“People Love Monsters”: Amanda Knox Documentary

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Amanda Knox

I am always fascinated by these types of documentaries. If you remember, I did a post on “Making of a Murderer” when it first aired on Netflix. Now, I have watched “Amanda Knox.”

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Meredith Kercher

Everyone is probably familiar with the media frenzy surrounding the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. The bright, promising English exchange student was found sexually abused and stabbed in her apartment in November, 2007. She shared the apartment with Amanda Knox, another exchange student from Seattle, Washington.

Amanda discovered the suspicious scene and called her new boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. After attempting to break down the locked door to Meredith’s bedroom, they called the police.

The police investigation uncovered the grisly scene, as well as a broken window. Early on in the investigation, they ruled out the break-in, showing there was no evidence of anyone having scaled the wall outside the girls’ apartment. There was blood everywhere, and the body had been covered with a bed spread.

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Rudy Guede

From the beginning, there were issues with the investigation. Forensics were bungled. The lab testing the evidence was also testing several other objects with Meredith’s DNA on it at the same time as testing the murder weapon.

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Raffaele Sollecito

Then, the police narrowed their sights on Amanda and Raffaele. The media went WILD, calling her “Foxy Knoxy,” and publishing stories about her lewd sex games. The consensus was she forced her boyfriend and another man, Rudy Guede, to torture and murder Meredith Kercher.

Rudy Guede’s fingerprints had been found at the scene and he faced trial in October 2008. He was convicted of murder and sexual assault, and imprisoned for thirty years. After appeal, his sentence was reduced to twenty-four years.

Amanda and Raffaele were put on trial for the murder in January 2009. They were both convicted, but appealed the verdict. The Appeals Court acquitted both of the crimes, and Amanda returned to Seattle. At the new trial, both were convicted again, on the basis of “behavior.” However, six years after the first trial, they were finally acquitted by the Italian Supreme Court.


Now that the basic story is out of the way, here is what I think. The Supreme Court’s ultimate decision was based on the bungled investigation, as well as the media pressure to find the killer of Meredith Kercher. Because of this pressure, the police overlooked crucial evidence.

I believe the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, was driven by his sense of divine purpose. Amanda was the most likely suspect due to her story changing. He didn’t trust her “personality” and was willing to put that above the evidence. BIG no no. Amanda stated in the documentary they were trying to find the answer “in her eyes.” This is no means to base a criminal case.

I believe the media really did another disservice here. Are we surprised though? The media is FOREVER inflating the facts in cases, trying to get the scoop first. Hell, reporter for the The Daily Mail (ick) Nick Pisa said it himself in the documentary: “scoop before facts.” Something to think about in this age of social media and inflated news reports, hmm?

Also, on a personal note, the attorney for Rudy Guede is a straight up dick. He criticized the American media for commenting on the lack of legal due process in the case with how the courthouse was the birthplace of law for Europe since 1308. He goes on to say Americans were still painting buffalo on cave walls in 1308. Wow. Ego, much? Maybe it was the dislike of Americans which pushed the Italian police to center on Amanda.

My conclusions are simple. The investigation was flawed from the beginning. The police did themselves a disservice by capitulating to media pressure. Did Amanda Knox murder her roommate? In my opinion, no. She was young, scared, and being accused of this horrible crime. She was far from home. Was she naive? Hell yes. She should have been provided with an attorney, but she didn’t know her rights.

In all likelihood, Rudy Guede murdered Meredith Kercher. After all, how could his DNA wind up all over Meredith’s room, and Amanda and Raffaele’s be no where to be found?

Check out the documentary, and let me know what you think!

 

Camelot’s Queen Book Tour!

02_Camelot's QueenCamelot’s Queen (Guinevere’s Tale, Book Two)
by Nicole Evelina

Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Lawson Gartner Publishing
eBook; 358 Pages

Series: Guinevere’s Tale
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

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History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Review

 five star blog

The second novel in a series, I loved this one just as much as Daughter of Destiny. I won’t say too much, for those who haven’t read the first one, but this is definitely a great story, with memorable characters. You’ll not want to miss this amazing novel. I couldn’t put it down!

About the Author03_Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina is a St. Louis historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, has been short-listed for the Chaucer Award in Early Historical Fiction. Camelot’s Queen is its sequel.

Later this year, she will release Been Searching for You (May 10), a romantic comedy that won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests, and Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, which has been short-listed for the Goethe Award in Late Historical Fiction.

She hopes to have the final book in Guinevere’s Tale available in late 2016 or early 2017.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

She spent 15 years researching Arthurian legend, Celtic Britain and the various peoples, cultures and religious practices that shaped the country after the withdrawal of Rome. Other historical interests include the Middle Ages and women who made their mark on history. She’s also a frequent visitor to Chicago, where Been Searching for You takes place.

Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 25
Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, April 26
Excerpt & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, April 27
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, April 28
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, April 29
Review & Excerpt, & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Saturday, April 30
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Laura’s Interests

Monday, May 2
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Tuesday, May 3
Review at The Baking Bookworm

Wednesday, May 4
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, May 5
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Tuesday, May 10
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Wednesday, May 11
Review & Giveaway at Singing Librarian Books

Thursday, May 12
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, May 13
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, May 16
Review & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

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Catching Up! Plus a BRAND NEW Blackout teaser!

Hi everyone!

I know most of my recent blog entries have been promoting others, but I’m going to take a moment to catch everyone up on some of the things coming up for me!

First of all, Bitter Bonds is DONE! Yay! It’s off to the editor *bites nails* and then it will be released on Friday, May 13th (spooooooky!). It is currently up for PREORDER at 99 cents/99p for the duration of release week, and then it will go up in price, so grab a copy while you can!

teaser


Next, I’ve just started sign-ups for my NEWSLETTER! *puts on her big girl author pants* When you sign up, you get a FREE copy of Hubris, Luke’s Story, AND when I send out my first newsletter, I’ll be giving away a signed copy of The Fairest of Them in paperback with the shiny new cover! Squee!

Hubris blurb teaser


Finally, I’m working on Blackout, the next (and possibly final) Rae Hatting novel! I know, I know, sad times, but I want to move on to some other crime novels with new, awesome heroines. I know it’s a long wait, but Blackout will be out this October. I would have had it sooner, but…I’m going to California for three weeks in July and I plan to do NOTHING!

Blurb:

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely…dead.

Reeling from their time in New Orleans, all Special Agents Rae Hatting and Luke Thompson want to do is recover, and try to understand their budding attraction. However, there is no rest for the weary. New York calls this time, with an incipient serial killer enacting horrible vengeance on the thespian community. As bodies drop onstage, audiences are none the wiser that they are witnessing murder. Will Rae and Luke discover the culprit, before it’s ‘curtain down’?

Blackout Teaser 1


So, as always, happy reading, please sign-up for the newsletter, and I can’t wait to share Bitter Bonds with you all!

Prostitution and the Civil War

Very interesting post! 🙂

(Legacy) The Gettysburg Compiler

By Annika Jensen ’18

It was to my slight disappointment that I found out that the term “hooker,” one of many referring to prostitutes (or, as they were called during the Civil War era, “public women), is not actually a play on the name of Joseph Hooker, the infamous and promiscuous Union general. Fighting Joe may, however, have helped elevate the term to its current popularity; after all, a certain red light district in Washington, D.C. was dubbed “Hooker’s Division.”

Pushing past the etymology, however, I discovered a vast array of sources, anecdotes, and documents leading to the world of prostitution in the Civil War era. In an earlier post I explored the prudish nature of domestic sex, a topic not often discussed or even performed. Indeed, prostitution and sex work was held in contempt by the majority of Victorian society: William Quesenbury Claytor on Virginia penned in his diary…

View original post 615 more words

Death of an Alchemist Blog Tour!

02_Death of an AlchemistDeath of an Alchemist: A Bianca Goddard Mystery (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 2)
by Mary Lawrence

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

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In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.

Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)

“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley

“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper

About the Author03_Mary Lawrence

Mary Lawrence studied biology and chemistry, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Cytotechnology. Along with writing and farming, Lawrence works as a cytologist near Boston. She lives in Maine. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series.

For more information please visit Mary’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 21
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, March 22
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Guest Post at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, March 23
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, March 24
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, March 25
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Book Connection

Monday, March 28
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Tuesday, March 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, March 30
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, March 31
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Friday, April 1
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

To enter the Death of an Alchemist giveaway, please use the GLEAM form below. Four winners will receive a signed copy and the Grand Prize Winner will receive a signed copy plus a $15 Amazon Gift Card!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
– 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
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Death of an Alchemist Blog Tour

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The Vatican Princess Book Blast!

02_The Vatican PrincessThe Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia
by C.W. Gortner

Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Ballantine Books
Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook
400 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia.

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—assume an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, he’s obliged to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice—a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

Praise

“Assiduously researched and expertly crafted . . . . This unholy plunge into Rome’s darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author

“A spider web of Renaissance intrigue with a legendary cast . . . Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization make for a fascinating read.” – Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author

“Elegantly written and deeply researched . . . Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life. I’m captivated by this knowledgeable author’s take on the controversial Borgias.” – Alison Weir, NYT bestselling author

About the Author03_CW Gortner

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner’s Newsletter for updates.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, February 9
Unshelfish
Drey’s Library
The Maiden’s Court
CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, February 10
The Lit Bitch
The Never-Ending Book
A Dream within a Dream
What Is That Book About

Thursday, February 11
Laura’s Interests
The Reader’s Hollow
Flashlight Commentary

Friday, February 12
Let Them Read Books
To Read, Or Not to Read

Saturday, February 13
So Many Books, So Little Time
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Sunday, February 14
100 Pages a Day
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Monday, February 15
A Book Geek
A Bookish Affair
Puddletown Reviews

Tuesday, February 16
Just One More Chapter
Historical Fiction Obsession
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, February 17
Impressions In Ink
A Literary Vacation
The Country Bookworm

Thursday, February 18
The True Book Addict
Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, February 19
Passages to the Past
Kristin Un-Ravelle’d
Book Lovers Paradise

Saturday, February 20
Beth’s Book Nook Blog
One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Sunday, February 21
Carpe Librum (Seize The Book)
Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, February 22
Broken Teepee
Book Drunkard
The Reading Queen

Tuesday, February 23
Teatime and Books
View from the Birdhouse
Historical Fiction Connection

Giveaway

To win a Borgia-Inspired Velvet Bag & Beaded Bracelet from C.W. Gortner please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– 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
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Vatican Princess Book Blast

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Bitter Bonds Cover Reveal!

Bitter Bonds full cover

 

From bestselling and award-winning author, Heather Osborne, comes a new historical romance of unrequited love and devious plots.

Brutally torn between duty and his heart, Henri Du Cormier never expected to be completely enraptured with Adrienne Beaumont, the sister of his betrothed. As the new owner of St. Esprit, Henri knows he must work his way into a tight-knit society, and spurning his fiancée will do the complete opposite. However, there are hidden secrets, black magic, and voodoo entwined like poisonous vines into the Louisiana plantation. Will Henri end up cursing himself in life and love?

Adrienne Beaumont is anything but ordinary in a world of demure, Southern belles. Desiring little more than to be rid of a vengeful older sister, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the mysterious Henri Du Cormier. As their lives grow increasingly entangled, will Adrienne give in to the burgeoning attraction, or will fate play another card?

Expected publication: April 2016

Visit Heather’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAOsborne

Goodreads book link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28694162-bitter-bonds

Cover Design by: Christian Havran

Teaser:
Teaser One

The Renegade Queen Blog Tour!

02_The Renegade QueenThe Renegade Queen (Rebellious Times Book 1)
by Eva Flynn

Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Omega Press
eBook & Paperback; 330 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Two Renegades So Controversial, They Were Erased From History

Discarded by society, she led a social revolution. Disgusted by war, he sought a new world.

She was the first women to run for President, campaigning before women could vote.

He was the Hero of Vicksburg, disillusioned with the government after witnessing the devastating carnage of the Civil War.

Their social revolution attracted the unwanted who were left out of the new wealth: the freed slaves, the new immigrants, and women.

Who were they?

This is the true story of Victoria Woodhull and the love of her life, James Blood.

Adored by the poor, hated by the powerful, forced into hiding during their lifetimes and erased from history after death, the legend of their love lives on.

It’s 1869 and Victoria has a choice to make. She can stay in an abusive marriage and continue to work as a psychic, or she can take the offer of support from handsome Civil War general James Blood and set about to turn society upside down. Victoria chooses revolution.

But revolutions are expensive, and Victoria needs money. James introduces Victoria to one of the wealthiest man in America—Commodore Vanderbilt. Along with her loose and scandalous sister, Tennessee, Victoria manipulates Vanderbilt and together they conspire to crash the stock market—and profit from it. Victoria then parlays her fortune into the first female-owned brokerage firm.

When her idol Susan B. Anthony publishes scandalous rumors about Victoria’s past, Victoria enters into a fierce rivalry with Susan to control the women’s movement. James supports Victoria’s efforts despite his deep fears that she may lose more than the battle. She might lose part of herself.

Victoria starts her own newspaper, testifies to Congress, and even announces her candidacy for President. But when Victoria adopts James’s radical ideas and free love beliefs, she ignites new, bruising, battles with Susan B. Anthony and the powerful Reverend Henry Beecher. These skirmishes turn into an all-out war, with Victoria facing prejudice, prosecution, and imprisonment. Ultimately, Victoria and James face the hardest choice of all: the choice between their country and their love.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Review
four-star-rating-black-hi

Victoria Woodhull was one of the early advocates for women’s rights, including the right to vote, manage her own finances, and seek a divorce in the case of abusive relationships. She also was a proponent of free love, and a fierce rival of Susan B. Anthony. The novel, The Renegade Queen, is an account of Victoria Woodhull’s life, trials, and tribulations in her “own” words.

Like many others, I knew very little about Victoria Woodhull, having been taught in school about the more famous women’s rights advocates, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Woodhull was definitely far ahead of her time, and as such, faced suspicion and scorn at every turn. Many of these opinions were largely pushed by the newspapers and other media outlets, such as public speaking engagements.

I found the novel itself to be interesting, although some parts did seem to draw out particular points. As a personal preference, I did not like that the story was written in first person, present tense because I feel historical fiction needs to be written in past tense. Again though, that is a personal preference. Aside from this, I believe readers, women in particular, will find Victoria Woodhull a fascinating historical figure, and they will be prompted (as I was) to do their own research on this vivacious, and often forgotten, women’s rights advocate.

About the Author03_Eva Flynn

Eva was raised on bedtime stories of feminists (the tooth fairy even brought Susan B. Anthony dollars) and daytime lessons on American politics. On one fateful day years ago when knowledge was found on bound paper, she discovered two paragraphs about Victoria Woodhull in the WXYZ volume of the World Book Encyclopedia. When she realized that neither of her brilliant parents (a conservative political science professor and a liberal feminist) had never heard of her, it was the beginning of a lifelong fascination not only with Victoria Woodhull but in discovering the stories that the history books do not tell. Brave battles fought, new worlds sought, loves lost all in the name of some future glory have led her to spend years researching the period of Reconstruction. Her first book, The Renegade Queen , explores the forgotten trailblazer Victoria Woodhull and her rivalry with Susan B. Anthony.

Eva was born and raised in Tennessee, earned her B.A. in Political Science from DePauw in Greencastle, Indiana and still lives in Indiana. Eva enjoys reading, classic movies, and travelling. She loves to hear from readers, you may reach her at eva@rebellioustimes.com, and follow her on Goodreads and Twitter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, February 2
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, February 3
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, February 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Friday, February 5
Review at Raven Haired Girl
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Monday, February 8
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, February 9
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 10
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Thursday, February 11
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, February 12
Review at Room With Books
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Saturday, February 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, February 15
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, February 16
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, February 17
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, February 18
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, February 19
Review at Luxury Reading

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Bitter Bonds Excerpt

A sneak preview of my upcoming historical romance. Enjoy!


plantation-186330.jpg

Chapter One

May, 1834

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

“A commoner? Father, you do realize our family can be traced back to the echelons of European royalty? You still correspond with relatives in England and France.” Francine Beaumont was hardly ready to lay down her virginity for a man who bought his way into high society.

“What a despicable thing to say about a man you do not know. Besides, he can offer you a large plantation, slaves, and wealth. We are faltering, my dear. Certainly you have seen how household expenses have been cut in the past year,” Lord Arnaud Beaumont admonished his eldest daughter.

Francine had spurned nearly every suitor placed in her path, but now it was time to marry off the bane of his existence. How had something so vicious spawned from such a gentle-born woman as Francine’s mother? If only she were living now. Perhaps genial Marie would have been able to calm their daughter’s ire.

“It is tantamount to selling me off to the highest bidder, Papa!” Francine attempted to use the childhood endearment so often uttered by her much more pliable sister.

“The matter is settled!” Lord Beaumont pounded his fist on the top of the polished desk, causing Francine to flee the room in tears, past her younger sister, Adrienne. She watched the retreating form of Francine for a few moments before creeping into her father’s study.

Arnaud was relieved to see his sweet, patient daughter appear in the doorway. Her pleasant face was encircled with golden ringlets, her clear, blue eyes full of love and concern. Adrienne, his pride and joy, so much like her mother in every way, would never have protested an arranged marriage. She would have considered it her honor, and duty, to oblige. She was the opposite in every way to her tantruming sister.

“Papa, you mustn’t let Francine trouble you. Remember your constitution…” Adrienne had always been aware of the troubles plaguing her father. They had caused him to suffer horribly with stomach pains, only recently diagnosed as ulcerous. She knew Francine had no idea, nor would she care.

Ma petite, you are too kind. If only it were you who Henri Du Cormier sought.”

Seventeen-year old Adrienne was already well-versed in the matters of arranged marriage, knowing though she had more chance of marrying for love than her titled, elder sister. Francine looked upon Adrienne with contempt, envying her freedom, however minute.

“Papa, if I could, I would gladly take her place. Why does Monsieur Du Cormier seek a bride with a title? Surely such things do not matter here anymore.” Louisiana was a part of the United States. The French Revolution had dispatched with the monarchy, and the British held no control over them. Titles were obsolete relics of the past.

Arnaud rubbed the bridge of his nose, removing his silver-rimmed spectacles, and closing his doleful chocolate brown eyes. His greying, dark brown hair only betrayed his age. “I wish I knew, ma petite. He came into this money suddenly, only able to buy St. Esprit through sheer luck! I wish it were different. My title, therefore Francine’s, is useless.”

Adrienne crossed the room, kneeling at her father’s side, no care that she wrinkled her carefully pressed silk gown. “Mayhap we could speak to him? Surely he would not want such a wife as Francine, once he sees her ways.”

“Francine would never disgrace herself by behaving poorly at a public function, especially with the height of society attending.” Arnaud shuffled some papers aside. “It would alleviate my anguish greatly if you were to find a husband, someone to make you completely happy beyond your wildest dreams.”

Smiling warmly, Adrienne gazed up at her mother’s portrait above the fireplace. Her mother, Marie, was captured in the prime of youth and beauty. She saw her mother’s features in herself, knowing this was why her father favored her so. “You mean like how you were with Mama?”

Arnaud lifted his gaze, peering up at his beloved. They had grown up in a tumultuous world in pre-revolutionary France, hiding their aristocratic upbringing. When Arnaud had prospered in the shipping business, the young couple made their way to the French owned Louisiana territory. How they celebrated when the United States bought it, knowing their daughters would grow up in a free country.

Adrienne was three when their mother passed away from consumption. She vaguely remembered the tender-hearted woman who soothed her nightmares with soft, French lullabies. Often, her dreams were full of the music, as she twirled her small fingers into the woman’s blonde ringlets. She felt cheated not to have spent more time with her mother, but guilty for those feelings at the same time.

Finally, Arnaud spoke, “Yes, like how I was with Mama. I wish she were here. She had a way with Francine. Francine would throw the most violent tantrums, sending nannies and maids running from the nursery. Marie walked in, composed, and quieted the storm.”

Before melancholy could descend over the pair, Adrienne changed the subject. “Helene says everything is prepared for this evening. All the silver is polished, and the ballroom floor has been swept and cleaned. She wanted me to ask your approval on the canapés for the hors d’oeuvres.”

Patting his daughter’s hand, Arnaud left the final touches to Adrienne. “I am sure what you decide will be scrumptious. Is she preparing a full course meal, or a buffet?”

“I believe she thought it best to provide guests with titbits of food right in the ballroom. It’s very new-fangled. I believe I will ask for the salmon and dill. It is my favorite, after all.” Adrienne rose, brushing the fabric of her pale pink dress.

“I leave it all in your more than capable care, ma petite. Now, hurry along and reassure Helene. I am sure she will be beside herself, wondering what my decision shall be.” Arnaud winked and stood, placing a doting kiss on his daughter’s brow.

“I will, Papa.” Adrienne exited the room in a rustle of skirts, her heels clicking delicately on the wooden floor.

Arnaud sat down again, pressing his hand to his stomach to find some relief from the gurgling sensation building there. He slid open a drawer in his desk, and took a dose of the prescribed laudanum. Reclining back in the chair, he waited for the pain to recede, praying to his long silent God that Francine would do something for the family, for once in her life.

~

“Helene?” Adrienne poked her head into the kitchen, breathing in the smell of freshly baked honey bread. “Mmmm!” She crept over to the place where the bread was cooling and reached to break off a chunk.

“Mademoiselle Adrienne! That is for the midday meal! I have a fresh pot of stew bubblin’ away.” Helene bustled from the pantry, wiping her hands on her worn apron.

Snatching her hand back, Adrienne smiled warmly at the old cook. Helene had been there as long as she could remember, with her kind, brown eyes and work-worn features; always stern but kind. “I am sorry, Helene. Papa asked me to come down and say the salmon and dill will be fine for the canapés.”

“Well, it’s about time! I’ve been frettin’ for hours! Now, shoo. You’ll want to have a rest before the guests descend on us like a holy plague!” Helene ushered Adrienne out of the kitchen, but not before slipping a fresh, honey bread roll into her hand. “Don’t you say I’m never good to you, missy!” Her eyes crinkled as she smiled.

Adrienne felt the warm confection in her hand and ascended the stairs, only to be met at the top by Francine, green eyes red-rimmed from her heart-wrenching sobs. “What were you doing down there?”

“I was delivering a message from Father about the hors d’oeuvres for tonight,” Adrienne spoke carefully, knowing her sister was quick to anger. She still felt the sting of many hair pulls from their childhood. She secreted her prize in the folds of her skirt with subtle movements, knowing Francine would steal it, if given the chance.

“Tonight? You mean the evening where my life comes to an end? Where I am forced to marry a man I know nothing about?” Francine, ever the expert in dramatics, slumped delicately against the wall.

Drawing in a shaky breath, Adrienne strove to soothe her sister. “Have you met him yet? Perhaps he is devastatingly handsome.”

“How could he be? He is not from our class of people!” Francine flounced off down the hall, punctuating her flight with more sobs.

Adrienne shook her head. Francine would surely bring the entire mood of the house to a head. Everyone would be on edge, worried about upsetting their volatile charge. Bringing her treat once more back into sight, she pressed her nose to the top, breathing in the sweet smell and biting into it, letting the flavors fill her senses. Maybe this marriage to Henri Du Cormier would be good for all of them, if it got Francine out of their lives.

~

The evening arrived swiftly. Adrienne stood proudly by her father’s side as hostess, as Francine was too sulky to perform the duty. Her new dress was the color of the midnight sky, lit by a full moon. It fell in soft waves down the full skirt, accented by white lace. Her gloves were of the best quality, and her hair was styled meticulously. Despite the financial troubles, Arnaud always managed to dress his daughters to their standing.

Francine was a contrast to her sister, choosing a low-cut bodice, almost daring. Her emerald dress mimicked her disagreeable personality, and she chose black accents, instead of the more delicate white. Her ebony hair upswept in corkscrew curls around her pinched face. There was no persuading her otherwise. She maintained her position in the ballroom, away from the arriving guests, seething in silent rage. When was this Du Cormier meant to arrive? She pondered this question over and over, wanting to do something to dissuade him, but not wanting to ruin her name in the process.

“Francine, darling! You look…divine!” Rosalind Denis floated towards her in a divine creation of burgundy.

One of Francine’s only friends, the woman was quick to confide in her. “Rosalind, darling, something horrible has happened!”

“Oh my, do tell.” Rosalind flicked open her fan, surveying the entering guests, and attempting to discern who the eligible bachelors were. Her hazel eyes scanned the room eagerly, using a free hand to gently puff her blonde coiffed hair.

Francine drew her attention back, exasperated at the lack of sympathy from her friend. “I am to be married.”

“Married? But isn’t that wonderful? You will have your own household and expenditures. It will be divine.”

Francine opened her mouth to protest, but then pressed the full lips together. She had not considered this. Du Cormier had come into money; a great sum, if rumors were to be believed. “Oh, I did not consider this.”

“Of course not, my dear. You were thinking with your heart. Foolish really.” Rosalind returned to her perusal of the men.

Francine balked at the accusation. “Foolish? My heart? I fear you’ve confused me with Adrienne.”

“Who is your betrothed then?”

“Nothing is formal yet. It is Henri Du Cormier though.”

Rosalind’s eyes went like saucers, and she snapped her fan closed. “Oh my, aren’t we the lucky one? Did you know he recently bought St. Esprit, with all the slaves, and money to spare? The previous owner, sadly, was a gambler. I don’t blame him. His wife ran off with some merchant.” She prattled on about the scandal, but Francine was no longer listening. She had to make Du Cormier love her, no matter what.

Adrienne glanced over her shoulder, watching Francine conspire with Rosalind. Each was as bad as the other. The sound of her father’s rumbling voice uttering a familiar name had her turning her head. The new arrival did not go unnoticed, as a hush fell over the room.

“Monsieur Du Cormier, such a pleasure to see you again. May I present my daughter, Adrienne?”

Henri Du Cormier wasn’t like any knight in shining armor. His features were plain, intensified by high cheekbones, and a square jaw. He had long, black hair pulled back in a queue, and dark grey eyes that seemed to pierce her very soul, bringing a blush to her cheeks.

“Monsieur, welcome to our home.”

Henri took the delicate beauty’s hand, pressing his lips to the back. “A pleasure, mademoiselle.”

Francine huffed in indignation from across the room. She was not going to let Adrienne steal this man’s attentions. She pranced over, pushing her sister aside. “Monsieur! So sorry I was detained. I am Francine Beaumont.” She held out her hand expectantly, carefully perusing his appearance. She did not care much for the facial hair, but that was something she could easily change, once they were married.

Adrienne wisely chose the moment to retreat, leaving the perplexing man to her sister. She did not want a husband she had to decipher on a daily basis. Simple, loving, and kind was more than enough for her.

Reflections on Making of a Murderer

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After some hype by friends, I decided to sit down and watch the Netflix documentary, Making of  Murderer. This blog may contain spoilers at some parts, so if you haven’t seen it, or want to make your own opinions, please keep that in mind. You can watch the first episode on YouTube, if you don’t have Netflix. Here is the trailer.

The program chronicles the life of a man, Steven Avery, who was wrongfully convicted of the rape and assault of a woman, and eighteen years later, exonerated by DNA evidence. However, he is later accused of the assault and murder of another woman, Teresa Halbach. The documentary shows the lead up the the trial and the subsequent aftermath.

Since I hold a BS in Criminology, I was very intrigued by the premise. I wanted to see what the film makers would show. I knew from my studies that the media can be and often is very biased when they have an agenda, BUT I went in with an open mind.

After watching, I compiled a list of final thoughts on the program.


Final views on Making A Murderer​ *contains spoilers*


 

I have little doubt in my mind Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted of his first crime. DNA evidence showed that, as well as the fact he was not in the area during the crime, as shown by his alibi. I feel the need to comment on this because it lays the foundations of what is to follow, including Avery’s contention that he was being targeted and harassed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department.

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Steven Avery

I was almost drawn in by the argument made by the defense about police corruption and tampering with evidence. The forensics presented in the documentary seemed to be poorly processed and there were some questionable practices by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, as presented by the defense. I wanted to know why other suspects were not looked at, but then again, I don’t know that for sure. I feel a lot of the case evidence shown in the documentary was presented to disprove police tampering, and completely dehumanized the victim, using her to sensationalize the actions of the offenders. I feel in the end, it was the inability to prove the key nor the blood were planted by Manitowoc deputies that sealed Steven Avery’s fate, however, I do feel reasonable doubt was raised, at least in my mind.

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Teresa Halbach

In regards to the victim, only snippets of her were shown. This wasn’t like your typical CI show where they go into detail about her upbringing, showing pictures of her childhood, etc. The same images were used, as well as a video of her. This documentary was clearly offender-centered, instead showing images of Steven Avery as a child. The documentary makers stated they offered to interview Teresa’s family, but they declined to participate. Perhaps they knew things would not be taken at face value. Again, that’s an opinion you’ll have to make if you watch.

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Brendan Dassey

I did not like the questioning tactics used on Brendan Dassey. The officers used very leading questions and put some words into his mouth, taking advantage of his low intelligence (according to the opinions/testimony shown in the documentary, I have not researched this topic further). I know interrogations are often intense, but the fact his initial lawyer was not present and his mother states she was never asked rings a bit fishy to me. People lie though, however I feel he was deprived of adequate counsel. If he had a lawyer present, he may have not been so impressionable to the police questioning. Saying that, I understand the documentary makers probably used what would be advantageous to their cause, a running theme throughout this program.

I read some news articles about a juror feeling they were threatened into making a guilty verdict, and that they came forward after the documentary aired. Were they so fearful of one sheriff’s department, that they were unable to express these concerns to the judge, knowing a man’s, well, two men’s lives in prison were on the line? Others have stated cases where Manitowoc deputies seem to have personal agendas. I think it would be worth investigating the department, but again, if there was so much concern, why were people not speaking out? Was the fear so great they were afraid to end up like Avery in his earlier case?

The documentary makers admitted to having an agenda, and that was to document the trial as they saw it. This is akin to Michael Moore and his own documentaries, but those gave no pretense about being biased. While I understand the documentary took over ten years to complete, by the end, the message was clear and the motivation even clearer. This was not done objectively, but I did not expect this to be the case, although I hoped. I think deep down, I knew it wouldn’t be.

Finally, I ask that anyone who watches this really think about what you are being shown. How is the prosecution shown? The law enforcement? The defense? How are Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey portrayed? How did the humanizing of the offenders’ families make you feel?  How has the media reacted? Go into this with a very open mind, like I did, and I do hope to hear some of your thoughts on the topic.


 

In conclusion, I would like to ask, how is this related to what authors do every day? We take an idea, twist it, make the reader believe what we want them to believe. We take you for a ride, all be it fictional. Then again, what aren’t you being shown? 🙂 I leave you with that thought, dear readers.


 

Update: I received this article from a friend. I suggest reading it after watching the documentary and seeing if it changes your perspective in any way.