Monday, January 28, 2013

Masterpiece Monday

François Boucher. The Dressmaker. 1746.

Masterpiece Monday was created by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. It's an event to share exceptional pieces of art that were discovered while reading historical fiction and researching the history which inspired those books.


Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Suddenly Sunday

Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. The purpose of Suddenly Sunday is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week. If you would like to participate, just grab the button and link back here.

Good afternoon! I hope everyone is having a great Sunday so far. Mine has been a tad bit hectic as I prepare for company and work on a few homework assignments. I've also been trying to write every day, so  that meant a very early morning in order to fit it in today. I wasn't able to post any reviews this week, but I did write a few that will appear over the next few days.

One change that occurred over the past week was my What's New Wednesday post. Instead of posting the new releases for each week, I have now turned it into a monthly post where I will announce all the new releases for the month.

Over the week I also announced a few delectable upcoming releases: 
For more upcoming new releases see my right hand sidebar for the updated covers!

That's all for now. Have a great week, and happy reading!

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter's Respite Read-a-thon 2013

Ok, I am entering the Winter's Respite Read-a-thon rather late, but I think I can make a small dent in my TBR pile over the weekend. The read-a-thon is hosted by Michelle @ Seasons of Reading, and the twitter hashtag is #WintersRespite. Let me know if you are participating in this read-a-thon as well; I'd love to hear how you're doing!


Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The White Forest by Adam McOmber

 The White Forest by Adam McOmber
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Paperback pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. 
But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late."

Friday Finds at the Bookstore was created by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. Every week I will be posting a book that caught my attention while wandering the bookstore or other bookish area.


Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Upcoming 2013 Historical Fiction Release! Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall

Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Format: Paperback

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"The new novel from the author of THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE and THE WHITE PEARL. 
1932, London. 27-year-old Jessica Kenton's stable life is torn apart when her younger brother, Timothy, vanishes. Vowing to find him, she follows Timothy's trail to the lush and exotic lands of Egypt but she doesn't expect the danger she is confronted with. There are powerful people who do not want her brother found but not everything is as it seems... 
A dramatic story of courage and betrayal and of a determined young woman's search for her brother and her discovery of an all-consuming love in the shifting deserts of Egypt."



Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Upcoming 2013 Historical Fiction Release! The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb (paperback edition)

The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb
Publication Date: March 5th 2013
Format: Paperback 400pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In the court of Queen Elizabeth I, romance and intrigue could cost you more than your heart… It could cost you your head.

July, 1575: Elizabeth I, Queen of England, arrives at Kenilworth Castle—home of Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. Leicester, who has long had ambitions to marry the Queen, knows this may be his very last chance to persuade her to marry him. Toward this end, the hopeful earl has organized a lavish week of music, dancing, and fireworks. 
Despite his attachment to the Queen and his driving ambition to be her King, Leicester is unable to resist the seductive wiles of Lettice, wife of the Earl of Essex—and the queen’s own cousin. Soon whispers of their relationship start spreading through the court. Enraged by their growing intimacy, Elizabeth employs Lucy Morgan, a young African singer and court entertainer, to spy on the adulterous lovers. 
But Lucy, who was raised by a spy in London, uncovers far more than she bargains for. For someone at Kenilworth is plotting to kill the queen. No longer able to tell friend from foe, it is soon not only the queen who is in mortal danger—but Lucy herself…"



Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's New Wednesday: A Look At This Month's New Releases

What's New Wednesday was created by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review

The first Wednesday of every month I will post the upcoming new releases for that month.

Since I have decided to change the way What's New Wednesday works, it's going to be a monthly post instead of weekly, I am going to go ahead and post the previous and remaining new releases for the month of January.

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the exciting books that came into their house last week via post. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and is being hosted by Lori of Lori’s Reading Corner this month.

In my mailbox for review:

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Publication Date: January 15th 2013
Format: Hardcover 416pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. 
For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong. 
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness. 
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure."

The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig
Publication Date: April 9th 2013
Format: Hardcover 368pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig comes The Ashford Affair, a page-turning novel about two women in different eras, and on different continents, who are connected by one deeply buried secret. 
As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . . 
Growing up at Ashford Park in the early twentieth century, Addie has never quite belonged. When her parents passed away, she was taken into the grand English house by her aristocratic aunt and uncle, and raised side-by-side with her beautiful and outgoing cousin, Bea. Though they are as different as night and day, Addie and Bea are closer than sisters, through relationships and challenges, and a war that changes the face of Europe irrevocably. But what happens when something finally comes along that can’t be shared? When the love of sisterhood is tested by a bond that’s even stronger? 
From the inner circles of British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl."

Mistress to the Crown by Isolde Martyn
Publication Date: February 1st 2013

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"The day Lord Hastings came into her husband’s store, Elizabeth saw the opportunity she had waited twelve years for — a way to separate herself once and for all from her dull, impotent husband, William Shore. The handsome stranger presented not only the chance to partake in the dance of desire, but legal counsel to annul her 12-year marriage. 
She did not, however, foresee her introduction to the King of England, nor her future at his side…and in his bed. From this unlikely alliance, Elizabeth is granted severance from Shore, and finds herself flourishing in the radiance of the King’s admiration. But she soon finds that her new position comes at a terrible price — her family has shunned her, the people of London have labelled her a harlot and the Queen’s family want her to burn in Hell. 
So long as King Edward and Lord Hastings stay close, Elizabeth is safe. However, her beloved Ned falls ill and Lord Hastings falls out of favour. 
Can Elizabeth's wiles keep her out of trouble? Or will they lead her to further trouble...and the hangman's noose?"


Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Suddenly Sunday

Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. The purpose of Suddenly Sunday is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week. If you would like to participate, just grab the button and link back here.

Good morning!

It's Sunday, and that means it is just hours away from the playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons!!! My whole family is made up of a bunch of 49er nuts, so there is no question as to what I will be doing today. Of course the fun can't last forever because I do have homework to do, but fortunately that means lots of reading for my English Lit classes and writing for my fiction class. I'm going to try and participate in the A Winters Respite Read-a-thon this week, so hopefully that will help keep my histfic reading in order.

I read Stephen King's memoir, On Writing, yesterday and I found a lot of great quotes to remember as I embark upon my writing journey. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for motivation to write in a more dedicated fashion.

~ The Bloggish Details ~


Currently Reading and Coming Up for Review:

Born to Rule by Julia P. Gelardi

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

Have a great week and happy reading!
Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Publish Date: August 14th 2012
Format: Hardcover 400 pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In The Kingmaker’s Daughter, #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents the riveting story of Anne Neville, her sister Isabel, and their ever-changing fortunes.The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping and ultimately tragic story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins’ Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he uses the two girls as pawns in his political games, but they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.  
At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child brought up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Her will is tested when she is left widowed and fatherless, with her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Fortune’s wheel turns again when Richard rescues Anne from her sister’s house, with danger still following Anne, even as she eventually ascends to the throne as queen. Having lost those closest to her, she must protect herself and her precious only child, Prince Edward, from a court full of royal rivals."

My Review:

The Wars of the Roses is always a fascinating time period to read about, but Philippa Gregory makes it even more engaging with her latest novel, The Kingmaker’s Daughter. Following the life of Anne Neville, the reader is given a first-hand account of Warwick's everlasting drive for power over the English throne, even after his death. After being used as a pawn by her father and a hostage by her sister, Anne believes that her union with Richard III will allow her to leave her troubles behind, but it only brings her closer to the eye of the storm. As sworn enemy of Queen Elizabeth, Anne must learn to stay one step ahead of Elizabeth’s treacherous snares in order to preserve her life and create the future she and Richard long to secure.

One of my favorite aspects of The Kingmaker's Daughter was Gregory's portrayal of Anne Neville. While she is usually depicted as a timid girl who is at the mercy of the power-hungry men around her, Gregory gives her a stout inner strength and the intelligence to back it up. In addition to this, it was very interesting to read a more personal account of Richard Warwick, "The Kingmaker", through Anne's eyes. If these qualities weren't enough to capture my attention, the relationship between Richard and Anne definitely succeeded in doing so. If you've read any of Gregory's previous novels about "The Cousin's War" you are well aware that she has Yorkist tendencies, and her portrayal of Richard is always touching. The love between Anne and Richard helped make the characters seem even more real; like watching figures in a music box dance to their own tune.

The Kingmaker's Daughter is a fast pace novel that will hold your attention from beginning to end, and it's definitely a novel that will leave you wanting to learn more about the key points in Anne's life. For those of you who enjoy the time period, or others who are looking for a new twist on the basic story, I would definitely recommend this work.

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Warsaw Conspiracy by James Conroyd Martin

I found this book by accident the other day while perusing Goodreads, and I could barely contain my excitement! Years ago I fell in love with James Conroyd Martin's Push Not the River, and I have been impatiently awaiting his next novel ever since. This novel will definitely be placed on the top of my TBR pile! 

Publication Date: December 12th 2012
Format: Paperback 508pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Engaging and opulent, THE WARSAW CONSPIRACY unfolds as a family saga set against the November Rising (1830-1831), partitioned Poland’s daring challenge to the Russian Empire. Brilliantly illustrating the psyche of a people determined to reclaim independence in the face of monumental odds, the story portrays two brothers and their fates in love and war. Michał is a seasoned veteran soldier, cautious of the evolving conspiracy; Józef, his much younger brother and impassioned cadet, finds himself caught up in the vortex of a daring plot to abduct the Grand Duke of Russia. With Siberia or emigration to France looming as heart-rending contingencies, matriarchs Anna and Zofia stay steadfast in their resolve to steer the clan through ever-muddying waters."

*Unlike his other books, I could only find this one available for purchase on Amazon.
Friday Finds at the Bookstore is hosted by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. The purpose of this event is to share a book that has caught your attention over the past week while wandering the bookstore.
Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Masterpiece Monday

Desdemona Retiring to her Bed. Théodore Chassériau - 1849

Masterpiece Monday was created by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. It's an event to share exceptional pieces of art that were discovered while reading historical fiction and researching the history that inspired those books.

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Suddenly Sunday

Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. The purpose of Suddenly Sunday is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week. If you would like to participate, just grab the button and link back here.

It's the first Sunday of 2013 and yet it seems like it should at least be the second or third. I've been trying to accomplish as much as possible around the house before my daughter and I start school tomorrow; I really can't believe I start another semester tomorrow! I'm taking three English classes (World Lit, American Lit, and Creative Writing Fiction) and one in entry level French. Although I am excited about all my classes, I'm definitely looking forward to the French and Creative writing class. 

On a reading/blogging front, once again I've signed up for Historical Tapestry's annual Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. It's not as if this is really a reading challenge for me considering I do host a historical fiction blog, lol, instead it is more like a "remembering to link my reviews to the host site" challenge. I also signed up for the 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge and challenged myself to read 52 books this year. I didn't make my goal of 52 last year, but hopefully I can make up for that by passing my goal this year. I've been looking for some other challenges that pique my interest but I haven't come across any as of yet. If any of you have any suggestions I would love to hear them! 

This week I reviewed:
Current Giveaway:

Finished and Coming Up For Review This Week:

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Phillipa Gregory 

Currently Reading:

The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift. 

Enter your Suddenly Sunday post here:

Have a great week and happy reading!
Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson

The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson
Publication Date: August 8th 2012
Format: Paperback 368pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher): 
"Handmaid. Spy. Mistress. Anxious to secure his own success at the glittering court of Henry VIII, heiress Tamsin Lodge’s ambitious guardian obtains her a position as maid of honor to young Princess Mary Tudor. Tamsin soon comes to love the neglected child, but in the Tudor court, not even a princess is secure. Mary’s father is besotted with the lovely Anne Boleyn, and the girl’s future has grown perilous. Plotting to be Mary’s eyes and ears, Tamsin joins Anne’s service, but the handsome silk worker who is her co-conspirator may be her undoing. While marriage with a merchant is unthinkable, she cannot resist Rafe Pinckney’s embraces. When Tamsin also attracts the lusty Henry, she must choose between loyalty and desire. . . . With Anne’s jealousy growing dangerous, can Tamsin survive the schemes and seductions that surround her?"

My Review:

Like all of her novels, Kate Emerson has crafted an intriguing and unique tale of Tudor England with her novel The King's Damsel. Told from the perspective of maid of honor Tasmin Lodge, the novel tells the story of Mary Tudor's precarious situation as Anne Boleyn rises in power. Tasmin is sent to live in Princess Mary's household after her guardianship is purchased by the conniving Sir Lionel Daggett, and it is here where the foundation of the story takes place. The bond formed between Tasmin and Princess Mary is almost instant, and it is this bond of trust and loyalty that will propel Tasmin into the perilous court of Anne Boleyn as a spy and informant. Thinking that gaining the trust of Anne Boleyn will be her greatest challenge, Tasmin is unprepared when she becomes a favorite of King Henry VIII, and her accomplice in espionage threatens to steal her heart. Faced with the looming threat of dishonor, Tasmin must act quickly to serve Princess Mary, for not only is her heart in danger, but so is her life.

The King's Damsel is a pleasure to read with each turn of the page. The plot was well formed and flowed with ease as Tasmin's journeyed from household to household. Even though the main character, Tasmin, is a fictional character (she is based on the mentioning of a dismissed damsel in a letter from the Spanish ambassador), her presence at court is completely believable on all counts.

One of the highlights of this book is definitely the portrayal of Princess Mary. When Tasmin enters Mary's household, Mary is just a young girl, and even though she carries herself as a princess should, there are glimpses of what her character is like behind the role of princess: full of life and spirit, longing to be loved and love in return. It is this image of Mary that really helps the reader form a connection with the princess, and therefore gives credence to Tasmin's task of espionage.

The only flaw in this novel- a very minor flaw- is the romance between Tasmin's espionage assistant Rafe Pinckney. The relationship between them was not as developed as Tasmin's other relationships, so it seemed a little random for their attachment to become so significant towards the end. It felt as if there were some key  chapters of their relationship to which the reader was not privy.

Overall this is a wonderful book that will delight anyone who has been a fan of Kate Emerson's Secret's of the Tudor Court Series, or anyone looking for a new portrayal of Princess Mary.

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2013

This is one challenge I can definitely say I will complete in 2013. I have been participating in this challenge for three years, but this time I am going to make sure I actually link up my reviews each month over at the hosting site, Historical Tapestry

Here are the details from the sign-up page:

Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:

  • Everyone can participate, even those who don't have a blog (you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish)
  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review)
  • Any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...)During these following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels: 
20th century reader - 2 books
Victorian reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History -25+ books

You can tailor the challenge to suit you in whichever way you like! For example, I know of one participant who over the last couple of years has only read historical mysteries as it suits their own reading tastes!

The challenge runs from 1 January to 31 December 2013.

My Goal:
  • Ancient History -25+ books
Progress So Far:
  1. The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory
  2. Stephen King - On Writing by Stephen King
  3. The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
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Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Happy New Year Giveaway Hop!

What better way to kick off the new year than a giveaway hop! Today's giveaway will be apart of the Happy New Year Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy @ I am a Reader Not a Writer. Since it's a new year full of new reading goals, the winner of this giveaway will be able to chose their new reading path with the book of their choice, up to $15.00, at The Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway!
Ends January 7th 
Good luck!

Here are all the lovely participants contributing to this giveaway hop!  Photobucket
Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.