Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Fever by Mary Beth Keane

Title: Fever
Author: Mary Beth Keane
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Scribner
Publish Date: March 12, 2013
Source: Owned

What's the Story?:

From "On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she'd aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined medical engineer noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an "asymptomatic carrier" of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.

The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary, proud of her former status and passionate about cooking, the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict."

My Two Cents:

Many of us history lovers have heard the story of Typhoid Mary but not many of us really know her story. In this book, Mary Beth Keane brings her story to life. Mary was a hardworking Irish woman who wanted to make her life being a cook for some of the fancy homes in her area. She found many good jobs but her dreams are crushed when it is found that although she does not have symptoms of typhoid fever, she can pass it on and she happens to pass it on through her food. Some believe that she is a public health hazard and must be stopped without any regard for her own health or happiness.

This was a really hard book to read in some places. It seems like Mary was punished in a lot of ways even though there really was not anything she could do about being a carrier of typhoid fever. She gets that but those in charge of public health don't get it at all. I really felt bad for her. It was interesting to me to see how the public in general felt about diseases and how the doctors did not really understand how to prevent diseases or help people with said diseases. I really felt for Mary. She ends up not being able to live a really full life because of the typhoid.

This story also explores the issues of Mary both being a woman and an immigrant. The book makes the case for Mary receiving a lot of the bad treatment that she receives because of her being a woman and an unmarried woman at that. She had tried to rise above her station in life and was thwarted at every turn. There was also the issue of her being Irish. Back during the early 1900s, the Irish immigrants coming to this country wer not well respected at all. They were treated as less than other people. I thought it was really fascinating how the author chose to tackle both issues.

This book was a very interesting read with a very memorable character.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Title: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Delacorte
Publish Date: November 13, 2012
Source: Owned

What's the Story?:

From "Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be."

My Two Cents:

Are you looking for a cute, light love story? Then "Meant to Be" is for you! This was one of the books that I read for Dewey's Read-a-thon a little while back and it was the perfect pick for the wee hours of the morning when I needed something light that would still totally engage me so I stayed awake.

I really liked the main character, Julia. Julia reminded me a lot of myself in high school. While I am still very much a rule player, I've definitely lightened up a little bit since high school. Also, we have the whole swimming thing in common. I liked seeing how she progressed from wanting to have everything planned out, even to the point of who she was supposed to be married. It took me a little bit longer than Julia to realize that you can't plan too far in the future or you're going to fall on your face in the present.

I liked the love story between Julia and Jason. Jason is totally carefree almost to the point of being careless. I wished that we would have gotten a little more insight into his character and his motives for being the way that he is but the lack of this doesn't take too much away from the story line between him and Julia. I really liked seeing how they fell for each other.

I absolutely love London and I loved that this book took place there. This book made me want to go back and experience some of the other things that I didn't get to experience when I was there for my honeymoon. Aside from being a cute love story, this book is definitely good for armchair traveling. Julia and Jason get to see and do a ton while they are on their school trip.

I would love to have known what happened to Julia and Jason once they get back to the States. Do they stay in love? Maybe there will be a sequel? I know that I am personally hoping for one!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

HF Virtual Book Tours: A Day of Fire Cover Reveal

I am excited to reveal the cover for “A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii"! This is a book for historical fiction TBR piles everywhere—six authors (look at that list!), one volume, the gripping story of Pompeii’s final days. And now you can pre-order your copy so that, come November 4th, you won’t have to wait.

It’s Cover Reveal Time . . .

Title: A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii Authors: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran Genre: Historical Fiction Release Date: November 4, 2014
Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . .
01_A Day of Fire Cover
Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet: A boy who loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets; An heiress dreading her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire; An ex-legionary who stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished; A crippled senator welcoming death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue; A young mother facing an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls; And a priestess and a whore seeking redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Pre-order today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Authors

STEPHANIE DRAY is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical Nile series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt's ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Learn more at BEN KANE worked as a veterinarian for sixteen years, but his love of ancient history and historical fiction drew him to write fast-paced novels about Roman soldiers, generals and gladiators. Irish by nationality but UK-based, he is the author of seven books, the last five of which have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers.Ben’s books have been translated into ten languages. In 2013, Ben walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall with two other authors, for charity; he did so in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. He repeated the madness in 2014, over 130 miles in Italy. Over $50,000 has been raised with these two efforts. Learn more at E. KNIGHT is an award-winning, indie national best-selling author historical fiction. Under the name, Eliza Knight she writes historical romance and time-travel. Her debut historical fiction novel, MY LADY VIPER, has received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Historical Novel Society 2015 Annual Indie Award. She regularly presents on writing panels and was named Romance Writer’s of America’s 2013 PRO Mentor of the Year. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and a very naughty puppy. For more information, visit Eliza at SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of the acclaimed debut, The Sister Queens, which weaves the story of medieval sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became queens of France and England respectively. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences, serving as a panelist at the most recent. When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls, VA. Learn more at KATE QUINN is the national bestselling author of the Empress of Rome novels, which have been variously translated into thirteen different languages. She first got hooked on Roman history while watching "I, Claudius" at the age of seven, and wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome. She and her husband now live in Maryland with an imperious black dog named Caesar. Learn more at VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the award-winning author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The LA Times called Cleopatra’s Moon--set in Rome and Egypt--"magical" and "impressive." Publisher’s Weekly said it was "fascinating" and "highly memorable." Her young adult novel of Pompeii, Curses and Smoke (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), released in June 2014. She has two other upcoming books for younger readers, Anubis Speaks! and Hades Speaks! Vicky is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. Learn more at


To win a copy of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii please complete the Rafflecopter form. There are two copies (Ebook or Paperback) up for grabs. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on September 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on September 27th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway

HF Virtual Book Tours Review and Giveaway: Inglorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll

Title: Inglorious Royal Marriages: A Demi-Millennium of Unholy Mismatrimony
Author: Leslie Carroll
Format: Paperback
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publish Date: September 2, 2014
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours

What's the Story?:

From "It’s no secret that the marriages of monarchs are often made in hell. Here are some of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history....

In a world where many kings, queens, and princes lacked nothing but true love, marital mismatches could bring out the baddest, boldest behavior in the bluest of bloodlines. Margaret Tudor, her niece Mary I, and Catherine of Braganza were desperately in love with chronically unfaithful husbands, but at least they weren’t murdered by them, as were two of the Medici princesses were. King Charles II’s beautiful, high-spirited sister “Minette” wed Louis XIV’s younger brother, who wore more makeup and perfume than she did. Forced to wed her boring, jug-eared cousin Ferdinand, Marie of Roumania—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria—proved herself one of the heroines of World War I by using her prodigious personal charm to regain massive amounts of land during the peace talks at Versailles.

Brimming with outrageous real-life stories of royal marriages gone wrong, this is an entertaining, unforgettable book of dubious matches doomed from the start."

My Two Cents:

 "Inglorious Marriages" is the new release by wonderful author, Leslie Carroll. I always look forward to her releases but I was especially excited about this book because the subject seemed so fascinating to me and I was very happy to be proven correct. In this book, we see that the truth is sometimes stranger and more fabulous than fiction. The author uses this book in order to tackle some of the strangest, most interesting, most memorable, and craziest marriages of royalty throughout time. Some of the stories I was more familiar with than others but I enjoyed both revisiting and learning about new stories. This book makes for very entertaining nonfiction.

It's definitely the writing of the book that makes this book special. Carroll definitely has a gift for words and is able to breathe new life into some great stories from from history. I also really liked the way that Carroll was able to make this book incredibly entertaining. If you think that all history books are boring, this book will definitely show you otherwise.

Even though some of the stories were not new to me, I loved reading Carroll's take on the stories. Each chapter focuses on a new couple and each story is filled with fantastic love stories and a whole lot of drama!  I always like when I can learn something from a book. Overall, if you're interested in reading about royal marriages that you will be very happy that you never had to live through, then read this book. It will definitely make you thankful for your own situation!


One lucky winner will win one paperback copy, open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, September 1
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, September 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Scandalous Women
Wednesday, September 3
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, September 4
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, September 5
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, September 8
Review & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, September 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli
Thursday, September 11
Review at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Friday, September 12
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Monday, September 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, September 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Saturday, September 20
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Tuesday, September 23
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, September 24
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Review & Giveaway at To Read or Not to Read
Thursday, September 25
Review at Bookish
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Friday, September 26
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

I have a couple of giveaway winners to announce today!

The Queen's Exiles:

Madame Picasso:

The Duel for Consuelo:

Don't forget to check out the other giveaways that I have going on right now:

The Fault in Our Stars is Almost Here!!!

The Fault in Our Stars is releasing on DVD and Blu-ray on September 16th and I am so, so, so excited for it!  As a member of The Fault In Our Stars Ambassador Program, I have helped in creating a list of the top moments from the film that I would love to relive! 

Featuring performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort that made the film a favorite of fans and critics alike, this inspirational modern day tale of star-crossed lovers will have you going from laughter to tears and back again. 

Have you read the book or seen the movie?! What are your favorite moments that you would like to relive? Comment with your favorites and you will be entered to win a copy of TFIOS of your very own (U.S. only)! Comment prior to 12:00 AM EST on 9/26/14 to be entered!

HF Virtual Book Tours: The Crystal Cage by Merryn Allingham

Title: The Crystal Cage
Author: Merryn Allingham
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Harlequin
Publish Date: August 4, 2014
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours

What's the Story?:

From "Captivated…or captured?

Appearances don't always reveal the truth. Grace Latimer knows this better than most. Illusions of commitment and comfort have her trapped—until bohemian adventurer Nick Heysham charms his way into her world. Commissioned to recover a Great Exhibition architect's missing designs, he persuades her to assist in his research. The mystery of the Crystal Palace seduces Grace, and once she discovers clues about a forbidden Victorian love affair, she's lured into the deep secrets of the past…secrets that resemble her own.

As Grace and Nick dig into the elusive architect's illicit, long-untold story, the ghosts of guilt and forbidden passion slip free. And history is bound to repeat itself, unless Grace finds the courage to break free and find a new definition of love…"

My Two Cents:

"The Crystal Cage" is a historical fiction with a heavy mystery element to it. The story takes place both in the present and also during the Great Exhibition during the mid to late 1800s. In this book, Grace is a researcher who is called upon by Nick, a modern day adventurer, to help him solve a mystery about what may have happened to some famous (and missing) architectural designs. At first, Grace is not sure that she really wants to help but she goes along with it anyway and ends up discovering some very important things about herself.

It took me a little while to get into this book. At first, I wasn't really sure where story was going and Grace seemed to be sort of a hard character to get to know. In a lot of ways, she's very standoffish and we see that with the beginning of her relationship with Nick. Once the story really starts to get going we begin to see a different side of Grace which really helped endear her to me. I just takes a little while to get there so hang on!

I like the historical mystery in the book. To some degree, that part of the book was more interesting to me because I really enjoyed the historical characters and hearing of stories that happen to them. I really was drawn in by the mystery even though it takes a little while to set up. There's also a love story during the historical part of the book that I also really liked. Overall, I think this book will find favor with those who like his stork call romance and also historical mystery.

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, September 15
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Excerpt at Romantic Historical Reviews
Tuesday, September 16
Review at A Bookish Affair
Excerpt at Casual Readers
Wednesday, September 17
Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews
Interview at What Is That Book About
Thursday, September 18
Review at Turning the Pages
Friday, September 19
Review at Queen of All Reads
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter
Monday, September 22
Review at Bibliotica
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Tuesday, September 23
Interview at SOS Aloha
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, September 24
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Thursday, September 25
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Excerpt at Princess of Eboli
Friday, September 26
Review at Unshelish
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, October 15
Review at The Worm Hole


To win an eBook of The Crystal Cage please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Two copies are up for grabs. Giveaway is open internationally.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on October 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 16th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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