Book Trailer for Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey

Book Review: The King’s Man by Alison Stuart

The King’s Man by Alison Stuart

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Welcome, and thank you for visiting today. Alison Stuart has an exciting new release and let’s help her have a fantastic tour. Ms. Stuart will be giving away a Kindle 6″ Glare-free touchscreen display, with WiFi, via a Rafflecopter drawing at the end of her tour. Don’t forget to enter for this chance to win!

BookCover_TheKingsMan

Publisher & Release Date: Escape Publishing, September 8, 2015

Time and setting: 1654, London, England

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 326 pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 3.75 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

The second in a tantalizing trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry and the women that help them heal.

London 1654: Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything.  Terrified, in pain and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.

Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.

Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his master and King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life. 

Buy Link:

Kindle:  US Store:  http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Man-Guardians-Crown-Book-ebook/dp/B013AI1HVE

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-kings-man/id1024910529

For all other BUY links:  http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9781760378141

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25911631-the-king-s-man

Vikki’s Musings

I have read the first book in this series, By the Sword, and I did enjoy it. Since I am fascinated by this period of English history, I immediately accepted this book for an honest review, via Net-Galley. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to explore this troubling time.

The start of this book threw me right into the middle of an exciting scene and introduced the hero and heroine immediately. That is always a good thing. After that scene, though, The King’s Man is a bit slow until the middle of the book, but then it picks up dramatically and has an action-filled climax.

Thamsine Granville is an interesting character. Her willingness to seek a positive outcome, even when her circumstances are very dim, impressed me. I became vested in her character from the very beginning. Most women in her situation would have given up and meekly gone along with the plans set in place by her father. That would have been the norm for the times this story is set in, but Thamsine does not. She refuses to give any man a chance to abuse her. While her character is extremely strong, she is still vulnerable and feminine, along with nurturing toward her new friends and her sister. I admire that quality in a heroine a great deal.

On the other hand, Captain Kit Lovell is not a character easy to admire, especially in the first half of the book. It soon becomes apparent, he is not honorable and is willing to betray his friends and Thamsine. While later in the novel, his back story lent a compelling reason for his behavior, I would have preferred knowing why he was willing to betray his friends and country sooner. His affair with Lucy Talbot also kept any romance from developing until the second half of the book, and again casts his character in a bad light. Fortunately, he is redeemed and becomes a hero I can admire by the end of the book.

I’m glad I did not give up on this story because the second half of the book more than makes up for the issues in the first half. Once Kit gets rid of Lucy, the romance between him and Thamsine is emotionally-charged and very believable. I truly wanted this couple to have their happy ending by the latter part of the book.

One of the things I like most about Ms. Stuart’s books is her ability to bring this turbulent time in English history to life. She expertly interweaves her fictional characters with authentic historical ones of the time.  If you find the English Civil War fascinating, then you will enjoy The King’s Man. I know I did. I do recommend this author, even though her pacing is slow in the first half of the book after the first scene. Happy reading!

Excerpt:

Every time the door to the taproom opened, Thamsine looked around. It had been a week since she had last seen Kit Lovell, and as the other men slipped into the private parlour, she knew tonight he would come. She felt her heart skip a beat with anticipation.

Nan passed her with two full jacks of ale.

‘You’re like a she-cat on heat,’ she remarked. ‘He’ll be here soon enough. In the meantime, go and make yourself useful. There’s tables to be wiped and those ’prentices over yon could do with some female company.’

Thamsine cast a glance at the table of rowdy ’prentices and shuddered. If they required female company, they could look elsewhere. Instead she tightened her apron strings, pulled the grimy rag from the pocket and began the task of wiping down the long oak table.

‘Well, well, I hardly recognized you.’

At the sound of Kit’s voice she looked up, unable to stop the smile that crept to her lips.

He stood back and looked at her with a critical eye. ‘The black eye is now a fetching shade of yellow. As for the clothes, the bodice is perhaps a little immodest and the petticoats a little short, perhaps, but you pass.’

Thamsine looked down at the clean, serviceable, but faded cloth of the petticoats and tugged at the gaping bodice.

‘The twins found them for me. The previous owner was a little shorter and rather fuller of figure,’ she said ruefully.

‘Well, Lovell.’ Jem Marsh sauntered over and placed a hand on Thamsine’s shoulder. ‘Quite a little find you dropped on my doorstep. Broken just about every dish in my kitchen and dropped more jacks of ale than I can count, but she has one redeeming feature.’

Kit raised an eyebrow. ‘And that is?’

‘Voice of an angel.’ Jem waved a hand around the crowded taproom. ‘See this crowd? All thanks to her.’

Author Bio:

Award winning Australian author, Alison Stuart learned her passion from history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full-length novel was published. Alison has now published 6 full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories.  Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is traveling and routinely drags her long-suffering husband around battlefields and castles.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://www.alisonstuart.com

Blogs:  www.alisonstuart.blogspot.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/AlisonStuartWriter

Twitter:  @AlisonStuart14  https://twitter.com/AlisonStuart14

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4636079.Alison_Stuart

Rafflecopter:

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Book Blast: Ashes of Waterloo by Olivia Andem

Thank you for stopping by my blog today. The spotlight is on Ashes of Waterloo by Olivia Andem. Make sure you enter the Rafflecopter drawing for a chance to win a $5 Amazon GC. The link is below!

Historical Fiction
Date Published: August 15, 2015

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April 1815
Rumors of Napoleon’s war plans spread across the French border into the Province of Brabant. The caretaker’s stepdaughter dreads the arrival of Napoleon’s soldiers with good reason…she knows their violent ways only too well. One fateful afternoon, Lisette is left in charge of the empty chateau. During the dark days that follow, a vow of revenge mars her efforts to make new friends and bask in the attentions of a rugged British officer. The three men she cares about face the battle ordeal of Waterloo. While fleeing the catastrophe of war, her every step is fraught with perils, brigands and heartache-
Lisette, a soldier’s daughter with iron will and a kind heart, refuses to surrender to hardship or vile threats… when faced with defeat by the past, she must find a way to protect those she holds dear and win a most precious victory.
Excerpt:
The caretaker’s daily chore of inspecting the abandoned chateau fell to Lisette whenever her stepfather was absent.


Once this task was done, a few hours were hers to spend as she wished; the prospect hurried her from the family cottage with the door key and a workbasket in hand. Skirts held aside, she crossed the wide courtyard under clearing skies, avoiding the puddles strewn in her path.


Chateau Austerlitz, slate roof glistening like a dark mirror after the noonday rain, towered above the estate grounds.


A massive door of oak planks, studded with iron brads in the medieval fashion, guarded the converted fortress above a shallow flight of steps. The rusty lock, stubborn as always, finally yielded; as the door creaked open, dank air rushed past her cheeks. Out of an abundance of caution, she relocked the door from the inside.


Engulfed in a dusty gloom, the cavernous hall held a trove of tapestries, paintings and heraldic shields until the summer previous. Faint outlines on the limestone floors still marked where fine French carpets had resided.


Lisette hastened across the great hall to the stone staircase, pausing now and then to sneeze into her work apron.


Entering the second-floor ballroom, the sound of her footsteps provided ghostly company.


The open space was empty except for a carved trunk mistakenly left behind when the elderly Count Walbourg fled to Vienna; the aristocrat was banished from Brabant when Napoleon was exiled to Elba.


Fond recollections rushed from every corner.


On many a summer’s night, lively music from this grand room drifted across the courtyard to the caretaker’s cottage and into the open windows of Lisette’s attic bedroom.
During winter celebrations, logs blazed behind giant andirons in the two fireplaces. Here, the Austrian nobleman entertained his friends, the fine gilded panels brought from Paris resounding with their gaiety.


Now the salon’s ceiling was freckled with black mold, sad evidence of its changing fortunes.


Loud clattering arose in the courtyard…the sharp echo of horse hooves raced through the empty halls, a sound familiar to Lisette when she was a household servant here.


Was the visitor coming from Genappe? The narrow road past the chateau crossed the Baisy forest and led to Brussels but was seldom used until the drier summer months.


Thoughts in an excited jumble, Lisette rushed down the stairs and crossed the hall while untying her work apron, round wood heels of her shoes clacking on the stone floor.
No one had ever arrived at the estate when she was alone!


This morning after her family sped off to Genappe, she felt capable enough but now her confidence sagged.


Why had she not worn her best skirt instead of the shabby one? Stowing the apron in the basket, she checked her red knit stockings and white cap with trembling fingers.
Lisette carefully turned the large key and, opening the door a few inches, peered outside.
A military helmet, its metal badge gleaming…a soldier!


Sparks lit her memory afire…the French soldiers came to arrest her Irish father for desertion. Jabbing bayonets in every hay-filled corner of the small barn, they found him.
“No one is allowed here,” Lisette said, studying this soldier in the courtyard from behind the safety of the door.


His muddy black boots and splattered greatcoat suggested an arduous journey; tethered beside the steps, his dark bay horse was covered from muzzle to tail with brown road slurry.


Before she could warn the soldier not to come closer, he boldly mounted the steps.


“Bonjour, Miss Lisette.” His helmet perched in the crook of his arm. “I am Corporal Grosbek, serving His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Napoleon. Is Monsieur Pollard at home?”


“What do you want with him?”


How startling to hear their names spoken by a stranger!


“Is not Monsieur Pollard caretaker of this estate?” The soldier’s tone was firm but polite. 


“He is on a list of possible suppliers for our regiment.”


“He is not here. Good day.”


Grosbek sprang across the threshold, forcing her aside as he said, “May I wait until he returns?”


“My stepfather doesn’t allow strangers in here!”


Ignoring her protest, the corporal loped across the entrance hall to the drawing room like a haughty fox.


Why was he so certain of himself? Alarmed, Lisette edged to the open doorway, poised to run down the front steps.


“I am not a stranger,” he said, returning.


“I don’t know you, so you are a stranger.”


“Monsieur Pollard surely knows our family,” Grosbek replied, “as we have always lived in this parish. In fact, you visited Wavre a few summers ago. We spoke after Mass.”


“I’m very poor at remembering names,” she replied, unable to think of a better excuse while turning the matter over in her thoughts as if scrubbing potatoes.


After bitter arguments with her mother, Lisette was sent away to visit a distant cousin in Wavre for an entire summer.


That was three years ago…however, she recalled fleeing the church hall to escape from a brash young man, a pestering nuisance!


Could this be the same fellow?


“I remember you were rude to me, Miss Lisette, and hurried away as if I was a bore.”
The truth of his accusation stung. “You are mistaken.”


“Well, it was a few years ago.” He shrugged, adding a wry smile. “When does Count Walbourg return?”


“His Excellency resides in Vienna,” she replied, her pride in tatters, “and you may write to him there. However, you should know…since leaving here, he seldom replies.”


Lisette rubbed her fingers, recalling how raw they were after days of packing every candle, pot and kettle of Count Walbourg’s into straw-filled barrels and crates.


“Walbourg is an Austrian and Austria is our enemy,” he said in a gruff voice. “We can take property or anything else from enemies…or their friends.”


What kind of loyalty to a staunch ally was this? She wanted to explain how Count Walbourg received the former Spanish estate as a gift of France and later renamed it in honor of Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz.


Arguing with the soldier, however, did not seem wise.


“Surely,” he said, eyeing the staircase, “some useful articles were left behind.”
“No, my family watches over an empty house.”


He tapped his boot toe in a rapid drumbeat. “Empty, yes,” he said finally, “and not what I had expected to find.”


While he spoke, she picked up the basket.


Forgoing the search for new dampness in the chateau for the time being, Lisette opened the front door wide and stood beside it, always a hint for a visitor to leave.


Grosbek agreeably followed her outside and looked up at the Latin motto chiseled above the doorway.


While she locked the door, he read the inscription aloud.


“FORTUNA AUDACES IUVAT…what does it mean?”


“I recall it translates as, fortune favors the bold.”


He hiked his chin. “When my unit from Paris arrives in this area, we will be very bold.”


“What town will they inhabit?” Lisette slipped the chateau’s key into her hidden skirt pocket, her mind racing with alarm. “Towns are the best place for billeting troops.”
That hardship must not darken their doorstep; she prayed he did not intend to bring his unit to the chateau.


“I’m not allowed to say.” He frowned. “We’ll forage to supply our regiment, possibly for weeks. I thought we might store supplies here…but it’s too damp.”


The burden of that terrible run-for-your-life feeling eased; her common sense, having flown away in fright, returned.


Relieved to be outside and thinking the soldier was a reasonable man, she sighed inwardly.


After they went down the steps to the courtyard, Corporal Grosbek glanced at his horse.
“I am traveling home from Charleroi.” Pushing aside his greatcoat, he grasped the hilt of the short saber at his waist. “May I water my horse and allow him to graze in your pasture for a while?”
About the Author

Olivia M. Andem lives in Southern California and enjoys speaking to book clubs, library and civic groups about the historic Georgian era that inspired The Hawthorne Diaries saga. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and is an avid reader and researcher of her English and American heritage. Aided by the encouragement of family and support of a Yorkie terrier, Harley-Girl, current projects include works of both romance and historical fiction.
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Blitz: Casting Lots by William D. McEachern

Historical Fiction
Date Published: January 14

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Casting Lots is the tale of how a Greek slave, Lucinius, becomes an influential religious leader and literary figure in the First Century A.D.  His spiritual awakening is prompted by an unlikely mentor, a Centurion, who was at the crucifixion. 
Lucinius is ordered by his master to assemble the stories told by eye-witnesses to the life and death of Jesus Christ.  Cornelius was the Centurion at the Crucifixion. Cornelius is hated by the Jews and the Romans.  He is haunted by the Crucifixion because he won the shroud worn by Christ in a game of dice.  He takes Lucinius on a journey throughout the Empire and tells him what seem to be fantastic stories about famous Romans during the era of the Republic, some 100 years ago.  These stories contain elements which Cornelius could not possibly know, unless he is making them up or unless there is some other explanation.
The book answers the question of who wrote the Gospel of Luke and why he wrote it.  The book answers the question of who is Cornelius and why he said Jesus was an innocent man at his Crucifixion.   Thus, it is a tale of the two men’s spiritual journeys.
Excerpt
I walked to his home again. The streets were crowded and the world’s smells washed over me: the sweat of the men, the perfumes of the women, the urine of the animals, bread baking, cloth just cut, fruit drying on the stands, gutters of the streets, leather being tanned. Sweet, pungent, acrid, acidic, salty, bitter, biting smells grabbed my nostrils as if I smelled these for the first time. The smells were counterpoint to the sounds of the city. The hammer of the artist cracking tiles, rocks, and glass to make mosaics, bleating of sheep and lowing of cows as they awaited slaughter, the rumble of wagons carrying bolts of cloth, or carcasses of meat and exotic goods along the cobblestone streets, the tramp of soldiers’ caligae, their hob-nails clicking on stone, as they marched, crying babies needing to be nursed, yelling mothers trying to find lost children, heralds blaring out the whereabouts of some legion killing some barbarians somewhere on some frontier, tax collectors demanding payment of tax, while the taxpayer screamed insults or begged for mercy, and the sound of my heart pounding so hard that it might burst, blended together in a discordant cacophony of life. If the smells did not grab your attention, or if the sounds did not demand your notice, then the play of light would surely command your consideration. The light side-by-side with the dark was sharp, stark, defined, and distinct, as where the land ends and the seas begin. You walked most of the time in the shadow of the tall insulae, the apartment buildings, fearing that from the darkness above would flow that most unsavory of liquids. Then the sunlight blaring from a blue crystal-clear sky dazzled your eyes, when you walked across some broad street. The brilliant sun radiated off the temples’ gold-leaf veneers. You were in the presence of the Gods. All the while, I thought about how I could approach him. An offer of money, I thought, would only insult and repel him. The quest of my master disgusted and dismayed him. Before I had decided what to do and how to do it, I was there at his door. “Damno ad averno!” (“Damn it to hell!”) Cornelius spat as spoke these words as if the spitting added to the curse. “I will wait until you tell me.” I stood resolutely. “What?” “I will wait until you tell me.” I sat down and smiled slightly. “Get underfoot, eh?” “If necessary.” “All day and all night?” he asked. “If necessary.” He turned into the darkness of his home. I waited. Time passed. Then I saw him coming back, his vitis rudis, that is his vine hand. No true centurion was ever without the symbol of his authority, his vitis rudis, gnarled and worn. “Do you think a man who has wielded this,” he gestured with his vitis rudis, “will ever break?” “Do you think that a slave who has been beaten all of his life will fear one more beating?” “Well, that is the first thing you have said that makes any sense at all!” He smiled.
About the Author

William D. McEachern is a graduate of Duke University with a bachelor of arts in religion and psychology. His focus at Duke was on early Christianity. His fascination with Rome grew out of his Latin and Greek classes at St. Paul’s School in New York in the early 1960s. Reading Caesar fueled his love of Rome and ancient history, which he has studied for half a century. A practicing tax attorney for more than thirty-five years, he has written numerous articles and several law treatises about estate planning, estate and gift taxation, and the use of trusts. In this his first novel, Mr. McEachern’s unique voice blends law, religion, and history.
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Book & Audio Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Sword Princess by Suzette Hollingsworth

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Sword Princess by Suzette Hollingsworth

Sherlock

Publisher & Release Date: Icicle Ridge Graphics, March 24, 2015

Time and setting: 1881, London, England

Genre: Historical Victorian Mystery/Romantic Elements

Length: 227 pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweet Heart

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

Mystery with romantic elements 
Mirabella Hudson soon learns that the Great Detective has more in store for her than washing jars and labeling specimens: pistol shooting, fencing, boxing, and Jiu-Jitsu. This she can master, but Mirabella must face the greatest horror of all: Miss de Beauvais’ Finishing School for Distinguished Young Ladies.

Sherlock Holmes gets more than he bargained for when he hires his landlady’s young ward to keep his laboratory in order. Mrs. Hudson’s niece might be clever, but Mirabella Hudson is insubordinate, talks too much, is an accident waiting to happen—and, worst of all, is distractingly pretty. 

Unfortunately, ‘pretty’ is just what Sherlock Holmes needs. Sherlock might be a master of disguise, but pretty he is not. The Great Detective requires a female operative to go under cover at London’s premier finishing school where Princess Elena Petrovic-Njegos of Montenegro is a client—and the target of an assassination plot. If the inexperienced Miss Hudson and her employer do not succeed in saving the princess, there is trouble brewing across the globe that could potentially lead to war on a massive scale. Montenegro is a small Serbian country, but She has among her allies the Mother Russia. 

One unsuccessful case could ruin this young detective’s career before it starts. Above all, Sherlock must have work—and he must be in pursuit. Work is the blood in his veins. Work is life. 

The game is afoot! And there can be no greater puzzle than what he receives in the form of one Mirabella Hudson—who might stump even Sherlock Holmes.

Buy Links:

http://smile.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Case-Sword-Princess-ebook/dp/B00V5VK4PO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438349670&sr=1-1&keywords=sherlock+holmes+and+the+case+of+the+sword+princess

http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Case-of-the-Sword-Princess-Audiobook/B0117GPFNW

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25980455-sherlock-holmes-and-the-case-of-the-sword-princess

Vikki’s Musings

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Sword Princess is a departure from my usual read. I received a copy of the audio version from the author in exchange for an honest review. This is a delightfully intriguing story, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am so glad I took a change on this sweet read.

When Mirabella Hudson is hired as an assistant to Sherlock Holmes, the last thing she imagined is going undercover at a finishing school to help protect Princess Elena Petrocic-Njegos of Montenegro. While shocked and concerned at the prospect of this assignment, Mirabella embraces it, determined to fulfill her responsibilities.

Sherlock Holmes is enchanted by the vivacious, yet annoying Mirabella, the young woman he hires to assist him and keep him organized. He does not need the distraction of his pretty assistant, but when he sees the need for an undercover operative to protect the Princess of Montenegro, he decides Mirabella would be perfect for the assignment.

Will Mirabella not only save the princess, but little children from the orphanage as well, or will she fail at her mission?

Ms. Hollingsworth has penned a well-written and enchanting read. I enjoyed the sweet romance between Sherlock Holmes and Mirabella Hudson a great deal. While this is a romantic element and not the central theme of the book, I found it charming. There is also another romantic element in this book between the princess and her prince as well. The mystery thread is intriguing and captured my interest immediately and pulled me into the tale.

Mirabella is a great character. I loved her determination to pursue her goals and her desire to help others. Some of the scenes between her and the orphans she helps touched my heart. The bravery she shows is incredible, especially when she is so afraid for her charges. That scene had me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen!

Ms. Hollingsworth moves from Mirabella’s point of view to Sherlock’s with ease, and her story line is expertly woven between the mystery and the romantic element. Her pacing is excellent and made this story a delight to read.

Since I listened to the audio version, I want to mention the narrator. Joel Froomkin is fantastic. He switches from one character to the next, giving each their distinctive voice. I especially loved his interpretation of the children. I will certainly look forward to listening to this talented narrator again.

If you enjoy a fascinating mystery with a sweet romance interwoven, then you will enjoy Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Sword Princess. I highly recommend this wonderful book and great narration. Happy reading!

Book Review: The Gladiator’s Mistress by Jennifer D. Bokal

The Gladiator’s Mistress by Jennifer D. Bokal

The Gladiator's MistressPublisher & Release Date: Montlake Publishing, July 14, 2015

Time and setting: 100 – 104 B.C. Rome

Genre: Historical Romance/Historical Fiction

Length: 330 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

Phaedra, a dutiful daughter of Rome’s most influential senator, has no choice but to marry a man chosen by her father. But a chance encounter with handsome gladiator Valens Secundus sends her pulse racing—and, for the first time, makes her wish she could choose her own fate. They make each other a promise: she’ll insist on having the right to select her next husband, and he’ll do everything within his power to win his freedom.

A gladiatorial champion, Valens has fought his way up from poverty to become a star in the arena. The only two things he craves are his freedom and the luscious Phaedra, both seemingly far out of reach. But four years after their fateful meeting, Phaedra returns to Rome and soon becomes a widow, and Valens answers to no one but himself. They’re finally free to explore their fiery passion—while evading a powerful and wealthy new suitor of Phaedra’s—until Valens must return to the arena one last time. And in order for Phaedra to control her own destiny and claim her love, Valens will need to survive the battle of his life.

Buy Link:

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Vikki’s Musings

I received an Advance Reader Copy of The Gladiator’s Mistress from the publisher via Net-Galley in exchange for an honest review. The book description sounded interesting, and I looked forward to reading it. While this book does have a strong romantic element, I would not say it is historical romance, but historical fiction instead.

The historical detail is fantastic, and I truly got the sense of this very long ago time. From the description of the costumes to the vivid description of the Gladiator’s arena, I became enmeshed in that part of the story. I loved the description of Valens’ living quarters while he was still a slave.

I quickly bonded to Valens Secundus’ character from the start. He’s an honorable warrior who has fought his way up from poverty to become the Gladiator Champion of Rome. He takes care of his mother and sister as well as he can since he is still a slave in the beginning of the story. I always enjoy a warrior archetype, and Valens fits it perfectly.

I had a more difficult time identifying with Phaedra’s character. I did not see her as honorable for one thing. She meets Valens on her wedding day and immediately develops romantic feelings, even though honor demands she give her affection to her new husband. While I understand her father married her to a much older man of great political importance, she is still honor bond to the man she marries, but she is not loyal,even though nothing physical occurs. I think part of the problem is that the book jumps ahead four years, and I did not get to see her learn to have affection for her husband.

I struggled through a good part of the book before I became engaged with the story. Most of the time the hero and heroine is apart. I could not understand how they could fall in love. They never had a chance to truly get to know each other until well into the story, and even then it was more physical than emotional.

If you want to get a good feel for Roman times and the life of a Gladiator, then you will enjoy The Gladiator’s Mistress, but if you are looking for an emotionally-charged romance, you will have to wait until the last part of the book. I did enjoy this novel, and I’m glad I read it. However I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had gone into it knowing it was a historical fiction piece rather than a romance. Happy reading!

Book Review: Flight by Jennie Marsland

Flight by Jennie Marsland

(Winds of War, Winds of Change series)

FlightPublisher & Release Date: Self-Published, December 19, 2014

Time and setting: 1921, Nova Scotia

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 227 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flames

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Determined to live on her own terms, commitment isn’t on Georgie O’Neill’s agenda, but a night out with her best girlfriends and a pair of attractive men just in town for the weekend is right up her alley – until it snowballs into much more. 
To ex-RAF pilot Cameron Hatcher, single and free is the only way to be. Rather than go home to Ireland to be embroiled in a second brutal war, Cam chooses to barnstorm North America, giving crowds across the continent a taste of flight. Georgie is just a pleasant evening’s distraction before he and his partner move on.
But when mechanical problems ground the show, Georgie becomes more than a distraction. Between his growing feelings for her and the strong pull of loyalty to country and family, Cam is hard put to steer a true course. Go home and fight for Ireland’s independence? Or pursue a woman who’s told him her dreams come before any man?

Love costs. Can the price be too high? 

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Flight-Winds-War-Change-Book-ebook/dp/B00R9KTME4/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1433793487&sr=1-4&keywords=jennie+marsland

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Vikki’s Musings

I read the first two books in the Winds of War, Winds of Change series and enjoyed them immensely. When I realized the third book was out, I had to re-visit the incredible and invincible O’Neill family. Georgie fascinated me in the other books, and I was glad to see her get her turn.

Georgie O’Neill is fired, and what does she do? She goes out with her friends, no letting it get her down! She and her friends run into two flying aces, in Halifax doing a stunt show. When Georgie tells Cameron Hatcher goodnight, she never expects to see him again, but engine trouble with one of the planes keeps him in town.

Georgie’s adventurous side wants to throw caution to the wind, but her more practical side wants her to follow her ambition to become a writer. Can Cameron give her the stability she craves while giving her the freedom to fly?

This is another well-written, emotional read by Jennie Marsland. While not quite as good as the first, Flight is a worthwhile addition to this amazing series. I fell in love with Cameron from the first page and I was already drawn to Georgie’s character in the first two books. I enjoyed the romance between the pair a great deal.

At times I sat on the edge of my seat when it looked like there would be no happy ending for this couple, but after all this is romance novel, so after plenty of trials and tribulations, Georgie and Cameron for achieve their “happily ever after.”  Ms. Marsland does a fantastic job of keeping wondering though until the end. She also ties up all the plotlines quite nicely. I am sad to see the end of this remarkable series, but I’m sure she will be bringing us future characters that will pull on my heartstrings, leaving me wanting more.

If you haven’t discovered Ms. Marsland’s emotionally-charged books, I suggest you read Shattered, along with Deliverance, and concluding with Flight. While Flight is easily stand alone, it will be even more enjoyable when read after the first two in the series. If you like reading an area of history that hasn’t been explored a great deal, you will find these books a delight. I know I did. Happy reading!

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