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?

 

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…

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.

Weekend Agenda & Bookish Mischief

me-iiThis week has been really interesting and I’ve had lots of great on-line conversations with like-minded book bloggers and authors. That is a big part of the many wonderful things about being plugged in to the book world. Not only do you get to meet wonderful, talented and extraordinary people, you learn and grow so much from them. Also, there is the fact you get to talk about books all day long and what can be more glorious than that?! *Cough* Yes I know…I’m not forgetting reading lots and lots of books!

With that in mind, I have a few bookish things to share with you before I talk about what I will be doing this weekend. This year I regretfully admit my reading and reviewing hasn’t been on point like it usually is. Though I am bound and determined to make up for that. When, you ask? Err…in the near future, I hope. Lately though I have been getting into audio books, if you remember. There is just the matter of finishing them!

what-she-knewNow that I’ve gotten that out of the way…let’s talk weekend plans! This weekend I am hoping to finish listening to at least one of those audio books (not holding my breath) and I want to start reading, Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. This year I had planned to get through many of my unread books on my bookshelves at home. Let me tell you, there are a lot and that doesn’t include what’s on my Kindle. I know I should be reading to write reviews but…. this weekend I am solely reading for myself. That is all there is to it.

winter-peopleI do have a couple of projects to start working on. I need to begin drafting a few blog posts for Layered Pages and indieBRAG. The week of the 20th I will be mostly off-line and I want to be sure things are in somewhat order while I’m gone. I’m also hoping to do a little pre-spring cleaning and straighten up a couple of bookshelves. They need it bad.

I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and be sure to take time to enjoy a book! There is nothing like getting lost in a good story. Be sure to check out a few of my favorite book bloggers below. They are great people and dedicated to their craft! Happy reading!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

A few Book Blogs to follow: (In no particular order)

Rather Too Fond of Books

Essays & reviews

A Bookaholic Swede

Just One More Chapter

A Literary Vacation

Flashlight Commentary

A Bookish Affair

Celticlady’s Reviews

Of Quills & Vellim -Author/Book Blogger

The Maiden’s Court

Let Then Read Books

2 Kids and Tired Books

Cover Crush: The Book Store by Deborah Meyler

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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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the-bookstoreThe Bookstore

Pub Date: August 20, 2013

A witty, sharply observed debut novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.

Brilliant, idealistic Esme Garland moves to Manhattan armed with a pres­tigious scholarship at Columbia University. When Mitchell van Leuven— a New Yorker with the bluest of blue New York blood—captures her heart with his stunning good looks and a penchant for all things erotic, life seems truly glorious . . . until a thin blue line signals a wrinkle in Esme’s tidy plan. Before she has a chance to tell Mitchell about her pregnancy, he suddenly declares their sex life is as exciting as a cup of tea, and ends it all.

Determined to master everything from Degas to diapers, Esme starts work at a small West Side bookstore, finding solace in George, the laconic owner addicted to spirulina, and Luke, the taciturn, guitar-playing night manager. The oddball customers are a welcome relief from Columbia’s high-pressure halls, but the store is struggling to survive in this city where nothing seems to last.

Note: Reviews are mixed on this one….

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Hands down, readers are going to love book covers with the title, The Bookstore and with books displayed. I am digging everything about this cover. The colorful books and how they are presented by the person holding them. The dark flowery dress of the lady for contrast gives it a great stand out. This is an eye catcher! Kudos to the design team.

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More Great Cover Crushes!

 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-Coming soon

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede-Coming soon

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books-Coming soon

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation-Coming soon

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!