Book Tours

The Sworn Virgin

The Sworn Virgin

Summary:

Dukes’s gripping historical novel tells the tale of a desperate Albanian woman who will do whatever it takes to keep her independence and seize control of her future…even if it means swearing to remain a virgin for her entire life.

When eighteen-year-old Eleanora’s father is shot dead on the cobblestone streets of 1910 Albania, Eleanora must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother Meria.

Nearing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage with the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Intent on keeping her freedom, Eleanora takes an oath to remain a virgin for the rest of her life—a tradition that gives her the right to live as a man: she is now head of her household and can work for a living as well as carry a gun. Eleanora can also participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed—unless she forsakes her vow, which she has no intention of ever doing.

But when an injured stranger stumbles into her life, Eleanora nurses him back to health, saving his life—yet risking her own as she falls in love with him… (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins where I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This was a very intriguing book in that I’m not sure that it was like anything else I have read.  That being said, I found it very difficult to relate to Eleanora and was frustrated by her decisions to be extremely selfish at times.  It was tough, because Eleanora was trying to be an independent and strong woman, but really tripped up multiple times throughout the book.  She is quite young, and does manage to grow throughout the story.  I was expecting the book to go in a different direction based on the description, but instead we follow Eleanora over two years in her life and she is forced to decide if she'll reject or embrace her cultural heritage.

What I did enjoy about the book was the imagery and exploration of a culture and geography that I know nothing about.  In 1910, it’s interesting to hear how Albania balanced the old and new ways of life, like so many other countries at the turn of the century.  

Warning: Contains repeated violence and sexual content.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone interested in historical novels.

Whispering in French

Whispering in French

Summary:

Award-winning romance author Sophia Nash makes her women’s fiction debut with a beautifully crafted, funny, and life-affirming story set in the Atlantic seaside region of France, as one woman returns to France to sell her family home and finds an unexpected chance to start over—perfect for fans of “Le Divorce” and “The Little Paris Bookshop”.

Home is the last place Kate expected to find herself…

As a child, Kate Hamilton was packed off each summer to her grandfather’s ivy-covered villa in southern France. That ancestral home, named Marthe Marie, is now crumbling, and it falls to Kate—regarded as the most responsible and practical member of her family—to return to the rugged, beautiful seaside region to confront her grandfather’s debts and convince him to sell.

Kate makes her living as a psychologist and life coach, but her own life is in as much disarray as Marthe Marie. Her marriage has ended, and she’s convinced that she has failed her teenaged daughter, Lily, in unforgiveable ways. While delving into colorful family history and the consequences of her own choices, Kate reluctantly agrees to provide coaching to Major Edward Soames, a British military officer suffering with post-traumatic stress. Breaking through his shell, and dealing with idiosyncratic locals intent on viewing her as an Americanized outsider, will give Kate new insight into who—and where—she wants to be. The answers will prove as surprising as the secrets that reside in the centuries-old villa.

Witty and sophisticated, rich in history and culture, Sophia Nash’s novel vividly evokes both its idyllic French setting and the universal themes of self-forgiveness and rebuilding in a story as touching as it is wise.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of TLC Book Tours and I voluntarily chose to write a review.

Review:

I really enjoy books where the character goes through a transformational change for the better and identifies ways to have a little contentment in their lives.  Kate is a mess, no way around that, and is holding things together by a thread.  As the sole voice of reason trying to get her family back on track, she finds it’s her family is who gets her back on track.

This book was evocative of the culture, region and weather of the area, which made the book deeper than a superficial book on a chick who become a better person.  Some of my favorite moments are between Kate and Edward where it’s a fight for the truth, and nothing but the truth, no matter how painful that may be.  I found the book had me thinking deeper than expected and would recommend this one to anyone.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Folks who like books with characters who go through transformational changes and find contentment in the process.

Master of Alaska

Master of Alaska

Summary:

The detail and research that author Roger Seiler used – from biographies to actual letters and reports by the Governor Baranov himself - creates a riveting story.

“Master of Alaska” - a compelling Historical Fiction about the first governor of Alaska sent to the colony by Russia in 1790 – George Washington was President at the time. “Master of Alaska” starts in October 1790 when Aleksandr Baranov left his family in Russia and sails across the North Pacific to Kodiak to become the chief manager for Tsarina Catherine the Great’s colony in the far Northwest of North America. Baranov is shipwrecked, saved and adopted by the Aleut natives. Later he is forced to marry Anooka the daughter of the tribal chief, despite still having a wife back in Russia to save his men from starvation. Only slated to serve five years, Baranov spends the next 28 years in Alaska, surviving natural disasters, a massacre of his people at Sitka, meddling competing Russian authorities, a British attempt to undermine his colony and an assassination attempt. Interestingly, Baranov’s native wife and teenage daughter play an intricate role and contribute much to his success and survival in Alaska. Baranov built an empire and sought peace with the warring Tlingit, and thanks largely to his efforts Alaska is part of the U.S. today.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of Sage’s Blog Tours and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This was as a 3.5 star book with some fantastic history naturally weaved throughout.  The early information I had about for Alaska was very sketchy and it was fascinating to get an in depth timeline without reading simple dry facts.  I liked that the arc was told through the experiences and challenges of Baranov although some times the events jumped from one to another fairly quickly.  One thing that is for sure is that life in Alaska wasn’t for everyone!  I have always wanted to visit and this makes me even more determined to make it up there.

One thing that I found a little distracting throughout the book was the very matter-of-fact dialogue throughout.  I couldn’t tell if this was something due to the translation of letters, a choice by the author or the form that the individuals naturally took.  It didn’t take away from the overall story, but did keep me from being completely absorbed in the story.

Warning: Contains some violence and sexual content.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of history and true adventure.

Internet Famous

Internet Famous

Summary:

High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of Xpresso Book Tours and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This was a fun and fantastic read that had me chuckling just as quickly as I was able to get into it.  As much as the unfolding romance was the subject of the book, so also was the relationship between the sisters and all the real implications that living with someone with a disability can have.  I felt the book portrayed the relationship honestly and not through the perspective of an idealized perfect world.

Maddie has to learn how to handle the next steps in her life and in her own terms.  Balancing the responsibilities of family, job and future is not easy and it was done in a fun and interesting way.  I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who is a “true fan” for anything as you’ll definitely find some of your kindred spirits in this book!

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Folks looking for a light fun read and those who enjoy a good fangirling moment.