment to send a big thank you to those who thought of me:

Thank you so much to The Critic from Books, their movies and a writers life for giving me this stylish Award! 

Here are the rules for accepting this award: To accept the award I must share 7 things about myself and pass the award on to 5 other blogs I've newly discovered. Here are 7 things about myself:
  1. When I was young, my favorite books were The Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. 
  2. I love brussel sprouts :) 
  3. My favorite version of Pride & Prejudice is the 1940 film with Greer Garson & Lawrence Olivier. 
  4. Medieval England is my favorite time period to read about. 
  5. The mystery of Anastasia Romanov has fascinated me ever since I saw the Fox's animated video "Anastasia" when it came out. Ever since, I devour anything I can read about her. (I just looked up when that movie came out...1997! How can it have been 13 years ago...what grade was I in then lol.) 
  6. I love to go to Disneyland!!! 
  7. I sing first soprano and my favorite type of music to sing is opera and anything from the 40's.
Ok, now for those I will pass this award along to...
Ana T. @ Aneca's World
Stephanie D @ Misfit Salon

A huge thank you to Marie from The Burton Review for bestowing me with this beautiful award! Marie has a great blog, full of enlightening reviews and interesting creative posts so be sure to take a look.

Here are the rules for accepting this award: If you are awarded, here are the rules: Make a new post and add a link to the person who gave it to you. Pass this award on to 15 bloggers you've recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic. State 7 things about yourself!

Do you really want to know seven more things about me? Hmmm...I wonder if I can even come up with anything this late at night :)
  1. I have a very sarcastic sense of it is good that my husband does too :)
  2. I am very patriotic!
  3. I am a girlie girl but at the same time love to do all kinds of things that require getting dirty, i.g. fishing (egg bait worms, I will not go that far! lol), changing oil in the car, hiking etc.
  4. History was always my favorite subject in school, world history and everything leading up to the civil war...after that only certain events pique my interest.
  5. I knew I wanted to name my daughter Belle since age six.
  6. I love to write and am currently in the process of writing a historical fiction novel!
  7. I am a night owl and can stay up much much later then my husband. 
I can not believe I cam up with seven more things! Now, after rambling about myself, here those I will pass this award on to:
Celtic Lady @ Celtic Lady's Reviews

I am so excited to be participating in Stephine Cowell's blog tour for her newest book Claude and Camille! My part in the tour will not be until May, but while I wait for this event to reach my blog, I have been thoroughly enjoying reading all the creative posts and reviews over at the newest HFBRT event which started last week and will run through Tuesday. You can view everything that has been going on for this event by visiting their website:

Don't forget to check out my two current giveaways!

Have a wonderful week everyone and happy reading!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Giveaway!!! The Queen's Pawn by Christy English

I have a brand new copy of The Queen's Pawn by Christy English available for one lucky winner! This is a gratifying debut novel that will give you a look into the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the intrigue of medieval England. 

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
A historical novel of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine and the one person she loved more than power-her rival for the throne.

At only nine, Princess Alais of France is sent to live in England until she is of age to wed Prince Richard, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is an innocent pawn on the chessboard of dynastic marriage, her betrothal intended to broker an uneasy truce between the nations.

Estranged from her husband, Eleanor sees a kindred spirit in this determined young girl. She embraces Alais as a daughter, teaching the princess what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But as Alais grows to maturity and develops ambitions of her own, Eleanor begins to see her as a threat-and their love for each other becomes overshadowed by their bitter rivalry, dark betrayals, conflicting passions, and a battle for revenge over the throne of England itself.

Giveaway Guidelines:

~10 possible entries~
  • +1 entry for posting a comment and leaving your e-mail. (no e-mail = no entry) 
  • +5 entries for becoming a Follower, or already being a Follower. 
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Friday, April 9, 2010

Author Interview: Kate Quinn talks about Mistress of Rome

I am pleases to announce that today, the wonderful Kate Quinn has stopped by for an interview about her debut novel Mistress of Rome, which you can read my review for here: Mistress of Rome review

Thank you Kate, for bestowing Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog with insight to your novel! Now without further ado, here is my interview with this talented new author.

What was your inspiration for writing Mistress of Rome?
The spark for Mistress of Rome came when I was about eight years old and I saw Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus – I thought Kirk Douglas was an absolute hunk, and I knew I would write a book with a gladiator someday. It took me a few years to get around to it, but by the time I was a freshman in college the story started percolating and took off on me. I’ve always adored ancient Rome – thanks to my mother’s ancient history degree, my bedtime stories were all Julius Caesar and Augustus and Diocletian, not Grimm’s fairy tales. I knew the Emperors of Rome long before I ever knew the Presidents of the United States.

In Mistress of Rome, there is such a vast difference between all the character personalities. Did this cause you to enjoy writing certain characters more than others? 
My villainess Lepida was great fun to write because she was such an evil shrew – I always grinned whenever I slipped into her head, no matter how awful she was being. I love my other characters, but I did feel guilty sometimes when I wrote about them because I was putting them through so many harrowing problems. But that isn’t an issue with villains because the whole point is to build them up for three quarters of the book, and then knock them flat in the finale. I had a blast building up Lepida into the most devious, callous, backstabbing bitch in the world, because I knew I’d be able to pull the rug out from under her in the end. Wonderful fun.

The gladiator games have a large part in Mistress of Rome. Can you give us a brief history of the “sport” or some interesting facts you found while researching it?
The games were absolutely appalling to research. Thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of animals could die in one festival. The bouts pitted animals against each other, animals against men, men against men – and women too, since there were some female gladiators. The games were considered quite lowbrow in Rome, but they were still immensely popular. What I found the most interesting was how the gladiators themselves were regarded. Whether slaves or freedmen, they were looked on as the absolute dregs of society, but the top men of the profession had privileges like today’s movie stars: fans, fame, groupies, money. The world was their oyster – but they were still the dregs, socially, and they could still get killed.

Arius is constantly plagued by the “demon” in his head. What exactly was this “demon”?
The demon is his own temper. With a nice normal upbringing Arius would have been quite a sweet guy – the type to work out all his aggressions in a rough bloody-nose football game with his buddies, and have a beer afterward with no hard feelings. But he didn’t have a nice normal upbringing; he was enslaved and brutalized for so long that he has no emotions left except rage. And along with the rage comes the urge to lose his temper and let it all go, because it feels so good to lash out. The fact that he can identify his temper as a voice he doesn’t trust is probably what keeps it leashed most of the time. And the fact that he tries so hard not to listen to his own temper is an indication that underneath all the anger there is still a good guy.

Since this is your debut novel, is there any advice you can give to any aspiring authors?
Don’t spend your money on classes and instruction groups. They can be good, but the best way to learn to write is to read all the good fiction you can get your hands on, and keep plugging away at your own writing. You’ll get an ear for what good prose is, and trial and error will teach you how to produce it. Find a few intelligent readers – friends, relatives, anyone you trust to read your work and give you an honest opinion about it – and listen to them. Learn to edit your own work; that sinks a lot of new writers. I think it really comes down to those three things: read, write, re-write. And keep at it! It takes a long time to write a book, a long time to get an agent, and a long time to find a publisher, so don’t get discouraged if the whole thing takes years. Just keep plugging.

What can we expect from you in the future? Is there anything in the works for a new novel?
Actually, I’m working on both a sequel and a prequel for Mistress of Rome. It didn’t start out as a trilogy, but I found myself getting interested in several of the book’s minor characters and wanting to explore their stories. Like Emperor Domitian’s extremely enigmatic wife – how did she end up married to such a man? Her story, along with her sister and cousins, takes place some fifteen years previously during the turbulent Year of Four Emperors. I also got interested in the two children in Mistress of Rome, wanting to see how the streetwise Vix and the quiet Sabina would grow up. Their story will span the reign of Emperors Trajan and Hadrian – lots of criss-crossing adventures.
Svea, thanks for having me!

If you would like to learn more about Kate Quinn and her works, you can visit her at her website:

Interested in reading Mistress of Rome? I have you covered, one lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive a brand new copy of Mistress of Rome! You can enter in this great giveaway here: Mistress of Rome giveaway.

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Lady and the Poet by Maeve Haran

Pub date: March 2010 (In Stores Now)
Format: Hardback 384 pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
Set against the sumptuousness and intrigues of Queen Elizabeth I’s court, this powerful novel reveals the untold love affair between the famous poet John Donne and Ann More, the passionate woman who, against all odds, became his wife.

Ann More, fiery and spirited daughter of the Mores of Loseley House in Surrey, came to London destined for a life at the court of Queen Elizabeth and an advantageous marriage. There she encountered John Donne, the darkly attractive young poet who was secretary to her uncle, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. He was unlike any man she had ever met—angry, clever, witty, and in her eyes, insufferably arrogant and careless of women. Yet as they were thrown together, Donne opened Ann’s eyes to a new world of passion and sensuality.

But John Donne—Catholic by background in an age when it was deadly dangerous, tainted by an alluring hint of scandal—was the kind of man her status-conscious father distrusted and despised.

The Lady and the Poet tells the story of the forbidden love between one of our most admired poets and a girl who dared to rebel against her family and the conventions of her time. They gave up everything to be together and their love knew no bounds.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book Review: Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)

"An exciting debut: a vivid, richly imagined saga of ancient Rome from a masterful new voice in historical fiction

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.
As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome's aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian's games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor's mistress."

My Review

Traveling back in time to ancient Rome, we are greeted by an array of vivid characters; the first of which is Thea, a slave girl in the respected house of Pollio. Thea, having been purchased as a gift for the spoiled and haughty Lepida, is constantly being subjected to her mistresses whims and degrading critiques. Through this bleak existence, Thea finds unexpected love with the newest gladiator in Rome, Arius the Barbarian. Unfortunately, not even this one joy may be granted to Thea for long. Word of their affair soon reaches Lepida who also desires the attention of Arius. Driven into a jealous haze, Lepida separates the two lovers and sells Thea into nothing less then a deplorable situation...

Thea, Lepida and Arius continue on with their lives, each giving into their fated existence. Thinking the past is behind them, they are shocked when their lives intertwine once more. Lepida is still a malicious and conniving being who has now set her sights on the Emperor himself. Determined to raise her status to his mistress and future Empress, she is stunned to realize that Thea has once again obtained what she desires first. Enraged by always being rival to a slave, Lepidia will stop at nothing in seeking revenge and gaining what she truly deserves...

While Lepida plots her destruction, Thea is longing to be at peace with Arius; for little does Lepida know what she is truly wishing for with the Emperor. As tension mounts, betrayal, intrigue, murder and devious plots run rampant, but through the strong clash of wills, only one may come out victorious, but what costs will have to be paid along the way...

Mistress of Rome is a brilliant and unique story of ancient Rome that captivates the reader from beginning to end. In this novel ancient Rome comes alive through the characters and their activities, the most prominent being the gladiator games. While the gladiator games in this novel held true to their violent nature, it was done in a way that was not overly graphic but still emitted all its horrible attributes. In addition to the authors excellent description of  the gladiator games, she was also quite talented in eluding to the warped and violent nature of the Emperor without going to far. It was great to see the intensity and depth of this novel increase page after page. Starting out as an intriguing and lighter plot, the story soon takes shape with vile characters, strong emotions and twisting plot lines. Mistress of Rome is a book that will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you closing the cover quite satisfied.

A Little Extra:
Come back tomorrow for a great interview with Kate Quinn, the author of Mistress of Rome!

Don't miss the chance to win this exciting new novel! Be sure to enter in this months giveaway, where one lucky winner will receive a brand new copy straight from the publisher: Mistress of Rome giveaway!

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.