Book Spotlight: Alvar the Kingmaker

me-iiIt is no surprise I love historical fiction. Much of my interests of history has taken place in England. Many of my ancestors are from there so the history has me even more invested. Political history plays a big role often times in my reading of history and in my own research for my projects. Not only that I take great pleasure in authors writing about these subjects. What is more thrilling is to bring the voices of the past to life and gives us a glimpse into the distant past?

Award Winning Annie Whitehead is one of those authors who does this in creative and intriguing ways. Today, I share one of her stories, Alvar the Kingmaker with you all. -Thank you.

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B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

Alvar the Kingmaker BRAG Synopsis

Alvar the Kingmaker is a tale of politics, intrigue, deceit and murder set in tenth-century England. Nobleman Alvar knows that securing the throne for the young and worthy King Edgar will brand him as an oath-breaker. As a fighting man, he is indispensable to the new sovereign, but his success and power gain him deadly, murderous enemies amongst those who seek favour with the king, and point the finger of suspicion when Edgar’s brother, the previous king, dies in mysterious circumstances. Alvar must fight to protect his lands, and his position, and learn the subtle art of politics. He must also, as a man of principle, keep secret his love for the wife of his trusted deputy. Civil war erupts, and Alvar once again finds himself the only man capable of setting a new king upon the throne of England, an act which comes at great personal cost. His career began with a dishonourable deed to help a good king; now he must be loyal to a new king, Aethelred, whom he knows will be weak, and whose supporters have been accused of regicide. Can he bring about peace, reconcile with his enemies, and find personal happiness, whilst all the time doing his duty to his loved ones? And what of the fragile Queen, who not only depends upon him but has fallen in love with him?

 

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Book Spotlight: The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman

A good friend and fellow book blogger of mine posted some book review a couple weeks back and I felt compelled to share the story here with you all today. Check out her review HERE. Its great and the story is so intriguing and I love the book cover. I have bumped it up on my reading list and hope to get to it soon.

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The Widow's House by Carol GoodmanBook Description:

This chilling novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages blends the gothic allure of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca and the crazed undertones of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper with the twisty, contemporary edge of A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife—a harrowing tale of psychological suspense set in New York’s Hudson Valley.

When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess’s writing career.

They take a caretaker’s job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their twenties. It’s been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare’s hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.

But their new life isn’t all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night, and sees strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is—this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate—it seems to be after Clare next…

Male Protagonist-Richard Wolfdon

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Barbara Gaskell Denvil was born in Gloucestershire, England but after living in half a dozen different European countries and cruising the Mediterranean for some years, has now moved to rural Australia.

When younger she worked in many literary capacities and published numerous short stories and articles, but now writes full length novels.

Her passion for history in general and the late English medieval in particular, now forms the background for her historical fiction. She has published five  historical novels – SATIN CINNABAR which is a crime adventure actually commencing on the Bosworth battlefield, SUMERFORD’S AUTUMN which is an adventure mystery with strong romantic overtones, set in the early years of the Tudor reign, BLESSOP’S WIFE (published in Australia as THE KING’S SHADOW) which is a crime/romance set in England during 1482-3 in those turbulent years around the death of King Edward IV, THE FLAME EATER, a romantic crime novel set in 1484/5, and a time-slip novel FAIR WEATHER, a highly adventurous mystery  which is set earlier during the reign of King John.

Her new novel THE DECEPTION OF CONSEQUENCES is a Tudor mystery – adventure and will be published March 2017.

Although initially traditionally published by Simon & Schuster, Barbara then decided to change to self-publishing and is now an Indy author of fantasy as well as historical fiction and mystery.

Both fantasy and historical fiction take us into new worlds and Barbara’s books do exactly this – being multi-layered, and rich in both characterisation and atmosphere.

Barbara, who is Richard Wolfdon?

Richard Wolfdon comes from a long aristocratic line but after Bosworth his antecedents were attainted, and he no longer carries the family title. However, his family wealth, whether misbegotten or otherwise, remains and he is one of the richer gentlemen in the country. This is Tudor England, during the reign of King Henry VIII and Richard Wolfdon is a friend of the king, and an unofficial advisor. Not that Henry VIII ever makes a habit of acting as he has been advised, and he is, whatever anyone else tells him, determined to rid himself of his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Richard is also a friend to the queen, but since he has long distained high position, he does not hold sufficient power to help her. Life, as far as Richard is concerned, is tedious in the extreme. Slander, gossip, vicious rumour and conspiracy rule the court. Temper and danger are the king’s shadows. Wealthy enough to obtain anything he wants, Richard discovers that he wants nothing, except to escape the miserable monotony of court life. But he does not expect what is about to happen next.

What are His strengths?

This is a man of considerable versatility, intelligence and courage. He cares nothing for the opinions of others, and therefore remains entirely disinterested in court gossip. His position and comfortable wealth means he is above any need to conspire for royal favour, and he acts as a law unto himself. In an attempt to discover more interesting pastimes than wandering the palace corridors, he befriends an earnest young lawyer and helps in court decisions and the investigations into crimes and other mysteries

His faults?

However, Richard’s disinterest in other people’s opinions leads him into arrogance.  This arrogance also brings a sublime lack of interest in other people’s problems. His belief in the tedium of life separates him from others, and he becomes a partial recluse.

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What is your personal opinion of him?

I am not sure I would have liked Richard Wolfdon at first acquaintance. Arrogance is not an easy fault to overlook. However, once he falls in love with the heroine, he becomes adorable and I would like very much to know him. He is prepared to do anything at all for the woman he loves, and forgives her anything and everything. His humour emerges, his kindness and warmth, and his considerable skill as a lover!

Does he ever do anything that surprises you?

Yes, because Richard is by no means predictable. He is equally capable of surprising himself. He had always been a man who dressed without show, in quiet and colourless style, and behaved with decorum and polite disinterest. And then, inspired by infatuation, he leaps walls, dresses in clothes torn and bedraggled, fights bandits and makes friends with a pirate. Indeed, this is a book where mystery is not easily uncovered, but where the main protagonist turns into a mystery himself.

Richard Wolfdon is a protagonist who has accompanied me throughout the writing of this book, become my friend, and increased my enjoyment considerably. He will make the heroine very happy, I’m sure.

Amazon Author Page

 Amazon UK

 More About THE DECEPTION OF CONSEQUENCES

Richard Wolfdon strides into Jemima’s life, not because he has the slightest interest in her, but simply because he wishes to break up the tedious monotony of his wealthy but pointless existence. The Deception of Consequences is a crime mystery and romantic adventure with a large cast of both true historical and fictional characters. King Henry VIII is already planning the elimination of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, but other murders are also discovered, the culprit unknown. Jemima is horrified to discover that her gallant captain father is, in fact, not what he pretended to be, and that his heroic death was false, set up to save him from the retaliation of his financial backers. But there is more than that to overcome, for there is a nasty secret hidden in the attic. Tudor life buzzes and swirls, with political intrigue, threat and conspiracy. “Barbara Gaskell Denvil’s tale is Chaucer-like in its characterisations and takes the reader on a suspenseful journey during the tumultuous months leading up to the execution of Anne Boleyn. Murder, mayhem, pirates, courtly conspiracies and tragedy, humour and romance – it is all there, in a story that brings the Tudor world vividly to life.” Wendy J. Dunn, author.

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A Shout Out To indieBRAG Readers!

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I’d like to give a shout out to all our hard working readers at
indieBRAG.

They come from all over the globe and are enthusiastic about their love for books. Many people have asked, “Who are your readers?” Well, we have readers with PHDs, who are book bloggers, book reviewers, editors, teachers, students, designers, business men and women, and much more. We are proud of our team and the hard work they do in discovering the next B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree.

Coming soon to the indieBRAG Blog I will be talking about what authors should do before submitting their books to indieBRAG and what our readers expect. Stay tuned and be sure to give a shout out to our readers on twitter @IndieBrag or on the indieBRAG Facebook Page. Their voice matters and where would we be without them?

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Would you like you like to be part of our reading team at indieBRAG? To find out more about what we do and how to become a reader, click HERE to sign up!

Cover Crush: Collide by Michelle Madow

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

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Collide by Michelle MadowCollide by Michelle Madow

Young Adult/Fantasy

Published February 9th 2017 by Dreamscape Publishing

I should have died when I was shot at the Halloween dance.

Instead I woke up—one week earlier, in a parallel universe where my mom’s fatal car accident six months ago never happened.

A world with my mom still in it was all I ever wanted. But in this timeline, everything is different—my grades, my friends, and even my boyfriend. I’m a stranger in my own body, and I don’t like who I’ve become.

But one thing is the same—that shooting will still happen at the end of the week.

I’m the only one who knows. Which means I’m the only one who can stop it.

But first I need to convince someone—anyone—that I’m telling the truth… and then get them to help me.

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This cover really appeals to me in a number of ways. I love the vibrant colors used and the dramatic flare of the girl’s dress. Not only that but the picture of the clock in the background. The way the girl is facing it and how her dress flares out around her shows movement. The title Collide is perfect for this cover and I look forward to finding out how it connects to the story. Great cover for a fantasy story!

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Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

Pilate’s Daughter by Fiona Veitch Smith

I got approved to review this book real fast. I blame Magdalena Johansson at A Bookaholic Swede for pointing out books on NetGalley to request. Here I am trying to get through the ones I have already to read and review. I am so behind! So behind in fact, I’m surprised I got approved for this one. Okay, so this means I really need to get on the ball and start reviewing consistently every week until I catch up. Honesty. I swear. I will do my best and make it happen.

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Pilate's DaughterPilate’s Daughter by Fiona Veitch Smith

Endeavour Press/Historical Fiction, Romance/Pub Date 03 Mar 2017

Description

The year is AD28.

In Roman-occupied Judea, Claudia Lucretia Pilate, daughter of the governor Pontius Pilate, is not happy with her father’s choice of husband for her – the handsome Roman Tribune Marcus Gaius Sejanus, who has been assigned the task of ridding Palestine of the troublesome Zealots.

Lover of Greek myths and culture, Claudia has ideals of finding a partner of her own and she unwittingly falls in love with Judah ben Hillel, a young Jewish Zealot, who has been instructed by his kinsmen to kidnap and kill her.

Meanwhile, Marcus has fallen in love himself with a beautiful slave-girl, Nebela, whose mother is the local soothsayer. Despite their different ranks in society, Nebela is determined that she, and not Claudia, shall marry Marcus, and with her mother’s help she weaves an intricate plot to try and get her way.

Languishing in jail is John the Baptist, having prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah. Regarded by the Romans as a madman, John’s fate will be decided by the whims of the women in Herod’s household.

Word on the street is that a Jewish prophet from Galilee has been causing unrest, drawing huge crowds to hear him speak and watch him perform wonders and healings.

Claudia’s father, Pontius, becomes a key player in the final destiny of the prophet, and despite warnings from his wife after her vivid dreams, he is swept along by expectations of the Jewish leaders to uphold the local traditions and finds himself in a dangerously compromising situation.

As the last days of Jesus are played out in Jerusalem, the future happiness of Claudia and Judah becomes ever more thwarted and the outcome played out in a wider arena than they ever imagined.

A tale of star-crossed lovers, Pilate’s Daughter brings to the fore many lesser-known characters from the gospel accounts of Jesus, who mingle with fictional characters against the historical backdrop of Roman life in Palestine.

Book Spotlight: The Great Good Thing : A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ by Andrew Klavan

the-great-good-thingEdgar Award-winner and internationally bestselling novelist tells of his improbable conversion from agnostic Jewish-intellectual to baptized Christian and of the books that led him there.

“Had I stumbled on the hallelujah truth, or just gone mad—or, that is, had I gone mad again?”

No one was more surprised than Andrew Klavan when, at the age of fifty, he found himself about to be baptized. Best known for his hard-boiled, white-knuckle thrillers and for the movies made from them—among them True Crime (directed by Clint Eastwood) and Don’t Say a Word (starring Michael Douglas)—Klavan was born in a suburban Jewish enclave outside New York City. He left the faith of his childhood behind to live most of his life as an agnostic in the secular, sophisticated atmosphere of New York, London, and Los Angeles. But his lifelong quest for truth—in his life and in his work—was leading him to a place he never expected.

In The Great Good Thing, Klavan tells how his troubled childhood caused him to live inside the stories in his head and grow up to become an alienated young writer whose disconnection and rage devolved into depression and suicidal breakdown. But he also stumbled into a genuine romance, a passionate and committed marriage whose uncommon and enduring devotion convinced him of the reality of love.

In those years, Klavan fought to ignore the insistent call of God, a call glimpsed in a childhood Christmas at the home of a beloved babysitter, in a transcendent moment at his daughter’s birth, and in a snippet of a baseball game broadcast that moved him from the brink of suicide. But more than anything, the call of God existed in stories—the stories Klavan loved to read and the stories he loved to write.

The Great Good Thing is the dramatic, soul-searching story of a man born into an age of disbelief who had to abandon everything he thought he knew in order to find his way to the truth.