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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Library Loot #16

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
The Haul:
In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus, #1)City of Silver: A MysteryInstruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1)The Ark (Tyler Locke, #1)Queen of Ambition (Ursula Blanchard, #5)Woman of a Thousand Secrets

Waiting on Wednesday #109

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine and is where we can talk about books we are looking forward to being released.
The Hidden Girl
Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start. Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream. Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic, who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will's behaviour is severely testing the bonds of trust. Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she's ever wanted at risk. But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her...
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 332 pages
Expected Publication Date: May 22nd 2014 by Pan
Why I'm Waiting:
I love the cover for this one, it's so creepy with the lone light on in the house set against a creepy wooded back drop, and I'm really liking how the story itself sounds.
The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard
Heloise and Abelard, the original "star-crossed" lovers -- before Romeo & Juliet – dare to live, and love, on their own terms in 12th-century Paris, then lose all in one tragic stroke.

He is the most famous philosopher in the world, the arrogant headmaster of the Notre Dame Cloister School, and a poet whose songs and good looks make women swoon. She is Paris’s most brilliant young scholar, beautiful and wry, and his student. Forbidden by the church and society to love each other, Heloise and Abelard defy the rules to follow their hearts, risking everything that matters to them — including each other. An illicit child, a secret marriage, an abusive uncle: nothing, it seems, can come between them — until a vicious attack tears them apart forever. Or does it?

Sherry Jones’s THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE is the first re-telling of this much-loved tale since the discovery, in 1999, of 113 “Lost Love Letters” between Heloise d’Argenteuil and Pierre Abelard. Incorporating excerpts from these beautiful letters, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE offers an intimate, erotic account of one of the most famous couples of all time, and explores the meaning of true love and the sacrifice it demands.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 352 pages
Expected Publication Date: November 25th 2014 by Gallery Books
Why I'm Waiting:
I've heard of the Lost Love Letters before but only in passing so when I saw that Sherry Jones had written a novel about Heloise and Abelard I couldn't wait to add it to my list. Plus the cover is amazing!
What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

*[Blog Tour Review & Giveaway] The Shadow Queen: A Novel by Sandra Gulland

The Shadow Queen: A Novel
Shadow Queen Banner


From the author of the beloved Josephine B. Trilogy, comes a spellbinding novel inspired by the true story of a young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative and dangerous woman in the 17th century French court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.

1660, Paris

Claudette’s life is like an ever-revolving stage set. From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family’s acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother's astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine, Claudette’s life is culturally rich, but like all in the theatrical world at the time, she's socially scorned.

A series of chance encounters gradually pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning "Shadow Queen." Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.

Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king's bed.

Indeed, Claudette's "reputable" new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs, becomes ever more desperate to hold onto the King's favor, innocent love charms move into the realm of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life—and the family she loves so dearly—at risk.

Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the War of Theaters, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 336 pages (Hardcover)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Publication Date: April 8th 2014 by Doubleday

As much as I love historical fiction I am ashamed to admit that I haven't ventured into France or the era in which The Shadow Queen was set nor am I familiar with Athenais de Montespan who the book is titled after, and now that I have dipped my toe into this era and know a bit about Athenais de Montespan I am very curious about everything that The Shadow Queen introduced me too.

I love how this novel was told not through the eyes of Athenais, but by the girl, Claude de Vin des Œillets who would later become one of her ladies in waiting. As fascinating as Athenias is I feel as though reading a story about her life from the point of view of one of her servants gives us an even deeper look into her life.

Claude de Vin des Œillets turned out to be a very dynamic character and one that I ended up really feeling for. I liked the progression of the story from the time Claude was a young girl of 12 years of age up until she left court in her late 40s. I thought she was absolutely fascinating and found myself enchanted by her life. I thought her family history (she was the daughter of two famous actors) and her life among players (actors) to be really interesting. I know very little about the theater in the 1600s other than the fact that the upper classes tended not to mix with players, no matter how much they enjoyed seeing them act. So I really enjoyed the look into that world that the author provided especially since the fact that Claude's involvement with the players is what introduced her to Athenias.

 I'm glad to say that Claude was the main focus of the novel. We of course get to know other characters like Athenias, the King, various playwrights and players but Claude was definitely the one we learned the most about and I enjoyed how the author chose to write her. She was a smart woman who was a quick thinker, a bit naïve, and a woman who loved her family and thought it was her responsibility to care for them and she would see that they get the best care that they could. She was a very likable character and that made the novel speed right along.

The amount of research and care that went into The Shadow Queen was evident from the early pages, I thought that the amount of detail about the era, and the people as well as the details of life in that time was wonderful and enchanting, I felt as though I got a crash course in court politics and got a lovely feel of the way life was and that made the book come to life for me and the back drop really made the characters come to life.

Overall, I only have one complaint about the novel and that is that I wished that we got to know some of the other characters a bit more but other than that I really enjoyed this book and I'm glad that it served as my introduction to an author who I've been meaning to read for ages but hadn't gotten to prior to reading The Shadow Queen. This book brought Paris in the latter part of the 1600's to life for me with a compelling plot that had me smiling, cringing and wanting to reach into the book and become a part of the story myself.

I would recommend this to all fans of historical fiction especially historical fiction set in Paris during the 1600s as well as those who have an interest in the theater wars which play a fairly large part of the novel. I read this one in a day and thought it was so wonderful that I've already got another of the author's works on hold at the library.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
Loved It!
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Top Ten Tuesday #63

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Top Ten Favourite Female Heroines:
1. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
Harry Potter Boxset (Harry Potter, #1-7)
2. Claire from Outlander
Outlander (Outlander, #1)
3. Ayla from The Earth's Children Series
The Clan of the Cave Bear, the Valley of Horses, the Mammoth Hunters, the Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, #1-5)
4. Katsa from Graceling
Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)
5. Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)
6. Stephanie Plum from the Stephanie Plum series
One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1)
7. Precious Ramotswe from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1)
8. Ursula Blanchard from the Ursula Blanchard Series
To Shield the Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #1)
9. Elena Michaels from Bitten
Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1)
10. Anita Blake from The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series
Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1)

What's your Top 10 this Tuesday?

Teaser Tuesday #43

 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
Milk Fever
In 1789, Armande, a wet nurse who is known for the mystical qualities of her breast milk, goes missing. Céleste, a cunning servant girl who Armande once saved from shame and starvation, sets out to find her. A snuffbox found in the snow, the unexpected arrival of a gentleman and the discovery of the wet nurse’s diary, deepen the mystery. Using Armande’s diary as a map to her secret past, Céleste fights to save her from those plotting to steal the wisdom of her milk. Milk Fever is a rich and inspired tale set on the eve of the French Revolution- a delicious peek into this age s history. The story explores the fight for women/s rights and the rise in clandestine literature laying bare sexuality, the nature of love and the magic of books to transform lives.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 262 pages (Paperback)
Publication Date: October 18th 2013 by Demeter Press
My Teaser:
Pg. 13
Jacques kept going to the fire, and I would pick him up and move him away from it. All the while, Sophie didn't budge from Armande's side rather she teetered on her tiptoes as if a mischievous spirit got hold of her.
What's your Teaser this week?

Tuesday Jams #8

Tuesday Jams is a meme where you share your favourite songs. bands and the current song you're feeling and is hosted by Sharonda from Salacious Reads
I discovered Freshlyground about 5 years back and fell in love with this awesome South African band's sound especially Zolani's voice (and when I have a kid I'm totally stealing her name). This is an oldie by them but still a goody.
What are your Tuesday Jams this week?