Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Wicked Passion by Amanda J. Greene

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James Stonewoll is an Elite Assassin for the Under Realm Syndicate—an expert hunter and merciless killer. As a former pirate, he thrives on danger, the more perilous the mission, the better and he can’t resist his newest contract: eliminate a rebel shape-shifting magic thief that stalks the border of the Under Realm kidnapping and murdering innocent Others. But never did the centuries old vampire anticipate playing hero to a mythical temptress with luscious curves, tantalizing lips, and hypnotic eyes.
Captured and held prisoner, Katya Moro was trapped in a seemingly endless loop of unimaginable agony as her magic was slowly being torn from her soul. A gasp away from death, she is rescued by a sinful kiss and awakens in the strong arms of a powerful warrior whose roguish smile, sharp fangs, and intense strength unlock dormant instincts within her, an all-consuming madness that demands complete surrender.
Gazing down at her, James knew he had to kill her. Dark Magic Wielders, like the beautiful female he’d found, were a grave threat to human society and were not permitted to roam the mortal world. But Katya’s smoky voice and sweet kisses stir a fierce hunger inside him. She is unpredictable, uncontrollable and wickedly seductive—his perfect kind of dangerous. To keep her safe, James will protect her from the magic thieves that hunt her and his fellow assassins until he can find a way to return Katya to her home in the Under Realm.
Can Katya’s passion conquer the darkness within his soul?
Excerpt

His gaze dipped to her mouth and again she felt the sparks of desire. Her eyes went wide, excitement spiked her pulse, nervousness fluttered in her belly, and fear whispered over her skin.

He—the vampire, the assassin—wanted to kiss her!

Katya shook her head and would’ve placed distance between them if she could. Kissing was not a good idea and after what had just happened she doubted she could take from him at all.

“I‒We can’t,” she whispered.

He arched a brow. “Can’t?” His lips curled at the corners. “Shouldn’t? Perhaps.” He shrugged. “But we most certainly can.”

“You’re of the Shade. A vampire, protected against magic. You’ll take what power I have.”

She weakly shook her head. “I can’t feed on you. I’ll need someone el—” His rough growl made her snap her mouth shut.

“You can’t take without my consent.”

“But before.”

His jaw clenched all trace of his easy-going nature gone. “You tried to steal from me.”

She glanced away, ashamed by the truth of his words. “Not on purpose,” she insisted.

“Nor did I purposely sap your energy. Your magic triggered my instinctive defenses.” His expression relaxed. “But I want to help you.”

Katya met his gaze again. The intensity of his bronze stare sent heat spiraling through her.

“Your magic is weak and unstable. I felt it and how badly you…” His fingers traced the column of her throat. “I need to help you.”

Her tongue ran over her lips as expectation sizzled up her spine. To know his kiss, his taste, did she dare? A simple kiss, just one, was all she needed.

“Let me hear you say it, dove.”

The darkness of him, it beckoned to her. She couldn’t…she shouldn’t, but…Katya swallowed hard and, finding her voice, she said, “Yes.”

About the author and where to find her:

Amanda J. Greene is the author of the captivating Rulers of Darkness and enticing Under Realm Assassins series. Fans of Nalini Singh’s, Gena Showalter, and J.R. Ward will fall in love with Ms. Greene’s dangerously sexy heroes and strong, kick your teeth in heroines.
She lives in Southern California with her supportive military husband and their two fur babies—a sweet cocker spaniel and a rambunctious black mouth cur mix. Between working full time in higher education and family life, she finds time to write and create detailed worlds with exciting characters for her ravenous readers.
“Amanda’s vampires are seriously sexy and I can’t get enough!” – Kristina’s Books & More
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Mini-Review: The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake

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When chemist Grace O’Leary finds a book of magic spells hidden in her Aunt Lucy’s run-down magic shop, the scientist in her itches to try them out. She mixes up a batch of love potions as a joke, and has to face the consequences when they actually seem to work.Her dream of becoming a professor is in peril, and time is running out to finish research for her dissertation. She can’t handle any more distractions, but the magic shop is on the verge of closing, her aunt has become forgetful and confused, and a handsome reporter named Dario Fontana keeps sniffing around for a story. The last thing she needs is for him to find out about the love potions and expose her as fraud, but she begins to trust him, and the sizzling chemistry between them is soon too powerful to deny. With her personal and professional life in chaos, and her budding relationship with Dario in jeopardy, Grace is faced with a difficult choice. Fixing what is broken means going against every logical bone in her body. Can Grace learn to silence her scientific brain long enough to accept the truth about magic…and also about herself?
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Source: NetGalley          Rating: 3/5 stars

The Bottom Line: While I generally liked this book and would ultimately recommend it to others, there are a few things I would caution future readers about.  This is a loooooong book (450+ pages!) and I found some of the material to be repetitive and/or extraneous.  One more good edit could and would eliminate some of the extra and/or repetitive bits making this a more streamlined, efficient, and enjoyable read.  Now for the positive: Grace is lovely, her grandmother is a riot, the magic shop is a wonderful setting, the spirit of community within the neighborhood is delightful, and the plot is interesting.  I enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot and how the community as a whole came together to support and help one another through such a dangerous and scary time.  There are a lot of big personalities in this book and most of them came shining through as wonderful individuals with their own cares, worries, and concerns.  I truly believe if some of the “extras” were taken out of this book, I would have most certainly been able to assign a far higher star rating. 

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Curtains for Romeo (Book #1: Coastal Playhouse Mysteries Series) by Jessa Archer

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ROMEO, ROMEO, WHEREFORTH ART THOU?
Acting jobs are scarce now for former TV teen detective Antigone Alden. So when a teaching position opens up at Southern Coastal University, Tig packs up her teenage daughter and heads home to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The house she inherited from her mother isn’t entirely empty, however. Her mom seems stuck between this life and the next, and now Tig is a local reporter’s prime suspect in the murder of the former theater professor. Given his reputation as ladies’ man, there are plenty of people with a motive.
Tig isn’t a detective. She just played one on TV. Will that be enough to help her find the killer?
Excerpt

The discovery of Amundsen’s body meant that all of my classes were canceled. Lunch with Dean Prendergast was canceled, as well. I was perfectly okay with that since I no longer had the slightest bit of appetite.

Dr. Martin Peele arrived at Muncey Theater just before campus police, about ten minutes after Ben phoned him with the news about his junior colleague. Most of my interviews for the open position had been handled in an online video conference, but I’d met Dr. Peele in person once, when I was on campus with my mother a few years back. A short, squat man with thick eyebrows and an expressive face, he reminded me of a slightly taller and younger Danny DeVito. My first thought when I met him—aside from the fact that he had sweaty palms—was that he was tailor-made for character acting.

As soon as Dr. Peele was inside, campus police turned their questions to him, which made sense, given that I’d never even met Amundsen…well, at least not when he was alive. So I slipped out the side door with a book, in search of someplace quiet, preferably with lots of fresh air. I ducked into the cafeteria to grab coffee from the vending machine and then found an empty bench at a little park between Muncey Auditorium and the main campus. The last inch of the coffee remained in the bottom of the cup as I sat on the bench reading, so that I could bring it up to my nose and breathe it in as needed. Even a half hour later, out in the wide open where the January air carried a hint of the ocean, the awful smell from the theater remained lodged in my nostrils.

The scrappy girl detectives on Private Eye High encountered a corpse in pretty much every episode, and there were even a few cases where they stumbled upon a long-dead body. Given that the makeup department generally did an excellent job of making the bodies look real, I would have sworn that I was fully inoculated against squeamishness. But I’d never really considered the olfactory element. Murder mysteries will be much less popular if anyone ever invents smell-i-vision.

“Well, well, if it isn’t Antigone Alden. How is it that you’re in town less than twenty-four hours and we already have a dead body?”

I hadn’t heard Alicia Brown’s voice in more than twenty years, but the nasal twang was unmistakable. When I left Caratoke High School at the end of my sophomore year, after landing the part in Private Eye High, Alicia was the reigning Queen Bee-with-an-itch. She didn’t like me for one simple reason: Travis Lamm did like me. In fact, he liked me so much that we’d ended up dating for over three years, even keeping the relationship going after I was in California.

Sighing, I snapped shut the technical theater text I’d been thumbing through halfheartedly. “The body’s been in the trap room for way more than twenty-four hours, Leash.”

I didn’t even have to look up to know the expression on Alicia’s face when I pulled out the old nickname, Leash. I could picture the woman’s ferretlike nose twitch perfectly. That’s one good thing about old frenemies. You already know which buttons to push.

“You stepped right into his job,” Alicia said. “That might make some people a little suspicious. Or maybe trouble just follows you around like a bad stink. Can’t believe you’ve decided to come back and live among us commoners. Is California’s cost of living too high for washed-up has-beens?”

At that point I did look up and was surprised that the Alicia in my head didn’t look much like the one standing in front of me. Alicia’s hair was platinum now, rather than her natural brassy blonde. Two decades of tanning booths, Quarter Pounders, and cigarettes had taken a toll. Alicia now looked more like her mother, who’d sat in the bleachers at home games, than the pert and perky head majorette who had strutted across the field at halftime.

Rather than try to cover my surprise, I decided to use it. “Wow. I am so sorry, Mrs. Brown! I could have sworn I was talking to your daughter, Alicia.”

Alicia cocked her head to one side. I could almost hear the hamster wheel spinning away as she tried to dredge up a smart retort.

I decided to spare her the torment, thinking maybe if I just cut to the chase, Alicia would leave. “Did you want something, Alicia?”

“Actually, I do. I’m the lead reporter for The Clarion these days and unfortunately, my editor tasked me with writing a human-interest piece on your move back to Caratoke. Us being old friends and all. I have to get a photo to go with the article, so say cheese.” Alicia held up her phone and snapped the picture before I even had time to smile. She tucked the phone back into her little red handbag and then turned on her heel to walk away.

“You’re not going to ask me any questions for the article?”

“Now why would I do that? I have all the information I need right here.” She tapped one well-manicured finger against her temple. “Plus, there’s some actual news to cover over at Muncey.”

As Alicia clacked off down the sidewalk, a tall man in a police uniform rounded the corner of the building. She altered her course slightly to intercept him, placing one hand possessively on his chest as she leaned in to ask him a question.

That sight triggered a massive case of déjà vu. Suddenly I was sitting on a bench outside the high school, a few weeks after my fifteenth birthday. It must have been a Friday, because Travis was wearing his Caratoke Tiger Sharks jersey and the team only did that on game days. Alicia walked up to him that day and rubbed her hand across his chest.

But Travis’s eyes had not been on Alicia Brown. He’d been looking at me, which had royally pissed off Alicia. And now, more than twenty years later, Alicia was royally pissed yet again. Travis waved her vaguely toward the theater, and then began walking toward the bench where I was sitting.

Alicia glared at his back, then stomped off toward the auditorium. For one brief second, I felt sorry for her. My mom had told me both of them were married—not to each other—but it was clear that Alicia still carried a torch.

To be fair, it was really, really easy to see why. I have never been one of those women who goes all weak-kneed over a guy in uniform. But Travis Lamm was even better looking at forty, in his Caratoke police uniform, than he had been at eighteen in that football jersey. And he’d looked mighty fine in that football jersey.

I stood up as he approached, trying to decide on the appropriate greeting for a first love you hadn’t seen in nearly two decades. Did you shake hands or hug it out?

Travis decided for me. He grinned, opened his arms wide, and I stepped into them. It was a quick, friendly hug. Five seconds, tops. But there was way too much history between us—ancient though it might be—for me to be totally unaffected.

“Kind of a lousy welcome home. You doing okay?”

For a second, I thought Travis meant seeing Alicia, but then I realized he was here investigating Amundsen’s death.

“Let’s just say I’m in no hurry to eat lunch,” I told him. “But you’re probably immune to that kind of thing by now.”

“No, ma’am. That’s something you never get used to.”

If it were anyone else, I’d have been annoyed at the ma’am, especially when I’m two years younger than the person doing the ma’aming. But that word is second nature to Travis, like drinking iced tea with enough sugar to send most people—or at least those not born in the South—into a diabetic coma. If you are male, Travis calls you sir. If you are female, he calls you ma’am.

The last time we’d spoken face-to-face was on a short trip to Mexico when Travis was about to start his junior year at North Carolina State. I was taking the occasional class at UCLA during what I hoped would be a short hiatus between acting jobs, after Private Eye High ended. In retrospect, I think we both realized the Cancun trip was goodbye. But we held on for a bit longer, just talking less often. Writing less often. One day, I realized it had been over a week since we’d spoken, and I finally screwed up the courage to call and end things officially. He’d sounded a bit relieved. Maybe I’d sounded that way to him, too, and maybe I had been relieved. But it still hurt, and I’d had more than one good long cry over what might have been in the months afterward.

It was a minor miracle that we lasted as long as we did. Travis came out to LA twice, and didn’t much care for it. I’d rarely managed more than a month off in the summer when we were shooting the series. We were both in Caratoke for the Christmas holidays, but that left a whole lot of time apart and eventually, the absence took its toll. He finished college, joined the state police, and spent the next decade in Raleigh, according to the sporadic updates Mom passed along when she ran into Travis’s sister at some college event. And then about a year ago, the Caratoke chief of police retired. They wanted someone with local ties, so Travis moved back.

“I didn’t realize you were replacing Amundsen until I spoke to Dean Prendergast just now,” he said, smiling down at me. “It’s good to see you. Can’t say I ever thought you’d end up back in Caratoke.”

“Makes two of us. But…life tosses you a curveball every now and then.”

“You can say that again.” Travis’s cell phone buzzed and he checked the text on the screen. “Medical examiner just arrived. Listen, Tig, we’re going to need to get a full statement from you about finding the body. You can stop in at the station and give it to one of the deputies if you like. Or…I could drop by your mom’s house, assuming I’m done here at a decent hour?”

“Sure. It will give us a little time to catch up on the past…” I trailed off, doing the mental math.

“Well, I just turned forty,” he said. “So…eighteen years?” The crinkles around his eyes were deeper now, and there were little touches of gray at his temples. But those sexy dimples still appeared when he smiled.

I gave myself a brisk mental shake. Travis Lamm was married, and no matter how sexy the dimples, I needed to imagine a big red NO TRESPASSING sign on his forehead.

“I gotta run,” he said. “But I just wanted to say how sorry I am about your mom’s accident and that I couldn’t be here for the funeral. I had…something going on with the family out of state. Miss Caroline was always one of my favorite people. It’s hard to believe she’s gone.”

Travis turned and jogged back toward the auditorium after those last words. I was glad he didn’t wait for me to respond, because my reaction to his condolences was something between tears and nervous laughter. I’d buried my mother nearly three months ago, and Travis was right. It was hard to believe she was gone.

Especially when I kept seeing her. Hearing her.

About the author:

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Jessa Archer writes sweet, funny, warm-hearted cozy mysteries because she loves a good puzzle and can’t stand the sight of blood. Her characters are witty, adventurous, and crafty in the nicest way. You’ll find her sleuths hand lettering inspirational quotes, trying to lower golf handicaps, enjoying a scone at a favorite teashop, knitting a sweater, or showing off a dramatic side in local theater.
Jessa’s done many things in her long career, including a stint as a journalist and practicing law. But her favorite job is spinning mysteries. She loves playing small-town sleuth and transporting readers to a world where the scones are delicious, wine pairs with hand lettering, and justice always prevails.
 
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Spotlight: Island Side (Book #2: High Tide/Island Side Duet) by Michelle Mankin

Hollie Lesowski is a beautiful young actress locked in a legal battle with one of the most powerful and feared directors in Hollywood, a man who betrayed and hurt her, a man she mistakenly believed was her father.
 
Maximillian Cash is her bodyguard, a blond, blue-eyed giant sworn to protect her. Gentle despite his imposing presence, he seems to be just right for her. But can she trust him with her deepest secrets? 
 
Diesel Le is a rock star in her sister’s band. Devastatingly sexy and annoyingly arrogant, the former pro surfer from Hawaii delights in driving her and everyone else crazy. So, why does she have to continually remind herself to stay away from him?
 
Two uniquely handsome men tempt her. Both want to make her their own. But one is her employee, and the other is a confirmed player.
 
Will she be swept away by temptation?
 
High Tide and Island Side is a heart-twisting, gut-churning, page-turning, coming-of-age duet. It is a triangular second-chance love story with two compelling alpha males but no cheating. Romantic and suspenseful, it sparkles with the glitz of Hollywood, sizzles with the tropical heat of Hawaii, and steals your breath at times, but it will also make your spirit soar. 
 
Don’t miss High Tide and Island Side by New York Times bestselling author Michelle Mankin, the highly anticipated two-part conclusion to the Rock Stars, Surf and Second Chances series.

 

 

Michelle Mankin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Records series of novels. 
 
Fall in love with a rock star. 
 
Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a BRUTAL STRENGTH centered trilogy,combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock ‘n roll industry. 
 
Things take a bit of an edgier, once upon a time turn with the TEMPEST series. These pierced,tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there. 
 
Rock stars, myths, and legends collide with paranormal romance in a totally mesmerizing way in the MAGIC series. 
 
Get swept away by temptation in the ROCK STARS, SURF AND SECOND CHANCES series. 
 
Romance and self-discovery, the FINDING ME series is a Tempest spin off with a more experienced but familiar cast of characters. 
 
The ROCK F*CK CLUB series is a girl-power fueled reality show with the groupies choosing the rock stars. 
 
When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock or NOLA funk music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend.

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Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Sweepstakes: Work Violation (Book #2: Cook County Series) by BJ Harvey

Ronnie Nelson likes to be chased.
Jaxon Cook loves a challenge.
Ronnie wants a man who pulls out all the stops.
Jax doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants.
Seems like a match made in heaven. Until an unexpected development—of the ‘call me Professor Cook’ variety—makes their attraction a lot more forbidden.
Now, committing a work violation has become a forgone conclusion and the chase just became a lot more complicated. 
Lucky for Ronnie, Jax loves breaking the rules.
Lucky for Jax, Ronnie does too.

Excerpt

Having entered his address into my car’s GPS, what I don’t expect to pull up to is a giant Barbie-pink monstrosity that looks like a wonky castle—a wonky, seen-better-days eyesore that should be leveled instead of flipped. 

I’ve been to each of the houses Jamie and his brothers have worked on so far and none of them ever came close to being this rundown before they were renovated. I knew Jax was living in the “pink house,” as it was slated by Jamie and April, but I didn’t know it was this bad. 

Putting my Prius in park, I look out my window and take a minute to try and see whatever potential the guys must’ve conjured up when they bought this place. 

The trim is pink, the porch is pink, the damn door is fuchsia and the turrets—yes, it even has two freaking towers on either side—are too-much-sun-in-summer pink. It’s so bright and garish it’s giving me flashbacks of my childhood when my mom would make Gilly and I wear matching froufrou dresses to church every Sunday, the kind that would enter the building before we did. 

My perusal is interrupted when my phone vibrates on the passenger seat. 

Jax – Are you going to sit out there and admire Her Majesty or come inside and get a private tour?

Ronnie – I’m too scared to come any closer in case Barbie and her merry minions hold me captive and roll me in pink glitter.

Jax – Now, now, don’t besmirch the house without seeing her in all her grand, blushing beauty.

Ronnie – She’s blushing alright, with embarrassment. Barbie called, she wants her Dream House back.

Jax – Barbie is too busy getting porked by Ken. She’s moved on to a beach house in Malibu, playing happy polygamy with Ken and his transgender lover, Kendra.

Ronnie – You seem to know a lot about Barbie

Jax – Just get your ass out of that prissy Prius and come inside.

Ronnie – If I start turning blond and saying like in every sentence, promise you’ll take me out the back and put me out of my misery.

Jax – Veronica . . .

Ronnie – Yeah, yeah. I’m coming, Ken.

Jax – Fucking finally, Barbie.

Ronnie – Call me that again and you’ll start sounding like my prissy Prius.

I grab my purse and get out of the car, locking it behind me and walking through—you guessed it—the pink picket-fence gate toward the front door. He appears just as I step onto the porch. 

“Did you find the place okay?” he says with a grin.

“NASA called, said I couldn’t miss the massive pink pimple called your house.”

 

BJ Harvey is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bliss Series. She regards herself as a smut peddler, suspense conjurer, and a funny romance thinker upper. An avid music fan, you will always find her singing some hit song badly and loving every minute of it. She’s a wife, a mom to two beautiful girls, and hails from what she considers as the best country in the world—New Zealand—although she currently lives in Perth, Australia.

Release Day Spotlight: Meant to be Different (Meant to be Series) by Amelia Foster

 

As a teen, I had my life figured out: graduate and make my dream of being a bull riding champion a reality. That is right up until the goth girl transferred to my school. Georgia laid the snark on as thick as her eyeliner, but I saw through the toughened façade and fell for her. Hard. 
She was willing to give up her own dream to follow me as I pursued my passion, but I couldn’t let her do that. So, I made the hardest decision of my life…and walked away.
It’s been twelve years since I left home without her and the all-grown-up Georgia is just as feisty and fiery as she was back then. It’s clear she has no intention of making redemption easy for me. Thankfully, I’m a patient man who knows what he wants. I’ve never stopped loving her, and I know she feels the same. 
Back then I was a rhinestone cowboy, and she was a dark angel, complete opposites, yet we fell in love anyway. We weren’t meant to be like every other cookie cutter couple, we were meant to be different.

 

 

Books, coffee, and chocolate make up both the heart and body mass that is better known as Amelia Foster. She has been a lifelong lover of the written word, both as a reader and an author, and completed her first manuscript at the ripe old age of five complete with illustrations. Sadly, her art was a medium that never improved over time although thankfully her writing has.
From sweet to salacious the only requirement Amelia has in books she reads – and definitely in the ones she crafts – is an excessively satisfying happily ever after… and then a little bit more.
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Review: Twilight Empress (Book #1: The Theodosian Women Series) by Faith L. Justice

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Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman—Galla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queen—Placidia does the unthinkable—she rules the failing Western Roman Empire—a life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesn’t seek, but can’t refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries. A woman as well as an Empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her strength, tenacity and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun? Or will the Dark Ages creep closer and bring down the Empire?

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Source: NetGalley and Raggedy Moon Books          Rating: 5/5 stars

In my non-book reading, reviewing, and blogging life, I am a trained Art Historian who has been teaching Art History for nigh on twenty years.  For most of these years, I have taught a wonderfully preserved and beautifully decorated site in Ravenna, Italy known as the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.  Though there is little remaining, historically speaking, about her life, what we do know as fact is terribly fascinating and indicative of a woman far, far ahead of her time and place.

I knew going into Twilight Empress there would be a greater emphasis on the fiction part of historical fiction.  This is often a very tricky thing for an author when there is so little to be relied upon from the historical record and if it isn’t dealt with in just the right way, the book becomes an absolute disaster.  From the first chapter I knew I had something special: Justice has taken what little there is, historically, and woven those precious few facts into a compelling story about a woman bound and determined to protect her rightful place in the world and ensure the places of her children. 

As with so many women of the period, and particularly royal women, Galla Placidia was seen as a pawn, a piece to be placed in the game of thrones.  As a member of the royal family of the failing Roman Empire, Galla Placidia faced great adversity and was used by her family to their advantage rather than her own.  However, Galla Placidia refused to be anyone’s pawn and with her strength, capabilities, education, and connections, she was often able to turn incredibly difficult situations into something good or, at the very least, tolerable.  Case in point: her first marriage was to her captor and her second to a man she was never able to love.  The first marriage brought Galla Placidia the title of Queen and the respect of many among the barbarian hordes, the second marriage brought her two children, an elevated royal title among her own family, and the assurances of her son’s right to inherit the throne.  To be sure, Galla Placidia knew how to use her intelligence, how to manipulate when necessary, and how to remain loyal and worthy of respect and loyalty in the worst of circumstances.

The Bottom Line:  This was my first Faith L. Justice read and it certainly will not be my last.  Justice took the story of a woman I have long been interested in and created a world in which she has once again come to life.  From her time amongst the Goths to her reign over the western half of the Roman Empire, Galla Placidia led with integrity, loyalty, shrewdness, and cunning.  Though I was familiar with her story prior to reading this book, I found myself completely entranced and loving the heavily fictionalized portion of this solid historical fiction.  I found every aspect of this book to be well-researched, well-written, and woven together (the history with the fiction) is a most pleasing manner.  As if this all weren’t enough, Twilight Empress is just the first of the books in The Theodosian Women series.

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Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, Italy

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