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Sep 21, 2009

Book Review: "The Tudor Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York" by Margaret Campbell Barnes

"The Tudor Rose: A Novel of Elizabeth of York" by Margaret Campbell Barnes
This Reissue by Sourcebooks October 2009
Original Publication 1953
The Burton Review Rating:3.5 Stars

"One woman holds the key to England's most glorious empire in this intimate retelling of the launch of the Tudor dynasty.
A magnificent portrait of Elizabeth of York, set against the dramatic background of fifteenth century England. Elizabeth, the only living descendant of Edward IV, has the most valuable possession in all of England—a legitimate claim to the crown. Two princes battle to win Britain's most rightful heiress for a bride and her kingdom for his own. On one side is her uncle Richard, the last Plantagenet King, whom she fears is the murderer of her two brothers, the would-be kings. On the other side is Henry Tudor, the exiled knight. Can he save her from a horrifying marriage to a cut-throat soldier?
Thrust into the intrigue and drama of the War of the Roses, Elizabeth has a country within her grasp—if she can find the strength to unite a kingdom torn apart by a thirst for power. A richly drawn tale of the woman who launched one of the most dramatic dynasties England has ever seen, The Tudor Rose is a vibrant, imaginative look at the power of a queen."

Elizabeth of York is the eldest daughter of Queen Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV who seems to be of a strong character based on all accounts of her life. She was ultimately used as a pawn in the ongoing political struggles caused by the Wars of The Roses but was instrumental in uniting the two different parties of the wars. Elizabeth's younger brothers Edward and Richard were the infamous Princes in the Tower who disappeared at some point in 1483, which the novel paints a depressing but realistic picture of what is probable to have happened. Her uncle Richard, who had made himself King of England after conveniently declaring Elizabeth's parents' marriage invalid, is portrayed as a sinister man in this novel. He even goes so far as to entertain the idea of marrying Elizabeth himself, but luckily for her the Londoners have too much respect for their daughter of York and force him to deny the prospect.

Elizabeth, usually called Bess in the novel, is seen as a sacrificial lamb for the sake of England as she sets her hopes on Henry Tudor. Her motto as queen was Humble and Reverent, and she seems to be so in every sense of the phrase. We slowly go through the events that lead up to the decision that Elizabeth is forced to make between her Plantagenet relations or for the future hope for England. After England's years of the Wars of the Roses, Henry Tudor ends the Wars with his defeat of Richard at the Battle of Bosworth. Eventually, Elizabeth and Henry are married which united the red rose of the Lancastrians with the white rose of the Yorkists, forming the red and white Tudor rose.

Henry Tudor was a change to the Yorkist upbringing that Elizabeth was used to, and the novel meanders through Elizabeth's thoughts as she is finally made Queen of England. We are made to wonder why Henry took years to crown Elizabeth, it was only after she gives birth to the Tudor heir that it is done for her. Even though Henry was always a frugal man and did very little to support the pageantry known to previous Kings and Queens, he does offer a grand coronation for Elizabeth which is one of the few nice things he seems to do for her.

We see more than a glimpse of Henry's politics and his coldness towards Elizabeth. The novel seems consumed by it. There is also always the back story of the lost princes and the possibilities of their demise. The pretenders or impostors are also featured here and show us how Elizabeth was affected by the loss of her little brothers, in particular young Dickon, which made Elizabeth's character a bit more real. On the other hand, Elizabeth's mother is portrayed as having no scruples as to the whereabouts of her boys, she has no hope for their survival and is portrayed as a cold woman without much to live for. I would have preferred a bit more insight into the old Queen's character, but she was not the main character. Instead we see everything through her daughter Elizabeth's eyes, as we see her through her younger days, then through her child birthing and we are privy to her many thoughts regarding the passionless husband of hers.

Contrary to popular (factual?) belief there is a loving relationship between Margaret Beaufort, Henry's mother, and Elizabeth portrayed throughout. Although fitting neatly with the novel, this bothered me since I have always heard of the way Margaret went out of her way to make Elizabeth uncomfortable. I look forward to some upcoming works regarding Margaret Beaufort so that I can determine the validity of the claims of Beaufort's harshness.

The novel continues its story to the upbringing of the four surviving Tudor children, to the death of the firstborn Arthur Tudor in 1502 who was betrothed to Catherine of Aragon. The span of about twenty years is covered in this novel, and in the last half of the book is mostly comprised of Elizabeth's reactions to Henry's political decisions. It is not a fast paced and thrilling read, but still holds the reader captive for its substantial subject matter. Elizabeth of York, a proud Plantagenet, along with her Tudor husband, helped to bring England to a time of prosperity that was not known for a very long time. Their children included Margaret, who became Queen of Scotland, and the infamous Henry VIII who had six wives, and Mary who was briefly Queen of France. Elizabeth and her younger son Henry had a loving relationship, and with its portrayal in the novel it was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book as he was one of the few that showed love to Elizabeth. The major events and intrigue that occurred around Elizabeth of York make this a worthwhile read for those interested in the formation of the Tudor dynasty and although it seemed slow going at times I still recommend this to those interested in Elizabeth's point of view.

Edited to add on October 2:

(Thank you Sourcebooks!) Sourcebooks is providing a Giveaway for this book to one lucky reader in the USA & Canada, no P.O. Boxes.

To enter:

Comment with your Email Address and Follow this Blog.

+1 entry for Twitter (@BurtonReview) or Facebook share

+2 Entries for Blog Sidebar Graphic Link to this post.

Giveaway Ends Friday, 10/16 Midnight EST. Good Luck!

Mailbox Monday~ I won ALL these!!

Edited to Add that I am ecstatic to announce that Claire from The Anne Boleyn files won the Cleaopatra's Daughter!
Congrats, Claire!

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.

This week, all SEVEN of my new books came from Giveaways I won, I had a great lucky streak in August & early September, and here they come. And it may seem like I just enter giveaways randomly given the way I have all these books all of a sudden, but I promise that I don't take the opportunity from other readers unless I really do want to read the books!! So here we go:

From So Many Precious Books, So Little Time!
I won The Blue Star: A Novel by Tony Earley:

"Seven years ago, readers everywhere fell in love with Jim Glass, the precocious ten-year-old at the heart of Tony Earley's bestseller Jim the Boy. Now a teenager, Jim returns in another tender and wise story of young love on the eve of World War Two. Jim Glass has fallen in love, as only a teenage boy can fall in love, with his classmate Chrissie Steppe. Unfortunately, Chrissie is Bucky Bucklaw's girlfriend, and Bucky has joined the Navy on the eve of war. Jim vows to win Chrissie's heart in his absence, but the war makes high school less than a safe haven, and gives a young man's emotions a grown man's gravity. With the uncanny insight into the well-intentioned heart that made Jim the Boy a favorite novel for thousands of readers, Tony Earley has fashioned another nuanced and unforgettable portrait of America in another time--making it again even realer than our own day."

From A Novel Menagerie I won The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle) by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

"January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name."

From Dan's Journal I won some books that would be perfect for Serena and Anna's War Through The Generations challege:
On The Bluffs by Steven Schindler
"SOMETIMES THE BIGGEST LIES ARE THE ONES WE LIVE While Brian DeLouise was working the graveyard shift at a conspiracy theory-crazed radio station his wife was alley-catting around Washington, DC. But a cheating wife and a dead-end job no longer made him angry or depressed. He was just numb. It took a daring brush with death to awaken his senses and a few clicks on Google to begin a journey to recapture a love he believed was gone forever. Brian finds his lost lover in a rundown mansion on the windswept bluffs of Cape Cod, where he must confront a fast approaching evil while he risks losing everything he now cherishes."

The Sentinels: Fortunes of War by Gordon Zuckerman
"In this riveting amalgam of political intrigue, poignant romance, and bare-knuckled action, six friends risk everything to thwart an international Nazi conspiracy. In the financial devastation of the 1930s, a greedy, power-hungry group of German industrialists plot to usher in the National Socialist Party in order to rearm Germany and reap the financial rewards. Thus rises Hitler. With Hitler in power, the Six Sentinels, graduates of an elite American doctoral program, uncover the industrialists' plan to hoard hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal war profits. Using their financial and familial connections around the globe, they work to foil the machinations of the financiers of the Third Reich. In a daring strategy of Robin Hood style thievery, the sentinels put their lives on the line to serve justice--and thus become embroiled in a dangerous and violent international conspiracy.
A gripping story that escalates at every turn, The Sentinels: Fortunes of War is the first in a series that follows the Six Sentinels as they continue to alter the course of history."

Giv: The Story of a Dog and America by Boston Teran
"My name is Dean Hickok, sergeant, late of the U.S. Marines. I nearly ran down a dog one night on a back road during a Kentucky rainstorm. The dog, it turned out, had been made to suffer and left to die in a crate. But his will to survive, his determination to overcome the many cruelties inflicted upon him, and the ultimate and unabated goodness that abided in him afterward, are the actual reason these pages bearing my name exist at all. I was profoundly wounded of heart and empty of purpose as I drove through the Kentucky darkness that night. I had recently returned from Iraq, the lone survivor of my squad, when my headlights bore through a sweeping rain to find him there, stumbled and fallen. Both of us being on that same road, on that night, and at that moment, was not an accidental happenstance but the poetry of fate. For as much as I saved a dogs life, he saved mine."

From Reading the Past, Sarah had a fantastic title game and all of her participants were winners. Entrants had a puzzle to work from to find current titles and authors, and the top winner found 106 books! I only found 75, I told myself to stop there and I had no idea there would really be so many more! But it was great fun! The books I chose as a participant were:

East of the Sun: A Novel by Julia Gregson "As the Kaisar-i-Hind weighs anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. They are part of the "Fishing Fleet" -- the name given to the legions of Englishwomen who sail to India each year in search of husbands, heedless of the life that awaits them. The inexperienced chaperone Viva Holloway has been entrusted to watch over three unsettling charges. There's Rose, as beautiful as she is naïve, who plans to marry a cavalry officer she has met a mere handful of times. Her bridesmaid, Victoria, is hell-bent on losing her virginity en route before finding a husband of her own. And shadowing them all is the malevolent presence of a disturbed schoolboy named Guy Glover.
From the parties of the wealthy Bombay socialites to the poverty of Tamarind Street, from the sooty streets of London to the genteel conversation of the Bombay Yacht Club, East of the Sun is graced with lavish detail and a penetrating sensitivity -- historical fiction at its greatest."

And this one looks awesome:
Sand Daughter by Sarah Bryant "A fascinating snapshot of the world of the Crusades."
"Khalidah faces an arranged marriage at the behest of her father, a Bedouin Clan chief. But when a mysterious stranger named Sulayman reveals the machinations behind her pending union, she suddenly finds herself a pawn in a deadly plot involving her own feuding tribe and the powerful Templar Knights. Faced with certain death, Khalidah runs away with Sulayman, a man she barely knows. Their journey, and the desire that grows between them, will thrust Khalidah toward unimaginable adventure, and the echoes of a past that somehow connect her to the Jinn-the mysterious Afghan warriors who may hold the key to the coming battle for the Holy Land."

I think I am most excited about The Blue Star and the last two.. but thanks to everyone who held these giveaways! I hope I add a few more via some BBAW giveaways, but time will tell. What did you get this past week in your mailbox?

Sep 19, 2009

The Sunday Salon:A Fabulous Week is over, let's look at the stats!

The Sunday

It has been a fantastic week for the Historical Fiction fans out there, if I do say so myself. For the entire previous week from Sept. 14 - 18, I and six other bloggers created guest posts, interviews of each other and scheduled author posts along with some fantastic giveaways. This was the inaugural event of The Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, and while we certainly need a break now, I hope to do this again sometime. The announcement post is here at Enchanted By Josephine who was an amazing organizer of my scrambled ideas, and I thank Ms Lucy very much for being so willing to jump in and help out with the major stuff. {{Big bear hugs to Ms Lucy!}} Amy from Passages to The Past also posted a wonderful round-up post, go check that out as well.
I started seven new historical fiction book giveaways this week, you can find them on the left sidebar. I hosted authors Michelle Moran, Kate aka Kathy Lynn Emerson, and Robin Maxwell.

You can find the rest of The Burton Review posts for the event here, which will also direct you to the other Blogs that have some great posts up as well. I also wanted to thank the few who wanted to jump in and participate in this royal week, such as Aimee from My Fluttering Heart, and of course Susie from All Things Royal. Check those blogs out, because there is another royal giveaway going on! Thank you for making this a successful week for me.

Of course this also brings the end to the annual Book blogger appreciation week (BBAW) & it has been interesting to read along for the Daily blogging topics for which I also added a couple of posts along with the HF Bloggers Events this week. I told you who my blogs-as-bible are that I rely on for reviews, or these listed here that belonged on any shortlist if I was a panelist, I interviewed a new-to-me-blogger, Jessica, from Chick Lit Teens (who also enjoys Historical Fiction), I told you my reading habits, and I told you where I wanted to be this time next year Blog-wise. I really enjoyed reading every one's compliments and comments on my blog, by the way. I hadn't started book blogging until March & I am so honored to be able to say I've made some fantastic friends, particularly with those in my Historical Fiction genre. Arleigh from, Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine and Amy from Passages to The Past wrote some really nice and complimentary things to me and it is what makes devoting so much free time to blogging a worthwhile past time. These six months have really changed my life.. and I love my fellow bloggers! Yup, it's only been 6 months as a book blogger, but it seems much much much longer.

I also entered some of the contests on the actual BBAW website, some of the giveaways were pretty cool. Bookmarks and gift cards were my favorite giveaways! And I just learned I won The Wet Nurse's Tale, set in Victorian England, from Carrie's site at Books and Movies. Thank you!

I am glad that Amy of My Friend Amy and all of her helpers had a successful event this year, like Sheri from A Novel Menagerie who has redesigned her blog in the midst of helping out for the BBAW and being a single mom. I really love her newest look, it is fresh and easy to navigate. Arleigh at has just revamped her site as well, have you seen that yet? It's very classy and neat.

There was a question I saw on the BBAW site about what blog have I been introduced to this week, and I entered My Fluttering Heart, because I found out from Meghan's Medieval Bookworm blog that Aimee is also a Burton. That was a fun bit of news for me, (I'm a Burton, if you hadn't noticed) and Aimee said that we Burton's need to stick together.. Meghan is going to be married soon so she goes from a very unique last name to not quite so diverse with Burton. Meghan is a total sweetheart with a great blog that I've followed for awhile. And Aimee was so kind to participate in our HF Bloggers Round Table Event also.

With all the hubbub of the BBAW and the Round Table, some may have missed the review I posted Sunday on Book Review: "Girl Mary" by Petru Popescu. This week I started reading "The Other Mr. Darcy: Did you know Mr. Darcy had an American cousin?" by Monica Fairview. With all of the HF Blogger festivities and me watching DALLAS, The Eighth Season instead of reading, I am not getting anywhere at all. But the book is great, it really is. Which brings me to another question I saw somewhere on the BBAW: How do you feel about the myriad of Austen Sequels? I was surprised at how many people were turned off of them. Obviously, I am not one of them, unless you are talking about monsters and vampires because that is just not my thing. But when a classic read, like Austen, inspires others so much that authors have decided to spin-off from the classy prose, I am all for it. I enjoy the Regency Era, and the elegant writing it promotes. I grew up reading Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, Margaret Mitchell, Agatha Christie, have recently discovered Georgette Heyer.. and if there are modern writers that aspire to that literary prowess than I am eager to read their works.

What was the effect of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event statistics wise? I estimate at least 20 new followers to my blog.

I had an average of 220 Page loads each day.
I had an average of 100 FIRST TIME visitors each day!
This may sound like peanuts in other worlds, but in my world, as opposed to the Previous week:

I normally have average of 70 page loads a day, and 50 First Time Visitors.
And here is a fun look at Recent CAME FROM stats: Looks like the Google Reader followers was my friend again, along with the blogger dashboard from followers, and BBAW Giveaways that I hosted for the HF Bloggers Round Table Event. The next highest referring links came from the other members of the Round Table event.

Normally for me, the MOST fun statistical thing is KEYWORD Activity but the last two days have been pretty normal. Lucky googlers have found what they were looking for it seems.

Although the "I love to show off" search term has me thinking what was that person really looking for? And my giveaway for Robert Hicks "A Separate Country" got some attention as well. One would wonder about the search term David Starkey & Creative Writing being used in the same sentence, though. My most popular pages are shown with the # of hits recently:

I used Stat Counter to compile these reports, and I have since deleted the images that were on this post.

Edited to add that WANDA has won a new hardback of "The Day the Falls Stood Still" by Cathy Marie Buchanan from my giveaway here. Congratulations, Wanda!

Sep 18, 2009

BBAW Show Off Meme~ I LOVE MY BLOG.. I mean.. I love..YOU!

Final BBAW day means time to show off! Tell us and this is really important, in 50 words or less what you love best about your blog! And then in 50 words or less where you want your blog to be by the next BBAW! Ready? GO!

What I love best about my blog ... easy: my Commenters. YOU!
This week, what I love best about my blog are my commenters AND The Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table. Because I love Historical Fiction Blogs. If you haven't guessed that judging from the posts.. {times up!}

Where I want to be blog-wise by next BBAW:
I would like to be at a point where I have finished reviewing books that I have piled up for too long... I want to be able to participate in Group reads on Goodreads and challenges like the Plaidy Challenge, for HF books that I have a passion for already. {times up!}

HF Bloggers Round Table Wrap Up plus one last Guest Author Robin Maxwell: Anne Boleyn and 2 Book Giveaway!

Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event
I am so excited to wrap up this Historical Fiction Book Bloggers Round Table Week with posts on Anne Boleyn!

Giveaways going on so far: (Click link at titles to go to the Giveaway Posts):
Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter; Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen; James Patterson's King Tut; Kathy Lynn Emerson's Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie; Robert Hicks' A Separate Country, and todays giveaway for two of Robin Maxwell's books on Anne Boleyn. There are two other giveaways that started before HF Bloggers Round Table week that are still going on, such as the wonderful book by Cathy Marie Buchanan, The Day The Falls Stood Still, and promotion for a book of your choice from those listed here.

Visit the other Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Charter Members Blogs to see what they are offering this week, such as a Signed Philippa Gregory novel, Karen Essex's Leonardo's Swans, and Royal Panoply, and there is a giveaway at Royal Intrigue as well.. and Lizzy has added a Giveaway for The Boleyn Inheritance at Historically Obsessed. Susie from All Things Royal has also joined the fun and has some UNIQUE giveaways, go visit Susie!

There have been some fabulous interviews & Guest posts going on for the Round Table from bloggers to bloggers:
-At The Maiden's Court you'll find an Interview with Arleigh of and a Fabulous Guest post from Arleigh on Eleanor of Aquitaine: Mother of a Dynasty.
-At Passages to The Past, Amy is hosting Ms Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine with Guest Post The Royal Granddaughter…another Josephine and Interview.
-At Historical, Arleigh is hosting Lizzy from Historically Obsessed with a guest post on Catherine Howard, the young naive wife of Henry VIII, and an interview.
-At The Burton Review, I've hosted Allie from Hist-Fic Chick, with a fabulous interview and a guest post on Mary Queen of Scots.
-FINALLY.. today at Historically Obsessed it is my turn for the guest post and interview!

Today you can find me at Historically Obsessed talking about the famous Anne Boleyn and my quest for some good historical fiction regarding this famous royal figure. Please stop by and say hello to my over at Lizzy's blog at Historically Obsessed!
Check out Enchanted by Josephine's blog as new for Friday a Book Review of The Raucous Royals + Sophia's Corner with her review & Giveaway of author-Signed copy (US, Canada only).
Whew, are you tired yet?! This is the LAST and FINAL post you'll see for this Fantastic First Time EVER event of the Historic Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event!! And a fabulous last post it is, because we've got Robin Maxwell here!
I have another wonderful author to present, Robin Maxwell, as she shares with us a guest post on Anne Boleyn which she kindly allowed me to reprint a Huffington Post article she did last year, and she is sponsoring a FANTABULOUS TWO BOOK Giveaway below!


by Robin Maxwell
Let me say this up front: Anne Boleyn was no angel. From her tenderest years she was weaned on scandal and intrigue, schooled in Machiavellian politics, and came of age in the licentious court of Francois I. Unlike her sweet, malleable sister Mary, Anne – the Boleyn girl who really mattered – had a great head on her shoulders. That, sadly, was the foulest crime a woman in the sixteenth century could commit, and reason enough for the all-male establishment to ensure she was parted from it.
Here was a girl who had the temerity to fight for a marriage not of convenience but love with her first sweetheart, Henry Percy, and to spurn the sexual advances of an already-married man, Henry VIII. What nerve to demand she be wed before she gave birth to their children! Who did she think she was helping bring the Protestant Reformation to England? She ought to be ashamed that her only offspring was history’s favorite queen – Elizabeth I.

For daring to survive and thrive in one of the bloodiest, back-stabbingest cultures of all time, Anne Boleyn acquired a reputation as a (gasp!) ambitious woman, a scheming, traitorous, marriage-wrecking, child-stealing whore. Oh, and let us not forget…witch. It was understandable that Renaissance spin doctors might be inclined to do the bidding of their half-mad, ax-happy boss, King Henry. But what excuse have modern writers for perpetuating the scurrilous rumors and trumped-up charges that insured one of history’s most remarkable women end her life on the wrong end of a sword?

Maybe the answer is that every good story needs a villain. And who better to target for that role than a beautiful, too-big-for-her-britches woman that ends up with her head on the chopping block? I just happen to see it another way. As far as I’m concerned, Anne Boleyn was the First Feminist. The first woman with the strength and convictions to face-down the London Boys Club and have her own way. At least for a while.

Despite her untimely demise, this young lady’s indomitable spirit and her not insubstantial accomplishments have been an inspiration in my art, as well as my life. So I say to her detractors, “Take your swiftboats, sail back into history and find someone else to pillory.”
In my book, Anne Boleyn rocks!
Many thanks to Robin for adorning my blog with her presence. Robin's present books include

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn (1997); The Queen's Bastard (1999);Virgin (2001); The Wild Irish (2003); To the Tower Born (2005); Mademoiselle Boleyn (2007); Signora Da Vinci (2009) and coming soon is O, Juliet (2010)

Check out a couple of interviews of Robin Maxwell at Loaded Questions & Hist-Fic Chick

Mademoiselle Boleyn

Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

As part of the Historical Fiction Book Bloggers Round Table Event, Robin is graciously offering as a giveaway to my fellow book bloggers a copy of both The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
and Mademoiselle Boleyn!
There will be One Lucky Winner for both of these books!

To enter for this giveaway (USA only):

1. ONE ENTRY= Since this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, Follow this Blog publicly, you must be a Book Blogger & Reviewer, and comment with your Blog URL AND Email Address with a comment other than Enter Me. You can say something nice to Robin, or tell me how awesome this HF Bloggers Round Table was.. etc.

2. Add Extra Entries For Each (max of 5 total entries through this way): blog post, Sidebar post, tweet @BurtonReview, or Facebook Share spotlighting this post & giveaway. You must share that link within a comment so that I can verify it is done properly.

3. For an extra special ADDITIONAL +3 Entries: Visit my guest post and interview at Historically Obsessed, which posts today and comment over there, then comment over here telling me you did this. :) Fun stuff all around.

Entries must be received by midnight September 26th, the one winner will be announced and emailed the next day and you have two days to respond. Thanks for entering, thanks so very much to Robin sponsoring this awesome giveaway, and good luck to those who enter! Thanks to all those who participated in the Round Table, it has been fantastic wonderful fun!

Sep 17, 2009

BBAW Day 4~ Blogger Recommendations!

Let's talk about that book you know, the one you discovered only because you read about it on a book blog and then you realized you couldn’t live without it! And then you read it and you loved it so hard! Tell us about it and about the blogger (or bloggers!) that introduced the book to you!

I wish I kept track of these things as far as a particular book, but I don't. And honestly, I have been reading books that are ARC's myself, so I haven't gotten around to reading for "fun".. yet..

My historical fiction bloggers that I rely on as a bible for reviews and recommendations all come from the same pot as my favorite bloggers. These bloggers have added to my TBR pile, and I don't have the need to look elsewhere for book recommendations, because they are all right here:

Arleigh from , and Royal Intrigue

Ms. Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine and Royal Intrigue

Daphne from Tanzanite's Shelf and Stuff

Amy from Passages to the Past

Misfit from At home with a good book and the cat...

Meghan from Medieval Bookworm

There are newer blogs though that I also read reviews for and have now added to my toppling TBR pile: (in alpha order)

All Things Royal...

Hist-Fic Chick

Historically Obsessed

The Maiden's Court

I appreciate the time and thought it takes to construct a thorough review, and by these bloggers adhering to their own set standards, I value all of their opinions and my bookshelves have grown due to their reviews.

Don't forget to check out the giveaways listed in left sidebar, and visit these blogs listed for wonderful blogs!!

HF Bloggers~ Day 4~ Another Giveaway "A Separate Country"!

Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event

Welcome to Day Four of The Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event!

Posted for this Event here at The Burton Review:

Giveaways going on so far: (Click link to go to the Giveaway Posts)

Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter
Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen
James Patterson's King Tut
Kathy Lynn Emerson's Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie

Visit the other Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Charter Members Blogs to see what they are offering today, such as a Signed Philippa Gregory novel, Karen Essex's Leonardo's Swans, and Royal Panoply, and there is a giveaway at Royal Intrigue as well!

The Royal Heiress of the day is finally Ms. Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine, and you can finder an interview of Lucy at Passages to The Past and a guest post by Lucy about a Josephine you probably never heard of! Please be sure to hop over there and say hello to Lucy on Amy's blog.

And today, we have a giveaway for:

A Separate Country by Robert Hicks

Enter to Win A Separate Country This a beautiful hardcover edition, the picture does not do it justice!

"Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A Separate Country is based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army--and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. Starting fresh after the war, he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins."

To Enter this fabulous Giveaway (USA & Canada, no PO Boxes):
1. Since this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, you must Follow this Blog, be a Book Blogger & Reviewer, (*not required to review any of these giveaways!) and comment with your Blog URL AND Email Address with a comment other than Enter Me.

2. Add Extra Entries For Each (max of 5 total entries): blog post, Sidebar post, tweet @BurtonReview, or Facebook Share spotlighting this post & giveaway. You must share that link within a comment so that I can verify it is done properly.

Entries must be received by midnight September 24th, the one winner will be announced and emailed the next day and you have two days to respond. Thanks for entering, thanks to Hachette books for this giveaway, and good luck!

Booking Through Thursday~ Recent Enjoyable Reads

Booking Through Thursday is hosted by Deb.

Deb asks:

What’s the most enjoyable, most fun, most just-darn-entertaining book you’ve read recently?
(Mind you, this doesn’t necessarily mean funny, since we covered that already. Just … GOOD.)

I've read lots of GOOD books lately, luck of the draw I guess. I've enjoyed most of my recent reads actually. (Click titles to read my reviews)

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory was very entertaining.
Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten was a book that was really weird, funny, interesting, thought provoking all rolled into one.
And The Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott was a fabulous story that I cannot wait to continue, that one surprised me very much with her eloquent writing; it was a treat to behold.

Don't forget to enter the myriad of giveaways I have going on this week, see my left sidebar for links to the current giveaways here.

Sep 16, 2009

HF Bloggers~ Day 3~ Kathy Lynn Emerson Guest Post & Giveaway

Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event Giveaways going on so far: (Click link to go to the Giveaway Posts)
Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter
Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen
James Patterson's King Tut
Kathy Lynn Emerson's Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie

Visit the other Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Charter Members Blogs to see what they are offering today, such as a Signed Philippa Gregory novel, Karen Essex's Leonardo's Swans, and Royal Panoply, and there is a giveaway at Royal Intrigue as well!

Don't forget to visit the other blogs for more blogger Round Table interviews, yesterday's was Amy interviewed and guest post at Hist-Fic Chick and today's Royal Heiress is Lizzy from Historically Obsessed where she is being interviewed by Arleigh at the Historical Fiction site along with a guest post on Catherine Howard, the young naive wife of Henry VIII!

Today's Spectacular Adventure includes a fabulous author: Please welcome to The Burton Review, author Kate Emerson, author of the "Secrets of The Tudor Court" series. Book one was The Pleasure Palace, (read my review here) and Between Two Queens is being released January 5, 2010. ("Nan Bassett's goal to marry a nobleman is halted when she falls for handsome but poor Ned.")

Kate a.k.a Kathy, has taken time out of her busy copy-editing schedule of that book & writing a new one A Royal Decree for the series (which includes the time from Henry VIII's reign to his daughter Mary's reign) to offer us a glimpse of one of the other sides of her work. Aside from also writing Historical mysteries called the Face Down series as Kathy Lynn Emerson (read on for this giveaway), writing under another pseudonym Kaitlyn Dunnett, penning several non-fiction books, Kathy has also created a website devoted to Tudor women.

Here is what Kathy had to say about this hobby of hers:

by Kate Emerson

I have a little hobby. Well, okay—my husband calls it an obsession and he may be right. Whatever it is, it is a labor of love and it is very rewarding. Not only does it provide the occasional thrill of solving a mystery but it also supplies me with more ideas than I’ll ever be able to use in my novels about sixteenth-century women.

Forgive me while I fill in a little history. Way back in the “dark ages” (1976-1980), when I made my first attempt at writing historical novels, I wasn’t very good at it. (I’m a much better writer now. Honest!) To make a long story short, I wrote five great long tomes set in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and none of them sold. As I was doing research for those novels and busily collecting rejection letters, I realized that I had accumulated a tremendous amount of information on the real women of the sixteenth century. At that time there was still no such a thing as women’s studies. Women, if they were mentioned in history books at all, were usually referred to only in connection with their husbands and/or fathers. Sometimes scholars didn’t even bother to mention their first names. Several references to interesting women, a footnote here and a sentence, sometimes turned out to be references to the same woman, but if she’d married several times or if her husband or husbands had been elevated in the peerage and she went by several different names in the course of her life, no one bothered to connect the dots to reveal that they were all one woman and that she led an extremely interesting life.

I ended up writing a who’s who of sixteenth-century women. WIVES AND DAUGHTERS: THE WOMEN OF SIXTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND was my first published book. It came out in 1984. Unfortunately, with all the discoveries made since then, and with the advent of the Internet to make that information more readily available, it is now horribly out of date. When I launched by website, I decided to include a who’s who to update some of the entries, at least those of the real women who appear in the novel. Little did I know what I was getting into!

Obsession? Probably. I don’t seem to be able to stop myself from adding more entries. For each one I have to do more research. I do much of this online, using genealogies and Google Books, which has digitized many local histories and books on the peerage, as well as biographies and social histories. I still do research in libraries too, borrowing books on Interlibrary loan and buying many oldies but goodies from used book dealers. It’s always a thrill when I find some obscure detail that makes my subject come to life. When I can track down a woman’s family—the names of her parents or what happened to her children—I feel as if I’ve had a major breakthrough.

You’d think that would be enough for me, but no. Not only am I hooked on revamping all those old entries, I add new people too. I can’t seem to stop myself. I keep finding more mysteries to solve. For example, I was doing research for the next book in the SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT series, BY ROYAL DECREE, which will take readers from the end of Henry VIII’s reign through those of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, and Mary Tudor. I was skimming a book by David Loades titled TWO TUDOR CONSPIRACIES when I spotted a reference to a Mrs. Syvestra Butler, who was arrested for plotting against Queen Mary and saying “I would the King and Queen were in the sea in a bottomless vessel.” Mr. Loades did not identify this lady. In fact, one of the few details he gave was misleading. But her given name alone intrigued me and I started hunting. It took awhile, but eventually I discovered her maiden name (Guise) and more about her family and her involvement in treason. There are still mysteries about her. They may never be solved. But I felt a deep sense of accomplishment at being able to identify her to some extent and she is now included in my “Who’s Who of Tudor Women.” Will I use her in the book? It’s too early to say, but the fact that there were women involved in conspiracy is always useful to know. Since I’m writing fiction, I might take what I learned about Sylvestra Guise and use those details in some other way.

I have no idea how many entries there are in the Who’s Who at present. This is a work in progress and probably always will be. Not only do I keep adding new entries, but I’m constantly going back in to tweak existing entries when I come across new details or find information that contradicts what I’ve already written. The latter happens more frequently than you might imagine. This is good news for novelists. We can pick the version that works best for the story we want to tell. It isn’t so good for those who write nonfiction. That’s why I have a disclaimer on the Who’s Who to say that the entries contain the best information I have but that I am NOT a scholar. The Who’s Who of Tudor Women, like WIVES AND DAUGHTERS before it, is meant to be a starting place for those who are interested in the real women of the time. It identifies interesting Tudor women and reports what is known, or thought to be known, about each of them.

For a few of those women, like Jane Popyncourt (THE PLEASURE PALACE) and Anne Bassett (BETWEEN TWO QUEENS) and Elizabeth Brooke (BY ROYAL DECREE), the Who’s Who entry is also the starting point for a Kate Emerson novel.

The Burton Review Thank you so much Kathy for joining The Burton Review today, and you can also find Kathy at her websites:

Kathy has offered one of her historical mysteries to one of my lucky readers!

This is for the first book in the Lady Appleton Mystery Series, FACE DOWN IN THE MARROW-BONE PIE and the winner can choose either the hardcover or the large print edition.

The First Lady Appleton Mystery Synopsis:
"Today's letter was not a summons to serve Queen Elizabeth. It came from Lancashire. John Bexwith, my steward at Appleton Manor, is dead."

Susanna frowned, surprised that this news should have affected her husband so strongly. "The man was quite elderly," she said hesitantly, "was he not?"

"Your memory is excellent," Robert told her, absently tucking an unruly lock of dark brown hair back up under her brocaded cap. "He was found face down in a marrow-bone pie."

With that incredible statement, Robert placed the letter in his wife's outstretched hand.

Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie is a delightfully cozy Elizabethan mystery introducing Susanna, Lady Appleton. When her husband's steward dies in a unique, ignominious, and highly suspicious manner, Susanna takes advantage of her husband's absence on a political mission for Queen Elizabeth to investigate Bexwith's mysterious demise.

The serving wench who found Bexwith claims that he was frightened to death by a ghost, but Susanna can think of several poisons that could have been concealed in the marrow-bone pie. (Susanna is something of an expert on poisons, having been inspired by her sister's fatal encounter with some poisonous berries to write a cautionary herbal for housewives.)

Even if Bexwith was poisoned, was it accidental or intentional? As if the case weren't complicated enough, Susanna must also unmask a "ghost"-- or are the ghost and the poisoner one and the same?

Kathy Lynn Emerson's debut Elizabethan mystery will delight as it introduces you to a sixteenth-century husband's worst nightmare: an intelligent, no-nonsense wife who happens toknow hundreds of poisons." ~Barnes & Noble

To Enter today's Historical Fiction Bloggers Giveaway (USA only):
1. Since this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, you must follow me, you must be a Book Blogger & Reviewer, and comment with your Blog URL AND Email Address with a comment other than Enter Me.

2. Add Extra Entries For Each (max of 5 total entries): blog post, Sidebar post, tweet @BurtonReview, or Facebook Share spotlighting this post & giveaway. You must share that link within a comment so that I can verify it is done properly.

Entries must be received by midnight September 23rd, the one winner will be announced and emailed the next day and you have two days to respond. Thanks for entering, thanks to Kathy Lynn Emerson for this giveaway, and good luck!

HF Bloggers~ Day 3~ Giveaway Alert "King Tut"!

Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event

Welcome to Day Three of The Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event! On my next post today, I will be hosting Kathy Lynn Emerson aka Kate Emerson, the historical fiction author, and historical mystery author who released "Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace" earlier this year. Watch for the guest post coming on in just a short while.

So far here is what has been posted for this Event here at The Burton Review:

Day 1: A majorly awesome kick off post featuring Allie from Hist-Fic Chick, including a Giveaway for the Signed Hardcover copy of Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter
Day 2: Michelle Moran's Fantastic Guest Post with a giveaway for a Signed paperback of The Heretic Queen.

Over at the other Round Table Participants' blogs for today we have:

Enchanted By Josephine: Book Review of Royal Panoply- With Giveaway of a copy (US , Canada only)

And today... at The Burton Review, keeping up with Michelle's Egyptian genre, we offer to our extra special Book Bloggers, another giveaway!The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King - A Nonfiction Thriller by James Patterson, Martin Dugard

"Since 1922, when Howard Carter discovered Tut's 3,000-year-old tomb, most Egyptologists have presumed that the young king died of disease, or perhaps an accident, such as a chariot fall.But what if his fate was actually much more sinister? Now, in THE MURDER OF TUT, James Patterson and Martin Dugard chronicle their epic quest to find out what happened to the boy-king. They comb through the evidence—X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues—and scavenge for overlooked data to piece together the details of his life and death. The result is a true crime tale of intrigue, betrayal, and usurpation that presents a compelling case that King Tut's death was anything but natural. A secret buried for centuries Thrust onto Egypt's most powerful throne at the age of nine, King Tut's reign was fiercely debated from the outset. Behind the palace's veil of prosperity, bitter rivalries and jealousy flourished among the Boy King's most trusted advisors, and after only nine years, King Tut suddenly perished, his name purged from Egyptian history. To this day, his death remains shrouded in controversy."

To Enter this fabulous Giveaway (USA & Canada, no PO Boxes):

1. Since this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, Follow this blog, you must be a Book Blogger & Reviewer, and comment with your Blog URL AND Email Address with a comment other than Enter Me.

2. Add Extra Entries For Each (max of 5 total entries): blog post, Sidebar post, tweet @BurtonReview, or Facebook Share spotlighting this post & giveaway. You must share that link within a comment so that I can verify it is done properly.

Entries must be received by midnight September 23rd, the one winner will be announced and emailed the next day and you have two days to respond. Thanks for entering, thanks to Hachette books for this giveaway, and good luck!

Wordless Wednesday!

Click for all the HF Bogger Related posts and giveaways
Going on right now, right here... wooo hoooo .. giveaways listed on the sidebar!!

BBAW Reading Meme! Happy Birthday to Dolleygurl!

Today's Daily blogging topic for the BBAW is a Reading meme:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack? not really since it is bedtime. Sometimes I much on tic-tacs. The red and yellow ones.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? I would never mark up a reading book. I understand highlighting textbooks but not my reading ones.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open? I am a firm believer in bookmarks, especially the beautiful ones sent from Arleigh at One day I would love to create my own and collect some more special ones to keep and to share.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Both, preferably on royal figures.

Hard copy or audiobooks? Hard copy only, no e-books or audio for me.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point? Having children forces me to stop mid-sentence, which is aggravating, so I read at night time.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? if it detracts from understanding the sentence, I'll google it if I have my iPhone handy.

What are you currently reading? "The Other Mr. Darcy", by Monica Fairview to be released by Sourcebooks in October.

What is the last book you bought? I get most of my books through Paperbackswap. I had a large book order in July that I bought a lot of royalty related books, such as "The Devil's Queen" by Jeanne Kalogridis.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time? Only one book at a time for me. Otherwise I would never feel like I am accomplishing anything.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? I can only read when kids are occupied, but most of my reading is done at bedtime. I read during lunchtime at work as well.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? I read mostly stand alone books but I do read historical series books when warranted.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? Sharon Kay Penman: "When Christ and His Saints Slept" of the Henry II trilogy

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) Genre, specific eras ie. Revolution, Tudor era, renaissance. My Tudor books are then separated out by subject (Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Edward VI etc)

Don't forget to visit the rest of the posts for this week during the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event. Giveaways going on so far: (Click link to go to the Giveaway Posts)Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter
Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen
James Patterson's King Tut
Kathy Lynn Emerson's Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie
Visit the other Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Charter Members Blogs to see what they are offering today, such as a Signed Philippa Gregory novel, Karen Essex's Leonardo's Swans, and Royal Panoply, and there is a giveaway at Royal Intrigue as well!

Stay tuned for more giveaways and wonderful Guest Posts for this magical week! And a big Happy Birthday to Dolleygurl at The Maiden's Court! Go tell her Happy Birthday!!

Sep 15, 2009

HF Bloggers~Day 2~Michelle Moran~ Guest Author Shares Her Muse & Giveaway!

Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event Day Two of The Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table is here.
Please Visit Allie at Hist-Fic-Chick. Today, the Royal Heiress of The Day is Amy, from Passages to The Past, and along with her interview will be a fabulous post on the very favorite: Elizabeth I. There's also another GIVEAWAY! Check out the other blogs for their participating posts, see details here & don't forget to enter yesterday's giveaway for Cleopatra's Daughter!
A new participating post is up Lady Gwyn's Kingdom, here.

Today at The Burton Review we have the most wonderful author Michelle Moran and a giveaway for a paperback copy of The Heretic Queen, which will be autographed by her! The giveaway details are at the end of this fantabulous post that Michelle created for The Burton Review readers. Thank you so much to Michelle for being such an awesome person by being so available to all of us bloggers. Let's welcome Michelle:

by Michelle Moran

For every novel I have written, I can look back and say that there has been a very specific moment of inspiration - usually in some exotic locale or inside a museum - where I’ve said, “Aha! That’s going to be the subject of my next novel.” I never began my writing career with the intention to write books about three different princesses in Egypt. In fact, I had no intention of writing about ancient Egypt at all until I participated in my first archaeological dig.

During my sophomore year in college, I found myself sitting in Anthropology 101, and when the professor mentioned that she was looking for volunteers who would like to join a dig in Israel, I was one of the first students to sign up. When I got to Israel, however, all of my archaeological dreams were dashed (probably because they centered around Indiana Jones). There were no fedora wearing men, no cities carved into rock, and certainly no Ark of the Covenant. I was very disappointed. Not only would a fedora have seemed out of place, but I couldn’t even use the tiny brushes I had packed. Apparently, archaeology is more about digging big ditches with pickaxes rather than dusting off artifacts. And it had never occurred to me until then that in order to get to those artifacts, one had to dig deep into the earth. Volunteering on an archaeological dig was hot, it was sweaty, it was incredibly dirty, and when I look back on the experience through the rose-tinged glasses of time, I think, Wow, was it fantastic! Especially when our team discovered an Egyptian scarab that proved the ancient Israelites had once traded with the Egyptians. Looking at that scarab in the dirt, I began to wonder who had owned it, and what had possessed them to undertake the long journey from their homeland to the fledgling country of Israel.

On my flight back to America I stopped in Berlin, and with a newfound appreciation for Egyptology, I visited the museum where Nefertiti’s limestone bust was being housed. The graceful curve of Nefertiti’s neck, her arched brows, and the faintest hint of a smile were captivating to me. Who was this woman with her self-possessed gaze and stunning features? I wanted to know more about Nefertiti’s story, but when I began the research into her life, it proved incredibly difficult. She’d been a woman who’d inspired powerful emotions when she lived over three thousand years ago, and those who had despised her had attempted to erase her name from history. Yet even in the face of such ancient vengeance, some clues remained.
Michelle Exploring
As a young girl Nefertiti had married a Pharaoh who was determined to erase the gods of Egypt and replace them with a sun-god he called Aten. It seemed that Nefertiti’s family allowed her to marry this impetuous king in the hopes that she would tame his wild ambitions. What happened instead, however, was that Nefertiti joined him in building his own capital of Amarna where they ruled together as god and goddess. But the alluring Nefertiti had a sister who seemed to keep her grounded, and in an image of her found in Amarna, the sister is standing off to one side, her arms down while everyone else is enthusiastically praising the royal couple. From this image, and a wealth of other evidence, I tried to recreate the epic life of an Egyptian queen whose husband was to become known as the Heretic King.

Each novel I’ve written has had a similar moment of inspiration for me. In many ways, my second book, The Heretic Queen is a natural progression from Nefertiti. The narrator is orphaned Nefertari, who suffers terribly because of her relationship to the reviled "Heretic Queen". Despite the Heretic Queen's death a generation prior, Nefertari is still tainted by her relationship to Nefertiti, and when young Ramesses falls in love and wishes to marry her, it is a struggle not just against an angry court, but against the wishes of a rebellious people.

But perhaps I would never have chosen to write on Nefertari at all if I hadn't seen her magnificent tomb. At one time, visiting her tomb was practically free, but today, a trip underground to see one of the most magnificent places on earth can cost upwards of five thousand dollars (yes, you read that right). If you want to share the cost and go with a group, the cost lowers to the bargain-basement price of about three thousand. As a guide told us of the phenomenal price, I looked at my husband, and he looked at me. We had flown more than seven thousand miles, suffered the indignities of having to wear the same clothes for three days because of lost luggage… and really, what were the possibilities of our ever returning to Egypt again? There was only one choice. We paid the outrageous price, and I have never forgotten the experience.

While breathing in some of the most expensive air in the world, I saw a tomb that wasn't just fit for a queen, but a goddess. In fact, Nefertari was only one of two (possibly three) queens ever deified in her lifetime, and as I gazed at the vibrant images on her tomb - jackals and bulls, cobras and gods - I knew that this wasn't just any woman, but a woman who had been loved fiercely when she was alive. Because I am a sucker for romances, particularly if those romances actually happened, I immediately wanted to know more about Nefertari and Ramesses the Great. So my next stop was the Hall of Mummies at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. There, resting beneath a heavy arc of glass, was the great Pharaoh himself. For a ninety-something year old man, he didn't look too bad. His short red hair was combed back neatly and his face seemed strangely peaceful in its three thousand year repose. I tried to imagine him as he'd been when he was young - strong, athletic, frighteningly rash and incredibly romantic. Buildings and poetry remain today as testaments to Ramesses's softer side, and in one of Ramesses's more famous poems he calls Nefertari "the one for whom the sun shines." His poetry to her can be found from Luxor to Abu Simbel, and it was my visit to Abu Simbel (where Ramesses built a temple for Nefertari) where I finally decided that I had to tell their story.

It’s the moments like this that an historical fiction author lives for. And it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that my decision to write my third novel, Cleopatra’s Daughter, came on an underwater dive to see the submerged city of ancient Alexandria. Traveling has been enormously important in my career. My adventures end up inspiring not only what I’m currently writing, but what I’m going to write about in the future.

Thank you so much, Michelle!

And now for the Giveaway OPEN WORLDWIDE!!

Enter here for One signed copy of The Heretic Queen
Reviews:Read an Excerpt:Author Q&A


"In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history. The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen. Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history. Sweeping in scope and meticulous in detail, The Heretic Queen is a novel of passion and power, heartbreak and redemption."

To Enter this fabulous Giveaway:
1. Since this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, you must be a Book Blogger & Reviewer, and comment with your Blog URL AND Email Address with a comment other than Enter Me. You must also Be or Become A Follower.

2. Add Extra Entries For Each (max of 5 total entries): blog post, Sidebar post, tweet, or Facebook Share spotlighting this post & giveaway. You must share that link within a comment so that I can verify it is done properly.

Entries must be received by midnight September 22nd, the winner will be announced and emailed the next day and you have two days to respond. Thanks for entering, thanks to Michelle, and good luck!

BBAW Interview Swap!! Please Welcome Jessica!!

This event is an effort to expand other blogger's knowledge of the other niches and blogs that are normally out of their realm. A great way to meet new bloggers, and a great way to learn about another genre, and in this case my primarily Historical Fiction blog discovers Young Adult!

In honor of BBAW week, we have Jessica from Chick Lit Teens answering my questions to her. And you will find my interview at Chick Lit Teens today as well, so please pop over there and say hello!! I am a total nerd when it comes to doing something new, & the interview process is something new!

Here is my interview of Jessica:

Your Blog focuses on Young Adult reads. How long have you been blogging, and what drew you to blog about YA in the first place?
I started my blog a little over a year ago. Before that I'd never so much as read a blog, so it was a completely new concept for me. YA, and books in general, has been a passion of mine for a long while. The idea to start a website devoted to that passion was one that had crossed my mind a few times, but it wasn't until I wrote my first review that I actually put my ideas in motion. Once I started reviewing YA I fell in love with it; it combines two of my loves: reading and writing.

Did you receive any BBAW nominations this year?
Unfortunately no, I did not receive any BBAW nominations this year. However, I was able to work with Amy and many other wonderful bloggers on planning BBAW's themes, which was an honor in its own.

How many YA Books do you read and review in a normal week?
Generally I read anywhere from two to three YA books a week. Review writing is a little bit harder. I usually aim for a review a week, but it all depends on what books I read that week and how strong of an opinion I have about said books. I strive to only write reviews when I have a definite opinion of the book, that way I'm not publishing a lot of lukewarm reviews.

What is the one thing about YA reads that you would like everyone to know?
Just because it's YA does not mean it isn't well written. This is something that I encounter more often than I'd like to. People immediately write off YA as watered down, simplified stories meant only to serve as mental candy for teens. I challenge anyone who has trouble believing that to pick up one of the wonderful YA books out there, they'll quickly be proved wrong.

What are the sources of your review books?
My review books are from a plethora of sources. Some I buy myself, others are sent to me by authors, and more often than not I get them from publishers.

If someone wanted to start a YA Book Blog, what are some pieces of advice that you would share?
The first thing I'd tell them is to focus on content and getting involved in the YA blogging community. Writing quality reviews about books you care about, getting into contact with other bloggers is the best way to start a new blog.

Do you participate or host in any special features on your blog?
My postings are rather sporadic, but one I always love to put together is my Cover Judge feature. I'm the type of person who judges a book by its cover, so it's a lot of fun critiquing my favorite covers from upcoming books. I also have a book trailer feature that I post whenever I'm able to find enough trailers for upcoming books. And, of course, there's The Story Siren's In My Mailbox which I participate in every once in awhile.

What is your favorite part of blogging?
Hands down the best part of blogging is getting to read so many great books and being able to rant and rave about them without interruption. :)

Who are some of your favorite authors and which books?
Ooh that's a tough question. Some of my favorite books are the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. For authors I'd have to say Sarah Dessen, Shannon Hale, and Michele Jaffe.

For those who do think they know you, what is one thing you could tell them about yourself that may surprise them?
I've never read Harry Potter. In fact, I haven't read a lot of what I call "fad" books. It took me forever to grudgingly read Twilight. When I read I like to make a personal connection with that book, and when a book is that huge it's hard for me to do so. I guess you could say I like to be driving the band wagon not riding it.


Thanks you so much, Jessica, for visiting me and my blog!! Now everyone, please say HELLO to Jessica =) And stay tuned to enter more giveaways and join in the fun for the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event!