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Top Ten Tue–wait. It’s Thursday!

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s theme is “Auto-Buy Authors”. This was actually harder than it sounds because picking ten was a challenge. There are a few, whom I need little of no thought about. Others, you know the struggle–you eventually get them, but you have to ask, “Do I need this…or gas more?” LoL. You know what I mean. You’re also probably side-eyeing my posting because today is Thursday. I’m trying to get back in the swing of things…I should be on time next week. *Should*.

Haha! ❤ Anyway, enjoy! xxUntitled-2

 

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C.W Gortner. You all know by now that C.W Gortner is, was, and always will be an author I adore and whose work I will always support. He’s a brilliant author and if you happen to have him on Facebook, you’ll get a glimpse of the man behind the books. He himself is as intriguing as any of his main characters., Check out his work; you won’t regret it, I swear it.

Stephanie Thornton. We stan Ms. Thornton up in this blog! It’s as I said, her profession is a teacher, which is excellent, given that she educates through her spectacular work. I could be biased, given my love of history, but I think if you give her a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Stephanie Dray. I loved her Ancient World novels…but her last two books, written with Laura Kamoie, have been absolutely outstanding. I LOVE American history so to see books about Eliza Hamilton and Patsy Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s daughter? My heart, man. It just about burst. Haha.

Diane Haeger/Anne Girard. I discovered Diane’s work when I was in High School still. One of those moments when I was hanging out in the school library and was looking for something to read during math class. I mean… >.> Well, I happened upon one of her books. I ended up reading through lunch, math class and on the bus on the way home. I’ve been a fan since.

Deborah Harkness. I fell in love with Discovery of Witches series. Now? If she puts anything more out? I will pre-order instantly. Diana and Matthew–Matthew in particular–just grabbed my attention and had this ‘warmblood’ dying for more. That I watched the series didn’t help! More, I say! Haha.

Sarah J. Maas. This seems surprising to most people. I confess I’m still working through her Throne of Glass series, but the ACOTAR series grabbed me and hasn’t let me go. Since then, I’ve been doing my best to make sure I always grab her work. And someday…I’ll get the five TOG books I need.

Ann Rinaldi. This isn’t a fair one, but for a while, she really was one of my auto-buys. I had to read her book ‘In My Father’s House’ for school and do a book report on it, and afterward, I was just in love with her work. I grabbed so many of her books. Sadly, I’ve lost a number of them through the years, but there are a few I still have and I don’t foresee myself ever getting rid of. Fun fact: It was Ms. Rinaldi’s book, ‘A Wolf By The Ears’ that brought Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s mistress/slave to my attention. I literally would save lunch money to buy her books. Especially during the Scholastic Book Fairs, heyyy. (Remember those?!)

Jean Plaidy. I love love love her Queens of England series. I’ve read them all, but I am trying to buy them because I simply love them. Sadly, Ms. Plaidy won’t be putting out any more books, as she passed away in 1993. Fortunately, she left quite the backlist for me! She wrote near 200 novels in her lifetime under several different nom de plumes.

J.K. Rowling. When it comes to Harry Potter, I’m a glutton. I have all seven novels, of course. I have ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ in the Gryffindor edition as well as Slytherin. (The Gryffindor one was sent by mistake; I just got to keep it.) I have the illustrated editions and History of Magic, which my dear Auntie Pat brought over for me from England! I, however, do not own and never will, ‘Cursed Child’. No, thank you.

Anne Rice. This is probably a cheat since I don’t feel this way about her anymore. I used to be so hardcore obsessed with The Vampire Chronicles. Lestat and Louis just..stole my heart. Louis in particular. The tall, dark, brooding bibliophile vampire spoke to me. I loved that despite his becoming a vampire, he managed to remain very human in certain ways. I wish Louis had been the narrator of more series, not to slight Lestat. But then, Ms. Rice said she was done writing the series…and when she came back; the spark that had made the series so fantastic originally was gone. I think I began to fall off the fanwagon when Blood Canticle came out. That first line..all these years later: ”I want to be a saint! I want to save souls by the million!” Gag me with a spork, Lestat. You’re a vampire.

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There were quite a few other authors I’d have included, but I think this list is good. I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know who you guys picked/would pick.

 

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2019 Titles I’m Excited For. (Part II.)

I wasn’t 100% sure that I would have this done in time for Tuesday as I had planned but here we are! This is strictly historical fiction here. There may be a part three, maybe. There are a LOT of good books coming out next year. And I’m dearly hoping that this will help me out of my slump. (Worst. Feeling. Ever.) I am feeling excitement at these titles and I’m just waiting impatiently for them to be released already. I hope you enjoy the list compiled here. 🙂

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American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt

A sweeping novel from renowned author Stephanie Marie Thornton…

Alice may be the president’s daughter, but she’s nobody’s darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves–oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.

But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphantly and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it’s no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument–and Alice intends to outlast them all.

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Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

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The Huntress

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Alice Network, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.

British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.

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A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American

woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors, where they’re welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamor and glitz to take their mind off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

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Australian bestselling novelist Karen Brooks rewrites women back into history with this breathtaking novel set in 17th century London—a lush, fascinating story of the beautiful woman who is drawn into a world of riches, power, intrigue…and chocolate.

Damnation has never been so sweet…

Growing up in an impoverished household with a brutal family, Rosamund Tomkins is both relieved and terrified when her parents all but sell her in a marriage of convenience to a wealthy nobleman, Sir Everard Blithman. Though Rosamund will finally be free of the torment she’d become accustomed to in her childhood home, she doesn’t know if she’s traded one evil for another. But much to her surprise, Rosamund soon discovers that her arranged marriage is more of a blessing than curse. For her new husband recognizes not only Rosamund’s unusual beauty, but also her charm and vibrancy, which seem to enchant almost everyone who crosses her path.

Sir Everard presides over a luxurious London chocolate house where wealthy and well-connected men go to be seen, exchange news, and indulge in the sweet and heady drink to which they have become addicted. It is a life of luxury and power that Rosamund had never imagined for herself, and she thrives in it, quickly becoming the most talked-about woman in society, desired and respected in equal measure. But when disaster strikes, Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she possesses. Determined not to return to poverty, Rosamund makes a deal with the devil that could preserve her place in society—or bring her the greatest downfall.

Set against the decadent, chaotic backdrop of Restoration London, the plague, and the Great Fire, The Chocolate Maker’s Wife is a tale of revenge and redemption, love and hope—and the sweet, sinister temptation of chocolate.

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Cover to be revealed.

Inspired by a woman and events forgotten by history, bestselling author Susan Holloway Scott weaves together carefully researched fact and fiction to tell the story of Mary Emmons, and the place she held in the life–and the heart–of the notorious Aaron Burr.

He was a hero of the Revolution, a brilliant politician, lawyer, and very nearly president; a skillful survivor in a raw new country filled with constantly shifting loyalties. Today Aaron Burr is remembered more for the fatal duel that killed his rival Alexander Hamilton. But long before that single shot destroyed Burr’s political career, there were other dark whispers about him: that he was untrustworthy, a libertine, a man unafraid of claiming whatever he believed should be his.

Sold into slavery as a child in India, Mary Emmons was brought to an America torn by war. Toughened by the experiences of her young life, Mary is intelligent, resourceful, and strong. She quickly gains the trust of her new mistress, Theodosia Prevost, and becomes indispensable in a complicated household filled with intrigue–especially when the now-widowed Theodosia marries Colonel Aaron Burr. As Theodosia sickens with the fatal disease that will finally kill her, Mary and Burr are drawn together into a private world of power and passion, and a secret tangled union that would have shocked the nation . . .

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For fans of Charles Todd and Deanna Raybourn comes Christine Trent’s second Florence Nightingale mystery.

Cholera has broken out in London, but Florence Nightingale has bigger problems when people begin dying of a far more intentional cause—murder.

The London summer of 1854 is drawing to a close when a deadly outbreak of cholera grips the city. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene marshaling her nurses to help treat countless suffering patients at Middlesex Hospital as the disease tears through the Soho slums. But beyond the dangers of the disease, something even more evil is seeping through the ailing streets of London.

It begins with an attack on the carriage of Florence’s friend, Elizabeth Herbert, wife to Secretary at War Sidney Herbert. Florence survives, but her coachman does not. Within hours, Sidney’s valet stumbles into the hospital, mutters a few cryptic words about the attack, and promptly dies from cholera. Frantic that an assassin is stalking his wife, Sidney enlists Florence’s help, who accepts but has little to go on save for the valet’s last words and a curious set of dice in his jacket pocket. Soon, the suspects are piling up faster than cholera victims, as there seems to be no end to the number of people who bear a grudge against the Herbert household.

Now, Florence is in a race against time—not only to save the victims of a lethal disease, but to foil a murderer with a disturbingly sinister goal—in A Murderous Malady.

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Raising the literary bar to a new level, Jerome Charyn re-creates the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, the New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon- to-be twenty-sixth president through his derring-do adventures, effortlessly combining superhero dialogue with haunting pathos. Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley’s assassination, the novel positions Roosevelt as a “perfect bull in a china shop,” a fearless crime fighter and pioneering environmentalist who would grow up to be our greatest peacetime president.

With an operatic cast, including “Bamie,” his handicapped older sister; Eleanor, his gawky little niece; as well as the devoted Rough Riders, the novel memorably features the lovable mountain lion Josephine, who helped train Roosevelt for his “crowded hour,” the charge up San Juan Hill. Lauded by Jonathan Lethem for his “polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing,” Charyn has created a classic of historical fiction, confirming his place as “one of the most important writers in American literature.” –Michael Chabon.

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Inspired by real characters, this transporting historical fiction debut spins the fascinating story of two princesses in the Romanov court who practiced black magic, befriended the Tsarina, and invited Rasputin into their lives—forever changing the course of Russian history.

As daughters of the impoverished King of Montenegro, Militza and Stana must fulfill their duty to their father and leave their beloved home for St. Petersburg to be married into senior positions in the Romanov court. For their new alliances to the Russian nobility will help secure the future of the sisters’ native country. Immediately, Militza and Stana feel like outcasts as the aristocracy shuns them for their provincial ways and for dabbling in the occult. Undeterred, the sisters become resolved to make their mark by falling in with the lonely, depressed Tsarina Alexandra, who—as an Anglo-German—is also an outsider and is not fully accepted by members of the court. After numerous failed attempts to precipitate the birth of a son and heir, the Tsarina is desperate and decides to place her faith in the sisters’ expertise with black magic.

Promising the Tsarina that they will be able to secure an heir for the Russian dynasty, Militza and Stana hold séances and experiment with rituals and spells. Gurus, clairvoyants, holy fools, and charlatans all try their luck. The closer they become to the Tsarina and the royal family, the more their status—and power—is elevated. But when the sisters invoke a spiritual shaman, who goes by the name of Rasputin, the die is cast. For they have not only irrevocably sealed their own fates—but also that of Russia itself.

Brimming with black magic, sex and intrigue, The Witches of St. Petersburg is an exquisite historical fiction debut novel filled with lush historical details from the Romanov era.

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“A miracle; an exquisite story exquisitely told . . . If you love Jane Austen, or Hamilton, or fiction—of any era—that transports and transforms in equal measure, look no further.” —A.J. Finn, bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

From the prizewinning author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye comes Courting Mr. Lincoln, the page-turning and surprising story of a young Abraham Lincoln and the two people who loved him best: a young, marriageable Mary Todd and Lincoln’s best friend, Joshua Speed.

When sparky and independent Mary Todd arrives in Springfield, Illinois, in the 1840s to live with her sister, who is determined to find Mary a husband, she is astonished to find herself drawn to an awkward, melancholic lawyer with a gift for oratory. The two share ambition, an obsession with politics—and a need to be suitably married off. Always at Lincoln’s side, however, is the charming Joshua Speed, a shopkeeper who became his mentor in society, loyal friend, roommate—and possible lover. Told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Todd and Speed, this witty, psychologically astute, and brilliantly plotted novel follows the threesome during Todd and Lincoln’s tumultuous courtship, with all the suspense and delight of the best Jane Austen novels. Historians have long speculated that Lincoln and Speed had a romantic relationship, and here Bayard explores that forbidden possibility with deep empathy. Rich with both period detail and contemporary insight, Courting Mr. Lincoln offers smart storytelling at the highest level.

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#WCW: Patriotic Edition.

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Happy Independence Day to all of my fellow American readers! Despite how we may be feeling about the news and such lately, there have been many who came before us who faced great odds and instilled the spirit that this nation is known for. Now, we all know the men. So I decided to put a shine on the great American women.

I’m going to feature several books with heroines/figures, some real and some fictional, who I think are truly those who embodied the American spirit. So I hope you enjoy what I post. ❤

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These three books are amongst my favorites. Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie teamed up to write the first of these two whilst Susan Holloway Scott wrote I, Eliza Hamilton. America’s First Daughter is about Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Patsy. My Dear Hamilton and I, Eliza Hamilton (obviously) is about Eliza Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s wife. Both were dynamic women, ahead of their time. Can you imagine having Thomas Jefferson as a father and Alexander Hamilton as your husband? They didn’t have it easy, to be certain. They both had to endure a great deal of sorrow in their lives all while the American Revolution was occurring. Truly brilliant reads.

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These three books feature ladies of color, each American. Phyllis Wheatley was born in West Africa but brought to America as a very young child; she was emancipated after she published a book of poetry. The Wheatley family was progressive, educating her and allowing her to travel to England, where she was the toast of the town. She didn’t have to work much; instead, she wrote. For her time, she was way ahead. She died at the age of 31, however, before she could publish a second novel.

This and ‘Meet Addy‘, both introduced me into historical fiction. Ann Rinaldi is a truly fantastic author, history at the time sort of bored me and she made it come alive; she made it vibrant for me. Meet Addy introduced the dangers of slavery and escape to me. I know that they toned down the suffering of the family, but there was a scene, if I remember correctly, where she was made to eat worms. I list her here because it really opened my young eyes.

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker tells the story of Elizabeth Keckley, most famously known for being Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, as the title says. A slave who saved and bought her own freedom, she was accepted in most Northern circles for her skills. She was put out of favor, however, when she wrote a book about her relationship with Mary.

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I included these because both of them were much talked about, stylish First Ladies. Mary Todd Lincoln is one of my favorite figures, even though I find most portrayals of her irritating. They portray her as a madwoman and it’s likely that she was bipolar. People seldom show her any sympathy. But she also lost three of her sons, saw her husband killed in front of her and her surviving son had her locked up in an asylum. Mary’s life, which is discussed in this book from childhood to post-widowhood, was a bit sad.

I felt the same about Jackie, feeling that same sympathy for her, though recently revelations seem to have shown her to be rather shrewd and playing a bit with public perception. Regardless, in a world where men ran supreme, Jackie made her mark all the while dealing with her own demons–and Kennedy ones too.

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