Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons #1) – A Review

Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons, #1)Children of Apollo by Adam Alexander Haviaras

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first half of this book spent a lot of time in the character’s introspection. Far more than expected, Lucius Metellus Anguis (the Dragon) pondered the desert, the battles, the motives of the commanders, and his own destiny or lack thereof. It felt odd for the beginning of a book, rather than the middle.

The latter half of the book however drew me in and kept me fascinated and waiting for more.

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HerStory Anthology-Including The Speech of Hortensia by Marie Antonia Parsons

The preceding post announces wonderful Giveaways celebrating the March 8 release of the HerStory anthology. This collection of twenty-seven short stories, including my very own, entitled “The Speech of Hortensia,” celebrates women throughout history.

Please take note, give a look and celebrate with us. Perhaps you will also buy the anthology–one for you, for your mother and aunts, your daughters, nieces–any women you know who inspire, support, and embrace everyone around them.

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Excerpts from Published Story “A Deal is a Deal” by Marie A Parsons (1994)

“Let me see the contract, Merick.”

I pulled that insane piece of paper out of the desk drawer and quickly scanned it. Nick Redburn grants Lucas Merick seven years of good health and every opportunity to play poker, after which he may collect Lucas Merick’s immortal soul.

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The Chalice: A Novel – Review and Recommended

The ChaliceThe Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Should prophecy determine one’s actions? How much should one sacrifice in order to see a prophecy fulfilled? Who determines what the prophecy really means?

These are some of the questions that build the tensions and the conflicts in The Chalice. While this is a sequel to the earlier novel The Crown, it can be read on its own merits (but don’t ignore the earlier!)

Joanna Stafford was hoping to enter the Dominican order as a nun, but while still a novice, King Henry VIII shut down the monasteries and abbeys. As if life is now not difficult enough–England was torn between those who still wanted to follow the Catholic faith and practice, and those who were now devoted to the Reformed, non-Catholic (not quite yet Protestant) faith taught by Luther and others–Joanna is also anguished by her feelings for Constable Geoffrey and for the former Brother Edmund. She also is conflicted by her being directly named and involved in a strange “prophecy,” which has been interpreted by those who wish to use her in a plot to overthrow the King, bring back the Catholic faith, and change England forever.

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No Cause for Concern–Roman period historical fiction – a Review

No Cause for Concern is set in ancient Roman times, the year 38 AD. It is a  mystery by David Wishart.

The story is a nicely, tightly-written mystery that moves smoothly to its resolution–one which caught me by surprise, but which was quite satisfying and well-developed.

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Requiem for a Slave-A Brief Review

Requiem For A Slave (Libertus Mystery of Roman Britain, #11)Requiem For A Slave by Rosemary Rowe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Libertus is a Celt in Roman Britain, who has become a citizen of Rome. A craftsman who creates mosaic pieces, he has for his patron a wealthy Roman.

Libertus has a reputation for solving crimes. So when two murders take place, and each body is found in his workshop, he starts to see patterns. What develops is a web of treason (a Roman decurion helping rebels in the area), assassination for hire (a Roman courier who kills on order), and an election that is subject to bribery.

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The Burning Candle – A Review

The Burning Candle: A Medieval NovelThe Burning Candle: A Medieval Novel by Lisa J. Yarde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How would you grow up, in an age where women were generally borne only to be bartered as marriage partners for position, land, power, and heirs, and men could not trust brothers, childhood friends, their king if a noble, or their nobles if a king? How would you hold up, if you were a girl-child, beaten by your parents to teach you to be submissive, told you would be married to a man far older than you, whom you do not know? What personality would you present to the world? What would you dare to hope for? Would you hope for anything?

 

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Last One Out – original flash fiction

Last One Out, Turn off the Lights by Marie A Parsons

The launches were slowing down now, as she knew they would. Exciting as the prospect of colonizing a new world was, surely leaving Earth was bittersweet. The human race had done it, contrary to myth, superstition, esoteric texts, odd certainties, and ancient sages. It had taken more than a millennium to achieve. But after several “armageddons” and “ends-of-world” that never happened, and after the ‘Net had strengthened and deepened human connection, human beings realized their next great stride was out to the stars. Collectively, with one voice, humanity decided it was time to head out into the stars. All those earth-like planets to start anew…

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Empress of the Seven Hills – A Review

Empress of the Seven Hills (Rome, #3)Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Empress of the Seven Hills takes place during the reign of Emperor Trajan of Rome. Domitian, previous Emperor, had been assassinated in Quinn’s earlier book Mistress of Rome. Reading that book first is not essential to the utter enjoyment afforded in reading Empress.

This novel centers around several distinct characters: Vix, Titus, Sabina, and Plotina. We learn of Vix, a gladiator turned legionary who maintains an on-again, off-again, passionate love affair with Sabina, in his own voice. Sabina is a wild and clever woman, who marries Hadrian (who by the end of the tale has become Emperor himself. Titus Antoninus first appears as a young, gangly youth in deep love with Sabina, but later he serves in the legions as tribune, one of the most honest and attentive. Eventually he marries Sabina’s half-sister. Finally, there is Plotina, Trajan’s wife and a plotting schemer par excellence. She will do anything to see her precious Hadrian come to the Imperial throne.

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The Wedding Shroud-a Historical Fiction Review

The Wedding ShroudThe Wedding Shroud by Elisabeth Storrs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caecilia is the daughter of a Roman patrician and plebeian, in the century just after Rome ejected its last king and became a Republic. She is unable to be considered an aristocrat yet too noble to be simply one of the people. As a Roman girl, she is subject to the authority of the patriarch of her family. Growing up knowing only cold harshness, Caecilia seems still to be immersed in all the stolid and somber traditions and mores of her Roman upbringing. So when she is given in political marriage to a man from Etruscan Veii, part of the League with which Rome is often in armed conflict, Caecilia is unsure how to fit in with the much freer ways of Etruscan domestic, social and political life. She is also unsure whether or not her husband truly loves her or is haunted by the past.

The Etruscan culture is fascinating by itself–more so when it stands alongside that of the Roman culture of the same time. Too more disparate cultures living so close together could not be more intriguing. It is refreshing to see a fictionalized account of how both cultures might have dealt with each other, in a way more personal and day-to-day than Livy’s history might indicate. Caecilia is an engaging heroine–although it was more frustrating than not, reading page after page where all she did was vex at the depravity, as she viewed it, of the Etruscans, without any respite (e.g. her taking a trip to the farm area to see the land, or perhaps even demonstrate one aspect of her Roman heritage that might serve to bring both cultures more together.) It occasionally felt galling to read her too-constant whining and slapping at her new Etruscan family; she seemed almost too fraught with self-righteousness, certainly at the outset. Hard to believe that in those early stages a Roman woman would have been quite so apt to defend a Roman life about which she must have known so little.

But perhaps even that weakness is more a product of Rome vs everyone else. Hopefully E. Storrs will venture again and often into the world of Etruria and bring more characters to life.

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