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HFVBT | Review and Giveaway for The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

The Boleyn Bride Excerpt:

“Mary had run straight to me, poor girl, expecting some comfort from her mother, bursting into my bedchamber in a flurry of weeping, rumpled blond curls, and gold satin, and blurted it all out between wracking sobs and showers of tears. Henry had just told her that they must, because of her condition, part. … something had gone terribly wrong. The tea of tansy and white poplar had, for the first time, failed, and, for this, King Henry blamed her.”

“Poor Mary, she wept and wallowed and buried her face in my lap, leaving behind a smeared imprint of her features painted on my nightgown, before she slunk away, hurt and bewildered, wondering why her mother had failed to give her the comfort she had expected and so desperately needed.”

“‘There are other teas, daughter!” I called after her. ‘Some penny-royal, perhaps mixed with …'”


From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.

(Synopsis and book cover image provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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My Thoughts:

My thoughts on The Boleyn Bride will be presented a bit differently in this review. Because there were a number of things I disliked and some I liked, I have decided the easiest way to share these with you is by way of a list of each.


  • I love any book centering around this time period, one filled with Boleyns, Henry VIII and others in his court, and the general history filling out the story being told. I enjoy learning history via historical novels where the research is accurate.
  • Brandy Purdy is one of those historical authors who has done her research well. I appreciated the time and effort that goes into doing this.
  • As a memoir writer, I also enjoyed hearing the story of the Boleyn children — Mary, George, and Anne — as told by their mother, Elizabeth Howard Boleyn. It is a very different approach to historical fiction and reflects not only on the court and its members but also on Elizabeth’s life as well. I found this very effective.


  • A 26-page prologue which seems as though it will never end. Much of what is in the prologue could have been simply worked into the rest of the book. The prologue dampened my enthusiasm for the book rather than tempting me to want to read more.
  • The myth of the changing last name of Thomas Boleyn through variations of Bullen and a long list of others is, in my opinion, overused here. Typically, in Elizabeth’s dialogue or thoughts, she refers to him as “Thomas Bullen — I mean Boleyn!” Other references are made to her name for him applicable to his sexual ability, or lack thereof. Here she calls him ” Thomas Bull-In.” One or two such references for each variation would have been enough. I got the hint that she despised him the first time.
  • Brandy Purdy has a grasp of language and words which is amazing. However, many times in her attempt to describe a scene for her reader the sentence becomes too long, filled with too many adjectives, and a lack of breathing room:

That night she rewarded Henry by giving him ‘a little taste–a foretaste–of heaven.” She led him into her bed–a fat white feather bed covered in quilted white satin, hung with white lace curtains, like a tantalizing veil, where she lay, a black-haired angel in alluring, clinging white satin, whilst in each corner, blindfolded, white-winged and gilt-haloed harpists played, and I sat, unsmilingly, doing a mother’s duty and acting as my daughter’s chaperone, in a straight-backed gilded chair outside her open bedchamber door.

  • Although I have read many historical novels on Anne Boleyn and her life at court during King Henry VIII’s reign, I was disappointed to find that Purdy dismisses the drama leading up to and including the trial for Anne, George and their friends. Suddenly they are whisked away and very little said about the trial. And then they are dead.
  • Elizabeth is presented as a rather complex character and not a great image of motherhood. However, I would have liked to have known more about her impressions of the lifestyle she lived at court, the happenings inside the Queen’s chambers, more about who Elizabeth was as a woman.

My Recommendation: 

Despite my opinion and lists of likes and dislikes, some have praised The Boleyn Bride and others have had similar concerns with it. To learn more about the book from other reviewers on this tour, click on the image below to find the entire tour schedule:

The Boleyn Bride_Tour Banner _FINALv2

Meet the Author:

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN’S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), and THE QUEEN’S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN). An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at www.brandypurdy.com, you can also follow her, and her cat Tabby, via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com where she posts updates about her work and weekly book reviews.

(Bio provided by Historical Fiction Virtual  Book Tours)

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Where to Buy the Book:

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Google Play

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with any of these outlets.


Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Kensington Publishing
Paperback; 272p
ISBN-10: 0758273363

I received a copy of The Boleyn Bride from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.

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The giveaway is for two paperback copies and is limited to residents of the United States.
Follow the link below to a super easy entry form. Two winners will be selected by Random.org, and the
results will be posted here, via Twitter and on Facebook on Tuesday, March 5th.
Giveaway closes at midnight on Monday, March 4th.

Found Between the Covers | Book Giveaway

Debut Novel, The Isolation Door by Anish Majumdar | TLC Book Tours

Cover of The IsolationAdvance Praise:

“Believable and inspires contemplation.”

Bookish Ardour Blog

“Anish’s language brims with the confidence and emotional gravitas of a seasoned author -there is that distinct cadence in the way he frames his words: always pleasing, calming, as he reels you deeper into his tale.”

New York Book Pundit


Neil Kapoor, 23, is desperate to create a life beyond the shadow of his mother’s schizophrenia. Years of successive relapses and rehabilitations have forced his father into the role of caretaker and Neil into that of silent witness. But there is no light within this joyless ritual, and any hope for the future rests on finding an exit. 

Amidst her latest breakdown, Neil attends drama school in pursuit of a role that might better express the truth of who he is. What started as a desperate gambit becomes the fragile threads of a new life. A relationship blooms with Emily, and each finds strength – and demons – in the other. New friendships with Quincy and Tim grow close and complex. But the emotional remove needed to keep these two lives separate destabilizes the family. Neil’s father, the one constant in the chaos, buckles under the pressure. Enlisting the aid of an Aunt with means and questionable motives, Neil plies ever-greater deceptions to keep the darkness at bay. But this time there will be no going back. As his mother falls to terrifying depths a decision must be made: family or freedom?

In this powerful fiction debut, acclaimed journalist Anish Majumdar shines a much-needed light into the journey of those coping with serious mental disorders and the loved ones who walk alongside them. Incisive and filled with moments of strange beauty, it marks the arrival of a unique voice in American letters.

[Synopsis and image via Goodreads]

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My Thoughts:

Anish Majumdar in his debut novel, The Isolation Door, stole my reader’s heart the moment I began to read his words. Majumdar has a writing style that is both lyrical and atmospheric from the perspective of great storytelling. 

Within the pages of this book, Majumdar tells a fictional story of a young man dealing with immense problems at home, problems which are not of his doing nor his solving, and yet Neil feels compelled to try to fix everything that has gone wrong. As I read along, Majumdar wrote so realistically as to cause me to forget these were not real people living next door nor was this a story about real circumstances. That is great writing!

Do not despair for Neil, however, he finds love and is able to float for a time between the two lives he creates for himself. On the one hand, his parents struggle with his mother’s mental health issues and on the other hand, Emily, someone willing to accept him for who is. And yet a time comes for decisions. A beautiful love story is centered in Neil’s struggle with his family’s life journey filled with disappointments and cruelties and his desire, like so many of us, to be set free from that life.

My Recommendation:  

If you are fond of reading a book which presents characters so real you believe the struggles in the book’s pages to also be real, coupled with a beautiful love story which gives hope to those who struggle in similar ways on life’s journey, then The Isolation Door is for your shelf! Pick it up soon and enjoy Majumdar’s beautiful writing.

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Listen to Anish Majumdar talk about the circumstances in his own family and life which led him to write The Isolation Door:

Meet the Author:

Anish MajumdarAs a child growing up in Montreal, Canada, Anish Majumdar’s first creative writing lessons came courtesy of his mother, a former English teacher. Witnessing her struggle with schizophrenia had a profound impact and inspired The Isolation Door, his first novel. His non-fiction work, appearing in many publications, has garnered Independent Press Association Awards for Feature Writing and Investigative Journalism. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives with his wife, son, and a growing menagerie of pets in Rochester, NY.You can connect with Anish via the following:

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Book Details:

  • TLC Book Tours Tour HostFile Size: 577 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Ravana Press; 1 edition (January 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I29CL8A

Dates for the TLC Book Tour for The Isolation Door may be viewed here.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of The Isolation Door from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Waves of Change by Pamala Hernandez-Kaufman LMFT, MJ Plaster, and Dr. Melissa Riley

Waves of Change, Memoir of Tennessee's 1000 Year Flood

“I lost my virginity (figuratively) with FEMA. I was not one of the first to ask for help because the thought of taking government or any other assistance appalled me. …”

“During the limbo phase, I adopted a Scarlett mindset, not worrying about anything today that I could putt of until tomorrow. Southern women seem to have a bit of Scarlett in them, so this was my Scarlett moment, my moment to conserve my strength and pace myself through dealing incrementally–frankly, dealing with as little as possible at any moment.”

~ MJ Plaster,
Waves of Change


Do you wonder what it would be like to live through a natural disaster, to survive a flood, hurricane, tornado, or other weather event? In the early morning hours of May 2, 2010, Tennessee experienced the worst and most costly non-coastal disaster in the history of the United States, dubbed the Thousand-Year Flood. 

Waves of Change portrays the struggles and triumphs of a flood survivor, a rescue and recovery professional, and a family grief counselor as their lives intersected during the aftermath of the flood. You’ll laugh at their tales, weep at their frustrations, and leave with a sense of empowerment, secure in the knowledge that natural disasters, in all their fury, are just a milestone along the path of life.

 (Synopsis and image via Amazon)

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My Thoughts:

Waves of Change provides a window on the tragedy of the 1000-year flood which occurred in Tennessee in 2010. This window has three panes.

First is the pane through which MJ Plaster sees and survives this experience. MJ is a writer with many credits to her name as you’ll read below. Her writing skills brought to the page the gravity of this disaster through the eyes and ears of any one of us. Just the ordinary citizen who finds herself caught in the nasty grip of something over which she can exert no control. MJ is at the mercy of swirling, muddy waters flowing through her condo development and finds herself suddenly homeless with dozens hundreds of other people.

Then there is Melissa Riley who shows us what it is like to be an emergency responder in a disaster like the 2010 flood. Melissa is well versed in aiding in the rescue of people and animals. Her experiences take the reader into first-hand situations assisting victims and saving lives. Her grasp of emergency situations pulsates from the page, and I found myself cheering her on!

And last of the three survivors who wrote this amazing chronicle is Pamela Hernandez-Kaufman, a bilingual marriage and family therapist, who finds herself in the middle of this massive flood while her husband is out-of-town. Pamela and her family, consisting of two children, a husband (did I mention he was out-of-town?), and family pets had just three weeks earlier moved to the Nashville area from Southern California. Needless to say, Pamela was ready to return to California.

Fate brought them together through various contacts and resources, and the three decided they had a story to tell that could help others weather the storms of life.

What their combined stories provide are invaluable resources to meet safety to psychological and counselling needs in the course of surviving any kind of disaster. A handbook for survival by three women who faced the storm and rose above all that it presented them.

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My Recommendation: 

Anyone will find this a helpful guide to surviving crises that we face and which extend beyond our control. These can include weather crises, life crises or traumatic accidents. I recommend it for families to read and especially those who know they live within an area susceptible to quick weather changes and storms, such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.

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Meet the Authors:

Pamala Hernandez-Kaufman, LMFT, is a bilingual licensed marriage and family therapist with 14 years’ experience working with individuals, couples, adolescents, and children in English and Spanish. Most of her work is with PTSD, grief, loss, and trauma recovery, and she deploys regularly for crisis intervention and disaster relief work. Her private practice office is in Brentwood, Tenn.

MJ Plaster, survived Nashville’s Thousand-Year Flood. She has been a technical writer, instructional designer, instructor, speaker, and freelance writer for more decades than she would like to recall, with newspaper, magazine, anthology, corporate, online, and agency writing to her credit. In addition to writing, she has served as managing editor for several association and special publications, including the Florida Turf Digest since 2006.

Melissa Riley, Ph.D., WEMT-IV, is the state coordinator for the Tennessee Disaster Crisis Counseling Program. She volunteers as the K9 coordinator for Tennessee Task Force 2 State Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR), the Wilson County Sheriff K9 Search and Rescue Team, and as the technical rescue coordinator for the Wilson County Disaster Animal Response Team (DART). She is a flight instructor, a FEMA CCP Instructor, and instructs for the University of Phoenix. She is also a wilderness emergency medical technician, firefighter, emergency planner, and has over two decades of experience in emergency services as a responder and an instructor.

(Bios via Amazon; no images available)

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Publication Date: May 29, 2013
Publisher: Waves of Change LLC
Genre: Memoir
Kindle edition: 328 KB
Printed edition: 204pp
Source: Authors

I received a copy of Waves of Change from the authors in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Adventures of a Chilehead: A Mini-Memoir with Recipes by Sharon M. Lippincott

Chilehead Mini-Memoir with Recipes

“Medical opinion notwithstanding, in my humble opinion six major food groups are crucial for happiness and mental health: coffee, chocolate, chile, wine, salt and fat, not necessarily in that order. While I love all six, chile belongs on a list of its own. I’m in a committed life-long love affair with chile. I love it hot, I love it mild. I love it red, green or yellow. I love it fresh, in sauce, in foods.”

Sharon M. Lippincott,
Adventures of a Chilehead:
A Mini-Memoir with Recipes


“It feels so good to hurt so bad.” Sharon Lippincott, a self-professed chilehead from childhood, invokes this mantra to explain her lifelong love affair with this mystical fruit, spelled to honor her New Mexican roots. In Adventures of a Chilehead, she takes readers on a mouth-searing journey through fifty years of increasingly challenging involvement with capsaicin, the heat-giving element in chile. As heat levels escalate, she strives to maintain a balance between the transcendent euphoria of heat-induced endorphins and serious pain in capsicum capers such as “Death by Salsa” and “Great Balls of Fire.” Much of her pleasure comes from preparing chile-based soul food, and she includes twenty-two richly detailed classic recipes that tell you how to adjust heat levels for any taste.

 (Synopsis and image via Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

Sharon Lippincott’s Adventures of a Chilehead: A Mini-Memoir with Recipes is a short book, 87 pages total on the Kindle edition. Likely the shortest book I’ve read recently.

However, stuffed within those 87 pages, Lippincott regales her reader with knowledge and expertise on chile — hot, mild, semi-hot, any of the three colors grown, recipes, cultural background — and I should not forget the laughter.

At times, Lippincott sprinkles laughter at her own expense among the pages of this gastronomic delight. Lippincott is destined for a world championship medal for eating the hottest and the most chile, if she doesn’t destroy herself with her pyromaniac tendencies toward eating this rather slim and often innocent looking food. So determined to prove her ability to eat the hottest of chile, she often lapses into what appears to be temporary insanity, whether with family, friends or strangers.

Now, I love chile and all things Mexican when it comes to food and drink, but I would not want to have Lippincott test my metal with one of her recipes. I’m afraid I’d have to take along a couple of firemen to make sure that I didn’t leave with charred tissue in my mouth!

All kidding aside, this is a delightful book of memories about a favorite food and culture, and I enjoyed every page and will enjoy trying out the recipes soon.

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My Recommendation: 

Love to eat and cook with chile? Then you must acquire Lippincott’s Adventures of a Chilehead: A Mini-Memoir with Recipes. While enjoying the recipes, you can also choose one of the author’s experiences to share during the meal when you serve it.

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Meet the Author:

Lippincott, Sharon

Sharon Lippincott has been writing in one form or another for over forty years, receiving the Distinguished Thesis Award from Central Washington University in 1979. Her first book Meetings: Do’s Don’ts and Donuts, was published in 1995, with a second edition released in 1999. Since retiring from the business world in 2000, she has developed a passion for all forms of life writing, especially memoir and journaling. She is a dedicated lifelong learner and loves sharing discoveries with others. She teaches classes and workshops both locally and online on basic memoir and lifestory writing as well as specific skills like writing dialog and description and personal transformation through writing.

She serves on the advisory board of the National Association of Memoir Writers, cohosts the Lifewriters’ Forum on YahooGroups, and is active in the Indie Publishing community. Her book, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing together with her blog, The Heart and Craft of Life Writing, has helped thousands create written legacies of their lives. She is currently serving as an adviser for the Allegheny County Library Association’s initiative to sponsor lifestory writing groups in county libraries.

(Bio and image via Amazon)

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Publication Date: November 28, 2013
Publisher: Heart and Craft Press
Genre: Memoir
Kindle edition: 680 KB; 87 pp
Source: Author

I received a copy of Adventures of a Chilehead: A Mini-Memoir with Recipes from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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