Category: Elizabeth I

A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Spotlight | “A Murder by Any Name” (Book One: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery series) by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Posted Thursday, 27 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Spotlight 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 “A Murder by Any Name” direct from the author Suzanne M. Wolfe in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On finding a new publisher of Mysteries & Suspense:

Earlier in [2018] I crossed paths with Vivian Conroy on Twitter – this led me to the weekly #HistFic chat known as #HistFicChat, wherein I had the delightful joy of being able to engage in conversation with like-minded bookish spirits who loved devouring Historical stories across genres of interest whilst having the happiness of interacting with today’s writers of Historical Fiction. I attempted to join each of the convos as I could as they run on Thursdays at 3pm (EST)(NYC) – bearing weather or connectivity issues or illness, I can honestly say they became a fixture of bookish loveliness for me! I continue to look forward to each new chat as they arrive, which will be resuming on the 3rd of January, 2019!

Due to this connection, I was noting a new publisher I hadn’t come across previously or if I had, I hadn’t had the opportunity to read their titles – as I felt I had known of them (in name only) prior to conversing with Ms Conroy. This new publisher is Crooked Lane Books – if you visit their website you’ll find they have a delightful array of Mysteries, Suspense & Thrillers! So much so, I have a feeling I’ll be reading through more of their catalogue of authors throughout the coming New Year!

I have been reading Ms Conroy’s series this Christmas Week – specifically the first of her Book & Tea Mysteries and the first of her Historical Mysteries: A Merriweather and Royston Mystery. How lovely is it then, during the same week I had the chance to read a second author by this lovely publisher?

You’ll find that I have a soft spot for Mysteries – especially of the Cosier side of the ledger, as most of my #cloakanddaggerchristmas showcases are of that particular variety, however, I also love to sink my teeth into something more daring within the realms of Suspense & Thrillers, yielding to my affinity for Historical narratives within that scope as there is nothing more enjoyable than traversing through History whilst caught up in a suspenseful plot!

Thereby, I am happy to say, I think I have found a lovely new publisher and I continue to look forward to expanding my readerly life with their stories and serials! Even if some of their releases are not my cuppa tea there is such a wide variety of stories to chose from it will be a joy to figure out which authors and their stories will become my favourites as I explore the publisher’s offerings.

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A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Spotlight | “A Murder by Any Name” (Book One: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery series) by Suzanne M. WolfeA Murder by Any Name
Subtitle: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery
by Suzanne M. Wolfe
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.

The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.

When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781683317142

Genres: Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 9th October, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 336

Published by: Published By: Crooked Lane Books (@crookedlanebks)

Converse via: #HistoricalMystery, #HistMys #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Suzanne M. Wolfe

Suzanne M. Wolfe

Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.

Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 27 December, 2018 by jorielov in 15th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Crime Fiction, Elizabeth I, Elizabethan Era, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Queen Elizabeth I

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

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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