Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

TItle:  Mistress of Rome

Author:  Kate Quinn

Genre:  Historical Fiction

About:  (Goodreads synopsis)  Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress’s rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor’s mistress.

My thoughts:  Kate Quinn’s characters are fully formed and her setting was carefully researched. Mistress of Rome is a story full of intrigue, politics, and romance – all come together to make for a good read.  At times it got too gory for me but I guess that made the gladiator scenes all the more real. One of the characters seemed really over the top but she moved the story forward – that’s for sure. All in all, it is an entertaining novel.

Recommend?  I think fans of historical (Roman) fiction might enjoy it!

Source:  I bought it.

Here, Home, Hope: A Novel by Kaira Rouda

Title: Here, Home, Hope: A Novel

Author: Kaira Rouda

Genre: Fiction

About: (Goodreads synopsis)  Kelly Mills Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her middling middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding. But Kelly’s own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan.

My thoughts: Kaira Rouda’s debut novel tells the story of how one woman figures out how to take control of her life and help others at the same time.  Kelly is at a point where her two sons don’t need her like they did when they were little boys. After a health scare Kellly feels a nagging pull to change things but she’s not sure what or how. She starts a T2C list – Things to Change. Her list is written on Post-it notes which are strewn around her kitchen and car to remind her of specifics to change such as:

  • Capitalize on skills
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Don’t forget the care and feeding of friends
  • Take it one day at a time

She soon discovers that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere – her friends’ lives aren’t as perfect as they seem. One day a realtor friend asks Kelly, who is known for her exquisite decorating, to help stage a house she is selling. Kelly agrees to help her friend and the house sells immediately. She realizes this could be a new career and starts the wheels in motion. Although I thought it all came together a bit too easily I was cheering for her as things fell into place.

I think Here, Home, Hope would be a great book club selection. Any woman will be able to relate to Kelly and her friends on some level and might even want to use Kelly’s T2C list as a template for making changes in her own life.

Recommend? Yes, I enjoyed it and look forward to Kaira Rouda’s next novel.

Source: BookSparks PR

Saturday Snapshot – May 14

 

 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.

♦  ♦  ♦

When my son stopped by the house last Sunday

he asked if I’d noticed the basketball hoop lately. I said “No. Why?”

He told me to take a look.  This is what I saw:

And then I looked a little closer: