Wednesday, September 2, 2009

ARC Arrival: The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley

The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel by Maureen Lindley

I received this from Bloomsbury Marketing through Shelf Awareness.

Publisher: Bloomsbury, USA
Publish Date: September 1, 2009

Peking, 1914. When the eight-year-old princess Eastern Jewel is caught spying on her father’s liaison with a servant girl, she is banished from the palace, sent to live with a powerful family in Japan. Renamed Yoshiko Kawashima, she quickly falls in love with her adoptive country, where she earns a scandalous reputation, taking fencing lessons, smoking opium, and entertaining numerous lovers. Sent to Mongolia to become an obedient wife, Yoshiko mounts a daring escape and eventually finds her way back to Peking high society—this time with orders from the Japanese secret service. Based on the true story of a rebellious woman who earned a controversial place in history, The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel is a vibrant reimagining of a thrilling life—a rich historical epic of palace intrigue, sexual manipulation, and international espionage.

Review and Giveaway - The Last Ember by Daniel Levin

The Last Ember by Daniel Levin

rating: 4.0/5.0

From Goodreads:
Jonathan Marcus was a promising young archeologist studying at the American Academy in Rome when a terrible accident during an illegal excavation resulted in a friend’s death and Jonathan’s expulsion from the academy. Jonathan abandoned archaeology for the law, developing a reputation as a skillful advocate for some of the art world’s less scrupulous antiquities dealers.

When his firm sends Jonathan to Rome to discredit the testimony of a prominent U.N. antiquities official, he’s stunned to discover that the expert is Dr. Emili Travia, a friend and fellow student at the academy who was also at the excavation. This chance reunion prompts Jonathan, against his better judgment, to help Emili as she searches for the fabled Tabernacle Menorah, a priceless historical artifact seized by Roman invaders in the first century A.D. and brought to Rome where it disappeared. As they scour the ancient sites of Rome for hints to the menorah’s whereabouts—deciphering clues to its location left by ancient spies and eighteenth century art restorers—it quickly becomes clear that they are not alone in their quest.

What follows is a treasure hunt like no other, a race to find the menorah in order to control a historical perspective of who can define—and redefine—the past.
The Last Ember is a non-stop thrill ride. There is plenty of action, some romance, a lot of history and archaeology, great characters and a well-developed plot.

It's one of those stories where you have several groups of people converging on one ultimate goal. You have Jonathan and Emily, the Italian police group and of course the requisite bad guy. They are all after one thing - the Menorah that has been hidden for centuries. Two groups have similar goals and the bad guy has the sinister goal as expected.

I enjoyed all of the history and archeology that went into this book, I fell it was researched and that the subject matter was important tot he author. I never really had a desire to visit Rome before, and now I am dying to go. What a fascinating city with a rich history. The story moves from Rome to Israel and back and kept me on the edge of my seat. I learned little tidbits, I was entertained, and I really liked the characters.

This is a wonderful book by a debut author and I will definitely be picking up the next book that he puts out.

Binding: Hardcover
On-sale Date: August 6, 2009
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 432

Also I would like to give away my copy which is an arc. I will open the contest today through September 11th. US and Canada residents only please. Please enter by:

  1. Commenting on my blog, make sure I have a way to contact you. (+1)
  2. Become a blog follower or let me know if you are already a follower (+1)
  3. Tell me any other books set in Rome or Israel you have read and enjoyed (+1)
  4. Tweet about this review and giveaway, use @cfulcher in the tweet so I can find it (+1)
  5. Follow me on Twitter (or let me know if you are a current follower) (+1)
  6. Blog about this contest and let me know the link (sidebar or post is fine) (+1)
So there you go - 6 ways to get an entry into this contest. You can leave them in separate posts or one post, it doesn't matter, I will make sure you get your entries, just make sure to let me know what you do.

Waiting On Wednesday - September 2

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My "can't-wait-to-read" selection for this week is:

A Friend of The Family by Lauren Grodstein

Release: November 10, 2009

Toni at A Circle of Books posted this as her Mailbox Monday and I am very intrigued by it and can't wait until it comes out.

Pete Dizinoff has spent years working toward a life that would be, by all measures, deemed successful. A skilled internist, he’s built a thriving practice in suburban New Jersey. He has a devoted wife, a network of close friends, and an impressive house, and most important, he has a son, Alec, on whom he’s pinned all his hopes. Pete has afforded Alec every opportunity, bailed him out of close calls with the law, and even ensured his acceptance into a good college.

But Pete never counted on the wild card: Laura, his best friend's daughter—ten years older than Alec, irresistibly beautiful, with a past so shocking that it’s never spoken of. When Laura sets her sights on Alec, Pete sees his plans for his son not just unraveling but being destroyed completely. Believing he has only the best of intentions, he sets out to derail this romance and rescue his son. He could never have foreseen how his whole world would shatter in the process.

Lauren Grodstein delivers a riveting story in the tradition of The Ice Storm, American Beauty, and Little Children, charting a father's fall from grace as he struggles to save his family, his reputation, and himself.

So what are you waiting on this week?