Category: Tudor Era

Blog Book Tour | “The Semper Sonnet” by Seth Margolis

Posted Friday, 27 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “The Semper Sonnet” direct from the author Seth Margolis in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title interested me to read:

I am not your typical reader for this particular type of Thriller as I shy away from the stories mentioned in being within the framework of similarity to this novel; so much so, I honestly surprised myself in wanting to read this one – except to say, I have a soft spot for Shakespeare – and a personal goal to read through his Sonnets and Plays whilst refuelling my participation in The Classics Club over the score of the new few years.

When I read one of the Sonnets themselves was the cipher key to this mystery, I was quite hooked! I love ciphers and codes – as much as I love a tautly written suspense novel! I decided to take a chance on this title and see if I could find my next favourite thriller author! I’d be curious what drew others to read this title and if they had known about the publisher Diversion Books prior to finding it?! I noticed they are publishing a lot of different kinds of stories – I am sure I will be reading more by them in the future.

This marks my first review past The Breedling and the City in the Garden (see also review) and You’re the Cream in my Coffee (see also review) as I am re-aligning myself back into blogging after my family’s medical emergency. Although, I had attempted to read this story in December – later than I had planned to post my review on the blog tour itself, I simply could not alight into the chapters nor focus on the narrative. Novels at that point in time were a struggle for me to find footing inside – which is why the novellas by ChocLit (see also #MidnightChocLit) helped heal my bookish heart and provided a way for me to reclaim my bookish life. Since then, I’ve been treading water – dipping my toes back into literature one story at at time; whilst being honest with myself about which stories I can alight inside and which ones I simply needed to ‘hold over’ until I could honestly enjoy reading them. This is one of those stories I knew I needed a bit longer to appreciate and am thankful I had the breathing space to read it – even off-tour, to where I could properly give the story a chance to resonate with me.

I’m starting to find my way back inside stories and finding the words to express what I’m reading – as you can denote from my anthology review of Gifts of the Magi (see also review) and the audiobook Halfway Dead (see also review); however, all things being equal it was a bit more of an uphill climb than I first thought possible. I appreciate everyone’s patience in me – as I had to re-shuffle my blog’s schedule this December by pushing reviews in January. In many ways, I’m past deadlines for several reviews whilst posting within the tours which are still running (i.e. Illusions of Magic (see also review) and Beyond Derrynane (see also review) this January. One review I postponed into January (The Egg & I) will be  posting in conjunction with my review of The Plague & I; two memoirs I’ve been listening to on audiobook. Each new post I’m featuring is a journey back to my blog and a lift of spirit for the girl who loves blogging inasmuch as she loves reading. Here’s to resuming where I left off and finding new stories to appreciate as well.

NOTE: The one blog tour I’m still working on amending with a review this January is Who Is To Blame? as this tour ran the week my Dad was in the hospital recovering from his stroke. Meanwhile, I hope everyone is had a merry December whilst enjoying Winter’s reprieve from Summer.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Semper Sonnet” by Seth MargolisThe Semper Sonnet
by Seth Margolis
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In this stunning thrill ride, perfect for fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry, a long-lost manuscript, written for Elizabeth I, holds the key to unlocking the past—and to eliminating the future.

Lee Nicholson is ready to take the academic world by storm, having discovered a sonnet she believes was written by William Shakespeare. When she reads the poem on the air, the words put her life in peril and trigger a violent chase, with stakes that reach far beyond the cloistered walls of academia.

Buried in the language of the sonnet, in its allusions and wordplay, are secrets that have been hidden since Elizabethan times, secrets known only to the queen and her trusted doctor, but guessed at by men who seek the crown and others who seek the world. If the riddles are solved, it could explode what the world knows of the great Elizabeth I. And it could release a pandemic more deadly than the world has ever imagined.

Lee’s quest for the answers buried in the sonnet keeps her one step ahead of an international hunt—from the police who want her for murder, to a group of men who will stop at nothing to end her quest, to a madman who pursues the answers for destructive reasons of his own.

As this intelligent thriller moves back and forth between Tudor England and the present day, Lee begins to piece together the meaning behind Shakespeare’s words, carrying the story to its gasp-out-loud conclusion.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781682300558

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Thriller


Published by Diversion Books

on 19th April, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 374

Originally Published By: Diversion Books an imprint of Diversion Publishing Corp.
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic + #Thriller

About Seth Margolis

Seth Margolis

Seth Margolis is a writer whose most recent novel, THE SEMPER SONNET, was published on April 19. He is the author of six earlier novels, including LOSING ISAIAH, which was made into a film starring Halle Berry and Jessica Lange.

Seth lives with his wife, Carole, in New York City. They have two grown children, Maggie and Jack. Seth received a BA in English from the University of Rochester and an MBA in marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business Administration. When not writing fiction, he is a branding consultant for a wide range of companies, primarily in the financial services, technology and pharmaceutical industries. He has written articles for the New York Times and other publications on travel and entertainment.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 27 January, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 16th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Castles & Estates, Content Note, Crime Fiction, Elizabeth I, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Tudor Era, Vulgarity in Literature, William Shakespeare

Blog Book Tour | “The Tudor Vendetta” by C.W. Gortner, the concluding installment of the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy!

Posted Friday, 28 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Tudor Vendetta by C.W. Gortner

Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TudorVendetta, #HistoricalMystery & #TudorVendettaBlogTour

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Tudor Vendetta” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher St. Martin’s Griffin, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interested in Reading:

As I had previously disclosed on my interview with Mr. Gortner, I had made a bit of a mistake in having confused one of his stand-alone novels for being inclusive to the Spymaster Chronicles series; when I realised the error, I had run out of time to ILL the second novel The Tudor Conspiracy and this past week, I plumb ran out of time to read The Tudor Secret, as I had originally planned to read the first novel if I only had the chance to read one of the two. I am always making an attempt to remember to allow time to read a series properly, however, there are moments in each of our lives where our best intended plans go a bit differently than we planned them too.

Nevertheless, the main reason this series and the writings of Gortner had attracted me in the first place, were the uncanny technical eye for history and historical accuracy the writer fuses into his stories overall. I started to read the author’s blog last Autumn 2013, and noted his dedication combined with a spirit for history. History has either inspired people or befuddled them, because even as I was a young girl, I was quite the history buff myself — my curious  mind was inclined to ponder where my classmates tended not to mind knowing one way or the other. The blessing to me were the writers of historical fiction and biographical fiction (one of my favourite sub-genres) who bridged the gap between what a history (technically written) textbook and a novel could give the reader.

I was quite charmed to the prospect of reading a C.W. Gortner novel my 2nd Year as a Book Blogger, and I am hopeful this will only be the beginning of my readings of his stories. As you see, there are quite a few I am keen on reading next: the forementioned Spymaster Chronicles, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and Mademoiselle Chanel in 2015.

Blog Book Tour | “The Tudor Vendetta” by C.W. Gortner, the concluding installment of the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy!The Tudor Vendetta
by C.W. Gortner
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: , Mademoiselle Chanel

Series: The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles,


Also in this series:


Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by St. Martin's Griffin

on 21st October, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 304

The Tudor Secret (Book 1: the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) Book Trailer via C.W. Gortner 

About C.W. Gortner

CW Gortner

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

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Posted Friday, 28 November, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Elizabeth I, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Tudor Era

+Book Review+ The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy #histnov, #Tudor

Posted Friday, 11 July, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

Published By:Kensington Publishing Corp. (), 25 February, 2014
Official Author Websites: Blog*previously this author had a site and Facebook
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book
Page Count: 272

Converse on Twitter via: #BoleynBride, #BrandyPurdy & #EmilyPurdy

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Acquired Book By: Whilst the blog tour for “The Boleyn Bride” was underway with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I was making my rounds to the different blogs who were hosting either an Author Interview or a Book Review, or a combination thereof. Although I was not personally connected to the blog tour myself, I oft-times find that the books which tour with HFVBT are ones that I am interested in and thereby my visits on their tour are a pure delight for me! As I am as bubbly on my visits as I am on my own blog as well as Twitter, I left some happy-hearted comments on behalf of this book & author. As she was a new-to-me author as at that point in time I had not heard of her works or known of her works as well as I do now. Shortly after my visits, I received a note from Ms. Purdy asking me if I would be interested in reading her novels. I received a complimentary copy of “The Boleyn Bride” direct from the author herself, Brandy Purdy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how I know Ms. Purdy: As I was contacted originally a few months back to read both “The Boleyn Bride” and “The Queen’s Rivals”, we came to find ourselves enjoying the conversation which flowed together rather organically out of that correspondence. I have appreciated getting to know a fellow writer, especially one who writes historical fiction as that is one branch of literature although I deeply appreciate to read, was always a bit trepiderious to pen! I give such a strong nod to the writers who write such delicious historicals, because they give us a way to drink in history in an agreeable manner! I am honoured to have been given the chance to get to know her better in the process of scheduling the reviews on my blog. She even kindly enclosed bookmarks which feature her novels, and I’ve been enjoying them as I read! Bookmarks have become one of my favourite surprises to find enclosed within a book I receive for review!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her through the past few months by email. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

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Book Synopsis: A NOVEL OF ELIZABETH BOLEYN

From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning…Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Biography:

Brandy Purdy is the author of several historical novels. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, watching classic movies, or spending time with her cat, Tabby. She first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten when she read a book of ghost stories that contained a chapter about the ghost of Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at brandypurdy.com for more information about her books. You can also follow her via her blog at brandypurdy.blogspot.com where she posts updates about her work and reviews of what she has been reading.

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Historical backdrop focusing on the Tudors:

As odd as this might sound, my knowledge of the Tudors and of the Elizabethan era has grown tremendously over the score of time since I started blogging about books! Within the short few seven months of 2014, I can even say I have felt a stronger connection to the era and to the realm within the Courts than any other moment of my life, outside of the fact I’ve always have held a close attachment to Sir William Shakespeare! We all know of certain families by name alone without the beneficial back-story of who they were as they lived nor of the ramifications of their circumstances as their lives unfolded. One of the best bits about historical fiction is that if we find ourselves inspired to read one story about a specific person or persons who lived in the historical past, we have the tendency to seek out more about them either in non-fiction or continue to source other authors who draw a breath of their world onto the printed page in fiction.

The Boleyn family is surely one of the ones I am referring too as having ‘known by name’ but without the close connections of who they were outside of the superficial and my interest in the Courts of England is one that I have never yet had the chance to broach! I love British History, mind you, but I also like a bit of brevity to what I read, as I do not always have to read a serious accountment of history but rather, I find myself attracted to stories that either are lifted straight from the annals of historical records OR conjured out of the imaginary heart of its writer. I went into reading The Boleyn Bride full of expecting to experience the Tudors and their interior worlds as a reader who is enjoying her pursuit of their lives!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Friday, 11 July, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, Arranged Marriages in Royalty, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Britian, Clever Turns of Phrase, Disillusionment in Marriage, Elizabeth Howard Boleyn, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Mental Health, Romance Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, Tudor Era, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice