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Kendal has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.

Monthly Archives: January 2014

HFVBT: Sebastian’s Way

Sebastian's Way_Tour Banner _FINAL

Sebastian's WayPublication Date: October 3, 2013
Paperback; 370p
ISBN-10: 1491708964

In a dark age of unending war and violence, one young warrior opposes a mighty king to forge a new path to peace…

During the savage Frankish-Saxon wars, the moving force of his age, Karl der Grosse, King Charlemagne, fights and rules like the pagan enemies he seeks to conquer. But in the long shadow of war and genocide, a spark of enlightenment grows, and the king turns to learned men to help him lead his empire to prosperity.

One of these men is the unlikely young warrior Sebastian. Raised in an isolated fortress on the wild Saxon border, Sebastian balances his time in the training yard with hours teaching himself to read, seeking answers to the great mysteries of life during an age when such pastimes were scorned by fighting men. Sebastian’s unique combination of skills endears him to Charlemagne and to the ladies of the king’s court, though the only woman to hold his heart is forbidden to him. As the king determines to surround himself with men who can both fight and think beyond the fighting, Sebastian becomes one of the privileged few to hold the king’s ear.

But the favor of the king does not come without a cost. As Charlemagne’s vassals grapple for power, there are some who will do anything to see Sebastian fall from grace, including his ruthless cousin Konrad, whose hatred and jealousy threaten to destroy everything Sebastian holds dear. And as Sebastian increasingly finds himself at odds with the king’s brutal methods of domination and vengeance, his ingrained sense of honor and integrity lead him to the edge of treason, perilously pitting himself against the most powerful man of his age.

This fast-paced adventure story brings Charlemagne’s realm to life as the vicious Christian-pagan wars of the eighth century decide the fate of Europe. Filled with action, intrigue, and romance, Sebastian’s Way is a riveting and colorful recreation of the world of Europe’s greatest medieval monarch.

Sebastian’s Way is an inspiring story of a young man’s journey during a time of great violence and ignorance. The story takes place during the early reign of Charlemagne. Life was so hard during that time. War defined a man; not his desire to learn. Sebastian thrived to rise about expectations and live a life he can be proud of.

Mr. Steger has written a very rich and engaging piece of historical fiction. He was able to give the readers a vivid picture of life during the 700s. It was dark and dirty but also full of hope of what could be. Sebastian represented that hope of growth and improvement.

Charlemagne is a larger than life character. He is passionate, intelligent and powerful. At times, he can be very compassionate. He is a great king but with a few flaws; like winning at all costs. However, in the end, he was able to listen and make decisions that benefit everyone; all with Sebastian’s wise counsel.

Sebastian’s Way is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. It is full of historical detail and I loved every page!



About the Author George Steger

A native of Louisiana, the author followed a long tradition of young men  from the Deep South by seeking to improve his prospects in the military. From a green second lieutenant in the famed 101st Airborne Division to  battalion command in Vietnam, Colonel Steger spent most of the rest of  his military career in four European tours as an intelligence officer  and Russian foreign area specialist, working on both sides of the Iron  Curtain during the Cold War. He traded sword for plowshare in a second  career in academia and is now Professor Emeritus of history and  international affairs at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth,  Kansas. The motivation to write Sebastian’s Way came from his  experiences in both war and peace, from fourteen years in Germany and  Eastern Europe, and from his love of teaching medieval and other  European history courses.

Steger is an avid hiker and trail biker, and much of the story of  Sebastian came out of time spent in the woods and fields of eastern  Kansas. In memory of Mary Jo, his wife of many years, he and filmmaker  son Ben spent a recent summer trekking across Spain on The Camino de  Santiago, one of Europe’s oldest pilgrimage trails. He lives and writes  in rural Kansas and has four other grown and gifted children.

For more information please visit George Steger’s website. You can also find him on Facebook.

Tour Schedule

Monday, January 13 Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, January 14 Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, January 15 Review at Impressions in Ink Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, January 16 Giveaway at Layers of Thought

Tuesday, January 21 Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday, January 22 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Thursday, January 23 Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, January 24 Giveaway at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Monday, January 27 Review at The Most Happy Reader

Tuesday, January 28 Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Wednesday, January 29 Interview & Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader

Friday, January 31 Review at Book Nerd

Monday, February 3 Review at Closed the Cover

Tuesday, February 4 Guest Post at HF Connection

Wednesday, February 5 Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, February 6 Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, February 7 Review at Sir Read-a-Lot Review & Giveaway at Reading the Ages Review & Giveaway at Cynthia Robertson Blog


HFVBT: The Tenth Saint

The Tenth Saint Tour Banner_FINAL

I’m so excited to be a part of the The Tenth Saint blog tour. Here is an amazing excerpt! Enjoy and happy reading!

In Chapter Thirty-two, Sarah Weston meets her antagonist: the man who  has been trying to silence the prophecy of the tenth saint. Not only is  Sandor Hughes the mastermind behind so much evil, he also is the  architect of a heinous environmental crime that threatens the very  balance of the Earth. Or is he?

Chapter 32

The Tenth Saint

The fingers of sunrise were barely touching the sky when Sarah’s captor pulled up to the Gulfstream G-550 parked on the private aviation tarmac at Brussels Airport. Two dark-suited men with coiled wires extending from their ears to the inside of their collars stood at the base of the stairway. One spoke into a microphone on his wrist, announcing the car’s arrival, and the other opened the door and helped Sarah out of the back seat. She shivered as the icy pre-dawn air hit her face. Neither of the guards said anything as they escorted Sarah up the stairs to the cabin of the Gulfstream.

Sarah knew these jets well, but this one was an extraordinary specimen. The interior had been customized to the hilt. Instead of a traditional configuration, the cabin was arranged like a living room with a modern, almost futuristic, sensibility. An elliptical white leather sectional faced a grouping of Lucite tables in various freeform shapes. Abstract art was mounted on the walls that divided the main cabin and the galley. The floor was made of a glossy, ebony stained wood composite, with an intarsia-style inlay of a familiar logo at the center. Before the black leather Eames lounge chair swiveled around, Sarah knew whom she was about to meet.

Sandor Hughes was a man in his eighties, ruddy faced and wearing a barbed grin. His white hair was thicker and wavier than a man his age should be entitled to. His blue eyes were dulled from cataracts but surveyed her with an alertness that betrayed a fierce intelligence. The chairman of Donovan Geodynamics waved his guards away with a pink, puffy hand and spoke in a raspy voice, not with the Texas accent she was expecting but rather with the familiar diction of a northeasterner.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Sarah. Please, sit.”

Sarah sat tentatively on the edge of the sofa and waited for him to start the conversation. Her senses were on high alert as she faced the mastermind of all the evil that befell her expedition, a man capable of anything.

Hughes got right to the point. “I know you think you know who I am. The truth is, you’re right. And very, very wrong.”

She looked out the window. A drizzly morning was dawning, and in the gloom the Belgian capital looked older and more tired than usual. She kept quiet as Hughes resumed his narrative.

“Andrew Matakala was a brilliant young man with an education, a Western sensibility, and a whole lot of connections. I hired him to find the tomb and keep the prophecies hidden—nothing more. I had no way of knowing he would become more and more corrupt with every ounce of power he tasted. People have been hurt . . . killed. I never asked for that, never sanctioned it. I am many things, but I am not a murderer. Yet every drop of blood he spilled, I have on my hands.”

“Did you bring me all the way here for a confession?” Sarah snapped. “Or are you just trying to get me out of your way?”

“You know, you and I are more alike than you might want to believe,” he said, his hands shaking as he took a sip of his morning scotch. “When I was your age, before I saw the worst in human nature, I was much more of an idealist. I believed I could change the world . . . just as you do.”

“Don’t presume to know what I believe.” Her tone carried more emotion that she wanted to betray.

“How can I not? You’ve made it amply clear by taking on this quest to vindicate the tenth saint, even if it means gambling everything—your job, your reputation, the respect of your own kin. I admire that kind of conviction, I do. But there are things you don’t understand. You have no idea what’s at stake here. Not everything is as it appears.”

Sarah looked squarely into his opaque blue eyes, bloodshot to match his ruddy complexion. “Oh, I know what’s at stake. I’ve known men like you all my life. Everything is a pawn in your chess game. You need the Alliance’s support to advance Poseidon. And you need Poseidon to make Donovan the biggest provider of alternative energy in the world. So what if there are a few pesky thorns in your side? Just banish them, like all the others.” Her face was now hot with rage. “Where is your conscience, Mr. Hughes? Are you willing to put the earth’s future in jeopardy for your corporate profits?”

“Is that what you think? That I’m doing this for material gain? Because if that’s the case, you’re not as astute as I thought.”

“Then why are you trying to silence the messages of two people who saw with their own eyes an end brought on by exactly such a manipulation of the planet? The beast they spoke of and your Poseidon are one and the same. And yet you simply refuse to allow for such a possibility. It is the height of arrogance.”

He rose with great effort and leaned into a cane. He shuffled over to the bar and poured himself another two fingers of scotch over a single ice cube.

“If you believe the world could be destroyed by an errant algae, you’re absolutely right,” he said.

That took her by surprise. The last thing she was expecting was for him to agree with her.

“Only that algae won’t be Poseidon,” he continued. “What if I was to tell you that forty years from now, the world will be suffering so much from greenhouse gases that a company named Aurora Technologies will introduce a similar product that is far more aggressive and volatile? And that nations, anxious to counter the insidious effects of global warming in the face of vast deforestation, will not scrutinize it or test it adequately? That our leaders, desperate and out of time, will regard that program as the savior and hastily approve it without bothering to verify its stability? And that it will gradually bring about destruction, just as your prophets predicted?”

She was perplexed. Was this a theory? Or a declaration?

“If we continue on our current trajectory of manipulating the earth, Sarah, planetary conditions will deteriorate so rapidly that leaders will be forced to assume great risk to mitigate the damage. That’s why it’s important to go forward with Poseidon before things reach that breaking point. Our years of research have been focused on controlling the growth of the algae so that it does not spread or multiply out of control. We have foreseen every possible scenario—toxic substances, nuclear waste, extreme temperatures, changes in the atmosphere—and have been testing Poseidon against all of them. Our facility is so advanced that we are simulating true oceanic conditions. We are not the bad guys here, Sarah. We want the same things you want—to save the planet from certain ruin. If Poseidon gets voted down, we will hasten that ruin rather than curtail it.”

“So you say. But it’s not enough to make me change my mind. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what I think. The decision rests with the Alliance. It’s in their hands now.”

He coughed nervously and his face turned an ugly shade of magenta. He loosened his shirt collar to catch his breath. “Let me be candid here. I know you know things that could be very . . . damaging. I need your cooperation.”

Sarah stood. She stared him down, her teeth clenched but her thoughts clear. She wasn’t playing his game, damn the consequences. “Why would I want to cooperate with you, after all you’ve done?”

“Because I’m on your side, God damn it,” he thundered. “Yes, there will be a nuclear accident. It will be the most horrific, deadliest meltdown in the history of mankind. The runoff will spill into the oceans and Aurora’s algae will mutate and grow exponentially. There will be nothing anyone can do to stop it. With every additional square foot it occupies, it will consume more carbon dioxide. Before long it will crowd the oceans and cause marine life to die, sinking to the ocean floor and leaving behind a cloud of methane. The algae will eventually sap the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, leaving it with dangerously high levels of oxygen. The intense concentrations of methane will cause fires to erupt, and oxygen will feed their flames. One fire will beget another. And another. And another, until fires rage all over the earth, leaving destruction and death in their wake. And all will be lost.” He looked out the window with misty eyes. “Your prophets are right.”

Sarah froze. A chill raked her skin, and the fine white hairs on her arms stood on end.

“Who are you?” she asked, though she already knew the answer.

About the Author


D.J. Niko is the nom de plume of Daphne Nikolopoulos, an  award-winning author and journalist. Her first novel, titled The Tenth  Saint, was released in March 2012 to rave reviews by both readers and  the trade. In March 2013, it was awarded the Gold Medal for popular  fiction in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. An  archaeological thriller embroidered with historical motifs, The Tenth  Saint takes readers on an adventure across the globe: Ethiopia, the  Syro-Arabian Desert and Abyssinian Empire circa fourth century, London,  Paris, Brussels, and Texas. The Tenth Saint is the first book in The  Sarah Weston Chronicles series. The second, titled The Riddle of  Solomon, releases July 1, 2013.Daphne is now at work on a historical novel set in tenth century  B.C.E. Israel. The epic story details the collapse of the United  Monarchy and the glory and fall of the empire built by King Solomon. It  will be released in early 2015.As a former travel journalist, Daphne has traveled across the globe  on assignment, or for personal discovery. She has been to some places  most of us don’t realize are on the map, and she has brought them to  life through her writing for various magazines, newspapers and websites  on an international scale. Her travel background and rich experiences  now bring authentic detail, color, and realism to her fiction.She also is the editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine, a 62-year-old luxury-lifestyle glossy. She also is the editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group, and in that capacity oversees 11 magazines  and 3 websites.

She is the mother of twin toddlers and, in her spare time, volunteers for causes she believes in—literacy, education, child advocacy, and the advancement of traditional and tribal arts from around the world. Born  in Athens, Greece, she now lives with her family in West Palm Beach,  Florida.

For more information, please visit D.J. Niko’s website. You can also follow on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Tour Schedule

Monday, January 27 Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Tuesday, January 28 Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, January 29 Review at JulzReads Interview & Giveaway at Closed the Cover

Thursday, January 30 Excerpt at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, January 31 Review at Sir Read-a-Lot

Monday, February 3 Review at Royalty Free Fiction

Tuesday, February 4 Guest Post at Royalty Free Fiction


Review: Neverwhere

Written by Neil Gaiman
Published on January 1, 1996
400 pages
Purchased from Amazon for book club


Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her–and the life he knows vanishes like smoke.

Several hours later, the girl is gone too. And by the following morning Richard Mayhew has been erased from his world. His bank cards no longer work, taxi drivers won’t stop for him, his landlord rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

For this is the home of Door, the mysterious girl whom Richard rescued in the London Above. A personage of great power and nobility in this murky, candlelit realm, she is on a mission to discover the cause of her family’s slaughter, and in doing so preserve this strange underworld kingdom from the malevolence that means to destroy it. And with nowhere else to turn, Richard Mayhew must now join the Lady Door’s entourage in their determined–and possibly fatal–quest.

For the dread journey ever-downward–through bizarre anachronisms and dangerous incongruities, and into dusty corners of stalled time–is Richard’s final hope, his last road back to a “real” world that is growing disturbingly less real by the minute.

Neverwhere is an incredibly intriguing novel written by Neil Gaiman. I have never read anything by Mr. Gaiman and I’m so glad that I started with Neverwhere. His world of London Below is so creative. You can definitely get lost in his dark underworld.

At the center of Neverwhere is Richard Mayhew. He starts out as a typical human in London Above. He has a job, fiancé (who is incredibly plastic) and a flat. All incredibly ordinary and boring. And then he meets Door and his life changes. During his adventures Below, all he wants is to get back to his “normal life”. He sees things that he never thought never existed. He’s frightened beyond all belief. However, he changes. He finds London Below full of life while London Above is devoid of all life. He finds a place Below where he can really live.

I loved Mr. Gaiman’s world of London Below. Everything seemed to center about the Underground. All the different stations and different groups of people are amazing to behold. Everything is so alien but at the same time familiar.

There are so many interesting characters in this book. I loved Door. I loved that she could open anything. She is a very brave character who brings life to Richard and to London Below. The creepiness of Croup and Vandemar reminded me of James Bond villains (Have you ever seen Diamonds are Forever?) All of the different characters really shaped London Below. From Hunter to the Marquis and the Earl to Old Bailey, everyone had their place and fiefdom.

I really enjoyed Neverwhere and I can’t wait to read my next Neil Gaiman book


Barefoot Books Fun!

I had the most amazing time yesterday. I traveling down to Grapevine, Texas for a Barefoot Books workshop. I met some amazing Barefoot ladies and learned so much. We talked about our love for Barefoot, planning and team building. We made lots of personal goals concerning Barefoot Books. We can’t wait to share Barefoot with EVERYONE!!

Living Barefoot is not just reading books; it’s a lifestyle. It’s about creativity, expression, diversity, and sustainability. Through Barefoot, you are able to teach your child so many wonderful life lessons in a fun and caring way. I love taking my kids to different places and with Barefoot you can take a trip everyday! You can go Mexico, Tanzania, Kenya, India, China or other amazing places.

I love being a Barefoot Ambassador. It’s such a fulfilling way to connect with families. I love sharing traditional stories with little children. Their eyes just shine with happiness and wonder! Can you tell that I love Barefoot?!

twelvedancingprincesses_pb_temp-w thesnowqueen_pb_w monsterstories_4_chenoo_pb_w drivingmytractor_uspbcdex_fc_w GiganticTurnip_PBwCD_W greekmyths2_theseusandtheminotaur_ukuspb_w StarSeeker_PB_W Wheres-the-Cat_BB_W_1 HerbTheVegetarianDragon_HC_W animalboogie_genpbcdex_fc_temp_w_1 Storytime_PBwCD_W_3

Did you know that every Barefoot Book is a work of art? Every time I share a book for the first time, I always hear “oooh it’s so pretty!” The illustrations are so vivid and beautiful. Your child will be amazed with every page. Plus, these books will be entertain your child for at least 20 minutes! LOL

Barefoot is an amazing world! You should really take the jump and find out what’s its all about!


My Thoughts: Downton Abbey

downton abbey

** Spoiler Alert**

The following post is all about my thoughts about the third episode of the fourth season. If you have not seen it yet, read at your own risk.

Downton Abbey produced another powerful episode. It began with a house party hosted by Lord Grantham where Downton was to shine once again. However, Matthew’s ghost, class differences, unyielding superiority, and an incredible act of violence prohibited Downton from returning to its glory days.

So many characters have lost their way and don’t know where they belong. Lord Grantham still stubbornly, and embarrassingly, holds on to his old lordly ways. First, he refuses to acknowledge Edith’s beau, Gregson, and then, agrees with Mr. Carson that a very famous opera singer, Nellie Melba, was to eat in her room. All of which was quickly fixed when Ms. Melba sat next to Robert at dinner. He had no idea what to say to her; until she complimented his claret. He seemed totally shocked that she would be conversant in such topics. He certainly has a long way to go before he enters the twentieth century. Gregson, also, had a difficult time with Robert. However, due to Gregson, adeptness at poker was he able to achieve some attention from Robert. It seems Robert lost a good sum to an invited quest that happened to be card shark. In comes Gregson who schooled him on what a card shark is and retrieved all the outstanding IOUs from Robert and other gentlemen at the party. Gregson reluctantly earned Robert’s gratitude and respect. However, we have learned a little more about Gregson. How did he get to be some a card shark? Interesting.

Matthew’s ghost raises his head throughout the Downton party. Lady Mary continues to struggle over the loss of Matthew. She meets a childhood acquaintance in Lord Gillingham who sparks a little bit of her interest. She feels conflicted but she doesn’t discourage the friendship. There is one scene where, I thought, Mary was incredibly self-aware. She told Anna she didn’t know if she was mourning Matthew or the person she was when she was with Matthew. I hope it’s the later and the Mary of old returns. Downton needs her coolness and disdain.

Most of my sympathy went to Isobel. She is deeply grieving for her son. She feels incredibly guilty living any kind of life when her son is gone. However, Violet comes to her aid and convinces her to come her Ms. Melba sing. But, in the end, a mother never gets over the loss of a child. Isobel will be mourning for a long time to come and Violet will be there to keep her going. I’m really enjoying their friendship. They are growing very close; but they are able to have some really snarky conversations.

Tom is truly lost. The Downton party sharply brought to his attention how out of place he feels. He had difficulty dealing with the English nobility that attended the party. He looked like a little lost puppy which Edna wanted to quickly pick up and soothe. She seems to be always creeping around Tom. It will be interesting to see how long she remains Lady Cora’s maid. Hopefully, no too long.

And now for the most painful aspect of this episode….Anna. I tried to stay from all of the UK press regarding Downton Abbey. However, I read several hints about this episode and I’m sad to say I figured out what would happen. The pain and shame of Anna was excruciating to watch. What was even more incredible was how she found a new dress and fixed her hair and presented herself to Mr. Bates and the nasty villain that nothing had happened. However, Anna did confide in one person…Mrs. Hughes. Mrs. Hughes desperately tried to get Anna to tell what happened. Anna refused. She didn’t want Mr. Bates to get in trouble. I think more than that it was the shame she felt. Rape is such a horrific crime; not just physically but mentally as well. When Mr. Bates tried to touch her, she quickly backed away. I’m hoping we didn’t lose the loving and incredibly hopeful Anna. Let’s hope Mrs. Hughes helps her regain her dignity and to help her to heal.

That’s it for episode 3. What did you think?

Review: The Kabbalist

The Kabbalist
Written by Yoram Katz
Published on December 27, 2013
350 Pages
Received by the author in exchange for an honest review


In 1270, The Book of Zohar, a foundational book of Kabbalah, is published amidst a controversy. Is it an ancient text or an elaborate forgery? When Crusaders’ Acre fall to the Sultan in 1291, a remarkable chain of events brings two ancient scrolls into the possession of Yaakov Ben Shlomo, a Jewish refugee. In Revolutionary France, 1798, before a young cavalry officer sails with General Bonaparte to the Middle East, he is assigned a secret mission to by his father. In 2006, when Superintendent Yossi Luria of Haifa Police is assigned to handle a homicide of a monk, he is not yet aware that this case is going to change his life and career. Four years later, a young Frenchwoman steps into the office of Luria, by now a disillusioned private detective. Jean de Charney has found a 200-year old letter in the basement of her family’s Normany estate and has come to Israel to pursue an intriguing family mystery. The two quickly find out that the ancient mystery is still claiming lives in the 21st century. Their quest leads them through twists and turns, and acquaints them with the mystical doctrine of Kabbalah. What they discover affecters their personal lives as well as puts commonly accepted truths in a completely new perspective.

The Kabbalist is an interesting book concerning the ties between Judaism, Christianity and Kabbalah. After reading it, I found the book to be a little far-fetched but entertaining. Mr. Katz really pushed the envelope on traditional theological beliefs. Some will appreciate his perspective; however, some will not.

There is a lot of intrigue in this book which is what kept me reading. I really enjoyed the mystery and liked putting all of the puzzle pieces together. I, also, enjoyed how the book jumped to different time periods. It gave the storyline texture and depth.

I did have some difficulty following the explanation of Kabbalah and its connection to Christianity and Judaism. I think my confusion connected me to Jeanne a bit. She wasn’t buying into the connection and the new interpretation of Christian teachings. I felt myself gasping right along with her when certain theories were explained.

The ending had me baffled. It was not what I was expected at all. I guess, that’s a good thing. But I had a difficult time piecing it together. I’m not convinced it resolved the story for me. I was, also, left with an unresolved plot line which makes me think there will be sequel.

If you enjoy mystery, intrigue and a lot of religious this book is for you.




Book Blogger Hop & FF Friday

book blogger hop

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012.

Luckily, Billy from The Coffee-Addicted Writer has relaunched the Book Blogger Hop. Each week the hop will start on Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt just like before. The hop’s purpose will remain the same as it will give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

Q: Are you a book blogger purist?  Do you only have book related posts or  do you review/post on anything/everything that catches your eye?

A: Until recently I have been a book purist. However, last Monday, I started to post about Downton Abbey. I will keep that up until the end of the season and then I will resume my book activities. Oh, and I also blogged about our Walt Disney Trip from last summer.


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Q: Put together your blogger resolution list for all of us to see!

A: How about just blog more. So often life just gets in the way. I, also, want to blog about books that are on my to be read list. I accept way to many review requests.


HFVBT Review: Isabella: Braveheart of France

Isabella_Tour Banner _FINAL

Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Cool Gus Publishing
Paperback; 218p
ISBN-10: 1621250911

IsabellaShe was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of  England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward  has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and  England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own  exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide  between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

Does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.

I’m always intrigued by powerful historical women of the Middle Ages and that is why I decided to read about Isabella. Before I even started this book, I did a little research because I knew very little of her. Her portrayal in history has not been kind. She has been called a “She-Wolf” and a murderer. This definitely piqued by interest. I decided LONG ago that history very rarely portrays a powerful woman in a good light. And that is way I really enjoy Colin Falconer’s portrayal of Isabella. She is strong, loyal, and good. Not the “she-wolf” history has portrayed her.

Mr. Falconer has written a lovely historical novel about a woman who wants to be loved and be a good Queen and wife. She tries everything in her power to achieve that. She proves to England and English Barons that she is intellect, savvy, and understands what it is to be royal. Her husband and king never understand that and it frustrated her throughout her life as Queen. Mr. Falconer was able to show the despair she felt at being put aside for another. That rejection was a constant source of pain for her. The pain is what led her to make some serious decisions that changed England.

Edward II is adeptly portrayed as a self-absorbed pitiful king. His constant rejection of Isabella is so painful. No wonder she overthrows him to be her son on the throne. Edward had so concept of his role of King. He was a constant thorn to the people of England.

I truly enjoyed Isabella: Braveheart of France. I felt she was portrayed in a very honest light. She was a very strong and intelligent woman of the Middle Ages and I thought Mr. Falconer gave her a real and honest life.


About the Author

Colin Falconer

Born in London,  Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and  was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV  and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and  magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far  been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for  authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue  tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

His most recent novels are Silk Road, set in the 13th century, and  Stigmata, set against the backdrop of the Albigensian Crusade in  Southern France in 1209. He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s blog. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

HFVBT Tour Dates:

Monday, January 6 Review at Seaside Book Corner

Tuesday, January 7 Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, January 8 Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Thursday, January 9 Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, January 10 Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, January 13 Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, January 14 Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, January 15 Review at Ageless Pages Review

Thursday, January 16 Review at Dee’s Reads

Friday, January 17 Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, January 20 Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 21 Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, January 22 Review at The Bookworm

Thursday, January 23 Review & Giveaway at Words & Peace

Friday, January 24 Review at The Most Happy Reader

Monday, January 27 Review at Carpe Librum Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, January 28 Review at Reading the Ages

Wednesday, January 29 Review at Book Drunkard Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Friday, January 31 Review at Turning the Pages

Monday, February 3 Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, February 4 Review at Historical Fiction Notebook

Wednesday, February 5 Review at Book of Secrets

Thursday, February 6 Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, February 7 Review at Found Between the Covers

Review: The Three Doors

The Three Doors
Written by Brian D. Holland
Published on November 19, 2013
526 Pages
Paranormal, Horror, Thriller
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review


Jared Helm is transported out-of-body to mystifying destinations. One evening, his imperceptible spirit embarks on a journey to an amazing castle bordering the ocean. Though the importance of the venture eludes him at first, he eventually learns that the castle is the stomping ground of a murderous sect abducting people for ritual sacrifice. Jared and some trustworthy friends and colleagues delve further into the inner workings of the group. However, meddling proves perilous when the young woman he loves becomes targeted.

An offshoot of the English and Irish Hellfire Clubs of old, the evil cult’s castle is located on the seacoast of lower Maine. The group’s fanatical Master, whose lineage reaches back to royalty and to rapscallion leaders of old, stops at nothing in his quest to please Satan. And although the previous clubs were known for wild and toxic behavior, this one takes those traits to malevolent heights. It’s all about power, greed, devil worship, sexual perversion, drugs, and murder.

The Three Doors sends readers on a paranormal rollercoaster of horror and thrills, into the astral plane of existence that’s invisible to most yet entered frequently by those who dare. But beware: it’s not for young minds, the thin-skinned, or the vulnerable. Though trouble hits home quickly, the story gets deeper and more sinister when the New England seasonal change enters the autumnal equinox on the approach to Samhain

The Three Doors is an intense story about good versus evil; a story that will give you goose bumps and have the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It is a disturbing thriller about the occult and its power it can have over weak and power-hungry people.

The images that this book brought to my mind were very creep, to say the least. Demons are peering at you from dark and hidden places. I got could just picture it in my mind. However, the characters of Jared, Iris, Eric and the others save you from complete darkness. Their strong sense of goodness and morals saved them from true evil. They can’t be corrupted. I liked that these characters are not yet adults but still have inner strength so strong that they can defeat evil.

The villains of this book are truly evil. There is no redemption for them. They pay for their complete depravity. Joe and Alex are examples of what a desire for power can do to a person. It totally corrupts and destroys the soul. There is no way that anyone can sympathize with either of them. You feel no sympathy whatsoever with their plight.

Good versus evil is such a strong theme throughout this book. Mr. Holland did an amazing job personifying such a battle with his characters. I liked how Jared experienced temptation but was able to overcome his desires in order to see what is good and not get swallowed up by true evil. His girlfriend, Iris, is a perfect match for Jared. Both are so strong in their sense of goodness and fairness. They truly want to do fight evil and do what is right.

The Three Doors is an incredible story about belief and survival. When you go to bed at night, you will not want to turn out the light nor will you want to look out your bedroom window in fear of you might see. It is definitely a book to be read with the lights on and in broad daylight. It took me awhile to read it and I blame it on its complete creepiness. This book will definitely stay with you for a long time.



Downton Abbey Season 4 Episode 1

downton abbey

** Spoiler Alert**

The following post is all about my thoughts about the first episode of the fourth season. If you have not seen it yet, read at your own risk.

I am so excited that Downton Abbey is back for its fourth season. I have made every attempt to ignore all posts, articles or other internet whatnot from England concerning Downton. That is quite the accomplishment for me since I ALWAYS try to find spoilers for movies and books. But not this time! I want to experience it with complete anticipation. And I’m so glad I did. Sunday night’s premier was two hours of wonderful! Oh how I missed Downton!

Downton opens six months about the death of Matthew. Mary is living in utter despair. Tom wants her to take her place managing the estate while her father, Lord Grantham, wants her to remain in mourning so he can take control. I thought Lord Grantham’s behavior was so condescending, but typical, towards Mary. He just refuses to accept the new modern age. Also, Mary’s initial acceptance of her father’s treatment was completely out of character for her. I’m so glad that Mary was able to climb out of her despair and come back to the living.

Mary’s climb, I believe, was due to Mr. Carson. He has always been a strong father figure to her. He truly wants best for her. Their first conversation about her becoming more involved with estate went very badly. The self-absorbed Mary of old appeared and tried to put Carson in his place. However, she went to him to apologize and received comfort when she most desperately needed it. It was a very touching scene.

Now on to the departure of O’Brien… I did know about that departure beforehand; however, bringing Edna back was a surprise! I guess Thomas has someone new to conspire with against the Bates. Poor Anna!

Edith is on an interesting road. I don’t like her new beau, Michael Gregson. I find him rather weak and I don’t think he is very good for Edith. The becoming a German citizen in order to divorce his wife is a horrible idea. I can just see him caught up in the Nazi party in 15 years. Edith has so much potential and she keeps falling for men that are weak and not very bright.

Well, those are my initials thoughts on the first episode of Downton Abbey. It was a wonderful beginning to season 4 and I can’t wait for next week!


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