Blog Tour, Review

Blog Tour: Flames of Florence by Donna Russo Morin

Historical Thriller
Date Published: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Diversion
Books
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In her final standalone novel featuring Da Vinci’s Disciples,
Donna Russo Morin delivers a thrilling story of the secret female artists of Florence, under the tutelage of Leonardo Da Vinci, and their heroic, potentially deadly efforts to save great works of art from the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities.
Lorenzo de Medici is dead, and his son Piero has brought war
and famine upon the city of Florence. Yet, the glory that is Renaissance artistry grows more magnificent, as does the work of the women known as Da
Vinci’s Disciples. Now they face their most dangerous challenge, one shrouded in the cloak of a monk.
From the ashes of war, Friar Girolamo Savonarola rises. Some call him a savior and a prophet, a man willing to overthrow tyrannical rulers and corrupt clergy, the Borgia Pope among them. Fra Girolamo is determined to remold Florence from an avaricious, secular culture to a paragon of Christian
virtues.
Many call Savonarola a delusional heretic, incapable of anything but self-serving fanaticism. When he sets out to destroy all secular art forms, Da Vinci’s Disciples call him an enemy … but not all of them.
My Review
This is another book that, to begin with, I didn’t realise was part of a series but again, needn’t have worried as you can certainly read this book as a standalone. I feel like there is not a huge amount that I can say on this one without giving away too much and it’s certainly a book that you don’t want to ruin with spoilers! I have to admit that I did work out roughly what would happen but it doesn’t ruin the book AT ALL as Donna’s writing keeps you turning the pages regardless.
The characters are loveable and rateable in the right measures and places; I would call myself a quiet feminist and have to admit that I was really proud of the women in this story.  I have realised that I love these kinds of books more than I thought and whilst I am most definitely going to read the other books in the ‘standalone series’, I will also seek out others set in the same time period / places to learn even more. I don’t know much of the true history but it feels real (if that makes sense) and I feel like I am learning a lot.
I would definitely recommend this book – I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series but that’s only because of my OCD when it comes to reading series’ and nothing to do with anything else!
About the Author
Donna Russo Morin’s passion for the written word began when
she was a child, took on a feminist edge as she grew through the sixties, and
blossomed into a distinctive style of action-filled historical fiction at a
defining moment in her life. As a second-generation American of full Italian
descent, Donna combined her historical research with her genealogical studies,
finding that her birth name (Russo) and her family roots are traceable to ninth
century Florence…the very city in which the Da Vinci’s Disciples trilogy is
set.
A 25-year professional editor/story consultant, her work spans more than 40 manuscripts.  She holds a BA in Communications and an A.A. in English Literature.  Donna teaches writing courses at her state’s
most prestigious adult learning center, online for Writer’s Digest University, and has presented at national and academic conferences for over ten years.  In addition to her writing, Donna has worked as a model and an actor with appearances in Showtime’s Brotherhood and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Currently under contract to a consortium of international producers, Donna has added screenwriting to her professional acumen.
Contact Links
Twitter: @DonnaRussoMorin
Instagram @donnarm.telleroftales
Buy Links

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: We Other by Sue Bentley

Here is the Second of my Blog Tours for today – We Other by Sue Bentley being run by Rachel’s Random Resources. I am honoured to be taking part on DAY ONE of the tour which goes until the 6th June which is publication day too!

Blurb:

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.

When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

Amazon UK – Amazon.com

Author Bio:

Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age. She worked for Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing. She is the author of the worldwide bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years. She also writes for children and adults under various pen names. A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the everyday. Her books have been translated into around 20 languages. We Other is her first book for Young Adults.

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Giveaway (International):

  • Win a signed copy of ‘We Other’ and a personal letter.
  • Worldwide entries welcome.
  • Please enter using Rafflecopter. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner.
  • Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

My Review:

OK so I umm-ed and errr-ed about signing up for this as fantasy is not usually something I go for but I decided that I needed to stretch my reading brain and I am REALLY glad I did! From the moment we meet jess, I was on her side – her sassiness in the face of what she is dealing with is admirable and her sense of humour is amazing too. But Jess is not the only character that Bentley has written perfectly!  Her new friend Lisa sounds like me when I was younger so I of course loved her immediately and then meeting Caleb and willing him with every bone in my body to ‘GET OUT’ made me realise that I was truly ensconced in the story!

I have to admit that the first couple of chapters jump a little between the real world and the other, and with the names and types of beings we are meeting, I did find myself slowing down for those chapters, certainly at the beginning. I suspect that is more due to my lack of fantasy experience than it being the books fault!

I love that she gets you trying to guess things right from the start – sometimes she does what you think she will do, but not always which is great and definitely keeps you reading!

One bit I loved was the scene with Crowle in Chapter 5;

“He Grimaced. ‘In the old days, we used to be partial to the odd slice of roasted mortal. My father kept a stable of them for the kitchens. I had the care of the newborns.'”

and then later .. “Infants don’t do a lot, besides supping, sleeping and shitting.’

Overall I think this is a great book and one you should definitely read, whether you think you like fantasy or not …!

4 Stars

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