Thursday, September 18, 2014

Madame Picasso by Anne Girard Virtual Book Tour

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9780778316350.inddTitle: Madame Picasso
Author: Anne Girard
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 432
August 26th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
Source: Arranged tour for honest review

When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.  A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso's life.  With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

 I Give This ...
I must admit that I know next to nothing about Picasso.  I know he's a famous painter, and that's it.  Art is not really my strong point, so it's almost embarrassing to say that I didn't know were or when he lived, or could even name a painting.   But, I really enjoyed this book.

I enjoyed Eva's character right from the start.  This was a period of great change for the world.  War was on their front door step, women were finding their place in the world, and their was an explosion of knowledge going on.  It's not wonder that Eva wanted a piece of all that.  She wasn't content to an arranged marriage and living her life exactly like all the women before her had.  While I wish she wouldn't have just run off to Paris, I understood why she did.  I think what made her even more refreshing is that she wasn't looking for love.  It almost seemed like she was desperately trying to avoid it.  She may have worked at the Moulin Rouge, but she was in charge of her own love life.

Picasso was very interesting to read about.  He seemed to tackle love just like he did everything else in life...with reckless passion.  He had no problem with entering into numerous affairs despite his long term commitment to Fernande.  Perhaps it's the very issue that makes Eva that much more attractive to him.  She's not easily persuaded into becoming the mistress on the side.  In his game to pursue her, he realizes that she might just be the muse he needs both for his soul and for his art.  But, how do you untangle the web you've already woven?
I found their whole love story to be extremely interesting.  I never felt Eva caved into Picasso, instead she pushed him to be a better person.  It must have been so hard for him to choose her over Fernande and disrupt his entire life.   He was completely committed to her once he choose to marry her, eventually choosing her over long term friends.  Sadly, their story would not last long.   Strange to think Picasso had such a fear of death, that it almost contributed to Eva's own death.  I seriously wonder if she would have been willing to go to the doctor sooner if she might have lived.

A wonderful story that introduced me to a figure in history that I knew nothing about.  I always enjoy that experience.  I love this author's works!

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Praise for Madame Picasso

"Early twentieth century Paris and Picasso's lost love come to enchanted, vivid life in Madame Picasso. With a deft eye for detail and deep understanding for her protagonists, Anne Girard captures the earnest young woman who enthralled the famous artist and became his unsung muse." - C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of THE QUEEN'S VOW

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About the Author

03_Anne Girard

Anne Girard was born with writing in her blood. The daughter of a hard-driving Chicago newsman, she has always had the same passion for storytelling that fueled his lifelong career. She hand-wrote her first novel (admittedly, not a very good one) at the age of fourteen, and never stopped imagining characters and their stories. Writing only ever took a backseat to her love of reading.

After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature from UCLA and a Master's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a chance meeting with the acclaimed author, Irving Stone, sharply focused her ambition onto telling great stories from history with detailed research. "Live where your characters lived, see the things they saw," he said, "only then can you truly bring them to life for your readers." Anne took that advice to heart. After Stone's encouragement twenty years ago, she sold her first novel. When she is not traveling the world researching her stories, Anne and her family make their home in Southern California. When she is not traveling or writing, she is reading fiction.

Anne also writes historical fiction under the name Diane Haeger. For more information, visit You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, August 26

Review at Historical Fiction Notebook

Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27

Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Notebook

Thursday, August 28

Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Review & Giveaway at Kinx's Book Nook

Friday, August 29

Review at Scandalous Women

Review at Curling Up by the Fire

Monday, September 1

Review at A Bookish Affair

Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 2

Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, September 3

Review at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, September 4

Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Friday, September 5

Review at To Read or Not to Read

Monday, September 8

Review at Book of Secrets

Review & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf

Tuesday, September 9

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, September 10

Review at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, September 11

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, September 12

Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Review at The Book Binder's Daughter

Monday, September 15

Review at Layered Pages

Review at Carole's Ramblings

Tuesday, September 16

Review at She is Too Fond of Books

Wednesday, September 17

Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, September 18

Review at One Book of a Time

Friday, September 19

Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Monday, September 22

Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 23

Review at The Librarian Fatale

Wednesday, September 24

Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Thursday, September 25

Review at Kincavel Korner

Friday, September 26

Interview at Kincavel Korner

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:
Madame PicassoChampion (Legend, #3)
  • Madame Picasso by Anne Girard 
  • Champion by Marie Lu
Currently Reading:
Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone #1)
  • Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M Lee
Up This Week: 

Salt & Storm
  • Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review - The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead

The Immortal Crown (Age of X, #2)Title: The Immortal Crown
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: 2nd (Gameboard of the Gods)
Pages: 432
Published: May 29th 2014 by Dutton Adult
ISBN: 9780525953692
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion. Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity. Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret. 

I Give This ...

  I wasn't completely sold on Gameboard of the Gods, so I'm not entirely sure why I picked the second in the series up for review.  Perhaps it simply because I'm draw to Gods and Goddesses and it still had some potential.  In this case, I'm glad I didn't give up because it was better than the first one.

I think I liked Justin and May's interactions more.  They are trying so hard to pretend they aren't completely head over heals for each other, that sometime a lot of it just gets in the way.  But this time around, they are required to pose as a couple.  I think it forces them to think and act in ways that they've spend forever repressing.  Plus, it was interesting to learn about their personal God and Goddess and how they related to each other.  The big picture is much more intertwined than I thought.

I'm curious as to Lucian's involvement in this whole thing.  For most of the first book I wrote him off as just a person in the background.  But, I think he is a far bigger player than anyone knows.  He's way to subtle, but he may have tipped his hat when it came to this big trip into Arcadia.  He's looking for more than just an age to push over the top in politics.  I have not quite pegged if he's going to work out to be the bad guy.  I hope not, because I think he's far more useful in Justin's corner.

I liked the drama with Tessa.  I knew that getting mixed up with the reporter was a bad idea.  I think she knew it deep down as well.  But, she was determined to prove her worth and couldn't possibly imagine what Justin could be mixed up in that would be beneficial.  But, most of the time it's always about who you know.    

I'm hooked now, so I am eagerly awaiting book 3.  There is something big in the works and the gods and goddesses aren't done playing games yet.  They have been so subtly through most of the series, that I'm waiting for that big moment!


Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:

The Tudor Bride (Catherine de Valois, #2)
  • The Tudor Bride by Joanna Hickson
Currently Reading:

Champion (Legend, #3)
  • Champion by Marie Lu
Up This Week: 
Madame Picasso
  • Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Coverl Reveal - The Tabestry by Nancy Bilyeau

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Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Touchstone Publishing
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 390

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Three

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In THE CROWN, Sister Joanna Stafford searched for a Dark Ages relic that could save her priory from Cromwell’s advancing army of destruction. In THE CHALICE, Joanna was drawn into an international conspiracy against Henry VIII himself as she struggled to learn the truth behind a prophecy of his destruction.

Now, in THE TAPESTRY, Joanna Stafford finally chooses her own destiny.

After her Dominican priory in Dartford closed forever—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention.

Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King, and fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. Her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.

Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be the King’s mistress. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, na├»ve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and, possibly, victim.

Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna Stafford must finally choose.

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About the Author

Displaying Nancy Bilyeau.JPG

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay "Zenobia" placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and "Loving Marys" reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information please visit Nancy Bilyeau's website.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review - Dissonance (Dissonance #1) by Erica O'Rourke

Dissonance (Dissonance, #1)Title: Dissonance
Author: Erica O'Rourke
Series: 1st
Pages: 496
Published:  July 22nd 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 9781442460249
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not traveled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony. Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane. But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.  

I Give This ...

  Well this was fascinating and maddening all at the same time.  The idea of alternate universes created from each decision made by each person was interesting.  But, at the same I couldn't wrap my head around it.  The shear number of these universes has to more than even the Walkers can hope to control.

At first, I wasn't sure I understood what it was exactly that the Walkers did in relation to the other dimensions.  The full scope of their job isn't really explained up front, but more woven throughout the story.  Basically the are in charge of keeping the base dimension stable.  The other dimensions are ghosts of this one and really aren't even real, but tied to the base.  However, ripples from the outer dimensions can effect the base and cause chaos.  Choices made in other dimensions can actually bleed over into the base.

Delancy was interesting in the sense that she doesn't seem like your typical Walker.  You can tell she's brilliant and good at it.  But, she doesn't follow the rules set forth by the Council.  When she accidentally does something she's shouldn't be able to do, she's put on probation.  The Council follows her every move, but it's not so much to monitor her progress but to see exactly what she is capable of (and maybe to keep an eye on her family).   As with many books, The Council isn't exactly as it appears.  

 The more Delancy travels between the other dimensions, the more fascinated I became.  Some of these world's are permanent, while others exist for mere moments.  All depend on the person and the decision being made.  It so much to tend to, it's no wonder that the Council is trying to keep tight control of it.  Of course they are going about it the wrong way and a revolt has silently been brewing.

I enjoyed this for the most part.  I wasn't overly into the romance between Delancy and Simon, but it gradually grew on me.  I did find the plot and setting to be awesome.  I'm actually looking forward to more of this series!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review - The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles #4) by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)Title: The Girl with the Windup Heart
Author: Kady Cross
Pages: 396
Published: May 27th 2014 by Harlequin TEEN 
ISBN: 9780373211197
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus. Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends. Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields. 

I Give This ...

 I was pleased to see this one as I had no real indication that the series was over after the last book.  After a rocky start, I've come to really enjoy this characters and I wanted to see an satisfying ending.

I really wish that Griffin would stop holding so much back from his friends.  Granted we wouldn't have a story without it.  But, his friends rely so much on him, I wish he would give the slightest indication that he needed them a little bit.  Because of this character flaw, he is literally draining himself dry in the Aether.  It's a good thing that Finley doesn't stand for that kind of crap.  She's determined to prove her worth to Griffin.  I think she feels like she needs for Griffin to see that he can trust her, heart and soul.

I was surprised by the tension between Finley and Emily.  I don't think that was there before.  I think it might be because they both care for Griffin in different ways and have to argue about who has the better way to save him.  I really enjoyed that addition of Mila in relation to Jack Dandy.  I didn't particularly care for his relationship with Finley, but I liked his character.  So, I readily accepted his new found fascination with Mila.

I liked how most of this story took place in the aether.  It reminded me a little bit of Dante's Inferno.  I enjoyed Finley's own personal demons that she had to overcome in order to get to Griffin.   I enjoyed how conniving The Machinist could be.   I never failed to be surprised the lengths he wold go to get what he wanted.

In the end, I was surprised by this series.  I'm still hesitant when it comes to steampunk, but I've learned to give it a chance.  This series has helped me accomplish that.  I will be looking for Kady Cross again.


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