Sunday, 16 March 2014

Sunday Wrap Up: Week ending March 16, 2014

And here we are once again, the week having flown by and a wrap up in the cards. As happens like clockwork, we have a selection of books so grand it's truly difficult to choose which one seems most appealing. First the covers grab us, soon we're putty in the hands of these reviewers, then we end up adding all the books to our TBR piles. It's like a literary Jengapalooza, and the towers aren't getting any shorter! A bit of solace we can offer, however, is that all of the books featured today have giveaways, so please be sure to comment below the review or on their respective Facebook thread links (given at reviews) for your chance to win. And, as always, please say who you are and provide us a way to contact you when you win one of these wonderful books!

Every book this week has a giveaway!

"Marsha's Mondays" always promises to showcase fantabulous books, Marsha being the dedicated historical fiction reader that she is.  So she sets the foundation of this week's collection with K.M. Ashman's sequel to Medieval--Blood of the Cross, a stand-alone read titled Medieval II--Shadow of Kings. While recovering from events from the series' opening novel, protagonist Garyn ap Thomas is set on a path "far different[. . . ] than [he] ever imagined. A wanted man, Garyn must travel far from his village to northern Wales, where he becomes a member of a group of mercenaries, the Blaidd. Living the life of a mercenary, Garyn has one mission in his life and that is to stop Father Williams and get his normal life back." A tale running alongside Garyn's is that of his brother Geraint, who, "seeking adventure and fortune, has signed on as a crew member for a mysterious journey that none but the captain of the vessel and a few others know anything about." You may just be let in on the whisperings when you join the brothers and rest of the men on their adventures leading them back to a location unexpected.

Currently there is a giveaway for a FREE copy of Medieval II--Shadows of Kings. Please follow this link for details and to comment.

Perhaps one of the best treats of this account, Castles, Customs and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors is that there is something for everyone. Reviewer Karen speaks truth when she refers to this masterpiece as a treasure for lovers of English historical fiction. However, for those not quite as acquainted, it holds great store as well because it can be skimmed through for what interests the newer reader (or older, for that matter!) and independent, additional readings could occur on their own timeline and order. Even better, old and new--and those in between--will delight as "authors reveal their own inspirations, their own perspectives and give generous insight into their own writing process. Some have fallen in love with the geography in their stories: wonderful descriptions of churches, abbeys and the land are contained in this book. Loyalty and love are revealed. Torture, punishment and death are not shirked. Want to know about hygiene, medicine, clothing, the language of fans? This is your book. Foodies among you will not be disappointed, either." There being so much more to this book, best hop on over to Karen's review, especially as a copy of this treasure, too, shall be awarded to one lucky reader!

Currently there is a giveaway for a FREE copy of Castles, Customs and Kings. Please follow the link just above for details and to comment.

As Stuart so aptly points out, this is not your father's Robin Hood. Doing away with staid greetings and green tights, "Steven A. McKay has taken the legend, given it a good shake and let this thoroughly enjoyable version fall out [. . . ] Here Robin is a common man who through a moment of anger is forced into fleeing his home, his family and his love Mathilda. These changes add a genuine fresh twist to the tale which adds so much to the book [. . . ] While most of the regular characters appear here, they seem new, believable and above all true to their period. Their language is robust and not for the easily offended, but will be familiar, and have the ring of authenticity, to anyone who has worked with other men as part of a team. The violence is frequent, bloody and merciless but again reflects how hard, unrelenting and short life was then." 

And guess what? Currently there is a giveaway for a FREE copy of Wolf's Head: The Forest Lord. Please follow this link for details and to comment. Remember the sequel!

With this review Rob does his usual cracking job at sorting out who's who and leading us to the point where we simply must dive into this current ourselves and swim along with the tide. "The novel is loosely based on the short five-month reign of Emperor Michael V; at that time Harald was commander of the Emperor’s famed Varangian Guard. Harald had seen action on nearly all the frontiers of the Empire during his career in the Varangians, fighting Saracens, Normans, Bulgars and Arabs.

As the book opens however, Harald is down on his luck. He has inadvertently become embroiled in the coup of Michael V over the popular Empress Zoe, the stepmother of Michael and occasional lover of Harald. The Commander of the Varangians finds himself in a cell with two comrades, all that is left of his retinue in Byzantium. The rest of his followers have been cruelly slain by Scythian mercenaries of Michael’s, whilst the bulk of the Varangian Guard are stationed on the Northern frontier."

With all that having already occurred, where does one go from there? To the novel, of course! And a free copy--you have happily guessed it!--is poised to drop one lucky reader into the midst of the bloodbath  momentous events!

To get your name in the hat for a FREE copy of Varangian, please click here to get the rest of Rob's lowdown and leave a comment. 

Stuart steps in for a second time this week, this post doing a bit of double duty in that his spotlight is on someone who can speak to us today about the things we'd like to achieve. After introducing us to Captain Burnet and telling us a bit about the colorful character, we learn that "[a] challenge was presented to him by a certain James Laing, Deputy City Clerk, who said that it would be impossible for Captain Burnet to climb from the King's Park to the top of Arthur's Seat in less than fifteen minutes. Those who are familiar with the great mass of grass and stone at the foot of the Royal Mile will understand that this is no mean feat for even the fittest and youngest of us to undertake, never mind a middle-aged man of huge proportions. Burnet, of course, at once accepted the wager." The picture to the left may present the image of one incapable of such an effort as proposed to him. Will Burnet make it to the top? Will he fall back and be satisfied that he gave it the old college try? Will he inexplicably make it to the top? Have a look at Stuart's telling, and find out what becomes of the captain. 

"Nah, I don't ever win anything. I'll just skip it."

Well, my friend, someone has to win each book here, why not you? 

Join Captain Burnet in going for the win~~as he had to stop momentarily, so, too, might you. But he kept on going! Follow in his footsteps and keep on keeping on, even when it seems your goal may not be in sight. It's still there somewhere. 

Comment on the review(s) of your choice to get your name in the draw.

Go for the win! 

Missed last week's wrap up? Not to worry, it's at your fingertips.

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