New & Upcoming Book Releases 2012

October-December 2012
 
The Queen’s Secret by Vitoria Lamb is released this week on the 27th, paperback edition on Amazon UK
 
 
 
 
Coachman by Sue Millard-October 1st
Sons and Daughters by Karen V.Wasylowski-October 1st
Hidden Gifts by Elena Welch-Aitken -October 1st
A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir-October 2nd
How To Tame A Willful Wife by Christy English-November 6th
The Gilded Lily: A Novel by Deborah Swift-November 27th
The Emperor’s Conspiracy by Michelle Diener-November 27th
The Widow’s Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth-December 1st
The Lady of Secrets: A Novel by Susan Carroll-Decmeber 11th
The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman-December 25th
 
 
2013
 
The Forgotten Queen by D.L Bogdan-January 29th
The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau-March 5th (in North America, the sequel to the Crown)
Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Bryd- April 9th
 
 
I will be posting more 2013 releases in December. If you would like your upcoming book featured on Layered Pages, please email me at layeredpages@yahoo.com
 
 
 
Stephanie
Layered Pages
 
 
 

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Wednesday Reviews

 
 
 
Wicked Sense  by  Fabio Bueno
On the Goodreads scale: 4 out of 5 stars.
 
I really enjoyed this book, which was surprising to me. I am usually not a fan of anything that falls within the paranormal genre. This book was definitely a paranormal book that I can enjoy. It is a cute story about two kids, Skye and Drake. Skye is a witch, sent to Seattle to track down the “Singularity”, a super witch. Drake falls for her, and together they try to save Skye’s coven from untold harm. I really appreciated the fact that the book wasn’t 100% supernatural stuff, and what was there was written very well. It was easy for someone like me to really enjoy this book. I liked the story, which I thought was very cute, but not the typical annoying sweetness of most YA books. It took me no time at all to get into this book, and it was a quick read. What helped me to be able to enjoy this book was its setting. It is set in Seattle, not some mystical world. The characters act like everyday people with the exception of a few having magical powers. It wasn’t so far out there that I couldn’t get into it. I also enjoyed that it was written from both Drake and Skye’s perspectives. This is a great YA book – easy to read, and easy to enjoy.
 
By Laurin Hawkins
Layered Pages Review Team Member






Folville’s Law by David Pilling

Folville’s Law is a book set in 13thCentury England and describes the advancement of Eustace Folville, an outlaw who grabs power due to the dismal law and order situation in the country. He and his rivalry with John Swale, a knight working for the Despensers are the focus of the series. With a background story of the return of Queen Isabella with Roger Mortimer to England and King Edward’s downfall, this is a fast paced story that manages to hold the reader’s interest constantly.

The book constantly presents the story from different viewpoints with each chapter. But this does not confuse the reader and adds to the charm of the book. The characters are well etched out and have a strong background and give an impression of going somewhere. The author has a way of writing that manages to keep the reader reading.

There are however some weak points in this book. Even though the characters are well developed, I did not empathise with any of them or even develop any strong feelings for them. This might result in some readers not able to sustain interest beyond a certain point in the story.

The book seems well researched and gives a good feel of the times it is based in. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the period, or this genre.

My rating 3.5 / 5

Kavitha
Layered Pages Review Team Member
 

 
 
 

Wednesday Reviews

     
 
 

I haven’t read many books that take place during the Italian Renaissance and I was delighted to receive this book from Donna Russo Morin for review. I believe this period of time the arts were at its strongest and most sought after. Great artist come from this period. Donna does a brilliant job showing this. This story takes place in Florence. Battista an “art collector,” is really an agent for King François of France. Battista is collecting sought after pieces of art for François that leads him to Aurelia.

Aurelia is a lady of privilege who longs for freedom and adventure. She gets her chance when she helps Battista escape the palace she lives in after he tries to steal a piece of art. Together they embark on a journey for the relic he must find for the King of France. Throughout the story they travel to other cities in search for clues while visiting an artist, Michelangelo, a friend of Battista along the way.

This story is enchanting. There is a particular scene that reached out to me. It was a scene where Battista and Michelangelo were toasting and they raise their goblets and Michelangelo says, “True painting never will make anyone shed a tear. Good Painting is religious and devout in itself. Among the wise nothing more elevates the soul or raises it to adoration than the difficulty of attaining the perfection-with sculpture-which approaches God and unites itself to Him.”  So eloquently put.

Donna has such a way of words and writing about her characters. You feel like your right there beside them. You experience the same adoration as they do for art.  I admire their passion and their sense of adventure. Her descriptions of the arts and the palaces are breath-taking. So much that you can imagine them as described

I especially enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. For example, “In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you, appear the words,” Here beginneth a new life.” –La Vita Nuava.

 I stumbled on a few words I was unfamiliar with and had to stop to look up a few pronunciations and definitions. I almost rated the story three and a half stars. However, since the story-line and plot was solid, and I love the characters, I rated it four stars!
 
Stephanie
Layered Pages

Jo Ann Butler’s debut historical fiction novel, Rebel Puritan, is inspired by her 8th great-grandmother, Herodias Long. Butler blends historical fact and fiction in Rebel Puritan so seamlessly the reader never feels the novel is semi-biographical.

Herod Long is 12 years old when tragedy strikes her family. Her family, farmers in Burlescome, England, are near destitution when her father and oldest brother perish from the bubonic plague. Herod, her mother and brother, Will, are left with a holding they cannot work by themselves.

This dilemma is resolved by Herod’s mother, who invites her oldest daughter and her family to work the farm. Unfortunately for Herod, her mother’s plans do not include her. Herod and her mother have an acrimonious relationship. Herod is a bit of a dreamer and her mother has no fondness for dreamers.

Herod, another mouth to feed and an unreliable worker, is sent to London to serve her mother’s sister. Herod knows what happens to girls who are bonded out or sent away – few return home.

Herod arrives in London to discover Alice Clark, her mother’s sister, is a cold woman. Herod is considered little more than a slave 6 days a week, working from dawn til sunset for a woman who complains incessantly and threatens to turn her out penniless for the next infraction. Servitude to this miserly and cruel aunt is Herod’s future for the next five years.

Puritanism, the tentacles of which were newly arrived in Burlescome, is firmly entrenched in London. Herod attends church all day Sunday with her aunt and uncle and chafes under the extremism.

It is important to understand Puritanism as it effects much of Herod’s life. Puritans were a group of Protestants who were unhappy with the Church of England. They believed in following the laws set out in the Bible without deviation. They also believed in the doctrine of predestination – God has chosen at birth the Elect who will enter heaven and those who are not of the Elect are damned for eternity. No one knows whether they are the chosen, therefore, Puritans worked hard for the glory of God.

It was a harsh lifestyle. The premise of Puritanism was to strip away all material and traditional aspects of the Church of England and practice extreme piety. Puritans were under constant scrutiny by fellow congregation members. Deviation from piety was dealt with swiftly by disapproval and discipline. Hell, fire and brimstone was the primary sermon.

Persecution in England prompted a massive immigration to New England, where communities were formed. These communities adhered to principles of Puritanism strictly. Those found in contravention were subject to banishment, corporal punishment and even, in some cases, death by hanging.

Now back to Herod. Her aunt and uncle operated a tailor’s shop. One day when she was minding the counter, a young man came in. Herodios was enthralled and contrived to establish a relationship. This is the man she would marry in great haste (without divulging her true age of 13) so she could escape and immigrate to New England.

Life in New England and with her husband isn’t the deliverance she craves. Scraping a living off the land is harsh and her husband, John Hicks, brutal. Puritanism reigns. Herod becomes friends with dissenters within the community, liaisons with repercussions.

Rebel Puritan is a novel of a young girl who struggles to find dignity and freedom within her world; a world in which women have few rights and are subject to male domination. Her efforts bring both success and tragedy. But her determination never fails.

Herod and her world come to life through Butler with her imaginative and gritty details. For example, I felt I lived through Herod in a dugout home on a treed lot in a small community in New England where every action was scrutinized.

Butler is skilled at evoking the realisms, hardships, hard-won victories and inevitable decisions a woman faced in 17th Century England and America. The numerous characters who populate Rebel Puritan have flesh and bones.

I recommend Jo Ann Butler’s Rebel Puritan without reservation. I eagerly await receipt the continuation of Herod Long’s life in Reputed Wife, to be released later this fall.

My rating: 4.5/5 Stars (Most Excellent)

 Darlene Elizabeth Williams

 
http://darleneelizabethwilliamsauthor.com/hfreviews/rebel-puritan-by-jo-ann-butler-historical-fiction-novel-review/
 

 
My first impression of the books was that the farm looked charming, but boring. I’m glad I was wrong! Lost Nation, Iowa is everything you would expect from a small farm town in Iowa. It’s a town where everyone knows your name and your business. However, that doesn’t stop the dynamic Francesca from dancing to the beat of her own drum. Lucinda Sue Crosby has created a memorable set of characters with depth and style for this summer love story. Francesca’s granddaughter relives the best summer of their lives with colorful flare as the duo embark on adventures completely unbecoming a lady of the 1940’s. At the same time, the book also gently probes the cultural taboos of the time while the young Sarah begins coming of age.

The story is well developed and engaging. As a summer beach read this is wonderful and I was moved to tears by the close of the book. I found the descriptions to be full and vivid. The mystery within the story adds a nice touch. It was well constructed and not completely predictable. The cover art however, was a huge disappointment. I think that this was a missed opportunity. After all the wonderful events that unfold within the pages, a more engaging cover would have been good. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a lite beach read, as well as those with an interest in the 1940’s.
 
 
 
Brandy Strake 

                                                 

 
 

Review: The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd

The Secret Keeper is the first of Sandra Byrd’s books I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sandra brings a new and rare story of Katheryn Parr. She is a person in English history that I have not read much about and now I’m intrigued by her. This story is told by Juliana St. John’s perspective, a daughter of a Knight.

Juliana’s mother expects her to marry the son of one of her father’s business men. But when Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, comes to town in regards to the affairs of her father’s estates and happens to pass by a church and sees Juliana reading, he feels that she would be perfect as a member of Katheryn Parr’s household, the lady he loves. He sends her to Katheryn Parr’s household and she accompanies Katheryn to King Henry VIII court. They quickly become friends and Juliana becomes a loyal ladies maid to her. She looks to Katheryn as a sort of mother and Katheryn is kind and loving towards her in that regard.

Meanwhile King Henry VIII falls in love with Katheryn and wants to marry her. Despite loving Sir Thomas Seymour, she marries Henry and becomes the sixth and final wife to Henry and is doting to his children. She loves them and in many ways brings them closer to their father. She is a good Christian, intelligent, delicate yet strong, elegant, kind and very giving. It is her desire to influence Henry in matters of the realm and religious beliefs and she gets herself in a sticky situation when she supports Anne Askew, a reformer. This puts herself and her ladies in danger.

Juliana is also vulnerable to the court life, less noticeable, and less protected. She fall’s victim to a man at court who basically threatens to lie, spread harmful gossip about her and her mistress if she told anyone about his assault on her. Juliana also keeps a secret that could possibly bring her harm if the wrong people found out, a secret of prophecy.

 Sandra writes about Juliana’s assault, sensitively and doesn’t go into great detail. She leaves it to the reader to imagine what happened and I’m glad she wrote it this way. I’ve read scenes in books before were it was so graphic; I had a hard time picking up the story   and continuing on.

 I found that I liked Sandra’s portrayal of King Henry in this story. I saw a side of him I don’t normally see in other books that I’ve read. I don’t know if it was because by the time he married Kate, he was completely worn out or he felt he didn’t have to worry anymore because he had an heir? Or was it because of his health? He seemed to focus more on his beliefs and the reformation during this time and had a softer side towards his children. He even goes off to war and leaves Katheryn to rule in his stead while away.

I rated this story a solid five stars! I absolutely admire Sandra’s style of writing, the story was easy to follow along and she did not go off on long-winded details that I find tedious to read. She gives you a wonderful view of the court life during the time of the English Reformation. The story-line is believable, the plot engaging. All of her characters gave support to the story and was well developed. They all played a special part, even the ones that were in the background, which I find helps to make the story flow better. She has done extensive research for her story and it shows. I highly recommend this story to anyone who wants to read about Katheryn Parr and this period of time in England’s History.
 
by Stephanie
Layered Pages


I have an interview with Author Sandra Byrd on October 22. Make sure to mark your calendars! You won’t want to miss it!