Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cat Thursday - Cats in Art (14)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

What do we have in the cat art gallery this week? More delightful paintings by Suzanne Valadon. She must have been a true cat lover. Enjoy!

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Bouquet and a Cat 1919

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Portrait of Miss Lily Walton with Raminou

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Raminou sitting on a cloth 1920

Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) Two Cats

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

HFVBT: Spotlight on Hilary Rhodes' The Outlander King

The Outlander King (The Aetheling’s Bride, Book 1)
by Hilary Rhodes

Publication Date: June 1, 2015
eBook; 476 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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The story of The Lion and the Rose and the Norman Conquest continues in this spellbinding new historical fiction series from author Hilary Rhodes, pulling back the curtain on the lives of two remarkable women connected across centuries: Aislinn, a seventeen-year-old English girl caught up in the advancing army of the “outlander king,” the man who will become known to history as William the Conqueror. Thrust into the center of the new Norman court and a dizzying web of political intrigue and plotting princes, she must choose her alliances carefully in a game of thrones where the stakes are unimaginably high. Embroiled in rebellions and betrayals, Aislinn learns the price of loyalty, struggles to find her home, and save those she loves – and, perhaps, her own soul as well.

Almost nine hundred years later in 1987, Selma Murray, an American graduate student at Oxford University, is researching the mysterious “Aethelinga” manuscript, as Aislinn’s chronicle has come to be known. Trying to work out the riddles of someone else’s past is a way for Selma to dodge her own troubling ghosts – yet the two are becoming inextricably intertwined. She must face her own demons, answer Aislinn’s questions, and find forgiveness – for herself and others – in this epically scaled but intimately examined, extensively researched look at the creation of history, the universality of humanity, and the many faces it has worn no matter the century: loss, grief, guilt, redemption, and love.

Hilary Rhodes is a scholar, author, blogger, and all-around geek who fell in love with medieval England while spending a year abroad at Oxford University. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in history, and is currently preparing for doctoral studies at the University of Leeds, fulfilling a years-long dream to return to the UK. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys reading, blogging about her favorite TV shows, movies, and books, music, and traveling.

For more information please visit Hilary Rhodes’ blog.

Tour Schedule:
Hashtags: #TheOutlanderKingBlogTour #HistoricalFiction 
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt


R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X! #RIPX

I look forward to this every year! I kept checking over at Carl's (Stainless Steel Droppings) site because he usually posts before the end of August and I wasn't seeing it. I was so worried that it wasn't happening this year. Carl, in honor of R.I.P.'s 10th illustrious year, decided to ask the lovely ladies at The Estella Society to host, and they accepted! So, it's on!!!

This challenge fits in nicely with my reading plans this Fall, as I'm hosting FrightFall Read-a-Thon in October (its 5th year!), Gothic September at Castle Macabre with Edgar Allan Poe short story read-a-longs, a read-a-long of Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift at my Anne Rice challenge blog, a read-a-long of Salem's Lot at my Stephen King challenge blog in October AND Season of the Witch at Castle Macabre in October with a read-a-long of a witch themed book (title to be determined and read-a-long will be in conjunction with TuesBookTalk). I'm insane, I know! Can you tell I love Fall/Scary reading? No way!

Here are some general guidelines and (non) rules, as outlined by Carl, and now, TES:

Without further ado, pick your poison, won’t you? September 1st is here, and we’re ready to begin!

Dark Fantasy.

Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.

As time has wound on, we’ve discovered that simple rules are best:

1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.

R.I.P. X officially runs from September 1st through October 31st. 
I normally do my sign up posts for reading "challenges" at my challenge blog, but I've decided to do shorter term challenge sign-ups on this blog and then add a short post over there just as a record of all challenges I've participated in.

There are various levels of participation. Here are the levels I'm planning on doing...

Peril the First: Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) ofR.I.P. literature.

The Wolf Gift, Anne Rice
Salem's Lot, Stephen King
Night Chill, Jeff Gunhus
Tortures of the Damned, Hunter Shea
*Witch themed book to be determined*

Peril of the Short Story:We are big fans of short stories and the desire for them is perhaps no greater than in Autumn. You can read short stories any time during the challenge. (since I just happen to be hosting read-a-longs of three Poe stories at Castle Macabre this month!)

Edgar Allan Poe short stories:
The Cask of Amontillado 
The Fall of the House of Usher

Peril On the Screen

I love horror films and shows year round, but OH the horror movies I will be seeing this Fall! I'll be starting things off with The Visit (M. Night Shyamalan, one of my favorite filmmakers!) releasing September 11th. And next will be Eli Roth's The Green Inferno on September 25th. I know there are tons more coming out, plus all my scary shows will be starting back (The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, to name a couple). Right now, Fear the Walking Dead is running and it is GOOD!

Are you doing R.I.P. X? Feel free to join me for my plethora of events linked up in the paragraph above. As I always say...the more, the merrier!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Beat the Heat Read-a-Thon - Reading Plans and Progress

I planned on signing up...and then almost forgot! And the deadline is today! I wanted to do this one, as it goes for three weeks (well, a bit under for me since I'm just now signing up) so I think I can get a lot of reading done. Always optimistic!

What I'll be working on...

In the Woods, Tana French (I need to finish this by the end of the weekend)
The Brother's Grimm: Two Lives, One Legacy, Donald R. Hettinga (for TuesBookTalk)
The Wold Gift, Anne Rice (for September read-a-long I'm hosting for my Anne Rice challenge)
Ligeia, Edgar Allan Poe (first of the short stories for read-a-long I'm hosting at Castle Macabre in conjunction with Gothic September)
A review book...or two.
May add to, or take away later



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cat Thursday - Did I do that?

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The questions is...did I do that?...or would I do that? I believe the answer to both is emphatically yes. Evidence....

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Spotlight on Eliza Redgold's Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva {Giveaway}

Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction

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We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story.

We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva’s ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for ‘peeping Tom’) and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.

Naked is an original version of Godiva’s tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.


“Redgold’s variation on this enticing legend is often lyrical and offers a satisfying blend of history, lore, and romance.” (Booklist)

“Breathes new life into the story of the woman who would stop at nothing to protect her land and people.” (Romantic Times)

“NAKED delivers far more than the famous ride of Lady Godiva. It’s a beautifully woven story of love, loyalty, and the determination of a young woman trying to protect her people and their way of life, no matter the price. Godiva is a wonderfully strong woman in an age of dangerous men, and in NAKED, she certainly meets her match!” (Amalia Carosella, author of HELEN OF SPARTA)

“A wonderful, romantic retelling of the Lady Godiva legend. There is the colorful Anglo-Saxon backdrop, warriors, battles, peacemaking, desire, revenge and love – everything a fan of medieval romance could desire – plus a strong-willed heroin. Written with a lyrical lilt to her prose, Redgold adds realism to the myth and love to the lusty tale, allowing readers a glimpse into what might have been.” (RT Book Reviews)

ELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.

For more information visit Eliza Redgold’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, andGoogle+.

Tour Schedule
Hashtags: #NakedBlogTour #LadyGodiva #HistoricalFiction
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @ElizaRedgold @StMartinsPress


To enter to win a copy of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva or a $50 Amazon Gift Card, please enter via the GLEAM form below. Three winners will be chosen.

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva Blog Tour


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Austen in August Giveaway! #AustenInAugustRBR

Hello there, Austenites! I hope you're enjoying Austen in August. Many thanks to Adam for hosting such a marvelous event.

I'm going to go straightaway to the giveaway details, as that's what you're here for. :)

Better World Books is a bookseller that you may or may not have heard of. Here's a bit about them from their website:

It's simple: Every time you purchase a book from, we donate a book to someone in need. The books we donate go through hundreds of non-profit organizations - you can see them on our Impact Map. In particular, Books for Africa and Feed the Children partner with us to take large numbers of donated books and get them to people who need them.

Books donated as of July 2015: over 17 Million

I order from them all the time. Not only do they have great bargains, but purchasing from them puts books into the hands of people who might not otherwise have them. Plus, they offer free shipping worldwide! It certainly seems like an all win situation to me. 

Their bargain bin is my go-to shopping place. Three bargain books are always $10 (unless they're having an even better sale, in which case they're even cheaper)! So, that's the giveaway. The chosen winner will visit this page of Jane Austen titles, retellings and continuations and choose three (3) books for their reading pleasure. 

Two things to keep in mind when you visit that link:
  1. There is more than one page so be sure to look through all the pages. Just be sure the search remains populated with 'Jane Austen.'
  2. To be eligible for the sale, the book must be sold by Better World Books (not 'Other Sellers'). To verify, click on the book cover and if you see a little 'sale' tag under the price, you're golden.
1. You must be an Austen in August participant.
2. You do not have to be a follower of my blog to enter.
3. Open internationally.
4. Winner will be selected using

To enter:
  • Leave a comment telling me your top three favorite Jane Austen characters and a brief description of why for each.
  • Include your email address so I can contact you if you win.
This giveaway will end on Monday, August 31 at 11:59pm CST. I will choose a winner on Sept. 1. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email. If I receive no response, I will choose a new winner.

That's it! Good luck to you all!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Bout of Books Wrap-Up and Classics Spin 10 #ccspin

Bout of Books

Well, I didn't do so great, but I did manage to finish a book and read a bit from another. I would have read more if 1) I wouldn't have went off on a tangent and updated this blog and my Castle Macabre blog (check out the sidebars) and 2) I was out all day Saturday...took my son to a new friend's house so had to go meet his mom (and chatted with her for a bit, including books, of course. lol), then lunch with mom and we saw Sinister 2 (deliciously scary) and then the fun weekly trip to the grocery store. So yeah, my weekend of planned reading didn't go as well as I planned.

What I read:

The Snow Child - Finished (391 pages)
In The Woods - 50 pages

There's the Beat the Heat, a three week read-a-thon starting today. Should I sign up? *wink*

The Classics Club Spin!!!

I wasn't going to do this, but when I saw we have all of September and October (well, October 23) to read the book, I figured, why not? I chose my list using and here you go...

1. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
2. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver 
3. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
4. All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
5. The Lambs of London, Peter Ackroyd The wheel has spoken!
6. The Bell, Iris Murdoch 
7. The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
8. What Maisie Knew, Henry James
9. Perfume, Patrick Suskind
10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
11. The Red Queen, Margaret Drabble 
12. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
13. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
14. Cousin Bette, Honore de Balzac
15. Blonde, Joyce Carol Oates
16. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
17. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
18. 1984, George Orwell
19. The World According to Garp, John Irving
20. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

There you have it!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bout of Books Update and Oh, Yeah...I Forgot My 6 Year Blogoversary

Bout of Books update and mini-challenge below this post

Bout of Books

Yes, that's right. My blogoversary was on August 5th. I've been at this for 6 years. Wow! The time has flown by. My very first blog post was 32 Questions Asked and Answered and my first book review the next day was The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy by Maya Slater (how appropriate to share this during Austen in August!). Since I started this blog, I've had 2,753,986 visits and posted 1486 posts! My Cat Thursday feature is in its 5th year. Most of those posts have over 100 views daily and a couple of them had 700+ and 800+ views! There was even one from 2011 with 39,284 views since it posted. Holy cow...I mean, cat!!! And, of course, I must mention my wonderful followers/readers who have stayed loyal, even through my recent bout of a blogging stagnation. I appreciate you all more than you will ever know.

And speaking of sister blog, the horror blog Castle Macabre had its 4 year blog anniversary on August 15th. Yup, missed that one too!

In honor of both blogoversaries, I'm hosting a giveaway! This will be a dual giveaway between both blogs. Here's how it will work. If you comment here on this post and on this post at Castle Macabre (either telling me you'll be joining in for Gothic September and/or the read-a-longs, or just to tell me how much you love Poe), you will get two entries into the giveaway.

What's the prize? You will have the chance to win a $10 digital Amazon gift card OR $10 worth of books from the Bargain Bin at Better World Books (these are gently used books and let me tell you...I love the site. You can get 3 books for $10 from the bargain bin! I order from them all the time and purchases benefit literary causes around the world. Check them out!).

To enter, as I mentioned above, comment on this post AND on this post at Castle Macabre and then fill out the form below with the name you used to comment. You only have to fill out the form once so if you fill it out here, don't fill it out again at Castle Macabre. This giveaway will end on September 10, 2015 at 11:59pm CST. Open internationally.

Bout of Books Update and Mini-Challenge

My progress through Wednesday (I technically started on Tuesday).

The Snow Child - 50 pages
In The Woods - 50 pages

Sad...but I'm not giving up yet!

Kimberly Faye Reads hosted the Four Seasons in Book Covers Challenge. 

Here's my contribution...


Cat Thursday - GIF Madness!

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Nothing like some good ole kitty GIFs to keep us entertained.

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