Donna@BookLoversParadise

I love reading all kinds of books, but my personal favorites are books I can share with my child.

Murder, Mayhem and Mystery in Ancient Greece

Oracles of Delphi: A Novel of Suspense (An Althaia of Athens Mystery) - Marie Savage

Murder, Mystery and Mayhem in Ancient Greece.

 

I couldn't wait to read this book, and quickly zipped through the story. This well written historical novel revolves around incidents occurring at Delphi. Sound familiar?

 

Most people know of the Oracle at Delphi, but did you know of the cult of Gaia? The Earth Mother and Apollo sharing the same sacred land. Well, as you may guess, two powerful deities cannot share a sacred spot without problems.

 

Murder...

 

The main characters of this novel are Althaia of Athens, a wealthy educated woman and Theron of Thessaly, a philosopher who assumes the role of ancient homicide detective, as well as a supporting cast of priestesses, priests, slaves and sycophants.

 

These characters are multi dimensional people. You, the reader, will have a vested interest in their personal lives. We become close to Althaia, Theron and the others and fear for them, we laugh with them and we cry with them.

 

I must say, I followed the clues of this murder mystery, but at the end, I was flabbergasted. I never saw it coming!

 

Marie Savage uses the backdrop of ancient Greece to masterfully tell a story full of intrigue while educating us on the religions and myths of ancient Greece. She is a wonderful storyteller. She expertly spins a tale and will leave you stunned and on the edge of your seat!

 

I hope she continues to write as I anxiously await her next novel.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Heloise and Abelard

The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard - Sherry Jones

Heloise and Abelard. .

 

I've thought of them as the original Romeo and Juliet. Their story full of wonder and sadness. Well this is a sad story.

 

The starcrossed lovers who could not catch a break.

 

Heloise is a strong, forward thinking woman in a time when women were quiet and not well educated. Abelard was a philosopher who became her teacher. They committed the ultimate sin by falling in love. Love a sin? Apparently so.

 

I can't say I was very sympathetic to Abelard. I found him to be selfish and less than amazing, however, I don't believe he deserved his punishment for love.


Heloise, on the other hand, was an amazing character. She was strong, charming and an empathetic character. I cannot understand, nor agree with some of her decisions.

 

The actual writings of the two are threaded throughout the book. I must admit, the short pieces of their letters to each other have me yearning to learn more about this couple.

 

I enjoyed this book and encourage anyone interested in romance or history to read this well written book.

 

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.

Bitter Greens - Kate Forsyth

Remember the tale of Rapunzel? Well if you liked that story, you will love this book. But beware, this is not a Disneyfied version of the story. This is an ADULT version of the tale.

 

 

Told from the viewpoint of the author of the story, the witch and the girl we now know as Rapunzel, this is a fascinating tale. You will be on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happens.

 

I loved reading this story. Loved the character of Margherita. Her point of view was my favorite. She is an innocent child (at first) caught up in the strange witchcraft of a woman afraid of aging.

 

Throughout the novel, we meet a few interesting historical characters, Titian, The Sun King of France and more!

 

I give this book 5 stars, but I caution the reader, it is an adult book. There are adult themes and situations.

 

REMEMBER...THIS IS AN ADULT NOVEL...

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

A FITTING END.

The Blood of Olympus - Rick Riordan

A fantastic ending to a wonderful series. Rick Riordan is an amazing storyteller. This last book in the series (Heroe's of Olympus/Percy Jackson) is a fitting tribute to all the characters.

 

I am sad to see the series end. I've come to know Percy, Jason, Annabeth, Piper, Nico, Frank, Hazel and Leo as friends. I hope there will be more in the future. Even though the series is over, would be great to have more adventures with these guys!

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

The Tiger Queens

The Tiger Queens - Stephanie  Thornton

Stephanie Thornton is one of my favorite authors.


Prior to reading this novel, I had little knowledge of Genghis Khan. However, I chose to read and review this book because it was authored by Ms. Thornton.

I was astounded! This is perhaps her best book yet.

 

Ms. Thornton likes to write about strong, empowered women of history. The Tiger Queens focuses on several women connected to Genghis. His Empress, his daughter, and daughter in law. This is a story about women who lived and thrived in a man's world.

Women of substance, strength and power. You will fall in love with these women, you will envy and encourage them. You will cry with them, laugh with them and triumph with them. Don't get me wrong, there are also one or two characters that will set your teeth on edge..

Genghis himself is quite a character. We watch him grow from young boy to old man. I've always thought of him, and his people as mindless marauders. I couldn't have been more wrong.

 

I encourage anyone with a love of history and strong women to read this novel. It will leave you thirsting for more by Stephanie Thornton.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

The Priestess and the Pen

The Priestess and the Pen: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Dion Fortune, and Diana Paxson's Influence on Modern Paganism - Sonja Sadovsky

The Priestess and the Pen is a powerful piece of work. It is labeled "groundbreaking". This is a fair assessment of Sonja Sadovsky's book.

 

Using the writings of Pagan authors such as Dion Fortune, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana Paxson, Sadovsky explains each authors influence on goddess worship and modern paganism.

 

This is not light reading material. The reader must sit and concentrate on the subject at hand, but it will be worth it. Sadovsky was able to open my mind, broaden my thoughts and increase my understanding of her viewpoint.

 

Some key ideas from the book:
"Priestess is a symbol of independent female authority, and a living link to the Goddess she serves."
There are four types of Priestess', each type is reviewed and explained in the book.
1. Earth Mother
2. Moon Mistress
3. Witch Queen
4. Warrior Queen

 

The Goddess herself is:
1. eternal
2. light and dark
3. maiden, mother and crone
4. dark mother of mystery.

 

Sadovsky further explains that the threefold goddess is not always accurate nor fitting. The goddess has a 4th face, "hidden but key to personal power and self identity."

The author herself sums up the Priestess and the Pen in the introduction by writing "Priestess and Pen focuses on the literary character of the Priestess in 20th century fiction"

 

I think she more than adequately succeeds in her goal. My understanding of Modern Paganism is greatly enhanced by reading this book and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in Paganism, or the works of the three spotlighted authors.

FYI- everything in quotation marks was directly quoted from Ms. Sadovsky's work, the PRIESTESS AND THE PEN.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Magic, Mystery and Adventure...This book has it all!

Goddess Born - Kari Edgren

This book has a bit of everything! Truly something for everyone. There is romance, history, suspense, and a bit of supernatural power. Witch hunts and sword fights. I told you, something for everyone.

 

I really enjoyed this book. I was drawn in from page one. The main character, Selah Kilbrid is a different kind of girl. She is 'goddess born'. A descendant of an Irish goddess. She must keep this a secret from others who fear anyone different than themselves. She resides in a Quaker community in Pennsylvania.

 

Selah is a strong willed young woman, you will instantly love her, whether you agree with her or not. Kari Edgren has created a wonderful character in Selah.

 

Henry Alan, a young indentured servant who becomes Selah's make believe husband is a powerful character in his own right. From the very beginning, the reader knows there is more than meets the eye with Henry. I won't give anything away, but his story will just fascinate you. He is a fabulous character and you can feel him falling in love with Selah throughout the book.

 

I think any lover of historical fiction will fall in love with this book. I look forward to more by this author.

 

I give this book 5 stars because it contains everything I look for in a book.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Hand of Fire...The Trojan War from another perspective.

Hand of Fire - Judith Starkston

Very rarely can I not give enough stars for a book. This is such a book. I love the Iliad, it's become one of my favorite books over the years. Judith Starkston has brought the characters of the Iliad to life, but she's done so with her own spin.

 

Through the eyes of Briseis, the priestess/healer. The woman who was briefly able to calm the rage of Achilles.

 

This book will leave you breathless. I could not put it down. The descriptions so incredible, you can smell the flowers as you walk through the forests of Mt Ida.

 

Briseis is a multidimensional character who dominates this story. She is a woman who will capture your heart. She could be your friend, your sister or your daughter. You will just love her. She is a strong woman with courage and compassion.


We watch her grow from a young woman losing her mother to a strong Princess of Lyrnessos. We watch her become a captive of Greek soldiers and a confidante of Achilles. Through it all, she is an incredible character.

 

I loved this book. I didn't want to sleep or eat, just wanted to keep reading. When I was finished, I started over and read it again. It's that good. Judith Starkston- thank you for bringing some of my favorite characters to life for me.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Come and meet Bernie.

Bernie and the Putty - Steve LeBel

Unique and fun.

Bernie is a wonderful character. I loved him from the beginning. I couldn't put this book down! Hooked from the start.

 

There is a good vs bad storyline, Bernie comes up against Billy. Billy holds a grudge against Bernie and he (Billy) is just a rotten apple. Bernie is a geek and a bit of an underdog. Everyone loves the underdog and Bernie is no exception. He is flawed but lovable. Billy is flawed and you will root for his downfall.


Mr. LeBel did a great job of explaining the universe and the young gods' role in creation.

This is a unique story. Hopefully the start of many. Well done Mr. LeBel!

 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I was not encouraged in any way to provide a positive review (but I love it when the book is this good!)

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Not one of the best bio's of an amazing woman

The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart - Danny Saunders

I received this book as part of a book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

 

I love the subject. Mary of Scots is an amazing woman with a fascinating life. I also love reading anything to do with the Tudor family.

 

That being said, this is not one of the best Tudor era books available. The book focus is primarily Charlotte, a lady in waiting to Mary. She is not a likable character. I'm certain that court machinations encouraged those involved to become scheming, but I just didn't like Charlotte. Mary herself is portrayed somewhat differently than I expected.

 

If you enjoy Tudor history, by all means, add this book to your TBR list, but include others as well. You will find many other books about Mary of Scots on the market, I personally recommend those by Antonia Fraser, Margaret George or John Guy.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Queen of Sheba, she's not as you expect.

Legend of Sheba: The Rise of a Queen - Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee has long been one of my favorite authors.


This is her best book yet. The characters are colorful without being unbelievable. Tosca writes with such realism, the reader can actually be part of the story. Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) is an amazing character. We follow her throughout her ups and downs, we laugh and cry with her.


This is a beautifully written, inspirational story that is certain to please.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

A dystopian you will love

Autumn in the City of Angels (The Autumn Series, #1) - Kirby Howell

To begin, I am slightly tired of dystopian novels. It is a genre that is currently saturating the market. That being said, this book reminded me why I loved dystopians. I was drawn into the story from the very beginning. To say I loved this story would be an understatement.

 

The characters are multidimensional. The reader will have a personal interest in the lives of each character. I wasn't overly thrilled with the alien component. I found it a bit creepy as the alien was several hundred years older than our female protagonist.

 

How is this story dystopian, well, a massive virus kills off most of Earth's population. The few remaining citizens of Earth attempt to band together to survive. As with any disaster, there are groups that attempt to take advantage of the situation and benefit from others need for food/lodging and medicine.

 

This book will hold your attention from beginning to end. I have purchased book two and plan to read it over the summer.

 

Autumn is a character that commands respect. She is a strong young woman who WILL survive. No matter what. Her instincts are sound, and she toughens up enough to become a strong leader to others.

 

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves dystopian stories, strong characters or just a fun read.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Fun Fun Book

The Alliday Poem Book of Silly Celebrations - S. M. Westerlie

What a fun book! You will never get tired of reading the entertaining bits and pieces from this book. There are many quotes that are indeed 'thought provoking' but for the most part, this book is just plain fun to read. Do you know that June 1st is Dinosaur Day? Neither did I. June 1st is also National Go Barefoot Day, flip a coin day and National Hazelnut cake day. (June 1st has no special significance, just picked this day because my kid loves dinosaurs). There are plenty of cute short poems for each day. You are certain to get a chuckle while reading this book. I looked up my birthday to find The Universal Postal Union was established in 1874. Not only are fun things included, but you will learn interesting facts (my birthday is also Fire Prevention Day)

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com
SPOILER ALERT!

Pompeii in all it's glory

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii - Vicky Alvear Shecter

Pompeii. The name says it all. We think of volcanic eruptions, Pliny, and the heartbreaking scenes we've seen from history shows on television.

 

This book has much more to offer. We are introduced to Lucia. She is the daughter of Lucius, owner of a gladiator school in Pompeii. When we meet Lucia, she is becoming betrothed to a man 45 years older than herself. She will be the young trophy wife of an old man who can infuse money into her father's school. Sad but true, women were used in this manner. Lucia is a very sheltered young woman, educated but naive. She is in love with Tages (Tag) a medicus (healer) who happens to be a slave owned by her father. What, a slave? Yes. As you can probably guess, a slave and the daughter of the house is a no-no.


As their love blossoms, we are witness to tremors, earthquakes and finally, the eruption of Vesuvius. Mixed in with this is a romantic triangle involving a rich boy from Herculaneum. No spoilers, but this is quite a punch added to the story.

I enjoyed this book. I found it historically accurate and highly entertaining. Vicky Alvear Shecter is a fantastic author. The scenes of Vesuvius' eruption are spellbinding. I could not put this book down. The ending is heartbreaking, the descriptions of Pompeii post eruption are just amazing. The author includes some historical information. For example, she places the eruption in October 79 CE, a date many scholars feel may be more accurate than August.

All in all, a fantastically written book, well researched and interesting to read.

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Secrets of the Lighthouse

Secrets of the Lighthouse: A Novel - Santa Montefiore

Unique book. I've never read a book from the point of view of a ghost. That's one of the main characters, Caitlin, the ghost. And a lighthouse..who wouldn't love a story with a lighthouse?  How romantic.  A lighthouse with the ocean crashing against it...and a mysterious death.

 

Connemara, Ireland is the main backdrop for this unique story. The author's descriptions of western Ireland are so incredible--I want to visit! It sounds like a fantastic place. I could 'smell the grass' and 'hear the ocean'.

 

The characters in this novel are incredible. I loved Ellen. She is a spirited individual seeking answers. I loved the entire Byrne clan...a large Irish family full of fun and life.

I did not like the ghost. While reading this book, I found her to be vain and self centered. My thoughts changed at end. I won't give anything away, but eventually, I felt sorry for the ghost, imagine that!

 

This is a story of love, of family and of betrayal and secrets. The writing is spectacular. I've never read anything by this author, but will be on the lookout for more!

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

THE SUPERNATURAL

The Supernatural - Amazing Readings and Outcomes - Janet Gant

In the mood for something Supernatural? Do you believe in psychics, mediums or ouija boards?


This just may be the book for you! Even if you are not a believer, you could learn a thing or two about psychic phenomena.

 

Are you a believer in psychic power? I'm not certain if I am, but I truly enjoyed reading this book. Ms Gant has written a wonderful reference for those of us with little knowledge of the subject of psychic abilities and backed it up with examples of readings.

 

This book is divided into two parts. Part 1 explains the methods of psychic phenomena, mediums, psychic readers, ouija boards, tarot cards and much much more. She briefly touches upon these things with just enough information to hold the readers attention. When I finished part 1, I had a basic understanding of psychic methodology..(except numerology..I just can't figure out how this works).

Part 2 includes the authors readings along with those of 40 volunteers. She gives not only the readings but the outcomes of each reading. I was astounded by the accuracy of some of the psychics.

 

I, myself, have had readings in the past, with mixed results. One was so bad, I left with annoyance and anger at having wasted my money. The most recent, I was seeking peace after the death of a family member. I will call this a successful read because I found the peace I was seeking. Is it luck? Is it just good powers of observation? I don't know. I'd like to believe we go somewhere better after we leave this world.

This book is very uplifting. In most cases, the messages from beyond were very specific, allowing the individuals a glimpse into the afterlife of loved ones.

 

I'm not certain if it's made me a bona fide beliver in the supernatural, but I enjoyed and learned from this book. It is well written, well researched and a great compilation of fascinating stories.

5/5 stars

Source: http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com

Currently reading

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
Ian Mortimer
Sunrise
Mike Mullin