A Novel of Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt

Read the book review of my latest favorite novel by Robin Oliveira.

Newest novel by Tracy Groot

Featured in February's Historical Novel Society magazine as an Editors' Choice.

Welcome to the new look!

I changed the look of my blog!

Favorite reads of 2013

These were the best of the best for 2013 - use this short list to help you with your next library trip!

Meme Posts

Add to your ginormous TBR pile!

Aug 31, 2009

Book Review: "The Day the Falls Stood Still" by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Day The Falls Stood Still
"The Day the Falls Stood Still" by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Hardcover: 320 pages
Fiction, Literature
Publisher: Voice (August 25, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1401340970 ISBN-13: 978-1401340971
Review copy provided by Voice
The Burton Review Rating:4.5 Stars

"Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this epic love story is as rich, spellbinding, and majestic as the falls themselves.
1915. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath has led a sheltered existence as the youngest daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company. After graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near Niagara Falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she had left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from the society ladies she once entertained, and Isabel, her vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom, barely eating--and harboring a secret.
The night of her return, Bess meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to him--against her family's strong objections. He is not from their world. Rough-hewn and fearless, he lives off what the river provides and has an uncanny ability to predict the whims of the falls. His daring river rescues render him a local hero and cast him as a threat to the power companies that seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future.
Set against the tumultuous backdrop of Niagara Falls, at a time when daredevils shot the river rapids in barrels and great industrial fortunes were made and lost as quickly as lives disappeared, The Day the Falls Stood Still is an intoxicating debut novel
."

The Day the Falls Stood Still is a very promising debut novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan. The story is set in Canada near the Niagara where its wonderful beauty and history is emanated from Cathy's descriptions. This is the story of Bess Heath, who suddenly finds herself at a turning point in her life when everything is forced to change due to the fact that her father lost his job at the power plant. Bess's mother, father and sister are intriguing characters along with Bess herself, and we immediately get drawn into this captivating telling of this family's journey. There are quite a few supporting characters as well, each adding depth and drama to this story as Bess must make difficult choices that end up haunting her family, which cast her as a strong and brave woman.

Mr. Heath, Bess's father, loses his long-time job at the hydroelectric plant which puts the family into a downward spiral of economic hardship and despair. Although set in 1915, the modern economic times also mirrors the struggles that the Heath family faced back then, and they also had the war to deal with. Mr. Heath shuts his family out, Mrs. Heath can do little to get him out of his self-induced funk, and Bess's treasured sister Isabel is going through her own personal crisis. And through it all, Bess is watching trying to add strength to her family, as she is trying to adjust to a new way of life after her father loses his job.

A light at the end of the tunnel is when the son of a prominent family member proposes to Bess, but Bess has fallen in love with a fishmonger of whom her family strongly disapproves. And then suddenly a horrifying tragedy occurs, sending the family into an emotional spiral of grief and depression and further forces the family into the speculative limelight of gossipers. How Bess and her family deal with this tragedy is portrayed simply, but it is told with a distinct grip of grief that is significant of excellent writing that resonates throughout the novel.

All the while through this story of Bess and the trials of her family, Bess goes through her own life events of marriage, career and children which makes the book a sort of romance in the beginning; but all is told with the Niagara as an integral part to the novel and not just as a backdrop. The story of the man, Fergus Cole, who previously was a renowned riverman known for daring river rescues at the Falls, is the undercurrent in the story with interesting anecdotes about him and his rescues, which also makes the book a sort of historical. The author was inspired for this novel by the true riverman William "Red" Hill, and the rescues are depicted in the novel as well. It is cleverly portrayed through newspaper clippings along with inspiring old photos of the Falls themselves. The residents of the area were caught between the controversy of technology and development versus the preservation of the sanctity of the Falls and the river, and serves as a theme throughout this novel as Bess finds herself right in the middle of the issues.

This is an informative look on the impact of both the electric powerhouses of the times, and the majestic force of the Niagara. The story moves swiftly and is sadly poignant but engrossing all the same. Giving the novel an even more realistic flavor is the attention given to the dressmaking projects that Bess takes on, as this is how many women helped to support the family in the days of WWI. The few criticisms I have is that the book ended, and that the back cover exposes a major turning point in the book that should not have been given away on the back cover (which will not be divulged here). This is not for the weak of heart as it is certainly not a happy-joy-joy type of book. The ending leaves you feeling bereft through its heart wrenching details, but this makes for a compelling read and I recommend it for the main character's fortitude and strength. I look forward to future works by Cathy Marie Buchanan, so that I can again relive the intense drama that she writes.

The author Cathy Marie Buchanan will be adorning this blog with a guest post/author's note tomorrow, in which she speaks of the legendary rescuer William 'Red' Hill and shares some older photos of the Niagara Falls. I would love for you to stop by and enter the giveaway for this novel then!

If you cannot wait for the giveaway and absolutely must purchase this because I have written such an awesome review, then please visit:
Amazon, B&N, Powell's or an independent bookseller to purchase!

If you have written a review and would like for me to link you to this post, please leave a comment and I will do so.

Mailbox Monday~ The Bus Is Coming!

Welcome to The Burton Review Mailbox Monday Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

Ok so I don't know why I titled this post 'the bus is coming' but it's a Monday and with school already here and 90+ degrees outside I'm still not with the program, so I'm sure I am going to be yelling at the girl to go run and catch the bus. Like just last week, when my husband had to tell her to run, and she started to run, and then she stopped and said WHERE?! That folly will be happily etched in our minds till we get to tell her boyfriends.

Since I'm being a good girl realistic these days with the amount of time I can devote solely to reading, I've got another dainty week's of mail but these picks will be well worth my time:

I took Misfit's advice, and ordered from Paperbackswap:

PenmarricPenmarric by Susan Howatch. This is an interesting 1971 Book Club hardcover, and Misfit says it mirrors the Plantagenet family. Should be a fun read!

"Set against the starkly beautiful landscape of Cornwall, PENMARRIC is the totally enthralling saga of a family divided against itself. At the center of the novel is the great mansion called Penmarric. It is to Penmarric that Mark Castallack, a proud, strange, and sensitive man, brings his bride Janna--the first act in a tempestuous drama that was to span three generations.."

And for a mini-review at Wonders & Marvels in a few weeks (& of course a full Burton Review here for my faithful readers plus a giveaway), I received from the publisher via Wonders & Marvels:
Cleopatra's Daughter, by Michelle Moran
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran (available 9/15/09)
"The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s vengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome, but only two—the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander—survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts."





Another from Paperbackswap:
Heloise and Abelard
Heloise and Abelard by James Burge (2006)
"New Revelations about One of the Greatest Romances in History: Peter Abelard was arguably the greatest poet, philosopher, and religious teacher in all of twelfth-century Europe. In an age when women were rarely educated, Heloise was his most gifted young student. Their private tutoring sessions inevitably turned to passion, and their moments apart were spent writing love letters. Astoundingly, a few years ago a young scholar identified 113 new love letters between the pair which, combined with the latest scholarship, present us with the richest telling yet of the couple's clandestine passion -- a story that is erotic, poignant, and at times even funny."

And from Arleigh at Historical-Fiction.com, my first Chadwick!!The Greatest Knight

The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick (available 9/1/09)
"Based on fact, this is the story of William Marshal, the greatest knight of the Middle Ages, unsurpassed in the tourneys, adeptly manoeuvring through the colourful, dangerous world of Angevin politics to become one of the most powerful magnates of the realm and eventually regent of England. From minor beginnings and a narrow escape from death in childhood, William Marshal steadily rises through the ranks to become tutor in arms to the son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. A champion on the tourney field, William must face the danger and petty jealousy targeting a royal favourite. Dogged by scandal, banished from court, his services are nevertheless sought throughout Europe and when William's honour is vindicated, he returns to court and wins greater acclaim and power than before. A crusader and the only knight ever to unhorse the legendary Richard Coeur de Lion, William's courage and steadfastness are rewarded by the hand in marriage of Anglo-Irish heiress Isobel de Clare, 19 years old, the grandaughter of kings and his equal in every way."




Come back today and tomorrow for the blog tour of Cathy Marie Buchanan's debut novel, The Day The Falls Stood Still

Aug 30, 2009

Book Review: "The Treasures of Venice" by Loucinda McGary

"The Treasures of Venice" by Loucinda McGary
Review Copy provided by Sourcebooks
Paperback 352 pages, 9781402226700
The Burton Review Rating:

"When American librarian Samantha Lewis and Irish rogue Keirnan Fitzgerald set off to find priceless jewels, they become embroiled in a 500-year-old love story that eerily prefigures their own... In 15th century Venice, beautiful and wealthy Serafina falls in love with Nino, a young Florentine sculptor. They decide to flee to Padua, and to fund the trip, Nino copies a set of jewels that then disappear. In modern-day Venice, Keirnan needs Samantha's help to locate the jewels so he can pay his sister's ransom. Samantha must decide whether the man she's so drawn to is her soul mate from a previous life...or are they merely pawns in a relentless quest for a priceless treasure?"


I loved this novel by Loucinda McGary for its mixture of suspense, romance and historical fiction. There are two main stories happening throughout the novel as it switches back and forth between the 1485 characters and the present day characters both dealing with sinister forces amidst an all encompassing love. The novel opens up to the recently jilted Samantha Lewis trying to enjoy a much needed vacation in Venice, Italy when a gorgeous guy immediately involves her in a desperate chase against time and kidnappers. Their story is fun and well played as they learn about each other and the mystery of the Jewels of the Madonna, and we are transported back in time to 1485 and another clandestine love affair between Serafina Lombardo and a painter, Nino.

Serafina is supposed to marry her dead sister's husband to fulfill the need for an heir, but Serafina is violently opposed to this fate as she is suddenly magnetically attracted to Nino, and they formulate a diabolical plan to help her escape the same predetermined destiny that took her sister. Fast forward to present day, Sam and her new friend, Kiernan, also share a magnetic attraction that could get them both killed as they try to unravel the mysterious past of Serafina and the mysterious legacy she left behind. There are killers on the loose, the pesky Interpol and other obstacles that still cannot hamper the love instantly shared between Sam and Kiernan. Their attractions are mirrored with Serafina's and Nino's, so there is more than a hint of reincarnation in the story. Even though the story jettisons back and forth frequently between the two time periods, it did not disturb the rhythm since all of the characters were intriguing.

Sam occasionally has flashes of visions which also leads one to rely on the reincarnate factor, and there are other similarities between the two sets of star-crossed lovers. Serafina and Samantha also seem to mirror the same hair coloring and complexion so much so that one of the bad guys even mistakes Sam for Serafina. Kiernan is one of those guys that seems perfect, totally loyal to his kidnapped sister and ever the sensitive one when it comes to Sam. As the mystery comes to a close, the romance question remains if Sam and Kiernan can function together outside of the intrigue and mayhem that first threw them together. This was an enjoyable well rounded and fast-paced story that had me eagerly turning the pages to see what would happen next, but I would have enjoyed it even more if the historical story was more developed. As a whole, the novel had a great plot and breezed through quickly most of the adventures so that there was not any room for slow points.

I enjoyed the mystery, the suspense, and the intrigue of this imaginative story line. Coupled with the strong romances and the hunt for the Jewels of the Madonna, this would also make an impressive film; a well-kept Matthew McConaughey would be an excellent actor as Kiernan, and Sandra Bullock would make an excellent Sam. The setting of Venice with its gondolas, old churches, cemeteries and palazzos are a magnificent setting for the story and you wouldn't go wrong choosing this read to spend your weekend on.

The Sunday Salon~ Going on This Week

The Sunday Salon.com



I am still trying to feel better, it's been a very long week. I finished The Treasures of Venice by Louicinda McGary which was an interesting yet breezy read and my review will be up shortly. I had wanted to make a dent in my reading yesterday but I was feeling beyond repair and now I have to make up for not doing a thing yesterday. I do have Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter to read which I am looking forward to. With school started for the kids and perhaps a routine starting again soon I am praying for more reading time.

This week you will be treated to my review of The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan, along with a guest post and a giveaway. It was a wonderful book as you've heard from the blogosphere and I am happy to be a part of the blog tour.

Later on this week I'll be part of a unique Sourcebooks promotion featuring one of my favorite authors Georgette Heyer, but it means a giveaway for you guys so check back this week!

Coming soon is also the Freight train of the Book Blog Appreciation Week 2009 & to help celebrate our love of Historical Fiction, 6 more of my favorite HF Bloggers will be participating in the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table with interviews and guest posts during the BBAW week. I am looking forward to the festivities! (And I need to get working on it!)

I wanted to say thank you to Grace a.k.a bibliophile23 (who just changed her blog from Grace's Book Blog to Books like Breathing) for another Zombie chicken award =) I appreciate all the love and the kind words, it means a lot. I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and that Monday doesn't come too soon!

Aug 28, 2009

Friday Fill-In~ Another Royal Riddle

Join in the Friday Fill-In Fun~ They provide the basics and we fill-in the blanks with whatever we want! So that means I get to use famous dead people or fave characters..

And...here we go! Can you guess who this Famous Person is?


1. He was a loving man, my father, but did not expect me to be a king.

2. The parties and jousts are what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend was a Duke of Suffolk.

4. I was once admired for my intelligence and my handsome looks to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be elusive, as I soon became a fat tyrant.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my radical and religious wife.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being nursed for my sore leg, tomorrow my plans include perhaps reconciling with my daughter and Sunday, I want to hope that my royal line succeeds me!

I know this was an easy one for my regulars here. See my other Fill-In's here.

Aug 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday~ Light and Fluffy

Booking Through Thursday is hosted by Deb


Deb says: What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

This is a difficult question, it depends on the connotation of fluff. Off the top of my head I would think indignantly, I don't read Fluff!! But yes indeed, I have come across some, so therefore I have read fluff.

The lightest but not completely fluffy most RECENT read would be the Darcy & Anne novel by Judith Brocklehurst(click for review). That was a quick and easy, light read.

I think the Fluffiest book read most recently would be Lauren Lipton's Mating Rituals of The North American WASP (click for review). That was pretty fluffy.

How about you? Do you think you have read a fluffy book recently? Or a light read recently?

Wordless Wednesday

Aug 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesday~The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary

TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

Today's Teaser comes from The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary:

The Treasures of Venice

"Having survived largely by his wits for the past two years since leaving Florence, Nino did not try to second guess his instincts. He'd encountered unscrupulous clergymen before." - page 89

The Wild Sight by Loucinda McGary received the first Publishers Weekly Starred Review for the Sourcebooks Casablanca Line, so I am hoping this new book will be just as good!

Aug 24, 2009

Book Review: "Highland Rebel" by Judith James


"Highland Rebel: A Tale of a Rebellious lady and a Traitorous lord" by Judith James
Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Sourcebooks, Incorporated September 01, 2009
Review Copy Provided by Sourcebooks
The Burton Review Rating: 3 Stars

"Amidst the upheaval of Cromwell's Britain, Jamie Sinclair's wit and military prowess have served him well. While leading a troop in Scotland, he impetuously marries a captured maiden, saving her from a grim fate. A Highlands heiress to title and fortune, however, Catherine Drummond is not the woman Jamie believes her to be."


This is an adventurous novel about Jamie Sinclair, a never-do-well but gorgeous guy who impulsively saves a woman from a horrible fate by claiming her as his wife. The woman he saves is one who he believes to be a poor camp follower, and little does he know that she could be the answer to his prayers. Jamie Sinclair has all we need to empathize with him; he is mistreated by the noble ladies, and his own parents didn't want him around when he was growing up so he has been doing the best he can by switching allegiances as needed during the rough political times between Charles and James II. Once James II was king, his subjects and parliament disapproved of him, and our Jamie was doing all he could to stay under the radar.. until he found himself with a wife who happened to be of noble peerage in Scotland.


She is Catherine Drummond, who her father had chosen to rule his clan after his death, but her family would not allow this to happen. They chose for her a husband, and she disobeyed their wishes when she explained to them she was married to an Englishman. She then has to run to find him in England and see what she can do to get an annulment, or go against her nature and follow her dreams instead. The events that follow is a rather slow rendering of a cat and mouse game between Catherine and Jamie, although the novel got off to a promising start. The romance angle was over done with the same thing happening over and over (they get close, and then they scare each other off).

Amidst the back and forth romance the author does a thorough job of defining the aura of the turbulent times without feeling like a history lesson. In fact, the most interesting parts of the novel were when James was reacting to the political events. I enjoyed the book for the plot and the clever story angles, such as Cat dressing as a man to disguise herself, but I think it could have been a four star read for me if it had cut out about 100 pages in the middle of it. The historical nature of the book which encompasses Scotland, England and some France were the highlights of the novel and were well told with attention to detail. The author seemed to want to add all of her research and ideas into this one book, and sometimes the back and forth romance got in the way. The fact that the title Highland Rebel could refer to either Cat or Jamie adds to the drama, as the heroine Cat is a force to be reckoned with. This would be a wonderful read for those who like a little history mixed in with their romance reads.

Read an Excerpt here and you'll see that the story starts with some wild fun.
There are some high ratings for this book on Goodreads, check out the reviews here. The author Judith James has also written Broken Wing, which is set in the Napoleonic era and I plan to read that as well.

Just another BBAW Mini Meme

Over on the Official Book Blogger Appreciation Week site there is a mini-meme of Questions for the Blogger's who participated last year and even some for the newbies.
I started the book reviewing process in March, so I am a newbie on BBAW Circuit.

We don’t want those of you who didn’t participate to feel left out, so if you didn’t participate last year, how about these questions?
1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you? Obviously the comraderie, especially with those that are in my particular niche. And then the funny thing is that I can take what I've learned and also help those bloggers that are just a little more new than I am!! I love the friendships I've formed, and the sense of identity for myself that has now been created.

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you? Ms Lucy, Ms Lucy, Arleigh, Arleigh Sorry just can't pick one. Yes I repeated myself on purpose because those two were and still are such inspirations for me. I aspire to be as concise as they are.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer? hmm.. the one question or feedback I would like is to how to successfully juggle everything once the blog has taken off. I need to learn how to say no to review requests.. yet sometimes it is for a book that I definitely want to read but I have too much on my plate this month. Do I accept it? Do I accept it, but with a caveat? Or do I suck it up and say no altogether... which I guess is what I need to do if I EVER want to get to my own fantastic books that are collecting dust...

Mailbox Monday~ The Rarity Is A Gem

Welcome to The Burton Review Mailbox Monday Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

Here's what I received during the last week:

From Arleigh at Historical-Fiction.com (Awesome HF blog & blogger there, and THANK YOU!):

In The Compnay of The CourtesanIn The Company of the Courtesan (2006) by Sarah Dunant
I loved Sarah's recent Sacred Hearts, and this one seems to be a favorite with others. I am sure I will be pleased!
" 'My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment.'

Thus begins In the Company of the Courtesan, Sarah Dunant’s epic novel of life in Renaissance Italy. Escaping the sack of Rome in 1527, with their stomachs churning on the jewels they have swallowed, the courtesan Fiammetta and her dwarf companion, Bucino, head for Venice, the shimmering city born out of water to become a miracle of east-west trade: rich and rancid, pious and profitable, beautiful and squalid. With a mix of courage and cunning they infiltrate Venetian society. Together they make the perfect partnership: the sharp-tongued, sharp-witted dwarf, and his vibrant mistress, trained from birth to charm, entertain, and satisfy men who have the money to support her.

Yet as their fortunes rise, this perfect partnership comes under threat, from the searing passion of a lover who wants more than his allotted nights to the attentions of an admiring Turk in search of human novelties for his sultan’s court. But Fiammetta and Bucino’s greatest challenge comes from a young crippled woman, a blind healer who insinuates herself into their lives and hearts with devastating consequences for them all.A story of desire and deception, sin and religion, loyalty and friendship, In the Company of the Courtesan paints a portrait of one of the world’s greatest cities at its most potent moment in history: It is a picture that remains vivid long after the final page."


From a Giveaway win hosted by Nely at All about {n}, sponsored by Hachette:
The Moon Looked Down (2009) by Dorothy Garlock

The Moon Looked Down "The new Americana romance from bestselling author Dorothy Garlock, this time set against the backdrop of WWII. Sophie Heller's family immigrated from Germany to Victory, a small town in Illinois, before WWII began. Now that the war has affected the town, the townspeople discriminate against Sophie and her family. When a train derails, it is an accident but the Heller family is blamed. Coming to Sophie's rescue is a teacher from the high school, and despite their cultural differences, a romance starts to bloom."



Doing a happy dance.. none of these books have a stigma attached .. (i.e. review review review)
And aren't you shocked, given all the MegaMailboxes I've had lately?! I am so pleased to report this rarely spare mailbox! Because I've got a million to read already!

Aug 22, 2009

The Sunday Salon~ Do NOT Miss...

The Sunday Salon.com


One of my most engrossing reads this year was a book by Kamila Shamsie titled "Burnt Shadows". This is a novel that spanned generations beginning with the bombing in Nagasaki and ending in New York to the present. The novel was shortlisted for the 2009 Orange Prize, and I hope it WINS! Do NOT miss this one! My review of the book can be found here: Burnt Shadows. And then read the interview that resparked my interest today here. The author's other works include Kartography and Broken Verses.



I finished and adored The Day The Falls Stood Still which was the answer to Thursday's question, Most Recent Best Read. Stay tuned for a giveaway coming September 1st, part of a blog tour for the book. Do not miss it! The book releases the day I am having Endometrial Ablation. Such joy. Right now I am reading, or should be reading, "Highland Rebel" by Judith James, a romantic historical set in the days of King James II. It's been one heckuva week so I am not getting far at all, and next week is going to be more heckonwheels with a new daycare starting for the devilchild and second grade starting for the spaceychild and my husband's new shift starting and surgery and.. I'll stop because I'm already tired. I am so incredibly behind in my reading and reviewing. Thank the Lord for my simple mailbox post that you'll see Monday, and you'd be shocked.


Unless you've had surgery yourself this week, or otherwise hiding under a rock, you've noticed the BBAW FEVER! Book Blogger Appreciation Week Nominations have been sent out in many categories which have included roughly 1,000 blogs per Amy's calculations. Wow. So amazing are those organizational gals. I want to thank whoever nominated me: Most Chatty, Best New Blog, Best Historical Fiction, Best Reviews and this just in: Best Community Builder. Fun stuff! Which is so funny about the Community Builder nod because I just happen to be working on getting some of my favorite HF Bloggers to join in the BBAW fun with our own HF Action for the week to add to the fun! Stay tuned! Giveaways and interviews of each other.. YAY!
Last Feb/March when I started my reviewing I had no idea I was going to be nominated for anything at all so it has been a gratifying whirl so far, although I have slowed my pace and I apologize. With summer nearing its end, I am praying for earlier bedtimes for the heathens so that I can wind down myself at a decent time and get some reading in.
Speaking of AWARDS ~ What a WEEK~ I've received a zillion and a half, and I've previously neglected my duties here about passing them on so I am catching up now since I've gotten ALL THESE IN A WEEK and I'd feel like a heel if I didn't mention it.

Lizzy at Historically Obsessed topped it all for me by awarding me a new award:
HF Lovely Ladies
What is the criteria to be a H.F. Lovely Ladies Award you ask? You obviously have to be a woman to get this one. Specializing in Historical Fiction, be it novels, historical events, or fine art. These special ladies are the type who go above and beyond the call of duty daily and enjoy it! Since like me they are obsessed with HF theses ladies are a constant support with a flowing wealth of knowledge in the blogging community. They also play a active role in the blogger community hosting events and letting us all know events that they are not hosting. Being super blogger's who constantly are viewing and commenting on other sites with positive feedback. Their blogs have unique qualities like being beautiful and having excellent content. What is amazing is they do all this on the daily and still manage to run a household in their own physical domain. The "super women" blogger's of historical fiction."


Even though she does not need awards to feel special I MUST pass this to Arleigh at Historical-Fiction.com to adorn her blog with. Arleigh has been my source of comfort in the bookblogosphere, and I award Ms. Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine too even though Lizzy named every one else I would name as well and I won't bore them to death by re-distributing this to them although they deserve it a hundred times over..

And Allie from Hist-Fic Chick awarded me the Zombie Chicken award, thank you.. and I also received another new one "I Keep Coming Back for More" from Cathy! Thank you!

I KEEP COMING BACK!

The I Keep Coming Back for More! Award is for a blog you just can't stay away from. If you've been busy and your Google reader is over 1,000 unread posts, these are the blogs that you single out to read. These are the ones that are never victims to the dreaded Mark All As Read. There may be many different reasons why you can't stay away: a taste in books that mirrors your own, the same sense of humor, always knowing the latest in the book world... for whatever the reason, these blogs are flat out addictive and you have no wish to be cured!Since I am a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. method, the rules are rather simple:
Enjoy the award. If you don't want to put it on your blog, don't. Just get the warm, fuzzy feeling that I'm sending your way!
You don't have to reveal any deep, dark secrets about yourself or answer any sort of questions. You've already earned it!
You don't have to link back to me.
You don't have to give it to anyone else.
I am sending along a Warm Fuzzy Feeling to these blogs that cannot be Marked As Read without reading them first (in alphabetical order):

Enchanted By Josephine
Historical-Fiction.com
Historically Obsessed
Hist-Fic Chick

Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century
Medieval Bookworm
The Maiden's Court

I keep going back to those blogs for MORE! And remember, you don't have to do a darn thing with this award except get all warm and fuzzy inside :) Thanks to these ladies, who should NOT BE MISSED, as I MISSED Ms. Lucy when she was out of pocket for a little while last week, I was going through withdrawal symptoms.

And thank you for this award at Lib's Literary Library:

Pugtastic George, For Going Above and Beyond .. LOL Thank you! She gave me this one instead of the Lemonade stand since I had that one already!


And a week or two ago.. or three.. Thank you, Stacy!I had also received from Stacy's Books the Let's Be Friends award.. Thank you!


And then thrice bitten this week THREE times by Melissa's Bookshelf, Lizzy & Dolleygurl for the B I N G O Award.. BINGO AWARDThey all called me Outstanding.. you are all too Kind.. Thank you..


Passing BINGO along on to 5 other blogs that represent qualities represented by B-I-N-G-and-O. And will try and pick DIFFERENT blogs then they picked although obviously I'd agree with all of them..

B- Beautiful - Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide

I- Informative - Scandalous Women

N- Neighborly - Jenny loves to read

G - Gorgeous - 18th Century Blog (*FAB Photos!)

O- Outstanding - Reading The Past

There you are folks.. Please visit all these fabulous and fun blogs if you haven't before.. and enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Aug 20, 2009

Friday Fill-In~ Who Am I?

Join in the Friday Fill-In Fun~ They provide the basics and we fill-in the blanks with whatever we want! So that means I get to use famous dead people or fave characters..

And...here we go! Can you guess who this Famous Person is?

1. I remember, I remember once being loved by my fair queen.
2. Dear greed and quest for power I want you to know that you have not bested me, as my son will be king of two lands despite your protests.
3. Is that my queen with a traitorous Lord!!???
4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of murder, due to my insane jealousy of my wife's secretary.
5. I'm saving a murder mystery just for you! (MY OWN!)
6. If I made a birthday list scotch would definitely be on it!!!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being drunk, tomorrow my plans include being belligerent and murderous and Sunday, I want to escape Edinburgh (but I won't)!

Who do you think this is? My other Friday Fill-In's are here

Booking through Thursday ~ Recent BEST Read

Booking Through Thursday is hosted by Deb
Deb asked: "What’s the best book you’ve read recently?"
The most recent one for me is The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan.The Day The Falls Stood StillThe emotional family drama that drove that book was wonderfully captivating, and the story of the Niagara that was intertwined within it was memorable. My review posts on the 31st, a guest post and a giveaway on September 1st.
What was your most RECENT Best Read?

Aug 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Not 'Waiting on any Pre-pub' reads for a typical Wednesday meme post, so today I will participate in Wordless Wednesday.

A photo from Chillingham Castle in England, which has an awesome background.

Aug 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesday ~ "Highland Rebel" by Judith James

TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

Today's Teaser comes from the new novel to be released from Sourcebooks on September 1, 2009:

"Highland Rebel: A Tale of a Rebellious Lady and a Traitorous Lord" by Judith James:

"Catherine enjoyed herself for the first time since Jerrod had come to warn her to cooperate or be imprisoned. It was strange how easy she felt around this man, as if she'd always known him, and strange that when she found herself threatened it was him she turned to and trusted, rather than her own flesh and blood." - page 165

I have this author's other book to read and review as well, "Broken Wing" which is set during the chaotic beginnings of Napoleon's rule.

Aug 17, 2009

Book Review: "Darcy and Anne: Pride and Prejudice Continues.." by Judith Brocklehurst

Darcy and Anne: Pride and Prejudice Continues..."Darcy and Anne: Pride and Prejudice Continues.." by Judith Brocklehurst

ISBN: 9781402224386
Price: $12.99
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Review Copy provided by Sourcebooks
The Burton Review Rating:3.5 Stars

On the Cover:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lady Catherine will never find a husband for Anne…"
The synopsis:

"When a fortuitous accident draws Anne away from Rosings and her overbearing mother’s direct influence, she is able to think and act for herself for the first time ever. In the society of her cousins Darcy and Georgiana, and, of course, the lively Mrs. Darcy, Anne reveals a talent for writing and a zest for life.
Meanwhile, Lady Catherine is determined to choose a husband for Anne. But now that Anne has found her courage, she may not be so easy to rule.
Anne de Bourgh is a sympathetic character whose obedience and meekness were expected of women in her day. As she frees herself from these expectations, Anne discovers strength, independence, and even true love in a wonderfully satisfying coming-of-age story."


I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen immediately before this read, and I was glad to have the delightful story continue for me. Judith Brocklehurst picks up the story a few years later, after the Darcy's have settled into their new life. This is not focused on Darcy and Lizzy, though, and is actually about the domineering Lady Catherine's daughter, Anne. We were introduced to Anne in P&P, but we only got to know her as the sickly frail one who was destined to marry Mr. Darcy. Of course, Darcy defied Lady Catherine's plans and now Anne needs to get herself a husband. Since it is Darcy and Lizzy's fault that Anne has no one to marry, Lady Catherine sends Anne to Pemberley and tells the Darcys it is their responsibility to find her a husband now. Preferably someone who Lady Catherine can enjoy pushing around conversing with.

Of course this embarrassing situation is a blessing in disguise for Anne, as she is finally free from the confines of her mother and her 'vinegar-faced' servants after 25 years of her subtle prison at Rosings. She meets new people and has a chance to think for herself and finally begins to feel comfortable in her own skin, and shockingly, healthy! She gets to explore her feelings and her talents and discover things she had never known before.

A whimsical moment that must be shared with Pride and Prejudice fans is the simple fact that Mr Bennet, Lizzy's father, actually goes to an Assembly at the behest of Lady Catherine, when for some twenty years he has refused to do so for his wife. And Georgiana Darcy, the sister to Mr Darcy whom we met briefly in P. & P., is featured in the novel as a companion for Anne as she is also looking for a husband. Lady Catherine's true colors shine through and is the epitome of the character you would love to hate.

Seemingly obligatory for the romance novels that have daughters bickering with their mother, Anne of course falls in love with someone unsuitable for her rank and drama ensues. "Does he love her? He is going to move to Barbados!" And of course Anne fell in love with the first gentleman that crossed her path. It is a wonder if that is truly how it worked in Regency England; there does not seem to be much actual dating, but rather if one got along all right with the other while dancing then the next step most logically was marriage. What happened to you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get your prince? But such was the way it seems in the olden days. How odd that the divorce rate increased after we became pickier.

The storyline may be a bit predictable as a coming-of-age story, although Anne was a bit old to be doing so at age 25, yet the characters involved are still so endearing that it makes the read a worthwhile one. There is some of the Austenian dialogue, though not quite as in-depth as Jane Austen was, but still some conversations were had that certainly had the nuance of the Jane Austen wit and charm. Although the events did not move very fast for the first half of the book, the writing itself is so simple that it makes it an easy read. The story greatly picked up its pace throughout the last half with an ending that tied everything into a neat bow. Brocklehurst's easy style is not nearly the quality of prose of a deeper Austen read, it is actually a bit short at around 200 pages. Yet, Darcy and Anne is still a fun continuation of favorite characters with an outcome that can't be beat.

The author Judith Brocklehurst passed on October 2008, but was delighted when she learned that Sourcebooks was going to reissue her self-published title "A Letter from Lady Catherine" as "Darcy and Anne". Rumor is that her sequel to Mansfield Park is also possible.

Mailbox Monday ~ Cashing In

Welcome to The Burton Review Mailbox Monday Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased.

Here's what I received during the last week:

I received two books for review purposes:

"Dark Moon Of Avalon: Part Two in the Trystan & Isolde Trilogy" by Anna Elliott; Publisher: Touchstone (May 4, 2010) I am so excited to read this sequel to Twilight of Avalon, which I really enjoyed. This one is a bit longer too at 432 pages, which makes me happy!

Dark Moon of Avalon, Book Two


"I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires" (Civil War Series #2) (Paperback)by Cathy Gohlke
Cathy Gohlke (Author) Visit Amazon's Cathy Gohlke Page
"The bonds linking family and the lines separating enemies have become very blurry for 17 year old Robert. With his father away fighting for the Union, Robert must decide to act alone in order to help his ailing mother, extricate his injured Confederate Uncle, and bring relief to his cousin, Emily.When he unwittingly gets entangled in a Confederate escape plot, Robert must forge his anger and shame into a new determination to save his family. And, perhaps, he must also realize that the saving might not be entirely up to him.Honor and duty to God and country aren't as clear-cut as he hoped them to be."

Via Paperbackswap I received:
The Wild Irish"The Wild Irish" by Robin Maxwell
"Two female titans -- perfectly matched in guts, guile, and political genius. Elizabeth, queen of England, has taken on the mighty Spanish Armada and, in a stunning sea battle, vanquished it. But her troubles are far from over. Just across the western channel, her colony Ireland is embroiled in seething rebellion, with the island's fierce, untamed clan chieftains and their "wild Irish" followers refusing to bow to their English oppressors. Grace O'Malley -- notorious pirate, gunrunner, and "Mother of the Irish Rebellion" -- is at the heart of the conflict. For years, she has fought against the English stranglehold on her beloved country. At the height of the uprising Grace takes an outrageous risk, sailing up the Thames to London for a face-to-face showdown with her nemesis, the queen of England."

From three different giveaway's courtesy of Hachette Books:
From http://ajourneyofbooks.blogspot.com/ I won:
My Name Is Will"My Name is Will" A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare By Jess Winfield "A Tale of two Shakespeares... Struggling UC Santa Cruz grad student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg is trying to write his thesis about the Bard. Kind of...Cut off by his father for laziness, and desperate for dough, Willie agrees to deliver a single giant, psychedelic mushroom to a mysterious collector, making himself an unwitting target in Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs." Read More Here





From http://wrightysreads.blogspot.com/ I was supposed to receive some Mothers Day titles but they (Hachette) cancelled it, so they were generous enough to let me pick my own!! So I picked:
"Great Tales from English History" by Robert Lacy A Treasury of True Stories about the Extraordinary People -- Knights and Knaves, Rebels and Heroes, Queens and Commoners -- Who Made Britain Great (Paperback)
"A feast for history lovers--the whole colorful parade of English history brilliantly captured in a single volume.From ancient times to the present day, the story of England has been laced with drama, intrigue, courage, and passion. In GREAT TALES FROM ENGLISH HISTORY, Robert Lacey recounts the remarkable episodes that shaped a nation as only a great storyteller can: by combining impeccable accuracy with the timeless drama that has made these tales live for centuries.This new paperback edition is encyclopedic in scope, gathering together all of Robert Lacey's great tales previously published in three separate hardcover volumes. "

"Athenais" by Lisa Hilton "As biography, as history, as a rich story superbly told, ATHENAIS will appeal to readers of Antonia Fraser, Amanda Foreman, Francine du Plessix Gray, and Alison Weir.- ATHENAIS quickly sold through three hardcover printings."


From a Twitter contest at Random House I won:
"Girl in A Blue Dress" Girl In A Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold

"The celebrated debut novel inspired by the life and marriage of Charles Dickens Alfred Gibson’s funeral is taking place at Westminster Abbey, and his wife of twenty years, Dorothea, has not been invited. The Great Man’s will favours his children and a clandestine mistress over the woman he sent away when their youngest child was still an infant.

Dorothea hasn’t left her small apartment for years, and accepts her exclusion — until an invitation to a private audience with Queen Victoria arrives. The exhilaration of finding that she has much in common with the most powerful woman in England spurs Dorothea to examine her own life more closely. Her recollections uncover deviousness and the frighteningly hypnotic power of the genius she married, but also raise questions about her own complicity in her unhappiness. Questions that finally compel her to face her grown-up children and the two women she has long felt stole her husband: her own younger sister, Sissy, and the charming actress, Miss Ricketts.

This remarkable debut is as wise in the ways of the human heart as it is witty and vivid in its depiction of the charismatic Alfred Gibson, and the habits, mores, and personalities of Victorian London."

And finally, my order from Amazon last month came (I was afraid they were going to cancel it like last years Christmas gift!):Mary Boleyn
"Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII's Mistress" by Josephine Wilkinson (Pub. July 2009, and pretty short at 240 pages so it shouldn't be boring. "The scandalous true story of Mary Boleyn, infamous sister of Anne, and mistress of Henry VIII.
The fictionalized story of Mary Boleyn is told in the current Hollywood blockbuster The Other Boleyn Girl (based on Philippa Gregory's bestseller) starring Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman which has generated huge interest in Mary as a historical figure.
Mary Boleyn, 'the infamous other Boleyn girl', began her court career as the mistress of the king of France. Francois I of France would later call her 'The Great Prostitute' and the slur stuck.
The bete-noir of her family, Mary was married her off to a minor courtier but it was not long before she caught the eye of Henry VIII and a new affair began. Although a bright star at Henry's court, she was soon eclipsed by her highly spirited and more accomplished sister, Anne, who rapidly took her place in the king's heart. However, the ups and downs of the Boleyn sisters were far from over. Mary would emerge the sole survivor of a family torn apart by lust and ambition, and it is in Mary and her progeny that the Boleyn legacy rests
."

Off to quit my day job..

Aug 16, 2009

TSS & How Do People Find My Blog Meme

The Sunday Salon.com


The Sunday Salon we are supposed to talk about Books. I also use it as a sort of weekly Burton Review Newsletter type thing where I spout off about whatever I want to ..


Found on J. Kaye's book Blog a Meme "How do People find My Blog?" and just decided to add it to my Sunday Salon post.
If you are on google reader, you need to click on show original to see my stats as my results are in photo format.

I chose google analytics to see the results. There is not anything out of the ordinary here as far as keyword searches except that the review was spelled as revoew but at least they still found me. Those searching for Twilight Giveaway were disappointed if they were looking for the Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books.

Ok since that wasn't too fun I went to My StatCounter (who are absolutely awesome) profile and found "Recent Keyword Activity" and found some fun stuff such as:

Heather Burton Dragons: hmm only thing that matches the blog would be Burton;

Beauty of Elizabeth Woodville: goes to the few posts I did on book reviews etc.

My Personal Favorite:
Hemophilia How Much Prize for Fatter: eeeekkk I can only fathom..

And the longest search term:
What are the names of Elizabeth's sons, the princes in the Tower, who are the basis for the mystery

Click on pic to enlarge and see more fun terms for just the last few days:
click here

On with normally scheduled Sunday programming and what I did this week. I installed a tool I found on a computer blog that blocks IP ranges, so that the Psycho troll cannot visit from that IP range any longer. Thank you so much to WebUpd8 for this, Andrew was so helpful to me. Blogger doesn't offer this service, and Wordpress does. What is up with that? Anyone else in the UK using Tmobile may also be blocked but that doesn't bother me as long as Psycho Troll goes away. I will give it another week or so to verify that it is working and then I'll turn comment moderation off. And a shout out to a column by Book Reviews by Bobbie which was timely for me.
I am almost done with The Day The Falls Stood Still, by Cathy Marie Buchanan, and it is another winning debut novel. I will be hosting a Guest post and a Giveaway for this book on September 1st, and it is a wonderful post about some of the history of the Niagara and a legendary rescuer. I finished Darcy and Anne by Judith Brocklehurst and that publishes tomorrow.
This week I was referred by Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit to Examiner.com and I am going to publish snippets as a Dallas Literature Examiner. Some content will be duplicated as I get my groove on, but I would appreciate any clicks there as that will generate a small income for me (gumballs, lollipops..)
If anyone is interested in this venture for themselves send me an email. There is alot of set up that is required beforehand and they also would like at least 3 articles a week to be submitted, so before you think of jumping in, think of how an extra time requirement for 3 articles a week would affect you. And I didn't realize that till after the fact. Again, I would love for you to stop by my articles as they come, you can subscribe on my profile page and you will be notified when new articles are posted. If you go there now you will get a sneak peek of a review that I haven't posted here yet, for Darcy & Anne.

Yesterday I received an ARC of Anna Elliott's second novel in the Trystan and Isolde trilogy "Dark Moon of Avalon", due out in May 2010, and I CANNOT WAIT to read it. I loved her first novel. I wish I could jump in right now but I have several others to read and review.. several is being used loosely.. Anna is expecting her second baby also any moment, so I hope she is doing well!!!

My Publishing Series is complete, although my stats show alot of visitors, I didn't get alot of feedback except from those that probably felt pity for me (thank you!).. there is alot of information; comments are welcome for you to input any tips you want to share as a book blogger to future visitors.

AND last but not least.. my bookcase arrived from CSN Office Furniture!! See my Review here and a mini video on that adventure. And that's all folks! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! {Panicking that school starts soon for the second grader..}

CSN Office Furniture: Review of Bookcase

I just put together the bookcase I chose to review for CSN Office Furniture, your one stop shop for all of your office needs whether it is storage or decorative items; CSN Office Furnitureyou'll find it at the website at CSN Office Furniture which sells everything from home office furniture to office accessories.

It took about an hour or so to put together, and the pieces of wood were all in good shape except for a tiny denting which was thankfully in the back of the top shelf.
The screwing in the screws with the supplied hex wrench was a bit rough on the hands, and a bit too late I raided my husband's tool chest for the Allen wrenches which would have made the whole thing a lot easier.

I am happy with the product and I would recommend it, and there are matching pieces that coordinate with this as well. The one I chose is a Wide Two-Shelf, there is also a skinnier Two-Shelf and Wide Three-Shelf system.



Please take a look at my video above and see the before and after of finished product!
My new bookcase from CSN Office Furniture
It was great fun spending girl time with the daughter putting this together, and she helped out when my hand just couldn't take any more abuse! And remember there is FREE Shipping in the USA! Thank you to the great people at CSN Office Furniture for this great review opportunity!
CSN Office Furniture:The Best Selection of Office Furniture Online

Comments have been disabled here since this post attracts the most annoying spammers. Yuck.