6/18/19

Eternally Artemisia Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway


This morning, we have another wonderful book to share from author Melissa Muldoon.  We reviewed Dreaming Sopia a few years ago--and I was excited to read and review Eternally Artemisia!  What did I think of Eternally Artemisia?  Read my thoughts, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


Book Title: Eternally Artemisia : Some loves, like some women, are timeless by Melissa Muldoon
Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 312 pages
Genre: Fiction General, Fiction Women
Publisher: Matta Press

I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my review. 
All opinions are my own.

About the Book
They say some loves travel through time and are fated to meet over and over again. For Maddie, an art therapist, who wrestles with the “peculiar feeling” she has lived previous lives and is being called to Italy by voices that have left imprints on her soul, this idea is intriguing. Despite her best efforts, however, proof of this has always eluded her. That is, until one illuminating summer in Italy when Maddie’s previous existences start to bleed through into her current reality. When she is introduced to the Crociani family—a noble clan with ties to the seventeenth-century Medici court that boasts of ancestors with colorful pasts—she finally meets the loves of her life. One is a romantic love, and another is a special kind of passion that only women share, strong amongst those who have suffered greatly yet have triumphed despite it.

As Maddie's relationship develops with Artemisia Gentileschi—an artist who in a time when it was unheard of to denounce a man for the crime of rape, did just that—Maddie discovers a kindred spirit and a role model, and just what women are capable of when united together.

In a journey that arcs back to biblical days and moves forward in time, Maddie encounters artists, dukes, designers, and movie stars as well as baser and ignoble men. With Artemisia never far from her side, she proves that when we dare to take control of our lives and find the “thing” we are most passionate about, we are limitless and can touch the stars.

Content Rating: PG-13 + M
The themes of the book deal with rape and overcoming sexual abuse. It is a book about female empowerment and how with the right tools, and support women may rise above past tragedies to build a better future for themselves.

Praise for Eternally Artemisia:

“A true Renaissance woman, Melissa Muldoon weaves her passions for art and Italy into a stirring saga that sweeps across centuries. As her time-traveling heroine Maddie reconnects with kindred souls, we meet Artemisia Gentileschi, the 17th-century artist who overcame rape and ignominy to gain respect and acclaim. Historic figures such as Galileo and Mussolini also come to life in this intricately plotted novel, but the women who defy all constraints to take control of their destinies are the ones who prove to be eternally fascinating.” -- Dianne Hales

What a lovely story! Melissa weaves the lives of 4 women across time, all with some connection to Artemisia Gentileschi, a 16th century Italy painter. They represent the feminine strength that arises from life challenges, each with their unique intelligence. Underlying their stories is the idea that love transcends all, even time, love is timeless. As with her other books, Melissa fills the story out with interesting facts and references to the Italian life, culture and it's history, her attention to detail is immaculate . I loved all of the many connections in this story that tied it all together, very cleverly done. Wonderful read, I would highly recommend it. – Lize, Amazon Reviewer

Melissa Muldoon does a phenomenal job blending fiction, romance, art history, and the Italian language into this gem. For fans of historical fiction, romance, and time travel, I strongly recommend this novel. –Exemplary Editing, Amazon Review


My Review
Eternally Artemisia offers readers another glimpse into Italy.   The author does a fantastic job weaving Italy's history, art, and culture into her storyline.  As Maddie navigates her present, builds her future and learns from her past (and strengthens her connections to her past lives), readers will explore the beauty, the darkness, and the streets of Italy.  As the author makes references to historical figures, artists, and daily life--the author educates and encourages a love for Italian life and culture.

Eternally Artemisia transports readers to another time and place.  I love the author's writing style.  She creates a very modern story to inspire readers--while weaving time travel and imaginary events with realism and historical details.  The characters in this novel face challenges and struggles as they find their strength and destinies.  Readers will find an inspirational journey that spans time, continents, and cultures.

Would I recommend Eternally Artemisia by Melissa Muldoon?  Eternally Artemisia was another wonderfully written novel by Melissa Muldoon. The characters are strong and beautifully developed and connected across time in a way that flows well through the mystery and plot twists.  This novel is a must read for historical fiction fans who enjoy an imaginative adventure as they explore new lands and past times. 


To read more reviews, please visit Melissa Muldoon's page on Italy Book Tours.


Buy the Book


Meet the Author

 
Melissa Muldoon is the author of three novels set in Italy: “Dreaming Sophia,” “Waking Isabella,” and “Eternally Artemisia.” All three books tell the stories of American women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future in Italy.

Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English (studentessamatta.com). Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l'Italiano and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy. Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master's degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

She has also studied painting and art history in Florence. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all three of her books. Melissa is also the managing director of Matta Press. As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Eternally Artemisia, Waking Isabella, and Dreaming Sophia.

She also curates the Dreaming Sophia Art History blog site and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy, where you will find companion pictures for all three books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

​Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 5, 2019




6/14/19

Fostering Love-Distance Love


No matter why you’re apart, it is not easy to be away from the one you love. Long distance relationships are hard work, but when you both fight to keep the spark alive they are not impossible. Here are some creative ways to do that.


Order Food for Your Mate

Restaurant orders for delivery are all the rage right now, and for good reason. Having the foods from your favorite eateries delivered right to your door is so convenient; you don’t even have to put on pants! Surprise your mate by ordering them their number one meal from their preferred restaurant. Learn more about home-delivery from your favorite restaurants if you’re curious.

Send a Care Package

Put together a box to send to your partner containing favorites like local delicacies and small trinkets. Not sure what kind of things to include?
  • Jams, jellies or preserves from the farmer’s market
  • A newspaper from your town
  • Bar or restaurant coasters
  • Postcards featuring landmarks

Communicate Daily

This doesn’t mean spend three hours talking every single day; rather, call or text your mate “good morning” and “good night” every day. Send texts throughout the day and updates about your life, even if you think they’re trivial things. It’s the little things that your mate loves about you; they want to know about your dentist appointment or how your meeting with your boss went.
On the other hand, try not to overdo communication. You don’t talk to your partner every moment of every day when you’re together, so extend the same courtesy when you’re living apart. Trying to have long conversations every day can become daunting if you have nothing new to report, and sometimes days pass without anything exciting happening. It’s okay to admit that and go a day without talking on the phone for an hour.

FaceTime or Skype

Make it a point to have face-to-face conversations throughout the week. It can be easy to lose track in the busyness of day-to-day life, especially life apart, but it is so important. Try to set aside at least two days out of the week to FaceTime or Skype and treat them as you would any other date. Living separate lives right now does not mean that time together is any less important, even if it’s digital time.
If you and your mate are meant to be, no obstacle will stand in the way of your love. Long-distance relationships are hard work and require lots of nurturing, but all the hard work is worth it when you can finally fall asleep in each other’s arms.

6/11/19

Burton Blake Book Review & Giveaway


Recently, I shared my review of historical fiction novel The Revolutionist by Robert Tucker--and I loved that novel. This morning, I have the opportunity to share another historical fiction novel, Burton Blake, from the author's series. What did I think of Burton Blake by Robert Tucker? Read my thoughts, learn about the author and the series and enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title: Burton Blake by Robert Tucker
Category: Adult Fiction, 518 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author or publisher for use in this review.
All opinions are my own.

About the Book

In this sequel to the well-received The Revolutionist, the American journey of three generations locks the neophyte company president, Burton Blake, in a vicious struggle with corporate intrigue, financial greed, and social corruption. Born to a taxi dancer at the beginning of the Second World War, Burton’s father, Elias Blake, never knows his natural father, who is killed in the South Pacific. He is raised by his mother and stepfather from her second marriage who makes his fortune during the post-war real estate boom of the ’50s. Their untimely death by his business partner leaves the boy Elias in the guardianship of his mother’s best friend and her marine vet husband who introduces him to the macho culture of guns and hunting.

Elias’s youth is influenced by the adult world’s drive for personal material gain. Over the next decades, he expands his parents’ original real estate empire into the diversified multi-divisional, multi-national corporation that he leaves to his son, Burton. Upon his forced return from traveling and working with oppressed third world people, Burton learns increasingly more about the true nature of his deceased father as he undertakes the challenges of leading the company in a new direction.

My Review

Burton Blake is an Engaging Read from Start to Finish.   While the author did not catch my interest immediately with Burton Blake as he did in The Revolutionist--his writing style won me over quickly and held my attention through to the end.  Although Burton Blake is a sequel to The Revolutionist, readers could certainly read it as a stand-alone novel without feeling lost or confused--and readers of the first book won't feel that the story rehashes the first book.  The author creates a very detailed, intricate storyline that is both well researched and entertaining for readers.  In spite of the length, the novel flows smoothly and is an easy read with just enough twists, turns and mystery to keep the reader turning the pages.

Characters and Setting Transport Readers to Another Time and Place.  Tucker creates another very realistic storyline around his cast of good vs. evil characters that engages readers and draws them deeper into every scene.  His characters face challenges and dilemmas--and the author keeps them true to nature as the plot resolves.  Sometimes historical fiction can be a little drawn out and dry as authors set the stage and develop their characters for a new generation of readers.  Burton Blake is not that kind of historical fiction.  The author does a beautiful job setting his scenes within the time period and creating plot twists and dialogue that are both historically placed--but, relatable for the modern reader.

Would I recommend Burton Blake by Robert Tucker?  Much like the Revolutionist, I loved this book, I loved the characters, and I loved the author's writing style.  Burton Blake is another action-packed, historically placed novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy a blend of themes within a story.  I would recommend reading the series as a series--simply because both books were excellent for historical fiction and suspense fans. 


​Buy the Book

Watch the Book Trailer

Meet the Author


 
​Robert is published by Tell-Tale Publishing Group LLC / Wise Words Publishing under a multi-book contract. The author of four previous earlier novels, Robert infuses his books with unique dynamic stories and characters that portray social and cultural conflicts of their time. His career encompasses many years as a business consultant that have given him access to a wide range of organizations and an appreciation for people in all areas of society. His life experience is reflected in the literary quality of his work. Born and raised in the Middle-West, he has traveled throughout the United States and abroad.

Now retired, he resides with his wife in Southern California where he devotes full-time to writing. Robert is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Masters Degree in Communications at the University of California, Los Angeles where he received the Samuel Goldwyn and Donald Davis Literary Awards.

An affinity for family and the astute observation of generational interaction pervade his novels. His works are literary and genre upmarket fiction that address the nature and importance of personal integrity.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 5, 2019



6/10/19

Turning Home Dreams Into Realities


You probably have watched many home improvement shows and have dreams of home improvement projects that will wow your friends and family and be the envy of the neighborhood. When you are ready to make those dreams into a reality, you need to have a plan. There will be the unexpected problem here and there, but if you have a plan, you will be better prepared to handle them (or hopefully, avoid them all together).

Photo Credit

Decide What Your Priorities Are

When it comes to home improvement projects Columbus, sometimes you may feel like you want to renovate your entire house. The reality, however, is that often that is impossible with the budget. You need to focus on what needs to be done right away and what can wait. Make your list and prioritize based on where you spend the most time. Do you spend a majority of time in your kitchen? That may be the place to start.

Find Your Style

When you decide to change something about your home, you need to know what style you are going for. Do you like mid-century modern? Or are you traditional? Do you like a more minimalist look? Or do you want something with bling? Looking in magazines and online bulletin boards can help. Also pay attention to those home improvement shows. What is it that you like about those renovations? You will also want to visit stores, show rooms, and other places that you enjoy visiting to get a feel of what you like.

Come Up With Your Budget

Look at what your projects are and how much each will cost. Often people do not have enough money to do everything on their project wish list. Maybe you would like to start with a total kitchen remodel, but the money is not there.

Another factor that affects the budget is whether you will get the money back when you sell your home. A real estate agent can help you find what renovated homes in your neighborhood are selling for.

You will also want to decide how much you are willing to spend on which features. If you want the freestanding tub, are you willing to pay the extra for it? How important is it to you? Make your wish list and price the items. Then you can decide which items are must-haves and which are ones you can do without.

Whatever your home improvement projects are, have a plan. Now go turn those dreams into your reality.

6/7/19

The Father's Day Gift Guide for Dads


We’re all guilty of letting Dad’s birthday or Father’s Day (which is June 16th this year for most of the world, FYI) creep up on us and being totally unprepared…right? It’s a regular occurrence, and one that can be quite stressful – we want to give Dad (or Grandpa) the brilliant gift he deserves but have just left it too late to order something thoughtful that he’ll love.

Luckily, help is at hand – your last-minute shopping doesn’t have to mean buying the most important man in your life a pair of socks or a comedy tie, like last year. Maybe this year, you want to be fully prepared and have presents wrapped up in advance. If so, you’ve come to the right place. 
Here’s our list of the top gifts for Dads available in 2019, for men with any interest. Have a browse, and we hope you find something perfect for your Dad!

Birchbox Subscription
If you’re in the US, you can subscribe to send your Dad a personalized Birchbox each month for just $13. Simply fill in a profile of his grooming habits, skin and hair types and they will send him a box of treats selected especially for him every month! Be the favorite child and sign up for one to be delivered to your Dad now.

Fish Finder
For the Dad who loves fishing (because they all just seem to): rather than getting him a new rod or box of live bait this year, gift him a nifty device that will mean he never misses a catch again. ‘Fish finders’ are clever gadgets that use sonar and GPS to tell you if there are fish in your proximity – never spend a fruitless, fish-less day at the lake again. VFM has a great comparison on the best fish finders – click the link to find out more.

Golf Organizer
Possibly the second most popular sport among Dads besides fishing is golf. Make your Dad the most stylish man on the green with a cool golf bag that carries all his kit in a neat organizer, available from TaylorMade.

Hot Sauce Keychain
What is it about Dads and condiments? It’s like a Dad rule that they can’t eat a meal without drowning it in a weird sauce. If this rings true for your father, get him a Sriracha keychain gift set, containing a full-size bottle of the hot sauce and two mini keychain decanters, so he’ll never be without his favorite dip!

Fancy Chocolate
If you’re truly lost for ideas, chocolate is always a winner. Make it special by going a bit artisan – HotelChocolat, Jeff de Bruges, Chococo – something that you can’t get at the nearest supermarket. And generally, the stranger the flavor the better.

Poker Set
Challenge your old man to a game of poker (and hopefully win)! Choose a full-size poker set or a fun travel set so he can take it along with him to play with his pals at the weekend. If your Dad is as competitive as ours, we’re sure he’ll love this gift where he can show off his gambling prowess.

Leather Wallet/Phone Case
Everyone loves a multi-purpose gift; and your Dad will love a classy leather wallet-turned-phone case. Ensure your Dad never forgets his bank cards again by keeping them in the same leather case as his phone. It also doubles as a heavy-duty phone protector, which means no more smashed phone screens. You can find these on Amazon or from any specialized leather retailers.

Bluetooth Headphones
If you’ve got a cool Dad who has a smartphone, he’ll love some new headphones, with the added novelty value of being wireless (the older generation just loves new tech, huh?). Gift your Dad a pair from Urbanears, available in a variety of colors.

Whiskey Glass Set
Present your Pap with a glass decanter, drinks tray and set of tumblers for his evening whiskey. This is sure to make him feel like a gentleman of leisure and will have it displayed on his armchair side-table forever more. A quick Google search will reveal many retailers and styles – pick a whiskey glass set that suits your Dad best.

A Sentimental Gift for Dad
If you want something a little more personal for Dad--and none of the options above fit the bill--it may be time to create a personalized gift instead.  Whether you opt for a custom photo frame for Dad  or a Swiss Army knife, there are so many ways to give Dad a special, personalized gift.

You know Dad best--so take some time to choose a fun gift that Dad will love!



6/4/19

6 Things to Do During a Weekend Getaway to Hicksville


When humid days and swarms of tourists encompass New York City, those longing for cooler nights and smaller crowds may travel east. Located around 30 miles from the city is Hicksville, the heart of hotels and restaurants galore. Hicksville rests along Oyster Bay on Long Island, making it the perfect getaway any time of the year.

Visit One of Hicksville's Many Parks
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Image via Flickr by terryballard
When visiting Hicksville in the summer, temperatures average around 70 to 80 degrees. You and your family can enjoy an array of activities at local parks. There's Eisenhower Park in East Meadow - 930 acres filled with numerous baseball fields, tennis courts, golf courses, and a swimming pool.

Another park worth visiting is Cantiague Park with a children's playground, athletic fields, handball courts, a golf course, and an indoor skating rink.

Get Some History In

For history buffs, a visit to Hicksville Gregory Museum will be fruitful. Located in a former courthouse, the museum offers a glimpse of local history, natural history, and earth science. It features exhibits like fossils of a dinosaur egg, a display of old telephones, and butterflies from around the world.

Not sure you can see everything in one go? Hicksville offers many great accommodations for every budget and at walking distance from all these attractions.

Love Sports? Learn More About Them

Baseball lovers of all ages can visit Baseball Plus, a baseball training facility, and store. This kid-friendly attraction even organizes baseball-themed parties. According to its website, "Baseball Plus is Long Island's, premier indoor batting cages, and the largest supplier of amateur and professional athletic equipment."

Another attraction is C&B Archery for some archery lessons. Its shop carries a wide variety of bows, arrows, and accessories for enthusiasts.

Hit the Movies or the Theatre

Kids will fall in love with Long Island Puppet Theatre, which hosts various puppet shows. The theatre organizes parties for children filled with puppet shows and fun. For adults, Broadway Multiplex Cinemas is ideal for movie dates. It screens classic Hollywood movies and even projects some movies in 3D.

Taste Some Local Cuisine

Perhaps you prefer Italian food, but your close ones would rather have some steak. Hicksville is the ultimate melting pot, offering cuisine from all around the world in addition to a few local charming restaurants.

According to OpenTable, some popular choices include Highway Restaurant, offering New American cuisine, or Prime, an elegant steakhouse designed as a classic boathouse. If a diner happens to be the dinner choice, hit up Broadway Diner for some steak and fries.

Go All Fancy at an International Venue

For those yearning for international cuisine, there's Tutti Il Giorno serving Italian classics in an elegant setting. If pizza happens to be the dinner choice, check out Raimo Pizza for comfort food and Italian dishes. New Chili & Curry offers spicy Northern Indian specialties, for those craving some curry.

Hicksville is a great place to visit, especially since it's so close to New York City. Hicksville is perfect for a weekend getaway, whether to enjoy a nice meal on the waterfront, or to play sports on a field bigger than the one in your local park.