Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George

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The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman—or child.

As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great-aunt attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.

While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become—an Emperor who became legendary.

With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy’s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.


AUTHOR BIO

Margaret George is the author of the bestselling Autobiography of Henry VIIIMary, Queen of Scotland and the IslesThe Memoirs of Cleopatra; and Mary, Called Magdalene.


Praise for Margaret George:

“EVOCATIVE” The New York Times •  “DELICIOUS” People • “SCINTILLATING” The Chicago Tribune •“ENGAGING AND INTELLIGENT” Kirkus Reviews • “FRESH AND VIVID” The Washington Post •“EXPANSIVE, THOUGHTFUL” San Francisco Chronicle • “AWASH IN SENSUOUS, JEWEL-LIKE DETAIL”Entertainment Weekly • “A TRIUMPH” Houston Chronicle  “A MASTERPIECE” Pittsburgh Press • “BEAUTIFULLY AND LYRICALLY WRITTEN” Baltimore Sun •  “IMMENSELY READABLE” Cleveland Plain Dealer • A STYLISTIC TOUR DE FORCE”  Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“If only history lessons had been like this.”—Cosmopolitan
 
“Extensively researched with the highest integrity, and deeply engaging, it sets a new benchmark for the genre.”—New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir

 “George leaves us with the most coveted prize of fiction: a world. . . we wished existed, and that thoroughly does between the covers.” —Chicago Tribune


US Giveaway

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Giveaway ends on March 8th, 2017

Traveling Light by Lynne Branard

  • traveling-lightTitle:  Traveling Light
  • Author:  Lynne Branard
  • Pages:  320
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  January 2017 – Berkley Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Driving from North Carolina to New Mexico with her three-legged dog, a strange man’s ashes, and a waitress named Blossom riding shotgun isn’t exactly what Alissa Wells ever wanted to be doing. But it’s exactly what she needs…
 
It all starts when Alissa impulsively puts a bid on an abandoned storage unit, only to become the proud new owner of Roger Hart’s remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west, thinking that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life. 
 
She isn’t wrong. 
 
Especially when Blossom, who just graduated from high school, hitches a ride with her to Texas, and Alissa has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Alissa’s eyes to the road in front of her—and to how sometimes the best things in life are the ones you never see coming…  (provided by the publisher)

My take:  After coming into possession of the remains of an unknown (to her) man, thirty-five year old Alissa feels duty-bound to return them to his last known address which is across the country from where she lives. She’ll finally use some of her numerous vacation days for the trip and take her dog with her.

Along the way she meets some interesting people: Blossom, a seventeen year old waitress from Tennessee who just happens to want a ride to Texas and Blossom’s former boyfriend who shows up a few days later. It turns into quite a unique road trip with the three making stops at tourist spots, some famous and some not so much.

Al (as she’s known to almost everyone) realizes the two teens are pretty great traveling companions. They’ll all discover things on this journey about themselves and life. I enjoyed this engaging novel about finding your place in the world.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

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Though a lepidopterist by trade, Veronica Speedwell has been up to much more than chasing after rare specimens of butterflies. Continuing on after the exhilarating adventures of A Curious Beginning, it’s difficult to imagine how the spunky and spirited Victorian-era sleuth could find herself caught up in even more thrilling and dangerous exploits. But young Miss Speedwell is not one to disappoint. 

After weeks of chasing down clues leading to her mysterious past, being on the run for her life, and having quite literally run off to join a traveling circus, cooling her heels in a relatively calm London already has Veronica itching for her next invigorating jaunt. Happily, just such an opportunity soon arrives at her doorstep in the form of an invitation to the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment dedicated to celebrating society’s most intrepid and brilliant women.

Shortly after arriving at the club, Veronica is introduced to Lady Sundridge who implores her to undertake a seemingly impossible task. Miles Ramsforth, one of society’s well-known patrons of the arts, has been convicted of a brutal murder that Lady Sundridge is certain he did not commit. With little time left to discover the true killer’s identity, Veronica is faced with a race against time before Miles is set to hang for the crime. However, Lady Sundridge is not exactly what she seems either—a revelation that only serves as the first of many that Veronica must make in order to solve the case.

Once again Veronica joins forces with her natural historian colleague, Stoker—her frequently uncouth, though ruggedly handsome companion—as they set off to unravel this dark mystery that becomes increasingly intricate with each clue they unearth.

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Praise for Deanna Raybourn’s new series

“Wickedly clever and devilishly amusing…Veronica Speedwell is a joy — unflappable, unrepentant, and thoroughly delightful.” —Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series

 

“Veronica Speedwell is sure to join the greats of mystery fiction.” —Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series

 

“A smart, plucky, way-ahead-of-her-time heroine…the ending left me looking forward to Veronica’s next exploits.” Fort Worth Star Telegram


US Giveaway

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Blog Tour/Review: The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

  • the traveling tea shop (Mar3)Title:  The Traveling Tea Shop
  • Author:  Belinda Jones
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  March 2015 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Laurie Davis has always followed her passion. After escaping family drama to start a new life in New York City, she’s up for whatever challenges life brings. So when an opportunity arises for her to use her travel industry expertise and serve as an assistant and tour guide for her idol, Pamela Lambert-Leigh, star of television’s Tea-Time with Pamela, she jumps at the chance.

But Laurie’s exciting adventure ends up entailing a lot more than scouting locations for the cake queen’s new cookbook when Pamela’s sassy mother and sulky, rebellious daughter tag along for the trip. As they cruise around bakeries in New England trading local delights like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pies for British specialties such as Victoria Sponge and Bakewell Tarts, more secrets than recipes are revealed.

Now, in between rediscovering romance, learning to forgive family, and finding the best dessert on the East Coast, Laurie, Pamela, and the gang might find there’s nothing a nice cup of tea, a sweet treat, and a little bit of friendship can’t heal… (publisher)

My take:  Laurie couldn’t wait to set off on the tour with Pamela and her mother, Gracie and daughter, Ravenna. Almost immediately, though, she saw that things between the three women were tense. As the days go on Laurie learned the reasons for the strained relationships. She becomes involved in a secret that she’s not pleased to know and hopes it will be out in the open very soon. The other principals have their own thoughts on how the secret should be revealed.

I think my favorite characters of the book were Laurie, Gracie, Charles and Harvey. They seemed so genuine and honorable. You’ll have to read the novel to know about Charles and Harvey.

If you’ve ever wanted to go on a road trip in New England, and you like cake, this novel could be a guide. I’ve made note of a few places I’d like to visit. Belinda Jones’ story is about family, friendship, secrets, apologies and forgiveness. And food – dessert, to be precise. I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction and foodie fiction.