The 10th Anniversary of the GORGEOUS Illustrated The Lover’s Path by Kris Waldherr Brings a Unique Digital Experience

Yes, I know, look at that cover art! Take a minute to close your mouth back up. That’s the art of Kris Waldherr. Mouth dropping. It’s gorgeous and perfect for the re-issue of her novella, The Lover’s Path.

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I missed out 10 years ago when Kris released the gorgeous historical fiction escape of a print book, with a love story full of myth and forbidden romance. From what I hear, it was a complete artistic experience within itself: elegant and mysterious in offering little nuances like small letters tucked inside tiny envelopes, maps and portraits, and was considered eye-candy with its gilded and artistic borders and edges.

It was my hope, after becoming acquainted with Kris some years back, to purchase this book from a seller foremost for the art alone. I absolutely admire and swoon over her artistic talent with its nod back to the medieval times and reminds me of the art drawn in the books I sometimes view at various city art museums that have large European collections. She channels the 16th century through her work and embraces a time of bold colors and golden accents and especially the romanticism of Venice, Italy. I adore her art.

But her creative idea for writing this novella that surrounds the art is also original and unique. Filamena Ziani is the fictional younger sister created by Kris, but the sister of a true historical courtesan, Tullia Ziani. It’s evident that Kris researched meticulously the time and place in order to tell her fairy tale and molded Filamena into an ideal woman of this 16th Century Venetian time period where courtesan and prostitution work, and the subsequent laws, impacted so many women. Being able to obtain status as some form of artist (poet, musician, or creating art) was a way out of a lifetime of being marked. I feel that Kris did a wonderful job of creating Filamena so that she could better highlight the feminism elements of her book. We can feel Filamena’s courage and strength of spirit, as well as her yearning and romantic heart. We can see how Filamena was able to thrive during her life, and yet, as she was forgotten by time, I liked how Kris set up a world for the reader that created her being immortalized with a museum in Italy, with a curator even introducing Filamena to us, and one in which we can peruse without even traveling outside our home. How clever!

Kris has re-published her book into an e-book format for its 10th anniversary! It was my pleasure to be able to review a copy of it for the iPad and it was a magical and magnificent hour or two. Since Kris also develops apps and produces beautiful and workable websites for authors, she has combined this talent with her illustrative skills and has given us an interactive book that still encompasses the wonderful, mythical story as well as her visually appealing art, yet includes sections for tapping to see more information in various places. It’s very cool to be able to have this fully integrated experience so you are still immersed in the fictional world she’s created. You will be sliding your finger and tapping on art and find yourself completely captivated and lost as you travel to Italy. It was stunning to my eye, as the art shined off the page, and everything on my iPad worked perfectly much to my delight!

I was mesmerized by each section of the book that Kris set-up for the reader, swept away by the tale that wound around comparison myths of Tristan and Isolde, Dante and Beatrice, Osiris and Isis, and more. I was so moved by Filamena’s tale throughout, lost in her time and place and her overall story, and frozen by the end. This is the kind of book that transcends romance and makes you feel heartache. You know, the type of heartache that comes from true love that almost knows no boundaries. This is a story that will make you FEEL and you won’t forget. You’ll revisit it again. I know I will. I treasure her work, both the delicate story telling, the original way in which she framed Filamena’s story within a story, and her gorgeous art.

Whether you already have the book The Lover’s Path, or are just being introduced to her work, this iPad version (there are also other formats available) is a must for a light enjoyable escape that will end up making your heart feel enchanted. Visually, your eyes will light up in joy as you appreciate the art peppered throughout. Your spirit may even be moved. I wouldn’t miss out on having this digital version. I’m not a huge fan of digital, but this is a unique and entertaining experience. I still want to order any copy I can find of the hardcover version too.



Chapter 1: Grace

The fiaba of the lover’s path begins almost two decades ago as the story of two sisters, alike as doves in appearance, but different as water and wine in temperament and experience.

At that time, I was only a girl of sixteen. For as long as I could remember, my sister Tullia and I lived in a palazzo set in Venice, a labyrinth of a city where we heard the sea murmur its music day and night. This palazzo was furnished by my sister through her extraordinary talents and beauty. It glittered with golden mosaics, and was graced with sumptuous paintings and intricate tapestries. Within this palazzo we were aided by servants who felt affection for us. Among them were Caterina, who was Tullia’sruffiana—her procuress and confidant—and Caterina’s daughter Laura, who was my playmate as well as my maid. And it was there in this palazzo that I bent to my sister’s rule, a sapling recognizing the sun’s sovereignty.

As I write of Tullia, I will try not to be harsh. I know many have called her a mysterious beauty, cool in the use of her considerable intelligence and allure. In all honesty, my sister was as elusive to me as she was to others. Nonetheless, I hope time has bestowed upon me a measure of wisdom as I remind myself of her unavoidable influence upon me. After all, Tullia was my first vision in this life. My earliest memory is of her bending over to soothe me as I sobbed the inconsolable tears of childhood, her blonde hair a dazzle of light around a divinity. Unlike most children, my first word was not madre or padre. It was sorella, sister, in honor of Tullia, for our parents had drowned a year after my birth, leaving my sister as the elder of us by fourteen years to raise and provide for me.

Despite her reputation as the most illustrious courtesan in Venice, Tullia shielded my eyes from the carnal nature of love; I saw little that would make a nun blush. But she educated me in other ways, teaching me to read and write in Italian and Latin, a priceless gift bestowed upon few women, for which I am forever grateful. She also tutored me in the art of music, for which I quickly showed love and aptitude. My precocious talents soon won me the affectionate soprannome, or nickname, of la filomela—the nightingale—so similar to my given name of Filamena.

If it was because of my sister that I had an active mind, a voice to sing, food to eat, and a roof over my head, it was also because of my sister I was made to stay inside my home after I turned twelve. Noting that I was of an age where men might approach me because of her profession, Tullia did not allow me to leave the palazzo unless I was dressed plainly and accompanied by an elder servant. These occasions arose less and less frequently as time passed. No matter how much I begged for freedom, Tullia ignored my pleas. She would explain to me in patient tones that my isolation was necessary. It was her hope that, in time, people would see me as a woman separate from her, rather than as the sister of a courtesan. This was small consolation, for the loneliness that colored my hours felt unending. At sixteen, I was of an age when most young women had already married and borne children, or entered a convent to do God’s work. For myself there was nothing—only an abstract promise that might be fulfilled in the future if my sister willed it so.

What else do I remember about my life at that time? Sometimes when I was alone in my room, I would let a feather fall from my window into the sea. I’d watch it float away into the sea for as long as I could, imagining the countries it might reach—faraway lands I wished I could visit one day, unnamed countries I could only imagine.

I also recall the brightness of gold ducats and of my sister’s hair. The insistent chatter of baby sparrows clustered about my feet as I sang inside the walled garden behind our palazzo. The precious show of sun upon my face.The spicy perfume of oranges from our garden.The briny smell of the sea on warm summer afternoons.The starched linen of my plain brown cloak against my young, tender skin—the cloak that hid me from others’ eyes on the increasingly rare occasions when I ventured into the world. Most of all, I remember the confusion of innocence, gratitude, anger, and guilt that infused my emotions toward the sister I loved yet resented.

Now as I look back, I think Tullia truly wished our fiaba of two sisters to remain as it was forever—to divert time like water from its path. But this, of course, was impossible. To preserve my innocence, a courtesan such as my sister would have had to layer restriction upon restriction as if they were blankets upon a winter bed. While she may have thought she was protecting me from the bitter cold, she only made the snow outside my window look all the more enticing.

I began to think of escape.

In the May of 1526, I celebrated my sixteenth birthday, still trapped within my home by my sister’s will. By then, it had been well over six months since I’d last set foot outside our palazzo beyond the walled garden. Shortly after my birthday came La Sensa, the annual celebration marking the marriage of Venice to the sea. Despite the cruel illness that had taken so many lives earlier that spring, my sister still held her infamous annual feast. Many considered this unseemly, but Tulla’s La Sensa feast was necessary to solidify her standing and desirability in society. It was for this celebration that she would compose a poem praising the powers of love and set it to music; I would perform this song to the accompaniment of her lute.

I looked forward to these recitals as a prisoner yearns to glimpse the first anemones of spring from her jail window. I loved the intense study involved in mastering new music as much as I loved the transfixed attention of my sister’s guests as I sang for them. While I did not otherwise participate in Tullia’s entertainments—she would not allow me, for by morning’s wake these celebrations often disintegrated into private ones of a more sensual sort—after I finished singing, I would watch from the back of the musicians’ gallery, set high on the wall of the great hall. I was careful not to let the candlelight reveal me as I eagerly spied upon the world forbidden to me.

However, by the spring of my sixteenth year, my joy in music was tempered with steely resolve: I would use my music to free myself from my sister.

Though over two decades have passed since this night, I still remember how I sat inside my chamber the evening of the feast, trying with little success to calm my trilling nerves. Caterina had confided that a great cardinal was coming to La Sensa, one reputed to especially love music. I would perform for him and more than one hundred guests. He would hear me sing. Perhaps I could gain his favor, like so many musicians before me. He could champion my art, bring me to court. I would become a virtuosa, a great musician, and make my way in the world.

As I prepared for La Sensa, I felt the weight of the hopes I dared not express to anyone but myself. My maid, Laura, helped me dress. I braided my hair myself. As I twisted it into a knot behind my neck, a sinuous perfume curled about me. Lilies, roses, vanilla….

“Like two doves are we,” Tullia announced softly, standing behind me as I stared at myself in the mirror. “Both light and serene.”

I exhaled her perfume and looked up. The mirror reflected two golden-hair sisters with grey eyes. One wore a simple gown the color of cream, her braided hair bare of ornaments; the other, red brocade embroidered with silver thread, the full sleeves of her dress slashed with silver ribbon, her curls woven with pearls. I felt as plain as Tullia was beautiful. A sparrow next to a bird of paradise.

“I know you’ll sing your loveliest tonight, Filamena,” she said. “Though I remain uncertain how wise it is to allow you to perform….”

I couldn’t bear to answer; I feared any protest would invite attention to what I most desired. My heart sped as my sister curved her long neck, so much like mine, to rest her soft cool cheek against my shoulder. Could she guess my thoughts? Apparently not, for she only smiled at our reflection in the mirror.

“Shall we?” she asked after smoothing my hair. “The hour is late.”

Tullia took my hand to lead me to the musicians’ gallery, where I was to remain unseen though not unheard. I followed her, cold with desperation.

From my perch above the great hall, I looked down onto the celebration already underway. I stared at the cardinal, resplendent in his scarlet robes as he held court before my sister’s guests, willing his eyes toward mine. Though the hall was full, there were fewer guests than usual, no doubt because of the sickness that still lingered in Venice. Some wore large-nosed masks of gold and silver, as if they could deceive death by hiding their identities. Others, their faces bared, were less cautious. Dressed in costly silks and velvets, they milled about the large wood and marble table set in the center of the great hall. Gracing the table were some of the voluptuous offerings for which my sister’s celebrations were famed: platters of fowl and fish and bread, with rose petals arranged like a ruddy snowfall around each dish; rare fruits preserved in cordial, nuts glistening in honey, and numerous silver flasks of wine.

Upon my sister’s cue, servants extinguished half the candles, plunging the room into a golden dusk. Everyone fell silent.

Tullia rose and greeted her guests with a graceful speech. Then she looked up at me, hidden in the musician’s gallery, and nodded.

As she plucked the strings of her lute, my voice soared forth.

[end excerpt]

The Lover’s Path, Synopsis and Info~

02_The Lover's Path_CoverPublication Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Art and Words Editions
eBook; 114p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel

New expanded and revised anniversary edition. Finally available for iPad and Kindle.

GoodReads Link

“To truly love another, you must follow the lover’s path wherever it may take you . . .”

Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister’s will, sheltered and lonely in the elegant but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover’s path, wherever it may lead.

THE LOVER’S PATH, a moving tale of forbidden love, is a romantic epic told in multiple layers. Through a novel combination of Filamena’s narrative, famous love stories from history and mythology, and sumptuously ornate illustrations, Filomena’s path is beautifully described and, finally, stunningly revealed.

Praised by The New York Times Book Review for her “quality of myth and magic,” Kris Waldherr brings to life a remarkable period in Venetian history using art and words. Her glorious celebration of romance, the feminine spirit, and the power of love to transform will inspire and move readers everywhere.

Praise for The Lover’s Path~

“THE LOVER’S PATH is beautiful in every way; not only is the story of the girl’s secret and ultimately dangerous love wonderfully told, but the exquisite illustrations and layout make you feel that you have truly fallen into old Venice with its longing and eroticism. Prepare to be lifted into another time and place and discover secrets long guarded. That one extraordinarily talented writer/artist/designer could have created this whole world is almost not to be believed but it is so. You must own this lovely, lovely book! —Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille and Marrying Mozart

“The Lover’s Path is a visual and literary feast…. The star-crossed lovers are a celebrated courtesan’s virginal and over-protected young sister and a cardinal’s illegitimate son. The lovers in the book are linked mythically and thematically to the archetypal lovers on the Lover’s Path: Dante and Beatrice, Isis and Osiris, Tristan and Isolde, Orpheus and Eurydice, and ultimately Eros and Psyche…. Haunting.”—Mary Sharratt, author of Daughters of the Witching Hill

“Prepare to be transported to 16th century Venice from the first page. This novel is a feast—a full-color picture book for adults that tells a wrenching story of eternal love…. This beautiful fable reminded me of Erica Jong’s Serenissima.”
NPR Books

“With this illustrated novel, Waldherr has spun a wondrous story spilling over with mythological figures, with tarot cards and personal letters. You’re pulled into a vortex of a 16th century romance centered on Filamena Ziani, the younger sister of a famous courtesan in Venice…. Waldherr, who based her novel on a real-life courtesan, also created the illustrations for her book.”—The Albuquerque Journal

“Voluptuous illustration and enthralling narrative … in this extraordinary testament to the strength of the feminine spirit.”—WNBC/B(u)y the Book

“Kris Waldherr’s The Lover’s Path plunges readers into the mysterious and exhilarating world of sixteenth-century Venice…. A visual adventure.”—Women in the Arts, the Magazine of the National Museum of Women in the Arts


Find the The Lover’s Path~ (Psst, until July 5 it’s just $3.99!)

Kindle Fire format (Deluxe edition with full color graphics)
Kindle format (Optimized for b/w and smaller screen size)
iPad format (Deluxe edition with interactive full color graphics):
iPhone format (Optimized for small screen size):

Author Kris Waldherr, Biography~

03_Kris Waldherr_AuthorKris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer whose many books include Doomed Queens and The Book of Goddesses.

She is also the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has nearly a quarter of a million copies in print.

Waldherr’s illustrations have been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Mazza Museum, and the Ruskin Library.

She lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband and their young daughter. Visit her online at

You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Tour Schedule:

Hashtags: #TheLoversPathBlogTour #KrisWaldherr

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @KrisWaldherr

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D.J. Niko’s Next Sarah Weston Achaeological Adventure is Coming in November: Here’s the Sco

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I already hold a beautiful advanced reading copy of The Oracle in my hands from Medallion Press. It looks even better in person! I loved the first two books in this series and I think that D.J. NIko is an amazing writer with a knack for storytelling. Her adventures are fun and easily books to be lost in, and though I’ll be reading this summer, when it comes out in November is also a perfect time for readers to curl up inside and read when the weather is blustery out on the East Coast. If you live in warmer climates, well…you’ll enjoy the book in whatever setting you’re in and the rest of us will be jealous of your nice weather. Here is some pre-information and pre-order links, so if you’re interested order early as it really assists authors in their efforts. Or until June 26, there is a giveaway included below!

The Oracle, Synopsis and Info~

Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Medallion Press
Paperback; 456p
ISBN-13: 978-1605426273

Series: The Sarah Weston Chronicles, Book Three
Genre: Historical/Archeological Adventure

GoodReads Link

In Delphi, the mountain city deemed by the Greek gods to be the center of the Earth, a cult of neo-pagans re-create with painstaking authenticity ancient rituals to glorify the god Apollo and deliver oracles to seekers from around the world.

When antiquities are stolen from a museum in nearby Thebes, British archaeologist Sarah Weston and her American partner, Daniel Madigan, are drawn into a plot that goes beyond harmless role-playing: someone’s using the Delphian oracle as a smoke screen for an information exchange, with devastating consequences for the Western world.

Pitted against each other by the cult’s mastermind, Sarah and Daniel race against time and their own personal demons to uncover clues left behind by the ancients. Their mission: to find the original navel stone marked with a lost Pythagorean formula detailing the natural events that led to the collapse of the Minoan Empire.

But will they find it in time to stop the ultimate terrorist act?

Pre-Order The Oracle~

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository 

Author D.J. Niko~

Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO

Daphne Nikolopoulos in an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer. Under the pen name D.J. Niko, she has written two novels in an archaeological thriller series titled The Sarah Weston Chronicles. Her debut novel, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press, 2012), won the Gold Medal (popular fiction) in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. Her follow-up release, The Riddle of Solomon, continues the story of British archaeologist Sarah Weston as she seeks the relics—and mystical secrets—left behind by the biblical King Solomon in remote Israel.

Daphne is now releasing The Oracle, book 3 in The Sarah Weston Chronicles, in November of 2015. Also slated for publication in 2015 is her first historical novel, The Judgment, which is set in Israel and Egypt in the tenth century BCE.

In addition to writing fiction, Daphne is editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. Prior to that, she was a travel journalist who logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the globe, with emphasis on little-known and off-the-beaten-path locales—many of which have inspired her novels.

Daphne frequently lectures about her research on the ancient world. She is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, teaching on the subject of archaeology. She has also spoken to audiences at the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches’ Academy for Continuous Education, and several libraries and private groups throughout Florida.

Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Daphne now resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and twin son and daughter. You can find her on the Web at and connect with her on Facebook (AuthorDJNiko) and on Twitter: @djnikobooks.


To enter to win an Advanced Reading Copy of The Oracle by D.J. Niko please complete the giveaway form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Direct Link to Enter:

⇒ Giveaway is open to residents in the US, UK, and Canada.
⇒Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on June 26th.
⇒You must be 18 or older to enter.
⇒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.
⇒Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 27th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
⇒Please email Amy @ with any questions.

Cover Reveal Schedule:

Hashtags: #TheOracleCoverReveal #Historical #Archeological #Adventure

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @djnikobooks

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Sophie Perinot’s Medicis Daughter, a novel of the Sexy and Scandalous Valois France, is a Pre-Order Must!

For anyone eagerly awaiting a second novel by author Sophie Perinot, after reading her debut novel The Sister Queens, you’ll be pleased to find out she has a new book available for PRE-ORDER called MEDICIS DAUGHTER! It publishes at the end of the year, but pre-orders are so important to authors. Buy it now (even cheaper) and have it arrive for your winter reading break!

If you’ve never read anything by her, I can attest to her abilities and let you know buying her book is money well-spent. She’s a fabulous writer, both in style and development. Her books are nothing less than perfection. I also consider her a friend, as we have a kinship of growing up in the same neck of the woods, even if she escaped into the vast world surrounding Washington D.C. She’s a great person who appreciates her readers. Don’t miss this one! Read on to see what her new book is about, especially if you love Valois France!!

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Medicis Daughter travels forward three-hundred years from Perinot’s last novel to the intrigue-riven French court of Charles IX, spinning the tale of beautiful princess Marguerite who walks the knife’s edge between the demands of her serpentine mother, Catherine de Medicis, and those of her own conscience. This is a coming-of-age story that will remind audiences that, when it comes to the 16th century, the Valois are even sexier than the Tudors—and just as treacherous.

Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction

Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot’s heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother’s schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot’s wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

Pre-Order Graphic 2

Praise for Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois~

“This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes. Beautiful Princess Margot acts as our guide to the heart of her violent family, as she blossoms from naive court pawn to woman of conscience and renown. A highly recommended coming-of-age tale where the princess learns to slay her own dragons!” –Kate Quinn, Bestselling author of LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY

“The riveting story of a 16th century French princess caught in the throes of royal intrigue and religious war. From the arms of the charismatic Duke of Guise to the blood-soaked streets of Paris, Princess Marguerite runs a dangerous gauntlet, taking the reader with her. An absolutely gripping read!” –Michelle Moran, bestselling author of THE REBEL QUEEN

“Rising above the chorus of historical drama is Perinot’s epic tale of the fascinating, lascivious, ruthless House of Valois, as told through the eyes of the complicated and intelligent Princess Marguerite. Burdened by her unscrupulous family and desperate for meaningful relationships, Margot is forced to navigate her own path in sixteenth century France. Amid wars of nation and heart, Médicis Daughter brilliantly demonstrates how one unique woman beats staggering odds to find the strength and power that is her birthright.” –Erika Robuck, bestselling author of HEMINGWAY’S GIRL

Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois Available for Pre-Order at

Barnes & Noble

Author Sophie Perinot, Biography~

10261982_783783605035504_8139827840447986105_nSOPHIE PERINOT is the author of The Sister Queens and one of six contributing authors of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii.

A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog, and one husband.

An active member of the Historical Novel Society, Sophie has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times.

Find her among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal or on Facebook at

Her website is

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Stunning Book Inside and Out by Lucinda Riley: The Seven Sisters is Book One of a Seven Part Series

It’s been awhile since I wrote an article or review on my site, for various reasons of work, end of school year madness for three kids, and just plain life, but I’m used to having something on my site almost daily so I hope to be back in the swing of things soon. Happy to be able to post today! Enjoy!

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Review, The Seven Sisters~

I’m happy to be back today with a review for an absolutely beautiful book called The Seven Sisters, the first in a series of seven books by New York Times Bestselling Author Lucinda Riley. From the minute I opened the first few pages, I was completely hooked. That doesn’t happen often with me, getting started in the beginning is always the worst for me, but with this book is was like floating through water. From the elegant sentences and verbiage, to the suspenseful mystery surrounding  the Switzerland home called Atlantis (which was the family home of six adopted sisters as they grew up), I was compelled to follow the story. It was like torture waiting each day to be able to crack back open the pages.

After their father’s passing, and a mystery unfolds about each of their adoptions and their involvement in being named each by a constellation, this first book moves before the halfway point to showcase the tale of the first sister, Maia, who is the only one who remains living at the family estate. Her travels in search of the meaning behind the clues given to her takes her to the exotic world of Rio, where the Christ statue is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. As Maia pieces her story together, the book shifts seamlessly in part two back many decades to when the famous French sculptor, Paul Landowski, and the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, were constructing Christ the Redeemer. As well we meet Izabel Bonafacio and discover how she is connected to Maia, which I don’t really want to give away. Not only then is Rio in the book, but also Paris as Bel travels to Paris and falls in love in the City of Lights. We can feel, smell, and walk the streets of Paris in this book and have a bird’s eye view of how the famous awe-inspiring statue was created as well. However, it’s the same in Rio for me, when we can feel as if we are present due to her descriptions. Yet, I can see the differences in the cities as well as the time periods quite clearly. I can find similarities in Maia and in Izabel’s fully dimensional characters, yet also I can see them as unique women living in different times quite easily. Riley certainly has a knack for clearly constructing characters and time periods to a point that the reader wouldn’t even have to think upon “set” changes, in fact, unless of course they thought after the fact because they were writing a review!

In reading the book, there is so much to garner about living your dreams, broken dreams, redemption, love and loss, and heart break. It’s about breaking traditional norms as a female and even about class structure. It’s about art and how art imitates life, maybe even about how sometimes we sculpt our life and how sometimes it’s sculpted for us. It’s about how people make mistakes, yet can and are redeemed. The foundation of the book is about roots and learning your roots. Is where you come from important? There are many questions I pondered as I read this wonderful absorbing story. In the vein of a lengthy fairytale, it certainly can teach the reader much.

The Seven Sisters is a beautiful, engaging, and engrossing read that carries much within its pages, but as you are reading it’s as if you are enthralled into an ancestral story, one passed down through the ages, and you don’t even stop for a minute and ponder its length or multi-faceted and layered content, you just escape through reading it to something completely new. I absolutely can’t wait for book two, or for the rest in this series, as the mystery is eating away at me! I’ve been swept up romantically with Riley’s lovely writing style and I’m excited to read her future books and her back titles as well.

I highly recommend The Seven Sisters as the summer read this year in this genre or to anyone looking to get lost in a good book. I especially recommend it to women who ask: “what one really good book should I read right now?” I fully enjoyed this book while kicking my feet up at the beach over the weekend. I haven’t a doubt that anyone reading it will fall in love with it and want more. Luckily, there’s more to come. <Fingers crossed it’s soon!!!>

The Seven Sisters, Information and Synopsis~

02_The Seven Sisters_CoverPublication Date: May 5, 2015
Atria Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 480

Series: Book One, The Seven Sisters
Genre: Historical Fiction

GoodReads Link 

Internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley returns with THE SEVEN SISTERS, the first novel in a spellbinding new series (seven books in all) inspired by the ancient myth of the Seven Sisters of Pleiades. THE SEVEN SISTERS takes readers from the shores of Lake Geneva to modern day Rio de Janeiro to bohemian Paris of the 1920s in a sweeping saga of passion, sacrifice, and the enduring power of art.

Upon the death of their wealthy, enigmatic father, Maia D’Apliese and her sisters convene at their family home, a secluded estate on the shores of Lake Geneva. Each of the sisters had been adopted at birth from a different part of the globe. Maia, the eldest, is the first to learn of their adoptive father’s death. Confusion is added to her grief when the sisters — Maia, the beauty; Ally, the leader; Star, the peacemaker; CeCe, the pragmatist; Tiggy, the nurturer; and Electra, the fireball – gather to hear the reading of the will. Their father has left each of his daughters a simple clue about her birthplace.

Until now, Maia has constructed her life so that she does not have to leave the safety of the family nest. But spurred by her father’s final bequest, Maia embarks on a journey to Rio de Janeiro to discover the truth of her origins. In Rio, Maia is accompanied by Floriano Quintelas, a novelist and amateur historian, who is intrigued to discover that Maia is apparently descended from the Aires Cabrals, an aristocratic Portuguese family who have been prominent in the country for the past two centuries. Together, they delve into her complex family history, a quest that is helped by their discovery of the crumbling mansion where an elderly woman – Maia’s biological grandmother — is on the verge of death. When the old woman’s caretaker secretly slips Maia a stack of old letters, an astonishing family history unfolds.

Praise for The Seven Sisters~

“A brilliant page-turner, soaked in glamour and romance.” -The Daily Mail

“Riley launches her most ambitious andexciting writing project to date……a labyrinth of seductive time-switchstories, the enchanting brand of novel writing which has made Riley one of thebest women’s fiction authors on the market… An epic start to an epic series.” -The Lancashire Evening Post

The Seven Sisters for Purchase~

Barnes & Noble 

Author Lucinda Riley, Biography~

03_Lucinda RileyLucinda Riley was born in Ireland and during her childhood traveled extensively abroad, particularly to the Far East to visit her father. Moving to London she became an actress working in film, theatre and television.

Five years ago she designed and built a house on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand, where her father had purchased land many years before. Her passion for history combined with her love of travel, and Thailand in particular, inspired her to write her novel Hothouse Flower, published by Penguin in November 2010.

She currently lives in Norfolk and France with her husband and four children.

For more information please visit Lucinda’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Goodreads.

More Titles from Lucinda Riley~

The Orchid House
The Lavender Garden
Girl on the Cliff
The Italian Girl
The Midnight Rose

Tour Schedule:

Hashtags: #TheSevenSistersBlogTour #HistoricalFiction #LucindaRiley #HFVBTBlogTour

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @AtriaBooks @LucindaRiley

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Looking for a Freelance Audiobook Narrator to Hit a New Market? I have a suggestion….

Are you looking for a narrator to turn your book into an audio book?

Thinking about reaching another market with your book by tapping into those who listen to audio books?

Every once in awhile we like to showcase some other people offering services that authors might use that we don’t do. Today, meet Joe Hempel, freelance audiobook narrator and lover of books.

An avid reader of the written word, he’s been formerly known for his numerous book reviews; however, his everyday production experience in his regular job spurred him into recording audio books. And he’s quickly rising up as someone with a great tone and a knack for characters.


Here are some samples that you can listen to for some of his latest books, as well as praise from people reading books from the Audible site which tout his ability. He’s not been at this long, but he’s already well-liked. These samples are in the horror/thriller genres, but he is willing to do all genres.

If you’re looking for someone to voice your work, Joe might be an option for quality work with a friendly attitude and at very reasonable prices. Get in with Joe while you can, as his prices are way below the going rate!

You can contact Joe via the email If that doesn’t float your boat, I’m happy to facilitate services with Joe for you as well. Just drop me a line.

Also if you’re a reader, if you’d like to review the below titles on Audible, you can get one from Joe in exchange for an honest review! Just let him know at the above email.


Prologue from the book Hybrid by Lawrence W. Gold, MD

Chapter 7 from Under the Amoral Bridge by Gary Ballard

Coming soon, check back!

An excerpt from a short story in SLUSH collection by Glenn Rolfe

Praise for Joe as Narrator for Under the Amoral Bridge:

I.A. Clark:  “A racy, well-written tale that’s doesn’t lean too heavily on the frontal lobes – a kind of Bugs Bunny meets The Matrix. Confidently read by Joe Hempel, who brings the characters to life whilst reeling-off 2028 cyberpunk-talk as if he’s spoken it from childhood.”

Sines:  “The narration makes the story come alive. I could just close my eyes and see the seedy bars, the dark alleys, the guys who just wanna beat something to a pulp.”

Teresa:  “Joe Hempel did an awesome job narrating this story. He has great characterization skills and with multiple accents I could always tell who was speaking. He has super voice control with a nice tone. He also kept the story moving at a perfect pace with good, clean voice inflections. He made this audiobook an excellent listen.”

Praise for Joe as Narrator for Hybrid:

Carol P. Roman:  “Joe Hempel takes two dry subjects, history and science and reads with confidence and the ability to create visuals of each character.”

I.A. Clark:  “Joe has an attractive voice and delivered his lines clearly. I could listen to him all day (…and did).”

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