Welcome to Book Lovers Paradise

Welcome to my attempt at blogging. I am a true to heart bibliophile. Here I will discuss and review books as I read them. You are welcome to do the same. The only rules are no profanity, no politics, no religion, and have fun!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Join author Eleanor Parker Sapia as her historical novel, A Decent Woman, is featured around the blogosphere from March 16-April 6, and enter the giveaway! Up for grabs is an Autographed copy of A Decent Woman, two eBooks of A Decent Woman, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

01_A Decent Woman_Cover

Publication Date: February 20, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
270 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana BelÈn Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre VicÈnte, and young DoctÛr HÈctor Rivera, Ana must battle to preserve her twenty-five year career as the only midwife in La Playa.

Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children, who marries an older, wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. A crime against Serafina during her last pregnancy forever bonds her to Ana in an ill-conceived plan to avoid a scandal and preserve Serafinaís honor.

Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society, where women are treated as possessions, A Decent Woman is the provocative story of these two women as they battle for their dignity and for love against the pain of betrayal and social change.

Advanced Praise for A Decent Woman

"A Decent Woman brings vividly to life the world of early twentieth-century Puerto Rico through the struggles of Ana BelÈn, an Afro-Cuban midwife, as she attempts to live a meaningful life. Spanning almost thirty years, the story encompasses Ana's unusual friendship with Serafina, a white woman of humble origins who marries into a wealthy, upper class family. Race, class, the lingering legacy of slavery, and a woman's role in this neo colonial society are all effectively illustrated through the intimate depiction of these two intersecting lives.

Author Eleanor Parker Sapia lovingly evokes old Puerto Rico: the graceful colonial city of Ponce, the mixture of African and Catholic traditions, the tropical lushness of the land, and the devastating force of a Caribbean hurricane.

Overall, A Decent Woman is a powerful and moving tale; well worth reading."
-Alina GarcÌa-Lapuerta, biographer and author of La Belle Creole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris

"A Decent Woman opens with a birth and a hurricane and doesn't let up. Deep with delicious detail, scrumptious characters, and full of folklore, this is a unique debut novel from Eleanor Parker Sapia, one that will win her readers over. Written in a clean style that lets the historical ambience seep through into our consciousness, this book is a tale of wonder, of life and death, of love and life and not a few twists and turns. Ana and Serafina are, indeed, decent women living in a hard time. Buy it, read it, love it."

-Jack Remick, short story writer, poet, and author of award-winning, Gabriela and the Widow

"A Decent Woman takes the reader on a journey into the heat and steam of Puerto Rico in the early 1900s. The writing is so visceral and evocative that you almost feel the rain on your face, the pain of childbirth, fear, betrayal and redemption along with the women in this story of midwives and mothers."
-Claudia H Long, author of The Duel for Consuelo and Josefina's Sin

"A Decent Woman takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of friendship between two strong women set against the backdrop of colonial Puerto Rico of the early 1900s. When former Cuban slave and midwife Ana BelÈn delivers Serafina MartÌnez' first child, an unbreakable bond is formed despite the hurricanes nature and politics thrown in their paths. A striking first novel from Eleanor Parker Sapia."
-Arleen Williams, writer and author of The Alki Trilogy

"It's not only that I enjoyed A Decent Woman as much as Alice Walker's work, there is a quality to her prose. I went back and read an excerpt of The Color Purple to really identify the similarity. The only way I can describe it is that I wanted to read it in gulps. Like when you're really thirsty. I found myself sucked into the world in three or four lines, and galloping through the prose, because reading more made me want to read more.

A Decent Woman embodies the genre of womenís fiction in the most complete sense of the word exploring the lives of women - young and old, dark- and light-skinned, poor and rich. This is an outstanding read and an important book about a little known corner of women's history."
-Yma Johnson, short story writer and journalist

"Eleanor Parker Sapia's historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, steeped in friendship, romance, politics, and mysticism, is the captivating story of Ana BelÈn's struggle and perseverance to become a Certified Midwife in turn of the century Puerto Rico. Anaís passions, joys, and plight are shared by midwives everywhere and throughout herstory.

Reading this book was inspiring. I'm sure readers will enjoy A Decent Woman as much as I did."

-Sarahn Henderson, Midwife and Educator at Birth in the Tradition

"I really enjoyed this novel and particularly enjoyed the characters who I could visualize clearly as I moved along with the story. Eleanor's descriptions really created such a vivid image in my mind, bringing them to life as I read. I was moved by the various events and was even brought to tears at times. I suspect it will be a huge success and certainly one that I will recommend to my circle of family and friends."
-Gina Tsiapalis, Registered Midwife

Official Book Trailer

Eleanor Parker Sapia's Podcast with Upgrade Your Story on BlogTalkRadio

Buy A Decent Woman

Barnes & Noble

About the Author02_Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist and painter, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Her passion for travel and adventure combined with her compassion for those in need have led to her careers as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, and a Spanish language social worker and refugee case worker. These life experiences inspire her writing. She facilitates The Artistís Way creativity groups, and teaches creative writing to children and adults. Eleanor shares her passion for telling stories on her blog, The Writing Life. A Decent Woman is her debut novel. Eleanor has two adventurous and loving grown children, and currently lives in wild and wonderful West Virginia.

For more information please visit Eleanor Parker Sapia's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign up for Eleanor Parker Sapia's Newsletter for news and updates.

A Decent Woman Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 16
To Read, Or Not to Read

Tuesday, March 17
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 18
The Maiden's Court

Thursday, March 19
A Literary Vacation
Flashlight Commentary

Friday, March 20
A Bookish Girl
CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, March 21
Griperang's Bookmarks

Monday, March 23
History From a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, March 24
100 Pages a Day
Back Porchervations

Wednesday, March 25
Book Lovers Paradise
What Is That Book About

Friday, March 27
Book Babe

Saturday, March 28
Book Nerd

Monday, March 30
Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, March 31
Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 1
Layered Pages
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Thursday, April 2
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, April 6
Historical Fiction Connection


To enter to win one of the following four prizes, please complete the giveaway form below.

* Autographed Copy of A Decent Woman
* A Decent Woman eBooks (2)
* $25 Amazon Gift Card


Giveaway starts on March 16th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 7th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

A Decent Woman Book Blast

 photo f6a76c96-468c-4844-a71e-39827f03c76d.png

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy

Mass Market Paperback, 378 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Avon
ISBN 0062072943 (ISBN13: 9780062072948)
edition languageEnglish
seriesSmythe-Smith Quartet #4

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can't be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family's infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She's the type of girl you don't notice until the second—or third—look, but there's something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she's the one.

Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can't quite believe it's all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can't help thinking that he's hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.

my thoughts

Julia Quinn's books are just fun to read.  I have many 'laugh out loud' minutes whenever I pick up a book she's written.  

This book is the 4th in the Smythe-Smith Quartet and it's a humdinger.  Sir Richard comes to London to find himself a wife.  He needs to marry quickly. Why?  Well, that's his secret.   He zero's in on Miss Iris Smythe-Smith.  Anyone who's read anything by Julia Quinn knows about the Smythe-Smith musicales.   

Iris is a witty young woman, full of charm and intelligence.  She doubts Richard's intent but through circumstances is forced into marriage.   Richard, himself, is a charming young man the reader will love.  Richard has two sisters, we meet them later in the book.   

The courtship of Iris and Richard is just plain fun.  When you learn Richard's secret, well it will be up to you, the reader, how you feel about Richard.  I still loved him, and I think he and Iris formed a great pair.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


01_Lady of the Eternal City

ublication Date: March 3, 2015

Berkley Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback
528 Pages

Series: Empress of Rome Series, Book Four
Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knifeís edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Romeís brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vixís beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperorís latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City...

my thoughts:

Wow...Kate Quinn has done it again. I love Kate Quinn. I love her writing style, I love her characters and I love her willingness to create fantastic situations in a story. Lady of the Eternal City, Empress of Rome #4, is her best yet. 

This book focuses on the reign of Hadrian, and Ms Quinn reveals all of his flaws as well as his strengths.  We welcome back such wonderful characters as Vix and Sabine. We meet new characters, Vix's son Antinous and a young man named Marcus. We travel through Roman history on a roller coaster ride. First I hated Hadrian, then I felt sympathy for him, finally I appreciated the great leader he became, largely due to his wife, Vix and others. I was deeply intrigued by Hadrian's "Hades Chamber"...want to know what it is? Read the book. You will be charmed, thrilled and fascinated by these characters. 

I'm only sorry this is the end of the series. As always, this is a wonderfully written story that will leave you wanting more. Kate Quinn, more please...more fabulous stories..

Praise for Lady of the Eternal City

"Quinn specializes in bringing the splendor of Britannia and Rome to readers. The tangled lives of her three-dimensional characters represent the entanglements of the Empire. She cleverly pulls readers into the complex relationships, and even more complicated history, while bouncing back and forth between viewpoints. This is a feast for historical readers." - Romantic Times Book Reviews

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Titles in The Empress of Rome Series

Book One: Mistress of Rome
Book Two: Daughters of Rome
Book Three: Empress of the Seven Hills
Book Four: Lady of the Eternal City

Praise for The Empress of Rome Series

"Gorgeously wrought." C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen's Vow

"Deeply passionate."Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

"[An] epic, sexy romp."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author02_Kate Quinn Author

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with a small black dog named Caesar, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

For more information visit Kate Quinn's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Lady of the Eternal City Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 2
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, March 3
Spotlight at Historical Readings and Reviews

Wednesday, March 4
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, March 5
Review at The Maiden's Court

Friday, March 6
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, March 9
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Wednesday, March 11
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, March 12
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Sunday, March 15
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, March 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, March 17
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 18
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Monday, March 23
Review at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 26
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, March 27
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Genre Queen
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

 photo c4177ea1-e2c1-49cf-9620-81852f3db1c5.png

Saturday, March 7, 2015

THE MEDICI BOY...one year anniversary

It's the one year anniversary of a fantastic book.  

about the book:

The worlds of art, politics and passion collide in John L’Heureux’s masterful new novel, The Medici Boy. With rich composition, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s Renaissance Italy—directly into his bottega, (workshop), as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant. While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to Agnolo’s brutal murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save the life of Donatello, even if it means the life of the master sculptor’s friend and great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici. John L’Heureux’s long-awaited novel delivers both a monumental and intimate narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With incisive detail, L’Heureux beautifully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the powerful and highly competitive Medici and Albizzi families. The finished work is a sumptuously detailed historical novel that entertains while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence. 

I will repost my review of this fantastic novel.

To begin, I was given a copy of this book for review. I was neither asked,nor encouraged to write a positive review.

Now, with housekeeping out of the way, I truly enjoyed this novel.
The Renaissance period is amazing..and this book is no exception.
We see the inner workings of the workshop of the great Donatello, through the eyes of Luca Matteo.
Luca is a young man who, himself, is fascinated by the great Donatello. 

We learn about the fine artisanship that occurs in the master's workshop, we learn about several high placed renaissance individuals (Cosimo de Medici) and we come to know the master himself.

Mostly, this is a book about forbidden love. We watch as Donatello creates his DAVID statue, while he himself, the mighty Goliath of this time is being brought to his knees by his love for the model for David.

I found myself feeling pity for the great master, as well as for Luca, the teller of the story.

I give this book 4/5 stars and encourage anyone interested in art, or Renaissance Florence to read this well written book. You will not be disappointed. But...if you can't tolerate gore, skip over the part about the cat..

Now, the author has graciously offered an excerpt:


IT IS RIGHT and just to confess at the very start that it was fornication that took me out of the Order of Friars Minor and set me on the path of sin. I am an old man—perhaps sixty-seven—and make this confession at leisure and in detail since, imprisoned in this monastery, I have nothing left but time. And, to speak truly, I write this for pleasure as well. Having long left behind me the possibilities of lusting and loving, I find satisfaction in watching my quill move across the page. There is no waste; I use the reverse side of paper that has already been ruined by false starts, ink stains, the wanton mistakes of inattentive copyists. On the finer side of this confession, blotted, you will find Holy Scripture, a nice irony. I have myself served as copyist—and do yet—and I know it is easy to err, even in the service of God.

The unwanted son of a rich merchant and his Dalmatian slave girl, I was taken in by a dyer of wool and consigned as a boy to the Fratelli of Saint Francis where I proved a failure as a monk. Later I failed as a painter and still later as a sculptor. From birth I have been a creature of lust and misadventure and I have continued on in the usual way of men who have come to nothing. Thus I have no claim to your attention. I can make none. I presume to write this only because of my long association with two men: the cattivo Agnolo Mattei who is burning now in hell, God have mercy, and Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, my master, whom the whole world reveres today as Donatello, the greatest sculptor of our time.

I was born—perhaps—in the year 1400, a time of great portents that the world was ending. It rained blood in Orvieto, there was a plague of frogs in Pisa, in Florence fire was seen in the sky for three nights sequent. It is said that in Paris a two-headed baby was born speaking Latin and Greek, but that of course was harmless folly, and in any case the world continued on as wise and foolish as it had always been. No worker in dyes knows the date of his birth, though everyone remembers the turn of one hundred years, and it is certain many unwanted sons were born in 1400 and so perhaps was I. My mother, Miryam, was a Dalmatian slave in the house of a rich merchant of Prato, and when it was clear that he had made her pregnant, he married her off—with a persuasive dowry of forty florins and a chest of bed linen—to a wool dyer in the Via dei Tintori. Thus was I born, officially legitimate, to Matteo Franchi and his new wife, Miryam, who two days after my birth died of the Black Pest. The pestis atra, the Black Pest, has marked the most important moments of my life. It was the Black Pest that carried off my mother two days after my birth and it was the Black Pest that released me for a time from the Rule of
Father Saint Francis and I used to think—but no longer—that in the end the Black Pest would see me off, swollen and foul smelling, to the silence that never ends. But I cannot repent its ill favors since it was the Black Pest that brought me, hastened on by my sins, to the bottega of my lord Donatello.
* * *
John L’Heureux is an award-winning poet, novelist, short story writer, and has taught at Georgetown University, Tufts, Harvard, and (for more than 35 years) in the English Department at Stanford University where he was Lane Professor of Humanities.  There he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and earned it again in 1998.
A prolific writer, L’Heureux has written more than twenty books of fiction, short fiction and poetry.  His works have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and have been included in dozens of anthologies including Best American Stories and Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards. John L’Heureux has twice received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2006 he was awarded a Guggenheim Grant to do research for The Medici Boy, his new novel.
He is retired and lives in Palo Alto with his wife Joan.
Book Buy Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1kBnJ2g 

Thursday, March 5, 2015


02_The Witch of Painted Sorrows Cover

Publication Date: March 17, 2015 Atria Books Formats: Hardcover, Ebook Pages: 384 Genre: Historical Mystery
  Add to GR Button


 Possession. Power. Passion. International bestselling novelist M.J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this erotic, gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle epoque Paris. Sandrine Salome runs away to her grandmother's Parisian mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it's dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine's deepest desires. Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten ñ her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She's become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse. This is Sandrine's wild night of the soul, her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love and witchery.

Praise for the novels of M.J. Rose

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

"Rose's new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris a perfect match for the author's lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers hungry for the next volume. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting. "(Kirkus Reviews)

"A haunting tale of possession."(Publishers Weekly)

The Collector of Dying Breaths

"Breathtaking...combines fascinating history, torrid romance and a compelling mystery into a marvelous package that will entice fans of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon." (Associated Press)
 "A page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be charmed by her well-drawn and memorable characters, and they will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey." (Library Journal (starred))
 "A terrific piece of entertainment." (CT Post)
 "Wondrously original... elegantly written. Rose manages to utterly suspend our disbelief in a book that leaves us, appropriately enough, breathless." (Providence Journal)
 "Mysterious, magical, and mythicalÖwhat a joy to read!" (Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants)


"Atmospherically romantic and perfectly toned. Classy and elegant literary seduction of the highest measure. As wondrously crafted as it is original." (Providence Journal)
 "Readers will be enchanted by M.J. Rose's supernaturally charged novel Seduction, inspired by Victor Hugo's self-imposed exile on the British island of Jersey in the 1850s." (USA Today)
"Has just about everything a thriller fan could wish for."(Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Full of well-researched history, the paranormal, and modern intrigue, this atmospheric tale of suspense is fully engrossing to those willing to suspend their disbelief." (Library Journal (starred review))

The Book of Lost Fragrances

"A compelling page turner...Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted." (Associated Press)
 "M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself." (Laura Lippman)
 "The Book of Lost Fragrances resonates with spirit, blending myth with reality, tragedy with triumph, pain with joy. You'll find yourself questioning everything you believe--and wanting more." (Steve Berry)
" Provocative in a sweeping sense of romance [and] history."(Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Buy the Book

Amazon Barnes & Noble iTunes IndieBound

About the Author03_M.J. Rose Author

M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com. Connect with M.J. Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads. Sign up for M.J. Rose's newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.

my thoughts:

I love the cover of this book.  Anyone who looks at the cover will be drawn to the story inside, and what a story!  Unique and entertaining.

.. This book had me on the edge of my seat from beginning until it's amazing end.   I loved this book.   The main characters are fantastic.  Imagine having a famous courtesan as your grandmother, and living in Paris in a 'haunted house'.  I'm not going to give too much away, just believe me, you have to read this book.  Sandrine is a character the reader will love and one with whom a reader can easily identify. Her life is not a storybook, more like a train wreck.  She's married to a man she despises, recently loses her father, and moves to Paris to be with a grandmother she barely knows.  A grandmother who seems less than thrilled to see her.   Intrigue, power, ghosts, art,  it's all here.

   This book is a masterpiece!