Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina

Please join me in welcoming author Nicole Evelina to Let Them Read Books! Nicole is touring the blogosphere with her debut historical fantasy novel, Daughter of Destiny, Guinevere's Tale Book One. Don't you love that cover? I do! I designed it! I've so enjoyed working with Nicole, and I'm thrilled to have her here today with a guest post about what makes her vision of Guinevere different. Read on and enter to win a paperback copy of Daughter of Destiny!

Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.

In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.

Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.

You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.

Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.

Telling an Age-Old Story From a Fresh Perspective
by Nicole Evelina

Time and time again, I’m asked, “Why Arthurian legend? There’s so much of it, why do you think yours is any different? What makes your book unique?”

Friday, February 5, 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: The Renegade Queen by Eva Flynn

Please join me in welcoming author Eva Flynn to Let Them Read Books! Eva is touring the blogosphere with her debut novel, The Renegade Queen, and she's here today with a guest post about suffragette leaders Victoria Woodhull and Susan B. Anthony and their different approaches to the women's liberation movement. Read on and enter to win a copy of The Renegade Queen!

Two Renegades So Controversial, They Were Erased From History

Discarded by society, she led a social revolution. Disgusted by war, he sought a new world.

She was the first women to run for President, campaigning before women could vote.

He was the Hero of Vicksburg, disillusioned with the government after witnessing the devastating carnage of the Civil War.

Their social revolution attracted the unwanted who were left out of the new wealth: the freed slaves, the new immigrants, and women.

Who were they?

This is the true story of Victoria Woodhull and the love of her life, James Blood.

Adored by the poor, hated by the powerful, forced into hiding during their lifetimes and erased from history after death, the legend of their love lives on.

It’s 1869 and Victoria has a choice to make. She can stay in an abusive marriage and continue to work as a psychic, or she can take the offer of support from handsome Civil War general James Blood and set about to turn society upside down. Victoria chooses revolution.

But revolutions are expensive, and Victoria needs money. James introduces Victoria to one of the wealthiest man in America—Commodore Vanderbilt. Along with her loose and scandalous sister, Tennessee, Victoria manipulates Vanderbilt and together they conspire to crash the stock market—and profit from it. Victoria then parlays her fortune into the first female-owned brokerage firm.

When her idol Susan B. Anthony publishes scandalous rumors about Victoria’s past, Victoria enters into a fierce rivalry with Susan to control the women’s movement. James supports Victoria’s efforts despite his deep fears that she may lose more than the battle. She might lose part of herself.

Victoria starts her own newspaper, testifies to Congress, and even announces her candidacy for President. But when Victoria adopts James’s radical ideas and free love beliefs, she ignites new, bruising, battles with Susan B. Anthony and the powerful Reverend Henry Beecher. These skirmishes turn into an all-out war, with Victoria facing prejudice, prosecution, and imprisonment. Ultimately, Victoria and James face the hardest choice of all: the choice between their country and their love.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Blast! Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Banished (Forbidden #2)
by Kimberley Griffiths Little 

Publication Date: February 2, 2016
HarperCollins Hardcover & Ebook; 416 Pages
Series: Forbidden, Book #2
Genre: YA/Historical/Romance

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She thought she’d lost everything . . .

After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the Kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.

But the trek to Sariba is fraught with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that will change everything.

This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden, is full of love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Spotlight: The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John


The Lady of the Tower
By Elizabeth St. John

Release Date: February 2, 2016
Formats: ebook, paperback; 399 pages
AISN: B01B8NL7FO
Genre: Historical Fiction




Please join me in congratulating Elizabeth St. John on the release of her debut historical fiction novel, The Lady of the Tower! Elizabeth contacted me after attending my presentation at HNS 2015, and I was honored to work with her on a developmental edit and a copyedit, and I designed the book's cover. The Lady of the Tower is the story of Lucy St. John, once mistress of the Tower of London, and Elizabeth's ancestor. Elizabeth has carefully crafted a novel of Lucy's life using her own letters and diaries, and it's a riveting tale of intrigue, betrayal, and love. Here's the book description:

Orphaned Lucy St. John, described as "the most beautiful of all," defies English society by carving her own path through the decadent Stuart court. In 1609, the early days of the rule of James I are a time of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, when the most dangerous thing one can do is fall in love . . . or make an enemy of Frances Howard, the reigning court beauty. 

Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk, but her envious sister Barbara is determined to ruin her happiness. Exiling herself from the court, Lucy has to find her own path through life, becoming mistress of the Tower of London. Riding the coattails of the king’s favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, the fortunes of the St. Johns rise to dizzying heights. But with great wealth comes betrayal, leaving Lucy to fight for her survival—and her honor—in a world of deceit and debauchery. 

Elizabeth St. John tells this dramatic story of love, betrayal, family bonds, and loyalty through the eyes of her ancestor Lucy and her family’s surviving diaries, letters, and court papers.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: The Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree by Julie Johnstone

From the Back Cover:

Justin Holleman, the Duke of Dinnisfree, is used to being wanted—in bed, for missions, and even dead. He’s protected his country more times than he can remember, gaining enemies along the way, but he failed to defend himself from the past that hardened his heart. Instead, he became an expert at shutting people out. Yet now, in order to save the king, Justin needs to let go of his old ways and let someone closer to him than ever before. He approaches the mission with his classic cold calculation, but his fiery new ally upends his ordered world and entices him at every turn. Suddenly he’s in danger of compromising his assignment and losing his heart, two things the rogue swore never to do.

Desperate to protect her parents from poverty, among other things, Miss Arabella Carthright unwittingly becomes a pawn in a dangerous political battle when she agrees to aid an enigmatic stranger. Having learned long ago to count only on herself, she’s surprised when time and again the duke actually aids her. But when his true assignment becomes clear, Arabella realizes the man she’s come to care for poses the greatest threat to those she loves.

As Justin and Arabella face their feelings and their web of deception falls away, they must decide how high a price they are willing to pay for love and loyalty.

My Thoughts:

I'd long been wanting to read a Julie Johnstone book since she has such a strong following, and the plot description of this one drew me in. I'm always up for a good spy story. In the very beginning, the author includes a historical note regarding King George IV's attempt to divorce his wife, Caroline, for adultery and the emergence of some damning letters that sank his case. The story that follows is an imagining of what could have happened, and after a setup like that, I couldn't wait to read it.

Arabella Carthright is a seamstress with a lot on her shoulders. Her mother is in a sanitarium, and her father is disabled after suffering a stroke, so Arabella is the family's sole source of income. When one of her wealthy customers throws a hissy fit and refuses to pay for the dresses Arabella made for her, Arabella is in dire straits. She was counting on that money and has to find another way to pay for her mother's care before she is transferred to Bedlam. Arabella finds herself with two distasteful choices before her: theft or prostitution. With the help of a handsome and mysterious stranger, she commits to both. She takes a discarded but highly valuable trinket box from the woman who jilted her and agrees to sell her virtue. But all is not as it seems. Turns out the woman she just stole from is the king's mistress, and the man Arabella has been hired to seduce is a dangerous man indeed.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Spotlight: Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

Storm and Silence
by Robert Thier

Date of Publication: March 19, 2016
Paperback and Ebook; 590 pages
Genre: Historical fiction mixed with adventure, mystery, and romance



Freedom – that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, not a brood of squalling brats, and certainly not love, thank you very much!

But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end – until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever...


Awards:

Winner of the 2015 People's Choice Award in the Wattys, the world's largest online writing contest, and also currently the front-runner for the Story of the Year Award

Praise:

"This is not just some fiction, it is an incredibly well-written and intelligent book, with the most interesting characters and a real reflection on the Victorian era." - Flore on Goodreads

"Original and addictive." -Adila Book & Music Reviews

"The funniest protagonist I've seen in quite a while." -The Wattpad Review

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt: A Brother's Oath by Chris Thorndycroft

A Brother’s Oath
(Book 1 in the Hengest and Horsa Trilogy)
by Chris Thorndycroft

Publication Date: September 13, 2015
eBook; 282 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction



The Untold Story of England’s Beginning.

Denmark, 444 A.D. Two brothers – the cold and calculating Hengest and the intrepid but headstrong Horsa – find their separate worlds thrown into turmoil by royal treachery and an evil cult thought long dead. Reunited by an oath sworn in their youth, they set off on a journey that will define their destiny and set them upon the path to greatness.

When Hengest’s family is kidnapped by an unknown enemy, Horsa knows his oath has become more than a thing of words and he infiltrates the crew of one of the most feared raiders in the northern world to find out who took them. Meanwhile, Hengest struggles to unite his rag-tag group of followers into a united people. His heart yearns for a safe haven for his family; a land that he and his followers can call their own for generations to come.

This is the first part of the thrilling saga of the two warriors who spearheaded the Anglo-Saxon migrations to Britain and whose names became legendary as the founders of the land that would one day be called England.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | SMASHWORDS


Excerpt

     On one of the boats behind Hnaef’s, Hengest gripped the bulwark and focused on breathing deeply. The deck lurched beneath his feet and his stomach lurched with it. The white caps of the waves rose and fell with sickening regularity and the swell beneath the shallow keel tossed the small craft about as if it were driftwood.
     Hengest hated the sea; the nausea, the constant wind and wet spray and the thought of the vast, black chasms yawning beneath them and the nightmarish creatures that dwelt in those dark depths. The distant coastline of Frisia was a dull grey bulge on the horizon beneath a leaden sky. Another winter was coming.
     Twelve years had passed since Horsa had left. It had all but destroyed their mother when she had learned that her youngest son had run away. Hengest had remained with her the night he told her, comforting her as she wept until the dawn came. Their father had ranted and raged as could be expected, but on the whole, as much as Hengest was loathe to admit, life went on just fine without Horsa.
     Hengest had married Halfritha and the two of them had moved into the farm she had inherited from her parents. He had purchased theows to work the land and their home had been a happy one. Halfritha had borne him two children; a daughter they named Hronwena and a son they named Aesc. Both were nearing adolescence now, and he missed them terribly.
     Year by year, news of Horsa had trickled back to Jute-land like the melt of spring. There had been rumours of him taking up with a crew of Angle raiders and enjoying great success plundering the merchant vessels and coastal towns throughout the northern world. One year a messenger arrived with a large sum of silver to be paid to Ealdorman Wictgils. It had been sent by Horsa to repay his father for the horse that had been given to Wulfgar. Wictgils accepted the money but said nothing. As far as he was concerned, Horsa was dead to him.