Review for Of Love and Vengeance by Louise Lyndon

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My Rating: 4.5/5

Author:  Louise Lyndon
Title: Of Love and Vengeance

Genre:  Romance/Historical Fiction

Background:

Amazon Description:
orced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephew’s survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves. But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

Opinions:

Of Love and of Vengeance is a historical romance set during the Norman Conquest. For fans of Medieval England, romance novels, and historical fiction, you would probably enjoy this well-written book.

The two main characters are Laila and Aymon. Laila is a spunky young woman who is strong and caring. She holds a bitter resentment towards Normans who are responsible for the many innocent lives of her family and serfs. She is not a submissive lady, rather she challenges authority when she does not feel it is right. She cares for the those around her – even if they are enemies. Aymon is very similar to Laila. He also has a strong and caring personality. He’s a Norman and bastard brother to the King. He has a duty to his King, but he also has a moral conscience. He carries secrets – some of which are dangerous.

Throughout the book, the characters must face secrets, stereotypes, and trust issues. Laila and Aymon are wed early in the novel, and they must overcome all three as they learn more about each other. Not only do these two characters face these challenges, but other characters, as well. Their friends, servants, and enemies have their own secrets that cause trust issues and enhance stereotypical actions. This brings adventure into the story. The King’s men are after some stolen property and are searching Tynte – Laila’s home. Aymon knows about it and tries to keep his new home safe. However, danger lurks around the corner.

The only complaint that I have about the novel is the bad guy is pretty much one dimensional – completely bad. All in all, I really enjoyed this story.

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Review for Highlander Avenged by Laurin Wittig

highlander avenged

My Rating:  4.5/5

Author:  Laurin Wittig
Title: Highlander Avenged

Genre:  Scottish Historical Romance

Background:

This book is the second Book in the Guardians of the Targe series. Please be aware that spoilers for the first book – Highlander Betrayal – may be in this review.

Amazon Description:
Although the English king tried to wrest it away, the Highland Targe—ancient relic and protector of Scottish lands—still lies safely in the hands of clan MacAlpin. But for how long?

Jeanette MacAlpin trained her entire life to become the next Guardian of the Targe, but that duty has now fallen to her cousin Rowan—a duty Rowan can’t seem to master. Fearful for her clan’s future, Jeanette seeks the solace of a sacred wellspring, and there encounters tawny-skinned Highland warrior Malcolm MacKenzie.

Wounded in battle, Malcolm is desperate to regain the use of his sword arm and strikes a deal with Jeanette. In return for her skills as a healer, Malcolm will advise the MacAlpins in their resistance against the English. And when he can once again swing a blade, he’ll return to the ranks of the Scottish army to fulfill his duty as a soldier.

But as passion grows between the golden warrior and the fair-haired healer, duty collides with love. Will they follow their hearts, or will clan loyalties keep them forever apart?

 

Opinions:

Narration: Third person – mostly through Jeanette and Malcom

Character Development: The two main characters of the book, Jeanette and Malcom, are introduced with problems right off. From the last book, Jeanette’s mother was killed by the English spy, and Rowan (her cousin) has become the next Guardian of the Targe. She feels lost and unsure what her future holds. She grew up learning how to manage the stone, but now her cousin has taken that away from her. Her home is literally in shambles, and with the threats of the English coming back, she has a lot on her plate. When Malcom is introduced, he is injured and very close to a life-threatening infection. He is confused from the battle he fought in months before. He is supposed to be the leader and excellent fighter for the King. He is also to become the next chief of his clan. However, after battle that almost left him for dead and abandoned, he is not well physically. His hand does not work as it should and his infection keeps returning. As the book progresses, the relationship between Jeanette and Malcom grows. Jeanette learns more about herself and hidden abilities that question the chronicles that have been passed down through many MacAlpin generations. Malcom learns about making choices and how there is something more out there than fighting. They each help each other grow into a stronger person.

Plot Development/Flow: The story flows well. At first it might be a little slow as the characters are built up and the past book is reviewed, but everything starts picking up speed when English soldiers enter the picture. In this book, more is learned about the Targe, but also more questions are raised. I liked the how Jeanette and Rowan worked together and the support of Malcom in the turn of events. The story leaves off for another story to follow.

Standalone or Part of a Series: Second book in the Guardians of the Targe series.

Book Promotion: The Knightmare by Deborah Valentine

Today’s book promotion comes from Deborah Valentine and her book called The Knightmare. If you like historical time travel/fantasies, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

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Book: The Knightmare
Author: Deborah Valentine
Genre:
Historical Time-Travel Fantasy

Publisher: Indie
Format: ebook
Release Date: February 18, 2013

Summary:
Sometimes a man has to go back in time to find his future…

When Formula 1 racing driver Conor Westfield is involved in a horrific racing accident, he is determined to devote himself to getting back behind the wheel and resuming the career that has been his obsession. But as he is recovering from his injuries Conor’s childhood nightmare recurs, a strange jumble of terrifying images that feel more like memories than dreams. Can it be mere coincidence that the very next morning he is informed a mysterious woman with whom he had very brief affair has died and left him as her heir? But this was no ordinary woman, no ordinary affair. Dogged by a feeling of déjà vu at every turn, Conor travels to Amsterdam to identify the body. At her home he finds an illuminated book that transports him to the year 1209 and a past life as a Knight Templar embroiled in two missions—one secret, both dangerous. There he finds the woman he left behind and a life lived in the shadow of a tragedy that cries out across 800 years for resolution. Weaving history with the present, fact with fantasy The Knightmare is an unforgettable story of adventure and alchemy, betrayal and sacrifice, and truly extraordinary love.

(Book contains some swearing. PG rating)

Buy book from Amazon

The Author:
Deborah Valentine is a British author, editor and screenwriter who once lived in California but far preferred the British weather and fled to London, where she has resided for many years. She is the author of three books published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in the UK, and Bantam and Avon in the US. Unorthodox Methods was the first in the series, followed by A Collector of Photographs and the Ireland-based Fine Distinctions. A Collector of Photographs was short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe, a Shamus, a Macavity and an Anthony Boucher award. Fine Distinctions was also short-listed for an Edgar. They featured the characters of former California sheriff Kevin Bryce and artist Katharine Craig, charting their turbulent romance amid murder and mayhem. On 14 November 2013, they will available as eBooks on Orion’s imprint The Murder Room imprint. With the publication of The Knightmare she has embarked on a series of novels with a supernatural twist.

Deborah Valentine’s website: Here
Deborah Valentine’s Twitter: Here
Deborah Valentine’s Facebook: Here
Deborah Valentine’s Goodreads: Here

Q & A:

The best thing about writing this book?
Being with those characters and in the medieval world (without all the creature comfort inconveniences). It was a chance to really let my imagination rip.

Where did you get your idea for this story?
As a teenager I read the tragic medieval love story of Abelard and Heloise and it’s stuck with me all these years. They had a son and I was toying with the idea of what kind of psychology he would have bearing in mind what happened to his parents, when I saw a friend of mine, a bit of a ‘hooray Henry’ who wanted to be a F1 driver, race. What a transformation in a fellow! He became totally focused, totally strategic in his approach. And with that my medieval Knight Templar was born, a medieval workaholic trying to avoid emotions and avoid his parents’ mistakes and running headlong into his own series of unfortunate decisions. Of course, I threw in a bit of magic, alchemy and a crusade or two for good measure.

What would you tell aspiring writers out there?
Read voraciously. Write obsessively. Be professional and learn about publishing all the way round. Edit!

What is your favorite book?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
Coffee. If it’s not water, wine or coffee, it’s not worth drinking.

I want to thank Deborah Valentine for allowing me to promote her book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read The Knightmare!

 

Review for The Heart of the Lion by J M Barlog

the heart of the lion

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  J M Barlog
Title: The Heart of the Lion

Genre:  Medieval Historical Fiction

Background:

Amazon Description:
One woman’s courage will decide the fate of the English crown.

The Heart of the Lion is King Richard the Lionheart’s England at its most tumultuous. His kingdom teeters on the verge of a bloody war, with the victor taking the crown and death the punishment to the vanquished.

The English countryside roils in the throes of political upheaval as King Richard sails from defeat in the Holy Lands to fight another war at home. A war against his own blood. The irascible and treacherous Prince John seeks to usurp the throne behind his brother’s back.

But waylaid on his return voyage, Richard must fight to remain alive and free deep within his enemies’ lands, while Princess Joanna and Queen Eleanor struggle to uncover John’s growing cabal.

Now only Joanna stands brave enough between her brothers. She must risk her life to save her mother and her king. For the prince vows to destroy any who dare step between him and the crown.

The Heart of the Lion vividly portrays a woman whose courage is paramount to saving an entire kingdom. Non-stop action and intrigue unfold on both English soil and on the continent as a brother and sister fight to remain free and alive against their enemies.

This engrossing story is a must read for all medieval enthusiasts.

Opinions:

The Heart of the Lion is the story about King Richard’s trip back from the crusades, where he was captured and held for ransom. Back in England, Prince John tries to gain power of the throne by gaining supporters. Queen Eleanor and her daughter, Princess Joanna, both must try to help Richard without being caught by Prince John.

The story is written in third person following the main characters. Richard is the strong king that history sets out. Coming back from the Holy Land, his ship crashes ashore from a storm. With only a few survivors, he must find a safe passage home to England. This doesn’t go as planned and that means trouble for the King. Prince John is very evil in this book. He uses whoever and whatever to gain a better grip on the crown. He keeps secrets and spies on his mother who is known to support his brother, Richard. Princess Joanna is a spunky girl for the time, who will do anything to help her brother back from the crusades. She does spying herself to see what forces Prince John has managed to acquire. Rynhawker is a knight that fought with Richard in the Holy Lands. He has come back home to his wife and young daughter, while also teaching young Thomas the arts and skills of knighthood. He is very loyal to King Richard and knows that one day he will have to stand by his King again to secure his crown.

The story moves along well. There are some twists and turns in the story – nothing I was too surprised by. If you know the story about King Richard and Prince John (although I’m not a historian), the main events won’t be a big surprise. The story leaves off for the next book, which I will review shortly. One thing that bothered me while reading the book was the sudden jump in character perspectives. It wasn’t always separated/denoted with chapters or chapter breaks.

Overall I enjoyed this book. If you like medieval history – especially with King Richard/Prince John/Queen Eleanor, you might want to take a look at this book.

You may also like:

 ghosts of sherwood  the never king  the boleyn king

Review for Fire of the Dragon by Lori Dillon

fire of the dragon

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  Lori Dillon
Title:  Fire of the Dragon (Bestiary Series, Volume 1)

Genre:  Paranormal/Historical Romance

Background:

Amazon Description:
Being sent back in time to the Middle Ages wouldn’t be so bad if the knight in shining armor who comes to your rescue didn’t swoop down in the form of a fire-breathing dragon. Unfortunately for Jill Donahue, that’s just the way things have been going in her life lately. A Maiden Wrenched back in time through the magical power of an old dragon tapestry found in a vintage clothing store, Jill Donahue lands in an ancient medieval town where the villagers decide to sacrifice her to the local dragon. As if the threat of being eaten alive by a giant flying lizard isn’t bad enough, she learns there’s a curse surrounding the tapestry and she has to break it in order to get back to her time. But she isn’t the only one whose fate is tied to the ancient weaving… A Dragon Baelin of Gosforth is a valiant knight who has been cursed by a vindictive witch to live as a dragon for eleven months out of each year. Now he has thirty days to break the curse or he turns back into a fire-breathing beast and, as much as he hates to admit it, he needs Jill’s help to do it. And A Curse Forced to face many challenges along the way—from the harsh world they travel through to the fiery passion they both try to deny—each is determined to break the curse so the other can get their happily-ever-after. And it just might work, if Jill can manage to overlook the fire-breathing, bat-winged remnants of Baelin’s dragon half long enough to see the man beneath the beast and get the job done.

Opinions:

Fire of the Dragon is a story of a modern woman thrust back in time to help a dragon/man break a curse. While shopping for her niece’s birthday, Jill comes upon a weird tapestry that takes her back to 13th century England. Here, the villagers sacrifice her to a dragon – a yearly tradition in that village. When the dragon takes her back to its lair, Jill learns that the dragon is not all what he seems. Cursed to live as a dragon for 11 months out of the year, Baelin (the dragon) becomes human for one month – whereupon he tried to break the curse. To break the evil curse, a maiden must complete three challenges. With normal dangers of medieval life, adding some dragons and evil witches does not make it any safer. Jill must help Baelin if she is ever to get home again.

The story is written in third person mostly following Jill and Baelin. Jill, a modern girl, is never short on speaking her mind. Doing so in the 13th century is not the wisest thing. Jill is a strong character. She has her flaws but she has bravery and good heart. At times I did get tired of her 21st century sayings. I mean, she knows she’s in medieval England; wouldn’t you try to tone down your 21st slang/sayings a little bit to be understandable? Baelin is a knight that was cursed by the Dark Witch. He has been trying for over 200 years to break the curse, but no maiden has gotten close until now. Bound by his knightly honor and virtues, he tries to help Jill break the curse but doing so is not easy for the medieval knight. Baelin, in all sense, is a good man. One thing I don’t get is how – being able to hide his weird dragon features while human – did no one notice the fork tongue?

The plot follows the couple as they embark to break the curse. The first challenge was interesting and one that I did not hear of before. There was a long break between the first and the second challenge. During that break, interesting things happen – such as meeting a dragon slayer along the way. As I was getting closer to the end and still had not reached the second challenge, I was a little worried that this would be broken up into another book. Do not fear readers! Jill and Baelin’s story is all wrapped up in this book. The next book seems to be about another character from this story. I do wish there was an epilogue in this book just to tie up some loose ends (Ha! A tapestry pun!) – such as, how the other characters handled the ending results of this story.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. If you like medieval England, dragons, and time travel, then you should give this book a try.

 

Book Promotion: Music For My Soul by Lauren Linwood

Today’s book promotion comes from Lauren Linwood and her book called Music For My Soul. If you like historical fiction romance set in 1346 England, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

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Book: Music For My Soul
Author: Laruen Linwood
Genre: Medieval Historical Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publish Date: May 14, 2013
Format:
E-book with paperback to follow
Amazon link: Here (Prime members can borrow for free)

Summary:
As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story.

Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice.

But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.

About the Author:

Lauren’s website : Here
Lauren’s Facebook: Here
Lauren’s Twitter: Here
Lauren’s Blog: Here 

If you like this story and Lauren’s writing, be sure to check out her western historical romances coming out soon: Outlaw Muse (in October) and A Game of Chance (in January.)

Q & A:

The best thing about writing this book?
I can share the story of my very good friends with new friends. Garrett and Madeleine spoke to me and allowed me to capture their tale. Being published gives others the opportunity to read their love story and learn a little about medieval England at this same time!

Where did you get your idea for this story?
I was researching the time period, trying to find interesting tidbits that my students might enjoy. I’d also exhausted reading just about every medieval romance on the market and was hungry for more. I found some nice facts about troubadours. I decided to couple that with writing my own story about the only woman troubadour in all of England.

What would you tell aspiring writers out there?
Never give up. Never quit writing. Never quit reading. Find a critique group and go to workshops so you can hone your craft

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
I sip hot tea three times a day! I love all kinds of herbal mixtures. I find tea relaxing and soothing – but I sure wouldn’t turn down a cup of hot chocolate!

I want to thank Lauren Linwood for allowing me to promote her book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read Music For My Soul and her other upcoming books!