Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: HFVBT Presents Donna Thorland’s Mistress Firebrand Blog Tour, April 6-May 8

Publication Date: March 3, 2015
NAL Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback
416 Pages

Series: Renegades of the American Revolution (Book 3)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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British Occupied Manhattan, 1777. American actress Jenny Leighton has been packing the John Street Theater with her witty comedies, but she longs to escape the provincial circuit for the glamour of the London stage. When the playwright General John Burgoyne visits the city, fresh from a recent success in the capitol, she seizes the opportunity to court his patronage. But her plan is foiled by British intelligence officer Severin Devere.

Severin’s mission is to keep the pleasure-loving general focused on the war effort…and away from pretty young actresses. But the tables are turned when Severin himself can’t resist Jenny Leighton…

Months later, Jenny has abandoned her dreams of stage glory and begun writing seditious plays for the Rebels under the pen name “Cornelia,” ridiculing “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne and his army—and undermining the crown’s campaign to take Albany. With Jenny’s name now on the hanging list, Severin is ordered to find her—and deliver her to certain death. Soon, the two are launched on a desperate journey through the wilderness, toward an uncertain future shaped by the revolution—and their passion for each other…

My Review

It amazed me how much Thorland was able to pack into only about 400 pages, and I don't just mean the plot, but also the character development, politics, history, etc. There is so much attention to detail and yet even with all that, it never gets bogged down and instead remains a fun, quick read.

While it's told from the third person points of view of the two, very likable and believable main characters, Jenny and Severin, the side characters are never neglected. Fully developed with interesting background and individual personalities, the side characters help make this novel richer and fuller. Weaving historical events into the plot, and with the inclusion not only of historical figures but also fictional characters inspired by or loosely based on other historical individuals, really helps bring the history to life.

Thorland is obviously an expert on colonial history, not just political but also cultural, working them both effortlessly into a story of two people struggling to find themselves and survive in the political unrest and upheaval of the American Revolution.

With politics, espionage, romance, and action, it's sure to please a wide range of readers.


Buy Mistress Firebrand

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03_Donna Thorland About the Author

A native of Bergenfield, New Jersey, Donna graduated from Yale with a degree in Classics and Art History. For many years she managed architecture and interpretation at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, and wrote and directed the Witch City’s most popular Halloween theater festival, Eerie Events. She later earned an MFA in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Donna has been a sorority house mother, a Disney/ABC Television Writing Fellow, a WGA Writer’s Access Project Honoree, and a writer on the ABC primetime drama, Cupid. Her screenwriting credits include episodes of the animated series, Tron: Uprising. Her short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Albedo One. The director of several award-winning short films, her most recent project, The Night Caller, aired on WNET Channel 13 and was featured on Ain’t It Cool News. Currently she is a writer on the WGN drama SALEM. She is married with one cat and divides her time between the real Salem and Los Angeles.

For more information visit Donna Thorland's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Mistress Firebrand Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Excerpt & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, April 7
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, April 8
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, April 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, April 10
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Sunday, April 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, April 13
Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 16
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, April 17
Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Saturday, April 18
Excerpt & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream

Monday, April 20
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 21
Guest Post & Giveaway at Book Babe

Wednesday, April 22
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, April 23
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Friday, April 24
Review at Back Porchervations

Monday, April 27
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, April 28
Review at Historical Readings & Reviews

Wednesday, April 29
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, April 30
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, May 1
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Drey's Library
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Sunday, May 3
Review at Forever Ashley

Monday, May 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read

Tuesday, May 5
Excerpt at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, May 7
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, May 8
Interview at Scandalous Woman

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Historical Fiction Upcoming Releases

Bloodline (The Wars of the Roses) by Conn Iggulden

UK Release Date: October 8, 2015
US Release Date: November 10, 2015


The third beautifully written novel in the War of the Roses series by bestselling author Conn Iggulden.

This novel from bestselling author Conn Iggulden is the third book in the critically acclaimed Wars of the Roses series. Following Stormbird and Trinity this novel will continue through the brutal Civil War that we now know as the Wars of the Roses.

Bloodline sees the Lancastrian and Yorkist factions clash at the battle of Towton -- the single most bloody conflict ever fought on British soil. The victorious Edward of York seals his claim to the English throne.



Hearts of Stone by Simon Scarrow

Release Date: June 4, 2015


The fierce courage of the men and women of the Greek Resistance is brought to vivid life in Sunday Times bestseller Simon Scarrow's powerful new novel of World War II.

1938. A perfect summer on the Greek island of Lefkas for three young people untroubled by the simmering politics of Europe. Peter, visiting from Germany while his father leads an archaeological dig, has become close friends with locals Andreas and Eleni. As the world slides towards conflict and Peter is forced to leave, they swear to meet again.

1943: Andreas and Eleni have joined the partisan forces resisting the German invasion. Peter has returned - now a dangerously well-informed enemy intelligence officer. A friendship formed in peace will turn into a desperate battle between enemies sworn to sacrifice everything for the countries that they love...



Uprising (Bravehearts Chronicles) by Jack Whyte

Release Date: July 30, 2015


In the spring of 1297, the two great Scottish heroes meet in Ayr: William Wallace, legendary champion of the common man, and Robert Bruce, who would perfect the guerrilla warfare developed by Wallace and use it to cement his place in history as Scotland's greatest king.

Each is determined to defy the ambitions of England and its malignant king, Edward Plantagenet, whose lust to conquer and consume the realm of Scotland by blood and fury is unyielding. Their anger is about to unleash a storm that will last for sixteen years.

From Jack Whyte, the master of the sweeping historical epic, comes the continuing story of two heroes who changed the entire destiny of Scotland by defying the might and power of the king of England.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ebook Deals

Click the cover to view and buy the book in the Kindle store. While I only post links to the Kindle store, often times you can find the same titles on sale at other stores.

Disclaimer: Ebook prices are subject to change anytime. I can only promise they are under a certain price at the time I post them.

US Kindle Deals, fiction under $4, non-fiction under $6:

Books 1 to 6 of the Saxon series by Bernard Cornwell is on sale for $1.99 each:

           

Additionally, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is on sale, book 1 is $1.99, books 2 to 7 are $4 each:

             



UK Kindle Deals, fiction under £3, non-fiction under £4:

                             

Monday, April 20, 2015

History Books Upcoming Releases

War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel That Stunned the Nation by John Sedgwick

Release Date: November 3, 2015


A provocative and penetrating investigation into the rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, whose infamous duel left the Founding Father dead and turned a sitting Vice President into a fugitive.

In the summer of 1804, two of America’s most eminent statesmen squared off, pistols raised, on a bluff along the Hudson River. That two such men would risk not only their lives but the stability of the young country they helped forge is almost beyond comprehension. Yet we know that it happened. The question is why.



The Washingtons: George and Martha, "Join'd by Friendship, Crown'd by Love" by Flora Fraser

Release Date: November 3, 2015


Here are the socially awkward young soldier and the charming and very rich young widow he wooed and won; the early years of their marriage at Mount Vernon; his inflexible determination and iron will throughout the long war; she, joining him every year in Valley Forge and the army's other winter quarters, essential to his personal well-being but also a commanding and admired figure in her own right; and, finally, the eight years of America's first presidency: he, the reluctant president, and she, the faultless first lady, both longing to return to their beloved Mount Vernon. Here, too, are the domestic Washingtons--Martha presiding over dinners for foreign dignitaries, keeping careful control of her children and her inheritance; George, even while commanding the revolutionary army, always concerned about her welfare and safety, worrying about his stepchildren, and when the rare occasion arose, dancing the night away with any pretty woman he could find. A major, and vastly appealing, contribution to the literature of our founding fathers...and founding mother.



Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned His Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe--and Started the Protestant Reformation by Andrew Pettegree

Release Date: October 27, 2015


A revolutionary look at Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the birth of publishing, on the eve of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary

When an obscure monk named Martin Luther tacked his “theses” on the door of the Wittenberg church in 1517, protesting corrupt practices, he was virtually unknown. Within months, his ideas spread across Germany, then all of Europe; within years, their author was not just famous, but infamous, responsible for catalyzing the violent wave of religious reform that would come to be known as the Protestant Reformation and engulfing Europe in decades of bloody war.



Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar by Tom Holland

UK Release Date: September 3, 2015
US Release Date: October 20, 2015


Author and historian Tom Holland returns to his roots in Roman history and the audience he cultivated with Rubicon—his masterful, witty, brilliantly researched popular history of perhaps the greatest civilization ever—with Dynasty.

Dynasty continues Rubicon's story, opening where that book ended: with the murder of Julius Caesar. This is the period of the great Roman Emperors, the first Roman Emperors, and, astonishingly, no writer has tackled such an obvious commercial history recently—and it's a colorful story, running from the rise of Augustus through to the death of Nero. Holland's expansive history also has shades of I Claudius, with five wonderfully colorful (and in three cases, thoroughly depraved) Emperors—Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero—featured along such fascinating secondary characters as Livia, Agrippina, and Germanicus. Intrigue, murder, naked ambition and treachery, greed, gluttony, lust, incest, pageantry, decadence—what's not to like?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Upcoming Releases in Historical Fiction

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

Release Date: August 11, 2015


Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have endured enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over.

Based on daring, real-life female reporters on the front lines of history like Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, and Martha Gellhorn—and with cameos by other famous faces of the time—The Race for Paris is an absorbing, atmospheric saga full of drama, adventure, and passion. Combining riveting storytelling with expert literary craftsmanship and thorough research, Meg Waite Clayton crafts a compelling, resonant read.



The Lake House by Kate Morton

US Release Date: October 13, 2015
UK Release Date: October 22, 2015


Living on her family’s gorgeous lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, clever, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented fourteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest son, Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined, leaving their estate as empty as their broken hearts.

Nearly sixty years later, having enjoyed a long, successful career as an author, Alice is now eighty years old and living in London. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.



The Scent of Secrets by Jane Thynne

Release Date: September 15, 2015


Set in Europe, in 1938, during the tense run-up to war, and perfect for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, Robert Harris, and Susan Elia MacNeal, this gripping historical novel features the half-British, half-German actress (and wholly covert spy) Clara Vine, who finds herself enmeshed in a dangerous game of subterfuge.

The colorful, lively streets of Paris come as a welcome relief to Clara Vine after the dour countenance of Berlin, where bunkers and bomb shelters are being dug, soldiers march the streets in their high boots, and Jewish residents rush to make it home before curfew. Though Clara is in Paris to make a film, her true work is never far from her mind. Approached by a British intelligence officer, Clara is initially confounded by his request: Get close to Eva Braun and glean as much as she can about the F├╝hrer’s plans and intentions. Clara has already established friendships with several high-ranking Nazi wives, but Eva Braun is another matter altogether. Hitler keeps his “secret” girlfriend obsessively hidden, fiercely guarding their relationship as well as Eva’s delicate psychological state. From the gilded halls of the decadent City of Light to the cobbled, quaint streets of Munich, and even to the chilling, rarefied air of the Berghof, Hitler’s private mountaintop retreat, Clara flirts with discovery at every turn—and a dangerous, devious plot unfolds.



The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor

Release Date: October 20, 2015


On June 19, 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to commit espionage. The day Ethel was first arrested in 1950, she left her two young sons with a neighbor, and she never came home to them again. Brilliantly melding fact and fiction, Jillian Cantor reimagines the life of that neighbor, and the life of Ethel and Julius, an ordinary-seeming Jewish couple who became the only Americans put to death for spying during the Cold War.

A few years earlier, in 1947, Millie Stein moves with her husband, Ed, and their toddler son, David, into an apartment on the eleventh floor in Knickerbocker Village on New York’s Lower East Side. Her new neighbors are the Rosenbergs. Struggling to care for David, who doesn’t speak, and isolated from other “normal” families, Millie meets Jake, a psychologist who says he can help David, and befriends Ethel, also a young mother. Millie and Ethel’s lives as friends, wives, mothers, and neighbors entwine, even as chaos begins to swirl around the Rosenbergs and the FBI closes in. Millie begins to question her own husband’s political loyalty and her marriage, and whether she can trust Jake and the deep connection they have forged as they secretly work with David. Caught between these two men, both of whom have their own agendas, and desperate to help her friends, Millie will find herself drawn into the dramatic course of history.



The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

Release Date: August 27, 2015


Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper steps off a steamer in Ceylon full of optimism, eager to join her new husband. But the man who greets her at the tea plantation is not the same one she fell in love with in London.

Distant and brooding, Laurence spends long days wrapped up in his work, leaving his young bride to explore the plantation alone. It's a place filled with clues to the past - locked doors, a yellowed wedding dress in a dusty trunk, an overgrown grave hidden in the grounds, far too small for an adult...

Gwen soon falls pregnant and her husband is overjoyed, but she has little time to celebrate. In the delivery room the new mother is faced with a terrible choice, one she knows no one in her upper class set will understand - least of all Laurence. Forced to bury a secret at the heart of her marriage, Gwen is more isolated than ever. When the time comes, how will her husband ever understand what she has done?

The Tea Planter's Wife is a story of guilt, betrayal and untold secrets vividly and entrancingly set in colonial era Ceylon.
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