Livia Drusilla, wife to Caesar Augustus, mother of the Emperor Tiberius, ancestress to Emperors Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, and the first Empress of...moreLivia Drusilla, wife to Caesar Augustus, mother of the Emperor Tiberius, ancestress to Emperors Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, and the first Empress of Rome is the subject of Phyllis T. Smith’s novel, I Am Livia. If you’re thinking that she sounds pretty intriguing I can assure you that she is!
As the daughter of a Roman Senator, Livia is incredibly intelligent and politically astute – a trait that comes in handy in later her role as wife and confidante of Caesar. Like most powerful women in history, Livia’s been given a bad rap. Smith’s Livia is not necessarily what you would call a “schemer”, but more a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. Her marriage with Caesar was both politically important, but also a true love match. They were married for over 50 years and their relationship is sweetly portrayed in the book.
All in all I was quite impressed by Smith’s ‘I Am Livia’. There were a few areas where the dialogue could have been a little stronger and less modern, and there were occasional info dumps, but I was greatly entertained and educated. Livia Drusilla was a woman before her time, a true inspiration for future Empresses, and a fascinating historical figure. I greatly recommend this novel to those who enjoy Ancient Rome and strong female protagonists.
I thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour and giving me the opportunity to read this wonderful historical novel.
More Historical Fiction Reviews at Passages to the Past!
There's always a bit of trepidation when starting a book by an author that you've never read before, but sometimes the risk pays off in spades. Case i...moreThere's always a bit of trepidation when starting a book by an author that you've never read before, but sometimes the risk pays off in spades. Case in point THE VENETIAN BARGAIN by Marina Fiorato. Holy moly, how in the world I haven't read her yet I can't say, I'm just glad that I took the plunge because this novel was ah-ma-zing!
16th century Constantinople and Venice explode off the pages in The Venetian Bargain! You see the sights and smell the smells of these two exotic locales vividly under Fiorato's skillfull pen. The ambience and mood of the time feels spot on and it's easy to get lost in the descriptions.
The main themes of the novel are the Plague and the various medical practices that existed, both based on either superstition or science, and the religious differences between the Turks and Christians. It's clearly evident to the reader that the author's done her research. But it's not just the historical aspects that make this book so hard to put down, it's Fiorato's writing style. I was immediately drawn in by her strong and polished voice and held captivated until the end.
Um, and can we talk about the cover? Hello, gorgeous! I need that dress pronto (and if the figure comes with it, so much the better)! It suits the book perfectly and I can totally believe that could be Feyra.
The Venetian Bargain is one of those books that will make you want to hide away behind a locked door, ignore the cries of your husband and kids, and the hundreds of emails waiting a response, and the call of dirty dishes, and just READ. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, you can thank me later!(less)
Peter Pan was one my favorite children’s stories when I was little…fairies, flying, lost boys, mermaids, what isn’t there to love? Then came the release of the movie HOOK, starring Robin Williams, when I was a teenager and it was fantastic to re-visit the magical world of Pan, Tinker Bell, and Captain Hook. Now as an adult I am back again in Neverland, but this time author Lisa Jensen has turned it on its head! Take everything you know about Peter Pan and throw it out the door because nothing is as you remembered.
Alias Hook is a darker, R-rated version of the Peter Pan story that you know, as told from the villainous Captain Hook, but as the real man behind the legend. He tells of his life as the son of an aristocrat and how he ended up stuck for centuries in a Neverland purgatory, endlessly harassed by Pan and his Lost Boys. That sweet chance at freedom will come to Hook in the form of Stella Parrish, but it won’t be easy to break the spell keeping him there.
One of the things that I love best about my Kindle is the ability to highlight passages, and boy did I highlight the crap out of this book. There were so many fantastic lines and quotes that I wanted to share but didn’t dare since I have an early reviewer copy. However, I stalked Lisa Jensen on Facebook and ran the lines by her and she kindly confirmed that the quotes I used in this review did make the final version.
There is no other way to describe Jensen’s writing other than magical. I was “hooked” from the very first page…and yes, that pun was indeed intended …and didn’t want to put it down until I absolutely had to, or when threatened by my husband or kids. Jensen is a natural storyteller, and she knows how to suck a reader in and keep them enthralled. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read Alias Hook and I cannot wait to see what else in store from Lisa Jensen. Whatever it is, I’ll be checking it out for sure! (less)