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Goodreads Challenge 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Kendal has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.

Monthly Archives: August 2014

Book Blogger Hop & FF Friday

book blogger hop


he 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: Do you request notifications of new replies when you post a comment on a blog post? (submitted by Elizabeth)

A: Depends if I would like a reply to my comment. Usually I’m just complimenting a blogger on a review. However, if I ask a specific question I will ask for a reply.



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: Tell us about a book character you’d trade places with – Suggested by Escaping Within Pages

A: That is a really difficult question to answer. In most urban fantasy novels, the heroine faces some serious crap which I wouldn’t want to do. I pretty much like an even keel kind of life (which is why I read fantasy in the first place – to escape safely from my even keel life). If I had to pick someone, I think I would go to someone in the Austenesque genre. How about Anne Elliot from Persuasion? She is a wonderful character who marries one of the most dashing of the Austen heroes., Captain Wentworth.



Review & Giveaway: Madame Picasso

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Madame Picasso
Written by Anne Girard
Published on August 26, 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
432 pages
Historical Fiction
Received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review


When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can’t help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso’s life.

With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

Madame Picasso is a wonderful novel that takes us to a time where Pablo Picasso is taking Paris by storm. Anne Girard did an amazing job capturing Picasso’s self-absorbed and manic personality. Further, Eva was a remarkable woman who I felt whose wings were clipped by a frenzied artist. The entire book is from her perspective and you are able to get some insight in the life of Picasso.

Eva is portrayed as a very brave young woman who ran away from a single country life and sought independence in The City of Lights. She finds her way as a thriving costumer and seamstress. She makes new friends and is living her life as she sees fit…until she meets Picasso. In the beginning, she tries to refuse his attentions but eventually gets caught in his passionate web. I felt that her character was so strong and you really wanted her to succeed on her own. However, she fell passionately in love with Picasso and she would do anything to make him happy.

Anne Girard portrayed Picasso in a very honest light. He was self-absorbed, incredibly superstitious, and guilt-ridden over his past. Plus, he is the sun that everyone should revolve around; especially his women. Picasso has never been one of my favorite artists; however, Ms. Girard really captured his passion for art and women. I appreciated that she included some of his history that explained who he was. There was so much pain and guilt in his past that he was almost virtually impossible for him to have a healthy relationship with anyone, let alone a woman. I believe he truly loved Eva. I found it very interesting that he never painted her. His only reference to her is “Ma Jolie” that he put in several paintings. Was he trying to keep her to himself? Or was he protecting her from his crazy world?

Ms. Girard gave us a wonderful glimpse into the life of a complicated man who desperately wanted someone to share his life. He wanted a partner and Eva wanted to be that partner. But in the end, life got in the way and Picasso loses his first love.


Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble

About the Author03_Anne Girard

Anne Girard was born with writing in her blood. The daughter of a hard-driving Chicago newsman, she has always had the same passion for storytelling that fueled his lifelong career. She hand-wrote her first novel (admittedly, not a very good one) at the age of fourteen, and never stopped imagining characters and their stories. Writing only ever took a backseat to her love of reading.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UCLA and a Master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a chance meeting with the acclaimed author, Irving Stone, sharply focused her ambition onto telling great stories from history with detailed research. “Live where your characters lived, see the things they saw,” he said, “only then can you truly bring them to life for your readers.” Anne took that advice to heart. After Stone’s encouragement twenty years ago, she sold her first novel. When she is not traveling the world researching her stories, Anne and her family make their home in Southern California. When she is not traveling or writing, she is reading fiction.

Anne also writes historical fiction under the name Diane Haeger. For more information, visit You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, August 26
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Notebook

Thursday, August 28
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, August 29
Review at Scandalous Women
Review at Curling Up by the Fire

Monday, September 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, September 3
Review at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read

Monday, September 8
Review at Book of Secrets
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, September 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, September 10
Review at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, September 11
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, September 12
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Monday, September 15
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Tuesday, September 16
Review at She is Too Fond of Books

Wednesday, September 17
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, September 18
Review at One Book of a Time

Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 23
Review at The Librarian Fatale

Wednesday, September 24
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner

Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner


Review: The Invention of Wings

  • The Invention of Wings
  • Written by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Published on January 7, 2014 by Penguin Group
  • 386 pages
  • Historical Fiction


Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

Sue Monk Kidd has written a very powerful story of the Antebellum South where slavery is at its height and the abolition movement is in its infancy. The story revolves around two very different women; one a slave and the other a daughter of a prominent southern man. Both women live in bondage; but, of course, in different degrees. It is very hard to compare the two women as they make their own mark in the world.

Ms. Kidd’s depiction of slavery is incredibly honest and forthright. She doesn’t hide the abuse and violence that slaves faced on a daily basis. I really appreciated Handful’s perspective as a strong young woman who wants to be free. She doesn’t want to bow down to her owners and her loyalty to her family is incredibly strong. Her family is the only thing that keeps her going and she will do anything to protect them. Her relationship with Sarah is complicated. They can’t be friends but they feel a kind of kinship. They understand each other.

Sarah Grimke is a woman trapped in a time where she is expected to marry and have children. She is property that should be controlled by her father and then her husband. Throughout the story, she is conflicted about her role in life. She wants to be independent and have her own career. However, she feels the pull of the expectations of a southern woman. She must decide whether she is strong enough to break free from her own prison. Sarah’s intensely strong beliefs give her courage to make some very difficult decisions. She becomes a strong advocate for women’s rights and abolition.

The Invention of Wings is an incredible story that will leave you amazed at the strength of two amazing women. You want them to achieve their goals and be free. You, also, want others to be punished for their atrocious behavior. Either way, you will feel as you read this powerful book.


It’s Monday! What are you reading?!


Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well…you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! Hosted by Book Journey.

Last Week:

  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
  • Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

Currently Reading:

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

16158565Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman. During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty. Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally – is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student – and learning magic herself – to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

Up Next:

Hand of Fire by Judith Starkstonperf6.000x9.000.indd

The Trojan War threatens Troy’s allies and the Greek supply raids spread. A young healing priestess, designated as future queen, must defend her city against both divine anger and invading Greeks. She finds strength in visions of a handsome warrior god; will that be enough when the half-immortal Achilles attacks? Hand of Fire, a tale of resilience and hope, blends history and legend in the untold story of Achilles’s famous captive, Briseis.

What are you reading this week?



Book Blast: Lies Told in Silence

02_Lies Told in Silence CoverPublication Date: June 29, 2014
Tod Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

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In 1914 Paris half the city expects war while the other half scoffs at the possibility.

With knowledge gained from his role at the War Department, Henri Noisette fears that Germany may soon attack Paris. He therefore sends his wife, mother and two younger children to Beaufort, a small village in northern France. By late 1914, instead of a safe haven, Beaufort is less than twenty miles from the front.

As war unfolds, Henri’s daughter, Helene, grows up quickly and in 1917 falls in love with Edward Jamieson, a young Canadian soldier.

The novel examines love and loss, duty and sacrifice and the unexpected consequence of lies.

Praise for Lies Told in Silence

‘Dramatically depicts the horror and heartbreak of war, while also celebrating the resilience of the human spirit.’ – SHARON KAY PENMAN author of A King’s Ransom

‘An intricate, well-researched novel of life forever changed by WWI yet still sweet with the tender innocence of the age.’ – DONNA RUSSO MORIN author of The King’s Agent

‘M.K. Tod is a powerful new voice in the historical fiction genre.’ – AMY BRUNO Historical fiction blogger at Passages to the Past

‘An absorbing and rewarding historical read .. depicting the ruinous impact of war on human lives across the generations.’ – MARGARET EVANS PORTER author of The Proposal

‘A compelling read right up to its taut page-turning ending.’ – RICHARD LEE founder of the Historical Novel Society

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author03_M.K. Tod

M.K. Tod has enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in her early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. During her twenties, armed with Mathematics and Computer Science degrees, she embarked on a career in technology and consulting continuing to read historical fiction in the tiny snippets of time available to working women with children to raise.

In 2004, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband and no job. To keep busy Mary decided to research her grandfather’s part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand her grandparents’ lives blossomed into a full time occupation as a writer. Her debut novel is UNRAVELLED: Two wars, Two affairs. One Marriage. LIES TOLD IN SILENCE, her second novel, is set in WWI France and tells the story of Helene Noisette who featured in Unravelled. Mary has an active blog – – which discusses all aspects of historical fiction and includes author and reader interviews. Additionally, she is a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Mary lives in Toronto where she is happily married with two adult children.

Connect with M.K. Tod on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Lies Told in Silence Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Tuesday, July 29
Review at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Book Babe
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at Mel’s Shelves

Wednesday, July 30
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 31
Book Blast at Royalty Free Fiction

Friday, August 1
Book Blast at Back Porchervations
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Saturday, August 2
Book Blast at Mythical Books

Monday, August 4
Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, August 5
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, August 7
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Book Blast at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, August 8
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court

Monday, August 11
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Bookworm

Wednesday, August 13
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, August 14
Book Blast at Words and Peace
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, August 15
Review at Lost in Books
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Sunday, August 17
Book Blast at Brooke Blogs

Monday, August 18
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook


To win a copy of M.K. Tod’s Lies Told In Silence please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 19th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Review: Jane Austen’s First Love

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Jane Austen’s First Love
Written by Syrie James
Published on August 5, 2014 by Berkley
400 pages
Austenesque Fiction


Fifteen-year-old Jane Austen dreams of three things: doing something useful, writing something worthy, and falling madly in love. When she visits her brother in Kent to celebrate his engagement, she meets wealthy, devilishly handsome Edward Taylor – a fascinating young man who is truly worthy of her affections. Jane knows a match between her and Edward is unlikely, but every moment she spends with him makes her heart race – and he seems to return her interest. Much to her displeasure, however, there is another seeking his attention.

Jane Austen’s First Love is an exquisite piece of Austenesque fiction.  Ms. James really captured Jane Austen’s young life and the world she lived in which was immersed in propriety, duty and status. I recognized so many of Jane Austen’s novel all through this work; Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. I loved that I could identify Jane in each book.

Jane is a lovely, out-going young lady who strives for love and accomplishment. She so wants to be worthy; however, she involves herself in affairs that she has no business in. Her personality is so lively and her intentions are true that it is so hard to be cross with her. Ms. James wrote a wonderful character in Jane and I could clearly see her as a young lady trying to make her way.

Regency England is such an interesting time. Young ladies are trying to spread their wings but are still trapped by societal norms and taboos. For example, the theatrical that was performed seemed so scandalous by the older ladies; but was eventually accepted as fun entertainment. It is fun to see characters opening their eyes to new ideas.

However, class differences were still highly prevalent in Jane’s world. Her disappointments can be directly attributed to her lack of dowry and property. Her marriage possibilities were so limited which gave to such moving storylines in her novels. Knowing that Jane Austen never married, I always feel sad when I read about her romances and disappointments. It just breaks your heart.

Jane Austen’s First Love is a wonderful read for any Jane Austen enthusiast. Jane really comes alive thanks to Ms. James and you will love every page.


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Currently Reading

Kendal's bookshelf: currently-reading


Kendal's to-read book montage

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Where Are the Dinos?
Lydia Bennet's Story: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Cold Blooded
Bristol House
My Notorious Life: A Novel
Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind
Long Live the King
To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Bad News for a Ghost
The Next Pendragon
Caroline Bingley
My Beloved World
Royal Mistress
My Dear Sophy
The Wild Girl
To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started
Hades: Lord of the Dead
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen

Kendal's favorite books »

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