Category: Ancient Egypt

#PubDay Book Review | “The Fortune Teller” by Gwedolyn Womack Sophomore release by the author of “The Memory Painter”

Posted Tuesday, 6 June, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: Originally, as a hostess of HFVBTs (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) I was able to participate on the blog tour for Ms Womack’s debut novel: The Memory Painter. (see also Review) I was contacted by the author to gauge if I had interest in her sophomore release ‘The Fortune Teller’ of which I researched on her site and found the premise to be quite intriguing. I readily accepted her offer to read this for an honest review and she had her publisher send me a paperback copy of which I was grateful. I received a complimentary copy of “The Fortune Teller” direct from the publisher Picador in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoyed reading this author’s previous release: The Memory Painter

Womack uses creative juxtapositions throughout her novel – where we’re with Bryan and Linz one moment, whilst being treated to a sequence of knowledge not yet introduced to the main thread of the story-line. This is where she shifts both perspective and the trisectional splitting between the main context of how Bryan & Linz are inter-connected to each other, the critical research on Alzheimer’s and the mystery History has attempted to shroud out of memory and sight from humanity. She presents her characters with a depth of being who are grounded as much as they are dimensional. You can sense their emotions, even at a first glance to how they hold themselves and how they allow themselves to interact with others. There is quite a lot bubbling just below the surface – not only of the narrative direction but through the stitchings of how her characters are moulded together.

Womack writes with a subtle accuracy of giving you just enough information per each scene or character visit to allow you to tie everything together in the larger scope of things. It’s an interesting told narrative, from the point-of-view of shifting perceptions and how you are augmented through different portals of how the story-line is moving forward. The main focus is centred on Bryan and Linz, but you have other influences moving the timeline as well as how each cross-section pertains to the two protagonists who hold the key to the whole story! You can simply let your mind alight through Womack’s graceful narrative and let yourself wander as you wonder how the author knitted the story out of the ethers!

I give a nod of excellence to Womack for compellingly giving her readers a visceral level of realism towards understanding how Bryan painted his portraits of life and death! She used words as he uses paint – you could not help but feel as if you were standing below his portraits, seeing how everything felt alive and telling in that stance you took to see what shouldn’t be able to be seen. It’s a lovely novel of depth for the world of art, as similar to music, art is at times hard to conceptionalise on the page; Womack had such an organic way of presenting the art, you could not help but appreciate it in full!

How Womack was able to intervene on History to such a level of intriguing juxtapositions, I am uncertain! As she even brought back to life the compelling argument of how sometimes not everything is fully resolved before or after death! She interwove Egyptology in such a fascinating and inventive way as to cross their Ancient History with our current timeline! It was wonderful to watch her pull her layers together, explore the details further and to watch how even her characters were a bit startled by how everything was inter-connecting straight through to the finish! Her mind truly has captured the intricacies of a plot that is told not only through multiple perspectives but through a threading of counter current lives who are affectingly drawn to each other due to how their past lives originally affected their soul’s journey. Now that’s beyond impressive for a debut novel!

-as quoted from my review of The Memory Painter

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#PubDay Book Review | “The Fortune Teller” by Gwedolyn Womack Sophomore release by the author of “The Memory Painter”The Fortune Teller
by Gwendolyn Womack
Source: Direct from Publisher

Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, specializing in deciphering ancient texts. And when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele's life. But what happened to the cards? As the mystery of her connection to the manuscript deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Brossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Brossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781250099778

Also by this author: The Memory Painter, The Time Collector (Spotlight)

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Picador

on 6th of June, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 368

Published By: Picador (@PicadorUSA) via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing Theatre, Video & Cinema.

Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. The Memory Painter is her first novel.

Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 6 June, 2017 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Content Note, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Father-Daughter Relationships, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Modern Day, Pharaohs & Dynasties, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Seers, Supernatural Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Memory Painter” by Gwendolyn Womack

Posted Tuesday, 12 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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 Memory Painter” direct from the publisher Picador in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was wicked enthused to read ‘The Memory Painter’:

I still remember when I first learnt of The Time Travellers Wife – as I was still invested in being an active member of the Science Fiction Book Club (until the day arose where the quality of the hardback editions fell below everyone’s standards; early 2000s) when I happily collected my copy of the book amongst a few wicked awesome time travel, time shift or time slip stories which were being featured together! I have had a penchant for these theories of how to bend time to the will of a writer’s pen for most of my life – as I dearly love how you can subject a reader to the plausible realities of where time bends out of it’s continuum to a separate plane of thought, conscious and experience.

I never had the pleasure of reading the forementioned story before it became a bonefide feature film, which was of course, one of the few times I opted for the film over the book! My soul was crushed afterwards – I literally had trouble walking out of the theater as my emotional state was such to effectively render me wobbly on my feet! I love emotional stories, but this time round – I felt it was taken too far and evocatively affected me too deeply to even speak afterwards! I’ve been hesitatively curious about reading stories that might entertain a similar vein of emotional heartache yet at the same time, my imagination hungers for these stories where time is not as conclusive to it’s era nor of it’s living reality for those who lived within it’s scope.

Time is temporal and with that realisation comes the prospects of never quite understanding the full fabric of how time and our timescapes can be affected by the shifting parallels of how time is explored. This is truly why I wanted to read this particular story – to curl up inside another author’s vision of how time can be manipulated on one hand and how time is altered by those lives who walk outside of a traditional trajectory of a well-lived life. I also have been open to stories which deal with reincarnation ever since I first caught sight of The Reincarnation Library (which was a mail-order book club for hardback re-issues of classic stories that explored the theories behind it; as noted on a review by Nicole Evelina). Literature has the beautiful depth of scope to take us to new horizons and frontiers just past our peripheral understanding of life and how time runs concurrent to our own living histories.

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I’ve explored thought-provoking stories on Jorie Loves A Story under this vein of interest previously on my ruminative thoughts attached to the following stories:

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley (see Review); The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (see Review); A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (see Review); The Last Gatekeeper by Katy Haye (see Review); Intangible (see Review) & Invincible (see Review) by C.A. Gray; To Live Forever: an Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Watkins (see Review); Lemongrass Hope by Amy Impellizzeri (see Review); Antiphony by Chris Katsaropoulos (see Review); Moonflower by EDC Johnson (see Review); The Untied Kingdom by Kate Johnson (see Review); The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay (see Review); Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter (see Review); A Stitch in Time by Amanda James (see Review); Blue Spirit: A Tipsy Fairy Tale by E. Chris Garrison (see Review); The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley by Susan Örnbratt (see Review); Wishful Thinking by Kami Wicoff (see Review); The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman (see Review) and the partial review of The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead!

I included a reading list for Magical Realism on my review of The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker – which also proves the point how I continuously remain open to finding the story-tellers who are creating fiction that goes above and beyond the traditional threading of how a story can be told whilst visually capturing our imagination to jettison into a theory of how everything can be altered by perception!

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Notation on Cover Art: I was sent the trade paperback edition by Picador, where I must say, I was more impressed than the predominately ‘yellow’ jacket of the other edition!? The reason I am thankful for this version in my hands is because the colours are muted which elude to ‘yesteryear’ and the nod towards the clock with symbols etched into the background appearing as a watermark whilst cross-overlaid with the shadows of Bryan and Linz simply make sense to me! It has a weathered appearance you would expect of a time travel romance but also, the illusion of a greater mystery that lends the suspenseful nature of how the story is told through Womack’s narrative.

Blog Book Tour | “The Memory Painter” by Gwendolyn WomackThe Memory Painter
Subtitle: A novel of Love & Reincarnation
by Gwendolyn Womack
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Two lovers who have travelled across time.

A team of scientists at the cutting edge of memory research.

A miracle drug that unlocks an ancient mystery.

At once a sweeping love story and a time-travelling adventure, Gwendolyn Womack’s luminous debut novel, The Memory Painter, is perfect for readers of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Life After Life and Winter’s Tale.

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist, whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there’s a secret to Bryan’s success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. Bryan believes these dreams are really recollections―possibly even flashback from another life―and he has always hoped that his art will lead him to an answer. And when he meets Linz Jacobs, a neurogenticist who recognizes a recurring childhood nightmare in one Bryan’s paintings, he is convinced she holds the key.

Their meeting triggers Bryan’s most powerful dream yet―visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, died in a lab explosion decades ago. As his visions intensify, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

The Memory Painter is at once a taut thriller and a deeply original love story that transcends time and space, spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780425277720

Also by this author: The Fortune Teller, The Time Collector (Spotlight)

Genres: Genre-bender, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Historical-Fantasy, Magical Realism, Reincarnation Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Thriller, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Time Travel Fiction


Published by Picador

on 5th July, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Finalist for the 2016 RWA Prism Awards for Best First Book & Best Time Travel/ Steampunk category.

Published By: Picador (@PicadorUSA) via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Hardback, Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing Theatre, Video & Cinema.

Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. The Memory Painter is her first novel.

Photo Credit: Copyright JennKL Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 12 July, 2016 by jorielov in 21st Century, Alzheimer's Disease, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Art, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Boston, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Egypt, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Magical Realism, Modern Day, Neurosciences | Neurogenetics, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Passionate Researcher, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Reincarnation, Romantic Suspense, Science Fantasy, Star-Crossed Lovers, Time Travel, Time Travel Romance, Unrequited Eternal Love, Vulgarity in Literature, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Judgment” by D.J. Niko #Biblical #HistoricalFiction

Posted Friday, 10 June, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

On how I acquired the book & my connection to the publicist:

I was selected to participate on The Judgment blog tour coordinated by Hook of a Book Media & Publicity, run by a fellow book blogger and friend of mine: Erin Al-Mehairi. I crossed paths with Erin via her book blog Oh for the Hook of a Book when I first started hosting blog tours for historical fiction writers via HFVBTs. Our friendship developed out of a shared passion for riveting historicals with compelling stories and incredibly dimensional characters who felt they could walk off the pages! Friendship aside, as I start to host for her authors my opinions are based solely on the story I am reading for review and are never influenced by my connection to Erin. I take each story I am reading as a new experience whether or not I know the author or publicist directly or have only met them for the first time by accepting a book to review.

I received my complimentary copy of The Judgment direct from the author D.J. Niko in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read ‘The Judgment’:

(initial reaction)

I’ve seen her novels on blog tours, but the timing was never good for me to participate or get involved whilst the tours were progressing. I liked the fact this historical takes place in Ancient History! I’ve been wanting to find authors who write during this section of history, as Biblical Historical Fiction fascinates me! I also love the Ancient Civilisations of Egypt and Rome, whilst learning more about History so far removed from our present world to soak inside something wonderfully different! This was one reason I was so keen to read Stephanie Thornton’s “Daughter of the Gods” which I thoroughly LOVED!

Expanding on my initial joyous celebration of being selected to read my first Niko novel, and thereby my second Biblical Historical novel, I wanted to recaptialise on things I had shared during a blog tour about Women of the Bible: Scripture Princesses by Rebecca J. Greenwood (see Review & the Q&A) wherein I talked about my appreciation for ‘meeting’ some of the remarkable women of the Biblical Historical past. When I first encountered the book blogosphere, I went instinctively to my favourite author’s blogs (i.e. Lauren Willig* & Julie Lessman) before finding The Word Wenches*, Heroes, Heroines & History, and routed myself through the INSPY Fiction blogs which took me to a lot of incredible authors & book bloggers sites alike! I was stumbling across writers for Biblical Historical Fiction along that route as well, except to say, this isn’t a new pursuit of mine!

Going back into my childhood, when I would visit book shoppes quite regularly, seeking a wicked good story that may or may not be designated for my age group (as once I fought to understand how to read, I grew easily bored remaining inside my age group of selections! thus, I read adult novels by thirteen; although I sampled a bit prior to that! there wasn’t such a designated genre to explore like there is today for ‘young adult’.) – thus, I started to fetch an eye of interest for the Biblical fiction authors even back then! At the time, I knew the issues and story-lines facing those characters were going to be difficult to read, so I side-stepped them for lighter INSPY novels – mostly Historical Romance or a story of the Amish, as Amish & Mennonite Fiction always delighted me, as I had a bakery IRL as a teenager run by a local Mennonite family.

My curiosity for this section of literature, was re-inspired by Stephanie Thorton’s novel (as foresaid) but also by the Early Reader introduction by Ms Greenwood! I simply haven’t had the proper chance to sort through what is readily available to read whilst dipping further back into the past, than perhaps, I routinely do! We all have our ‘favourite’ timescapes and settings; for me, I like to continue to challenge myself to even move further back into the past, root out new heroines and heroes of time I may never have heard of or only know by ‘name’ but not on a personal level of saying ‘this person lived this life & accomplished this’.

When I caught sight of the premise behind The Judgment, I felt this was as good of a place as any to continue my journey — reading a story set against the backdrop of Kings would be an easy transition for me, as I spend enough hours wrapped up in the Royal Courts of England (throughout their extensive historical past!) to know a bit about life at court inasmuch as the political potboilers & changing tides that goes along with that kind of a life.

Some (aspects) of the story I know loosely based on lessons I learnt ages ago in Sunday School but I never would say my classes dipped past the superficial acknowledgement of things; hence one of the wrinkles I oft found with Sunday School. We might have been told about King Solomon being a ruler, but the lessons fell flat just as my lessons in school always did as well – names, dates, event markers in time; but never the exploration of who a particular person was or how that person lived or even, what happened between their birth, major event and date of death?

There is so much between ‘dates’ and ‘events’ – this is one reason I have drawn a pleasurable passion in reading Historical Fiction; imagine what is awaiting me in Biblical Historical Fiction!? Not to mention, in this instance it’s partially ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’, too! To say I was excited would be putting it mildly!

*NOTE: As I read across genres, I also read across Mainstream & INSPY literary spectrums; these two were earmarked to say, they were not INSPY but Mainstream. As literature to me is forever all-encompassing. To find out which INSPY authors are marked on my most immediate ‘next reads’ list, please visit my 70 Authors Challenge!

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Notation on Cover Art: It is hard not to readily notice the cover art on behalf of ‘The Judgment’ due to how strong the woman on the cover is portrayed! You immediately think back towards King Solomon’s era of life – where boldness was paramount to power; where women had to endeavour to overcome great odds & find the will to reign even when their heart was not fully invested. It was a time of uncertainty and a time where bold colours are felt to have flourished; thus I felt the make-up choices and the darker lit design befitted the quick impression that flitted to mind after reading the  premise of the story! Once I greeted Basemath in the first Chapter, everything pulled together nicely! It truly is a striking book cover but to match the character is beyond brilliant! Unfortunately for me, I believe my first inclination to believe which character is featured on the cover was mistaken.

Blog Book Tour | “The Judgment” by D.J. Niko #Biblical #HistoricalFictionThe Judgment
by D.J. Niko
Source: Direct from Author via Hook of a Book Media & Publicity

965 BCE

Upon the death of his father, Solomon has been appointed king of the united monarchy of Israel and Judah and charged with building the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. He travels to Egypt to negotiate with Pharaoh Psusennes II for gold for the temple and to improve relations between the two nations. There he falls in love with the pharaoh’s beautiful daughter, Nicaule, and the two kings agree to an arranged marriage. Against her will, for she loves another, Nicaule follows her new husband to Israel.

Forty years later, Solomon’s empire is on the verge of collapse. Power has made him arrogant, permissive, and blind to the scheming of his wife and one of his lieutenants to topple the united monarchy. As the king’s faith falters and his people’s morals collapse, enemies gather at the gates of Israel. A visit from a mysterious queen restores Solomon’s perspective in time to save his soul—but it is too late to preserve his kingdom.

Someone who once was loyal to King Solomon has come back to claim the crown of Israel—and tear Solomon’s empire asunder.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Biblical Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Medallion Press

on 10th May, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 317

Published By: Medallion Press (@medallionpress)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #TheJudgment, #AncientHistory & #WomenInHistory

+ #BiblicalFiction or #HistFic

Read the Guest Post attached to the blog tour I appreciated the most | The Lit Bitch

About D.J. Niko

D.J. Niko

D.J. Niko is the pseudonym for Daphne Nikolopoulos, an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer who has spent her entire adult life traveling the world.

As a former travel writer and zealous adventurer, she has visited remote spots on six continents, many of which have inspired her archaeological thriller series, The Sarah Weston Chronicles. She was born and raised in Athens, Greece, and now resides in Florida with her family.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 10 June, 2016 by jorielov in 10th Century BC, 1st Millennium BC, A Father's Heart, Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biblical Fiction, Biblical History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Christianity, Content Note, Domestic Violence, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Hook of a Book Media & Publicity, Important Figures of Ancient Times, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Iron Age, King Solomon, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women of Power & Rule

Blog Book Tour | “Alchemy’s Daughter” by Mary A. Osborne

Posted Thursday, 30 July, 2015 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “Alchemy’s Daughter” hosted by Italy Book Tours. Although I recently started to host for iRead Book Tours, this is my first tour with the Italian side of this duo book touring company! I received a complimentary copy of “Alchemy’s Daughter” direct from the publisher Lake Street Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Switching from France to Italy:

When I was first approached to host for iRead Book Tours, and their sister hosting services via Italy Book Tours, something inside me was quite keen on the idea to start reading stories set in Italy as I have been spending nearly two full years residing in the historical past of France! I love learning about different cultural traditions inasmuch as I like the angling of insight into my own heritage but sometimes I find that if I switch up the locales a bit, exchange one country for another, it keeps everything quite fresh and invigorating! Therefore, imagine my sweet surprise in finding I can start to tuck inside novels set in Italy and continue to time travel through history!?

I was quite happy to discover inside my ARC copy of this YA Historical a lovely bookmark from the publisher! Quite a keen surprise to discover and I can assure you it was used as I read the book! I love finding bookmarks in the pages of a book I am reviewing; as I am definitely a book blogger who can NEVER have too many! Laughs with mirth. Perhaps you feel the same!? Does your bookshelf have a lot of current reads and must-get-those-soon reads begging for your attention? Do you pick out bookmarks to compliment your reading queue whilst finding each book to be read has a bookmark, which leaves you a bit curious to find one to use with the current book in hand? Thus, you can see how lovely it was indeed for me to pull out a bookmark from a book I was reading as I blog my review! Quite champion of Lake Street Press!

Blog Book Tour | “Alchemy’s Daughter” by Mary A. OsborneAlchemy's Daughter
by Mary A. Osborne
Source: Publisher via Italy Book Tours

In medieval San Gimignano, Italy, daughters of merchants are expected to marry. But Santina Pietra cares only for Calandrino, a brilliant young scholar who is preoccupied with his ancient alchemical texts.

Soon Santina meets Trotula, the village midwife, who might or might not be a "strega," a witch. Trotula challenges her to forget Calandrino and become the woman she is meant to be. Some say she is a victim of the midwife’s spell, but Santina is determined to follow in Trotula’s footsteps even as calamities strike.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, Midwife | Midwifery, Young Adult Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Lake Street Press

on 14th May, 2015

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 288

Published By: Lake Street Press (@LakeStreetPress),
Available Formats: Trade Paperback only

NOTE: Alchemy’s Daughter is the PREQUEL to Nonna’s Book of Mysteries

Read more about the 1st Novel in the series

I opted to read the PREQUEL ahead of the first novel!

About Mary A. Osborne

Mary A. Osborne

Mary A. Osborne is the multiple award-winning author of Alchemy's Daughter and Nonna’s Book of Mysteries. A graduate of Rush University and Knox College, where she was mentored in the Creative Writing Program, Ms. Osborne is a registered nurse and holds degrees in chemistry and nursing.

Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as Hektoen International, Newcity, and the Examiner.com. Ms. Osborne lives in Chicago.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 30 July, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 14th Century, Ancient Egypt, Apothecary, ARC | Galley Copy, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Catholicism, Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Italy, Italy Book Tours, Late Middle Ages (1300-1500), Life Shift, Literature of Italy, Medical Fiction, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Naturopathic Medicine, Passionate Researcher, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Philosophy, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Religious History, Single Fathers, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, the Renaissance (14th-17th Centuries), Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights), Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, World Religions, Young Adult Fiction

+Blog Book Tour+ Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton {a novel of Ancient Egypt} Egyptology taken to a new level & sphere of literary breadth!

Posted Saturday, 24 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton

Published By: New American Library (NAL)
( ) an imprint of Penguin Group (USA
) 6 May, 2014
Official Author Websites:   Site | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book
Page Count: 448

Converse on Twitter via: #DaughterOfTheGods, #DaughteroftheGodsTour,

#StephanieThornton, #Hatshepsut, & #VirtualBookTourFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Daughter of the Gods” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Stephanie Thornton, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

My curiosity about Ancient Egypt started as a young child where my fascination with the Ancient Civilisation took a central focal point for aspiring to study Egyptology, as prior to realising I was a writer I felt I was being led into Archaeology. Part of the passion I had for Archaeology was my intense desire to understand the civilisations of the world as they were emerging into existence. I had not realised then, as I do now, that it was my keen interest in Sociological studies that led me more towards an awareness of Anthropological sites verse Archaeological. In full and equal measure, the desire to travel abroad to ancient ruins, temples, and sites of where the ancient’s drew breath and light was always an instinct of mine. The fact that I have already climbed four pyramids of the Mayans only encourages me to believe that I can still find the hours to uncover a way to keep this passion of mine throughout my next travel destinations.

The direct appeal is to bring History into the forefront of my living hours, to where walking and breathing where people lived so very long ago secures you in that setting, locale, and moment. I still recollect how I felt at a ruin in the Yucatán,… as Uxmal had this trance over me. I felt very interconnected to that city and the people who had lived there during its heyday, nearly to the brink I could see a bit past where the ruins still stood and how the city would have been the lifeblood of their era. Time and history are intertwined with one another, and there are certain places in this world where we can dip back into the vortex and draw back out a piece of what once was ‘the living now’.

Egyptology was one of the avenues of pursuit I once considered as a professional endeavour as I loved the aspect of venturing so far back into the living past as to nearly come face to face with one of the most dynamically original civilisations which set the bar for everyone else to follow. Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece are the sites of where most of us look back to gain insight into the present. I have carried this zest for the era into my motion picture wanderings as one of my favourite films is a classical one: Cleopatra (1934) starring Claudette Colbert. More recently, the trilogy of Mummy films starring Brendan Fraser took my mind away in imagined bliss of tempting the fates of tombs! To this day, I refer to the third film as “The Mummy in China” as it just made more sense to do so!

The extended trailer for “Cleopatra” (1934) starring Claudette Colbert on TCM! Introduced by Cecil B. DeMille, of whom is now one of the film-makers alongside Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra I admire most in the Golden Years of Hollywood. They each brought something genuinely unique to their style of motion pictures and were ahead of their years as far as where they took their stories.

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Book Synopsis:

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie ThorntonEgypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….

Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

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Author Biography:

Stepanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” is available from NAL/Penguin, and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” will hit the shelves May 2014 and “The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan” will follow in Fall 2014.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA book for lovers of Egyptology:

Illuminated to life by the little details you would expect to find out of an etching of Ancient Egypt unite inside your mind’s eye as you drink in the words of Daughter of the Gods. The fragrances of Myrrh are nearly smelt as I read the opening pages, as Myrrh was regularly burnt alongside Frankincense, Sandalwood, and Patchouli Musk. I always loved the aromatherapy of earthy scents when I used to burn incense whilst creating the words inside my own manuscripts. I even have a bit of a hilarious story when I first attempted to cleanse the air with my first smudging! Laughs. Incense wafts into your nostrils and gives you a sense of calm whilst you create. I always found it a way to dip into the portal of creativity and allow my mind to cart me off to ‘somewhere other than here’ even more readily than listening to music as oft-times I did not always want the interference of chord and tone, but wanted to dig a bit into the internal space where a writer creates their most museful of thoughts. As I started to read Daughter of the Gods I nearly wished I could unpack my sticks of ancient scents and absorb into the story on a different plane! Thankfully, my nose has a long memory and as I happily drank in Thornton’s words (the blessing hand of a wordsmith) I drifted back in reflection of the scents that used to sit in the air and allow my mind to stir a bottomless well of possibilities.

The insertion of references of ka had me smiling as I reflected back upon my studies of Tai Chi Chaun and Qigong, as the elements of the discipline in which I studied is the pursuit of strengthening one’s spiritual energy known as ‘chi’ or ‘qi’. The energy which is quite vital to living and a well of life embedded into our fiber. I had always known the Egyptians were most intrinsically intuitive about elements of life that most cultures do not acknowledge or discuss in modern eras. They are one of the few cultures who attached their lives to their spiritual souls in a way where the transition of life and the afterlife were not merely viewed as passages the soul took in exchange for another life but rather they threaded life and death in a tangible way whilst they lived. They were able to connect and observe the threads of time’s tapestry in gentle observations which led them to have a larger scope of perception knitted into their hearts.

If you think on it a bit, the Egyptians called on their Gods as way of keeping their spirituality a living guide during their everyday lives, as a way of having a spiritual ‘checking’ for their conscience and their actions. In this way, they remind me of Catholics who relate to Saints and turn to the Saints guides to understand how best to proceed. I also had not known the women during Hatshepsut’s time oft walked bare-chested with only a sheath to cover them. This practiced reminded me of the aboriginal tribe featured in one of my favourite childhood films Medicine Man. So much in fact, I found cross-references between aboriginal tribes and Ancient Egyptians! Except to say the main difference here, is that Hatshepsut’s attire was her assertion of power as a woman who was not afraid to dress as a man in order to prove the point of her confidence as Queen.

Lest I bring up that I was most intrigued and deeply savouring the rites of funerals inside Daughter of the Gods? Mummification practices and rituals of death are most fascinating to me! A bit like how I appreciate studying the Day of the Dead as much as the different passages of life for death throughout different World Religions and cultures of whom honour their dead in different ways.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

My Review of Daughter of the Gods:

Hatshepsut is a woman who approached life in a cavalier attitude prior to the violent death of her beloved sister Neferubity, whose kind heart and love of her younger sister befelled her fate. Neferubity took Hatshepsut’s place on the alter of death whilst a river bull locked a malicious maul of quavering alarm in Hatshepsut’s soul. The story of Daughter of the Gods begins at the very upturn moment in the future Queen’s life where she must decide on the kind of woman she is meant to be rather than the reckless one she was previously. A challenging beginning to insinuate a path of change and one of worth in a soul not yet tethered to a fate of honour, duty, and rule. In the quake of her anguish she took to self-harming and soul gutting sacrifices to resurrect an offering of peace and remorse in an effort to apologise to her sister resting in the Field of Reeds.

As Thornton describes the rituals of Ancient Egypt, I was drawn to noticing similarities to the Native American’s I’ve studied in the past (specifically the Lakotas), as they describe heaven as Happy Hunting Ground. Anubis is both the protector of the Dead as much as he is the equivalent of the Angel of Death in Christianity as he is the go-between guide from the living world to the afterlife. Part of what I loved about Thornton’s touch of giving us a strong representation of Ancient Egypt is that she allows the historical fact of the setting absorb into our bones as readily as drinking in the dialogue and narrative. She paints such a clarity of thought that your mind flickers forward along with the lead characters as they allow you the grace of spending a bit of time with them as they live their hours. I noticed that I did not have any difficulty in shifting into this timescape; which was a bit of a surprise, as I originally felt due to my lack of readings in this period I might falter to grasp it as strongly as I did. A credit to the writer!

Hatshepsut is like most women accustomed to being bourne into a role they do not wish to fill. She rebels against the convention of standard of her time, whilst plotting a way forward without being shackled to provincial roles befit a wife of a Pharaoh. It is how Thornton chose to portray her path I found most interesting, as I am uncertain how much is readily known about her through historical records. What I liked about this portrayal is its plausibility of being true. For a ruler known for her transformative view of her role as Queen, I would imagine she would take steps to ensure her position at all costs available to her. Yet. Her path towards the throne held an obstacle in that of her half-brother who was now her husband.

She is given a fleshing of character that makes you settle into her innermost thoughts as she chooses her next step alongside her fated path. Her life reminds me so much of the Royals in England, as they too, have destinies chosen for them prior to their ascension. To find happiness within the routine and to find joy within the process of the duties which are meant to be carried out of honour. She learnt a painful lesson along the way about how far a woman could carry her rebellion which had my mind reel back to my viewing of The Duchess (2008) starring Keira Knightley. Her husband Thut is a brute as much as the next man whose self-worth is hinged on perception rather than love. You ache along with Hatshepsut as she curls into an internal war of survival. She was betrayed as Caesar by those within her inner circle, as she kept company with a pack of jackals instead of seers.

As she would grow in her reign, so too would her ability to trust her own instincts as to what would be needed to be done. The greatest testament of her power given back to the world was her sincerity of protection and of wanting to ensure the sanctity of the ka of those she ruled. She knew of the depth of sacrifice but she also knew of the honour one needed to ascend through death. Her mind was oft a war-ground of internal conflictions. To lead was not good enough if she could not inspire prosperity through peace.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA notation on the writing style of Stephanie Thornton:

Thornton’s understanding on the metaphoric wordings to gain a reader’s attention in the heart of her story run counterpoint to the setting within Ancient Egypt, to where even the causal reader would acknowledge they were not within the walls of a the modern world! I loved how she could encapsulate the ‘time’ of Hatshepsut’s world with the flavourings of phrases which carved a deep stroke of Egyptian flair for everyday living! She had found a way to etch an eloquence out of the nuances and give us such a startling sense of their reality as to be able to breathe the same air! I loved feeling as though I had not only become transported but transplanted into the 1400s BC! This is not an easy feat and surely more difficult than the eras I am normally ensconced inside such as the Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian eras of England’s past! Within those eras, there is still a living sense of the day, of the regalia of the ton, and the essence of how the differences between the classes was set by station.

To step back into a fully realised realm of Egypt, when the first female ruler would set the foundation for Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I, is a triumph on Thornton’s research and her agile eye in knowing which details would be pertinent to share and guide us as we shifted forward in the story itself. I further applauded her ability to give the realism of Ancient Egypt its most coveted veil of truism! I oft find the writers who can breathe life into their novels to where we are in a lucid trance of where their novels are set give us the most joy to read. In this way, I cannot wait to read another novel by Thornton to see where my heart is led to traverse next! Although, part of me wonders, if Ancient Egypt will be re-explored or if there is another in her back-list I have not yet realised available?! It is most surely a realm I want to venture back into once more, for sure! And, now that the pendulum is set as it were, which author to yield to next to eclipse this wicked sweet story? As now that my palette has a taste for Ancient Egypt, I must yield to seeking out more stories to pacify my hunger! Such a happy thirst to have, eh?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Virtual Road Map of “Daughter of the Gods” Blog Tour is found here:

Daughter of the Gods Tour with HFVBTsFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comI am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

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Kindly know each post I include “Related Articles” those links were not selected by a computer, they were hand-selected by me! I read each one & felt it was necessary to include the links for reading after you had concluded my own blog post.

Reader Interactive Question:

Which books about Ancient Egypt have you become drawn into yourself!? What is it about the setting, time, and period of the Ancient Rulers that you find an appreciation of enquiry? What do you seek out whilst sourcing writers of the Ancient Times!? Do you like the drinkabliity of the narrative? The combination of a wordsmith’s vision against a researcher’s heart? Of whom is your favourite living history character to be explored in a fictional story!? Is there any Egyptian Ruler or lesser known person that you’d prefer to see come to life?!

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Daughter of the Gods”, Author Biography and Book Synopsis  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. The documentary “Hatshepsut’s Egypt” via History Stories had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share a complimentary feature on the subject of the novel. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Hatshepsut: The Woman Who Was King – (discoveringegypt.com) I loved how this site gives further insight into her legacy as a woman ruler & how she inspired the women who followed her to succeed in ruling where men only dared to previously.

The True (And Sometimes Painful) Story of Publishing Daughter of the Gods – (stephanie-thornton.com) I am beyond grateful Ms. Thornton had a writing friend who championed her passion for Hatshepsut and inspired her to continue to find a loving home for this to become a printed book of which has alighted in my hands to read! A true blessing indeed! There is nothing more precious than a writer’s belief in their stories nor in the determined heart to see a dream realised!

Discover Hatshepsut’s Temple – (youtube.com) This is such a unique video perspective of a slice of her life that unless you travel to Egypt would not be able to see yourself. Gave a grounding of the setting for the novel ahead of reading.

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Hatshepsut’s Egypt by History Stories

Inspired to Share: I wanted to find a video I could share that could draw out the essence of who Hatshepsut was whilst inspiring a visitor to find a tangible connection to her such as the one I found myself attached to whilst reading “Daughter of the Gods”. I realise sometimes it helps to have a visual aide to lay thought and dimension upon a story, which is one reason I am always attempting to find book trailers to include with my ruminations on the stories I love discovering; however in lieu of that first choice, I settled on this video. There is something about the presenters euphoric joy in uncovering bits and bobbles about Hatshepsut that inspired me to share this with you today. Notwithstanding a few errors or non-clarifications of a few historical facts (as evidenced in the comment threads on YouTube), I felt as history is subjective and elusive at the same time, any person who can draw this much of an enthused response of someone who lived and breathed over 3,500+ years ago deserves a bit of a spotlight! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 24 May, 2014 by jorielov in 1400s BC, Amun (God of Air), Ancient Civilisation, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Egypt Sports, Ancient Olympic Games, Archery, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Chariot Racing, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death & Burial Rites, Documentary on Topic or Subject, Egypt, Embalming Preservation, Geographically Specific, Hatshepsut, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Imhotep, Important Figures of Ancient Times, Marriage of Convenience, Mortuary Science, Mummification Practices, Native American Spirituality, Passionate Researcher, Pharaohs & Dynasties, Qigong, Re (God of the Sun), Rituals for the Afterlife, Rulers of Ancient Egypt, Tai Chi Chaun, Women of Power & Rule, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, World Religions