Tag Archives: adult

Mistress of Lies by Holly West Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

HollyWestBanner1Welcome to the Mistress of Lies Blog Tour! I’m happy to be a part of this tour, as fortunetelling and historical fiction are two of my favorite things. While I don’t agree with all of the author’s ideas about fortunetelling (I’m a professional tarot reader, after all), I think she did a phenomenal job researching 17th Century fortunetelling and bringing the time period to life.

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MISTRESS OF LIES
Mistress of Fortune #2
Author: Holly West
Release Date: Sept, 29 2014
Publisher: Carina

London, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried, especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

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black-divider-no-background-hiGuest Post

Fortunetelling in the 17th Century

I’ve always been pretty up front about the fact that I don’t personally believe that anyone has the ability to predict the future. But I chose this profession for my heroine, Isabel Wilde, for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve always been fascinated by the cultural traditions of soothsayers and healers, particularly “wise women.” Medical science was in its infancy in the 17th century, and only the rich could afford physicians. Wise women took up the slack, especially in rural areas.

Second, I needed Isabel to be able to earn a living for herself outside of the occupations typically available to women in the 17th century. The roles of wife, mother, servant, or prostitute were not for her. I liked the idea of creating a strong female character that understood the constraints of her gender, working them to her advantage rather than letting them define her. She isn’t shy about the fact that she’s a charlatan—unless you happen to be one of her customers, of course—but at heart she wants to help people. Though Isabel isn’t exactly a wise woman, she does recommend various herbs and connections to her customers and offers sincere, practical advice when she can.

Her main role is that of a fortuneteller, however, and as such, part of my research included a visit to a fortuneteller. I’ll admit to being nervous, not because I feared she’d reveal something unexpected, but because I didn’t want her to know I was only there for research purposes. I made an effort to be myself as much as possible while paying attention to her words and methods. In the end, she wasn’t much help because her questions and answers were so vague—since I was writing a book I need to present more compelling encounters, so much of what appears in my novels is entirely made up.

The main method Isabel uses in her occupation is palm reading. Tarot cards existed at the time, but their original purpose was for playing games and while there’s evidence they were used for divination in the mid 16th century,  the cards themselves held no meaning. I used the Internet to research chiromancy and used its principles as a loose guide in determining what her counsel would be to her various customers.

London was full of astrologers in the 17th century. In a time when much of the population was illiterate, the signs above their shops featured crescent moons, stars, and suns to identify their businesses. In the series’ first book, Mistress of Fortune, Isabel pays a visit to her friend and mentor, Mary Bixby. Mary is an astrologer, and to write the scene I prepared an astrological chart for Isabel. I enjoyed getting into Mary’s head as she gives Isabel counsel and tried to be as authentic as possible in interpreting the chart.

While I can’t say my opinions about fortunetellers have changed as a result of my research, I do enjoy imagining Isabel’s adventures as a soothsayer. I guess you could say my love of writing the Mistress of Fortune series is “written in the stars.”
black-divider-no-background-hiAbout the Author

holly_headshot_0214Holly West is a crime fiction writer based in Los Angeles. Her short stories appear in several anthologies and her debut historical mystery, MISTRESS OF FORTUNE, will be published by Carina Press in 2014.

Website: hollywest.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerhollywest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hollywest
Instagram: http://instagram.com/hollywest

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4932670.Holly_West

 

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Giveaway

HWest Giveaway

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1 Winner will get a Kindle Fire HD 7 (8GB) Tablet in their choice of color.

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The Last King by A. Yamina Collins Blog Tour + Giveaway!

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Presented by:
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covergifTitle: The Last King by A. Yamina Collins

Series: The Last King: Book I

Vol #: 1-3

Author: A. Yamina Collins

Audience: Adult Fiction

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Suspense

Formats: E-Book

Publisher: DeeBooks Publishing, LLC

Pages: 230 pages per episode

ASIN: B00IC0M8HS

Date Published: February 8, 2014

blurb

The Last King, Book I by A. Yamina Collins is an 11-part serial novel. A modern-day fantasy romance about a young woman innocently caught in a war between two age-old nemesis: God, and immortal beings whose ancestors ate from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.

Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in—she’s six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore—she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.

Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George’s newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.

But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites’ possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a “Glitch” —an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen “property” of immortality and kill them off.

When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead’s Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead’s vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.

Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite’s greatest threat—they’re also their greatest love.

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Book Review from Black Pearls Magazine Online
The Last King by A.Yamina Collins, a Science Fiction Romance, is a marvelously layered story filled with drama, suspense and memorable characters. The author, a masterful storyteller, brings to life a story about a line of people who cannot die because their ancestors marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the tree of life. God, however, considers this act, and the subsequent immortality that came with it, to be theft. God wants their immortality returned and he deals with their transgression by playing a cosmic sort of chess game with the Edenites!
The Last King is part fantasy, romance, religion and history. What an interesting mix for an 11 part series. This was my first time reading a serial novel and I have to say this one was excellent! I can’t wait to read the other chapters to this phenomenal storyline. I highly recommend this serial novel to the readers.
—Reviewed by Ella Curry, publisher of Black Pearls Magazine Online
 
 

excerpt

EXCERPT FROM THE LAST KING, EPISODE # 2
CHAPTER 8 – Her

Kill her, a voice in his head tells him.

Yes, of course, he responds. That’s what I have to do. And how should he do it? Should he follow her home when the lecture is over, come up behind her in her driveway, or wherever she lives, and snap her neck like a twig? Whatever he does, he needs to be cruel. He needs to teach her and the One who sent her a lesson. Yes, that’s it. He will do to her what his brother Micau did to his own Glitch: something so physically twisted that it would make the ears of any human who hears about it and finds her remains, shutter.

Slowly he starts to straighten up and just in time. The door to the auditorium swings open suddenly, and out it walks. He cannot make out her whole face because her hands are covering her mouth and nose, but he can see her big eyes, and the alarm in her face. Two other people are following it – following her, and making a commotion behind her.

“Hold your head back,” one of them is saying, trying to still the bleeding woman’s franticness.

But blood has already seeped onto her white dress, and Gilead can hear her saying, “Not again, not again,” as she rushes past him. Not again. So it’s happened before. Gilead thinks. Of course it has It happened the other day, while Gilead was standing outside the restaurant, didn’t it? She was somewhere around the vicinity that night, near the boardwalk, wasn’t she?

In a moment, the woman, looking a bit disoriented no, disappears into the bathroom and Gilead closes his eyes and bites his lower lip.

Now he knows why he missed the fine print on the flier, and why he had a desire to come to this lecture in the first place.

It’s Him.

Gilead curses under his breath; curses Him with everything he’s got.

Her? He thinks, in disgust. Against the greatness of me? That simple-looking thing?

It’s insulting.

Opening his eyes, he takes the opportunity to move toward the exit as a few more new comers enter the building. It’s all Gilead can do to appear as normal as possible—he stands up straight and forces himself not to clutch his stomach.

Outside, he takes in several quick breaths of air, and doubles over again.

Why should he fear her?

“I will break her,” he mutters to himself. “If I have to rip off her whole face, I will break her.”

Something about him saying this brings him a feeling of relief. He is clear-eyed and focused for a moment, even self-assured, for he knows that once he makes up his mind about reaching a goal, it’s as good as done.

He will kill her tonight, somehow.

But before he can contemplate how to execute his plans, he cups a hand over his mouth, rushes toward a nearby bush, and vomits onto the leaves and branches.

( Continued… )

© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, A. Yamina Collins.

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1 x $25 Amazon Gift Card
author

clip_image004A. Yamina Collins is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. She has written for publications such as New York Resident magazine, Our Town and the Manhattan Spirit. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan. The Last King is her first novel. Check out her blog at Yaminatoday.com.
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Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / Pinterest / Google + / Audio Reading

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follow the tour

Tour Schedule – One Week Blog Tour for The Last King by A. Yamina Collins from July 6 to 12, 2014.
July 6
Rose Shadow Ink – Promo & Author Interview
For the Love of Books – Promo
Our New Generation for Reading – Promo
A Cauldron of Books – Promo
July 7
Book Hostage – Promo
Angels with Attitude Book Reviews – Promo
The Avid Reader – Promo
July 8
Book Talk Reviews – Promo
Tammy’s Tea Time – Promo & Review – Episode1 to 3
The Idle Musings of a Writer’s Mind – Promo
Night Owl Reviews – Promo
July 9
iHeart Books by MiLo18 – Promo
The Phantom Paragrapher – Promo
Bajgajka Loves Books And Giveaways – Promo
July 10
Crazy Beautiful Reviews – Promo
Patricia D. Eddy- Promo
Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom – Promo
July 11
Sweet Treat Reading Reviews – Promo
Indy Book Fairy – Promo
Fiction Dreams – Promo
July 12
Girlygirlbookreviews – Review – Episode1 to 3
Bound 2 Escape – Promo
Eclipse Reviews – Promo
Portals to New Worlds – Promo

A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Diener Book Blitz + Giveaway!

To post this Blitz and add your Social Media to the Rafflecopter, 
email us at PrismBookTours(at)gmail.com with “A Dangerous Madness” in the subject line!
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It’s RELEASE DAY for Michelle Diener’s third book in her Regency London Series, A Dangerous Madness!
A Dangerous MadnessA Dangerous Madness
by Michelle Diener
Adult Historical
May 19th 2014

The Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie…

He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life…but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he’s asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone believes he still is to find out more.

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too…

All her life she’s played by society’s rules, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it’s gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, though a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he’s been murdered, she realizes he wasn’t so harmless after all.

And now the killers have set their sights on her…

The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker–a man she knows she shouldn’t trust. And she soon realizes he’s hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the clock ticks down to the assassin’s trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy behind the prime minister’s death. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first.

SPECIAL OFFER
 
It just so happens that In Defense of the Queen, one of my Tudor-set historicals, is on special offer at the moment on Amazon, down to $0.99 from $4.99. The offer ends on May 24th, so if you like historicals with twists, turns and a lot of suspense, be sure to grab a copy.
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Connections

I am so excited that my historical novel, A Dangerous Madness, releases today. A Dangerous Madness is set during the Regency period in London, and the plot revolves around the assassination of the British prime minister, Spencer Perceval.

 
A Dangerous Madness stands alone, but it is also connected to two other of my historical novels, The Emperor’s Conspiracy and Banquet of Lies. The fun part of connecting the novels for me was to revisit characters I love from the previous two books (which are also connected to each other) but introducing those characters so that a reader of A Dangerous Madness doesn’t have to have read the other two books to understand them. The characters have to stand alone, as much as the books do. But for those readers who have read either one or both of the previous books, they’ll see those characters again, and learn a little about what has happened to them since the last book.

I’ve had so many readers contact me and comment on how much they enjoyed catching a glimpse of one or other of their favorite characters, which I really love. And quite a few people who read Banquet of Lies went back to read The Emperor’s Conspiracy, and told me they found it equally satisfying, so readers don’t have to read the books in any particular order.
In this way, connected books are more versatile than a series, because most people are hesitant to read a series out of order, and I totally understand that. I also love that so many people wrote to me after Banquet of Lies, asking if the Duke of Wittaker would get his own story. It was very satisfying to tell them I had started working on it straight after I finished Banquet of Lies. 🙂
From the beginning of Banquet of Lies, the Duke of Wittaker is mentioned by various characters again and again, although readers only ‘meet’ him near the very end. But when he did arrive on the scene, he made a real impact. I wrote and rewrote the scenes with him in them, because he really shone as a character and I wanted to do him justice. I loved that readers felt the same way, and those who read Banquet of Lies and have been waiting for their Duke of Wittaker fix, I hope they enjoy A Dangerous Madness as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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About the Author

Image of Michelle DienerMichelle Diener writes historical fiction. Her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series, set in the court of Henry VIII, includes In a Treacherous Court, Keeper of the King’s Secrets and In Defense of the Queen.

Michelle’s other historical novels include Daughter of the Sky, The Emperor’s Conspiracy and Banquet of Lies (loosely connected to The Emperor’s Conspiracy).

Michelle’s first fantasy novel, Mistress of the Wind, is set for a December 23, 2013, release.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

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Blitz-Wide Giveaways:

Grand Prize: Print copies of The Emperor’s Conspiracy, Banquet of Lies, and A Dangerous Madness

5 Print or Kindle copies (winner’s choice) of A Dangerous Madness

Both giveaway are open internationally.

May 19th – 26th

See Rafflecopter for restrictions.

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Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon Guest Post + Adorable Otter Pictures!

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Guest Post by author Eliza Gordon

When you sit down to read Must Love Otters, I’ll bet you aren’t expecting to learn something along the way. I’m not a writer who seeks to hide secret messages in the material. Readers are smarter than that. The savvy writer works to infuse meaning and subtlety in their words without smacking folks over the head with an unspoken agenda.Elfin VanAqua August 2013

But a book isn’t a success unless the reader, who grants the writer the privilege of time, walks away with something. And with this book, I wanted that something to be more than a smiling face or a filled heart—I wanted to share a little love with the animal kingdom.

I know, I know—you’re reminding me that Hollie Porter is not a fan of Yorkies. Sorry, pups. No offense. You’re cute enough and lots of people love you. But what about the endangered sea otter? Enhydra lutris has three subspecies: the Southern sea otter (found in California, concentrated in the Monterey area), the Northern sea otter (Washington, Canada, and up into Alaska), and the Russian sea otter (off the coast of eastern Russia with reported sightings as far as Japan). We’re not talking huge numbers, though—the temperate central California coast iKatmai and Tanu DSC_2394s home to only about 3000 otters. While the Pacific Northwest boasts a healthier population of 65,000 to 78,000 critters, we’re talking about close to 3000 miles of coastline. When you do the math, that’s a lot of beach, and not a lot of otters.

Since Must Love Otters hit the digital shelves (and some wooden shelves for our diehard fans!) in October 2013, folks have shared their otter pictures, memes, and stories on our Facebook and Twitter feeds—which is awesome. I follow Friends of the Sea Otter, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Vancouver Aquarium, SeaOtters.org, and Michael Yang Photography (he specializes in photographing California’s otter population) and I love hearing news like what came through this morning—two orphaned and rescued pups, rehabilitated by the folks at Monterey Bay, have found their forever homes in Oregon. The Oregon Coast Aquarium welcomes Otter 649, now Elfin - DSC_2453named Oswald, and the Oregon Zoo welcomes little Juno, just six months old and ready to meet her adoring fans.

If writing a silly love story about a girl who loves otters means more people take notice of the plight of the beloved sea otter, then mission accomplished. Awareness is the first step toward conservation—and I’m proud that Hollie Porter is doing her part.

Thank you for reading!

Note: Pictures of the otters were taken by Eliza Gordon and are of Elfin (male) and Katmai (female) who live at the Vancouver Aquarium

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Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon is an adult romantic comedy that released in October 2013.Must Love Otters cover

About the book:

Hollie Porter is the chairwoman of Generation Disillusioned: at twenty-five years old, she’s saddled with a job she hates, a boyfriend who’s all wrong for her, and a vexing inability to say no. She’s already near her breaking point, so when one caller too many kicks the bucket during Hollie’s 911 shift, she cashes in the Sweethearts’ Spa & Stay gift certificate from her dad and heads to Revelation Cove, British Columbia. One caveat: she’s going solo. Any sweethearts will have to be found on site.

Hollie hopes to find her beloved otters in the wilds of the Great White North, but instead she’s providing comic relief for staff and guests alike. Even Concierge Ryan, a former NHL star with bad knees and broken dreams, can’t stop her from stumbling from one (mis)adventure to another. Just when Hollie starts to think that a change of venue doesn’t mean a change in circumstances, the island works its charm and she starts to think she might have found the rejuvenation she so desperately desires. But then an uninvited guest crashes the party, forcing her to step out of the discomfort zone where she dwells and save the day … and maybe even herself in the process.

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Eliza Gordon is a husband-and-wife team of controlled chaos who writes stories to help you believe in the Happily Ever After.

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Review: Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Queen of Kings

by Maria Dahvana Headley

Genre: Adult Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology

Series: Queen of Kings #1

Source: Won copy from The Secret Writer blog. Thank you!

Book Summary:

There’s more than one path to immortality…

A thrilling, chilling reimagining of the story of the most famous woman in history.

Once there was a queen of Egypt…a queen who became through magic something else…

The year is 30 BC. Octavian Caesar and his massed legions are poised to enter Alexandria. A messenger informs Egypt’s queen, Cleopatra, that her beloved Mark Antony has died by his own hand. Desperate to save her kingdom, resurrect her husband and protect all she holds dear, Cleopatra turns to the gods for help. Ignoring the warnings of those around her, she summons Sekhmet, goddess of death and destruction, and strikes a mortal bargain. And not even the wisest of Egypt’s scholar could have predicted what would follow…

For, in return for Antony’s soul, Sekhmet demands something in return: Cleopatra herself. And so Egypt’s queen is possessed. She becomes an immortal, shape-shifting, not-quite-human manifestation of a deity who seeks to destroy the world. Fighting to preserve something of her humanity, Cleopatra pursues Octavian back to Rome: she desires revenge, she yearns for her children…and she craves human blood.

It is a journey that will take her from the tombs of the Pharaohs to the great amphitheatres of imperial Rome and on, to Hell itself where, it seems, the fate of the world will finally be decided.

Blending authentic historical fiction and the darkest of fantasy, Queen of Kings is a spectacular and spellbinding feat of the imagination that fans of Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Patricia Briggs, Philippa Gregory, and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator won’t want to miss.

book thoughts

My husband: What’s your book about?

Me: Cleopatra becoming a vampire.

My husband: Oh. So the most likely of scenarios, then.

I am deeply indebted to The Secret Writer blog for holding a giveaway for this book. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have known it existed, or else wouldn’t have tried it out because I tend to stay away from adult fiction (I’m allergic to casual sex – symptoms include cursing, inability to connect with characters and hurling book at the wall), but I’m so so glad I took the chance.  I love vampires and I love mythology so I was very curious to see how the author handled the mingling of the two.

Turns out, “vampires” are older than you think! Desperate to save her kingdom (and then the life of her beloved Antony), Cleopatra performs an already-ancient spell to summon the goddess Sekhmet, who appears to be the first vampire. Cursed by her father Ra, the sun god, her skin burns in the light. Goddess of death and Lady of Slaughter, she drinks the blood of her enemies. The goddess sees the potential in Cleopatra, and takes the Queen’s promise of “anything” in exchange for the goddess’ help as an invitation to possess Cleopatra.

In a cruel twist of fate, Antony dies again, and Cleopatra finds herself unable to die. Augustus Octavian suspects that Cleopatra has not truly died, and is coming for him. So he enlists the help of a cast of assorted sorcerers: Usem, leader of the Psylli tribe, assisted by his bride, the Western Wind; Chrysate, priestess of the goddess Hecate; and Auor, a seikona, or fate-spinner, from the unknown north. Octavian and his sorcerers, plus a few other characters, supplement Cleopatra’s narration, and far from being confusing, I felt that this technique truly enriched the narrative and gave the reader a more complete picture of the characters’ motivations and actions. The author even used the dreaded “head-hopping” in a way that was masterful and clear. I loved hearing the perspectives of the other mystical characters, especially Auor. Seikonas should be standard supernatural fare, if you ask me, because they are awesome. Octavian’s love-hate relationship with Cleopatra also adds  deeper level to the book. The writing itself is rich and descriptive, but never over-the-top. The historical aspects are meticulously researched and informative in a way that only serves to anchor the story more firmly in reality.

Cleopatra’s struggle to control Sekhmet’s blood-lust in the face of her own anger and agony is fascinating to watch. The reader even comes to understand and sympathize with the dark goddess. Cleopatra’s longing for her children is profound as well, but the emotional heart of the novel is her relationship with Antony and her struggle to be reunited with him. The most beautiful and moving scenes in the book detail  Antony and Cleopatra’s journey through the underworld to appeal to Hades and Persephone. The contrast of their love in a landscape of death and despair is gorgeously wrought. The ending is intense and even horrifying, and sets the stage for the next installment. I eagerly await it.

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So this is my new thing! Sometimes I will include a theme song for a book I read, one I think fits the story really well. My “theme song” for Queen of Kings is Sahara by Nightwish.

A ballad of a dark queen echoes through night

As he flees the curse of gods, the pharaoh`s wrath.

One thousand one nights unseen,

The philosopher and the queen.

Ancient mariner in a sea of sand, 

The burning beauty his tomb to die for…

May he now rest under the aegis of mirage

As the sands slowly turn to Elysian fields.