In My Mailbox {14}

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Won:

Blood Groove
Blood Groove by Alex Bledsoe
Thanks, Alex!

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Eldala by Michelle Gregory
Thanks, Michelle!

You can find Michelle at these places:
Eldala
Blog - Beautiful Chaos

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A swag pack from Cass Chu @ Words on Paper
*Pictured is the preview booklet of Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Book Review : Sweet Life by Mia King

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Sweet Life by Mia King

Product Details

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What if you got away from it all—and then it all got away from you?

When her husband gets a new job, Marissa Price leaves the island of Manhattan for the island of Hawaii. Paradise seems like the perfect place to find herself, save her marriage, and reconnect with her daughter. But Marissa discovers her new life is less about beaches and beautiful sunsets and more about cows and lava flows. Their new “home” is a fixer-upper. But what most needs fixing—her marriage— is the first thing to crumble when her husband announces he wants time apart to find himself. Pulled in opposite directions, Marissa is faced with the most important decision of her life—a choice that will define who she is, what she wants, and where her happiness lies.

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This book is mainly about Paul and Marissa Price, a couple who decided to move to Hawaii, the paradise, with their daughter, Elizabeth 'Pansy' when Paul was promoted to GM, both of them believing that Hawaii will bring them a sweet life. But after two months, Marissa's marriage started to fall apart when she suspected her husband of having an affair with another woman.

I'm not particularly fond of any of the main characters in this book. Marissa seemed like a snobbish, materialistic woman who owns things that are only consisted of designer products. Paul wasn't much better either. He was kind of insipid, actually. He was very annoying throughout the book (except at the end), and this made me feel like punching him. He demandedd some time apart from his wife on Valentine's Day, and left the house without much explanation. Can anyone be more uncool than he?

I felt like the novel was dragging at many places. What can be summed up in the synopsis actually took 123 pages to be fully described. I think it would be better to reveal less in the synopsis if that is the case. However, the story gets better and better from the middle part towards the end. I didn't want to stop reading. I was anxious to find out whether Marissa would accept Tom's love. I wanted to know if Marissa's marriage will eventually end up with a divorce.

The supporting characters were more lovable in many ways. Jane, Kavena and Malia were wonderful people who played an important part in Marrissa's life - they were both tenants and supportive friends who offered advice and consolation to her whenever she needed them. She was really lucky to have met them.

To sum things up, Sweet Life is not an extraordinary novel that will leave you raving about its excellence, but it is still sweet, enjoyable and special in its own way. It offers you with a decent amount of Aloha and Hawaiian goodness that will leave you satisfied.

Rating: 3.685 (Good!)

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National bestselling author Mia King is the author of two novels, GOOD THINGS (Berkley, 2007) and SWEET LIFE (Berkley, 2008). Her third novel, TABLE MANNERS, will be published in 2009 by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin USA.

Mia's Online Connections:
Website
Twitter
Myspace
Facebook
Goodreads Page



Do You Like Swag?

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_TRcEWTyXkUw/TA6IGQrTnLI/AAAAAAAAALg/gFPxISxeWyU/s1600/DSC03034.JPGI'm wondering if you (yes I mean you) like swag? In case you're new to the word, swag means promotional items, especially when given for free, considered as a group. We often hear about how authors give away swag to promote their books. These swag come in various types, such as the most common and widely-loved bookmarks, bookplates, magnets, cards, stickers etc. Sometimes they are specially signed by the author. Some book bloggers actually have a huge collection of them, which they like to give away in contests as a way of saying thanks to readers who have supported their blogs for a long time.

So, what do you think about swag? Would you like to have them if you have the chance?

Book Review : Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

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Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Product Details
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (February 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803732740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803732742
  • Available on: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository
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When high school junior Natalie--or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper--is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won't give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected--especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?

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Having not read any of Jody Gehrman’s other books, I opened Babe in Boyland, not knowing what to expect. The synopsis reminds me of Amanda Bynes' movie - She's The Man, K-Drama He's Beautiful and Taiwanese drama, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, in which the heroines go cross-dressing as a guy in a foreign place, but with different motives. I was a little worried that Babe in Boyland will fall into the same mold as the movies/dramas, but turns out, it doesn’t fall back on tired stereotypes. The cross-dressing is just a factor in the story that enables our gutsy heroine to find out the Top 7 Secrets about Guys.

In fact,
Jody Gehrman does a great job in explaining how Natalie goes undercover as a new (male) student - Nat Rodgers - in Underwood High. The details on how she does certain things are brilliantly explained, like how she mimicks a guy's strut, how she practices to keep her voice low and manly, and ultimately: how she keeps her identity a secret to the guys at Underwood. She uses Natalie's character to give readers an insight on how people act around different surroundings, which is quite true considering how multifaceted us humans are.

This story is told from Natalie's (a.k.a. Nat Rodgers) perspective, which is a good choice since we get to see things through her eyes. What makes this book so entertaining is that the author has a wry sense of humour which never fail to make me
chortle like a maniac. Really, it is hilarious! There was one particular scene where I laughed until my tears start rolling down, and my distracted little brother peeled himself away from his computer game to ask me what's wrong. LOL.

Although Babe in Boyland seems to be funny and cheery, i
t has a real depth within. The story itself actually offers truths about real friendship and why love relationships get strained or broken. Tolerance and acceptance is indispensable to maintain a loving relationship between a couple. With witty dialogues and realistic scenes, this book is bound to capture your heart.

Overall, Babe in Boyland is a refreshing, light and quick read.
Jody Gehrman definitely deserves a bunch of compliments for creating such a highly lovable and enjoyable story. Well done, Jody!

Rating:
5 (I THIS BOOK!)

I received an ARC of
Babe in Boyland from the author for this review. Thanks, Jody!

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Jody Gehrman
Jody Gehrman is the author of six novels and numerous plays. Babe in Boyland, Triple Shot Bettys in Love, and Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty are her Young Adult novels, all published by Penguin's Dial Books. Notes from the Backseat, Tart, and Summer in the Land of Skin are her adult novels. Tart was a Booksense notable in 2005 and won an RT Bookclub critics' award. Her plays have been produced in Ashland, New York, San Francisco and L.A. She is a professor of English at Mendocino College.

Visit Jody's Website


http://www.thestranger.com/images/icons/love.gif Enter to win a copy of Babe in Boyland on Goodreads
http://www.thestranger.com/images/icons/love.gif Giveaway dates: Mar 20-Apr 20, 2011
http://www.thestranger.com/images/icons/love.gifCountries available: US and CA


Book Review : Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

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Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1)
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Product Details
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061214655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061214653
  • Available on: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
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All teenagers have problems, but few of them can match those of Aislinn, who has the power to see faeries. Quite understandably, she wishes that she could share her friends' obliviousness and tries hard to avoid these invisible intruders. But one faery in particular refuses to leave her alone. Keenan the Summer King is convinced beyond all reasoning that Aislinn is the queen he has been seeking for nine centuries. What's a 21st-century girl to do when she's stalked by a suitor nobody else can see? A debut fantasy romance for the ages; superlative summer read.

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Wicked Lovely has a gorgeous cover - a girl cupping flowers in her frosty palms. I guess that's why I was so attracted to this book in the first place. You may think I'm shallow - but there's no denying that it really is beautiful. Look, even the font is lovely. But sometimes, we can't judge a book by its cover! A beautiful cover doesn't guarantee an amazing story. That's what happened with me reading Wicked Lovely.

I started reading the book with high hopes, but it was just meh. Even though it was a little boring, I kept on reading - anxious to reach the climax of the story - which never came. Well, it had a climax, but I didn't feel the tension and excitement at all. I just read for the sake of reading, which was actually quite sad since I thought this would be a great book after reading the rave reviews on Goodreads. 7 out of 10 says it's awesome.

Aislinn has a pretty name, and she's a courageous, spunky and witty heroine. She is blessed (and cursed) with the Sight, which means she can see faeries when they are invisible to normal humans. When Keenan, the Summer King approaches her, and faeries start to follow her everywhere, she starts to question the faeries' motive. It turns out that she is the new girl - Keenan's new Chosen one. She has a choice - whether to stay as a Summer girl (a faerie dependent of Keenan to survive) or take the test. If she takes the test, then she will either pass and be the Summer Queen or fail and be the new Winter Girl, and suffer from everlasting cold until another takes her place. However, if she denies Keenan by choosing to be a Summer Girl, then she will live forever and be one of Keenan's harem. Aislinn is between the devil and the deep blue sea for she wanted to be neither; all she wants is to stay as a normal human and have a normal life. But she has no choice at all.

The author's writing flows smoothly throughout the story, and the lettering at the start of each chapter is gorgeous. But sometimes the storyline confuses me and I had to re-read the passages. I know Keenan has to break Beira's cold spell, but who made the rules / curse in the first place? How did Beira kill her husband and why?

I felt disgusted at the mere thought of Keenan keeping uncountable pretty human-girls-turned-faerie as his harem. I know he's the Summer King, but is it necessary to have so many concubines? And he beds them when he is in a bad mood and needs to 'relax'. I mean, WTH?! He just approaches a pretty girl and say, "I choose you." and she's all his?! Although the author did try to make him sound sympathetic (his needing a Summer Queen to break the cold spell and all) I still felt that he is untrustworthy. For all the girls who've been chosen earlier, no matter from which perspective I see it, I observe that their lives are ruined. In other words, they are to become Keenan's wives/concubines for eternity - whether they like it or not. How am I supposed to sympathize his condition (powers being limited by evil mother)? To me, he just sounds like a sexual predator.

And, although Seth is sweet and protective towards Aislinn in many ways, I still felt unsure about his true self, because he is a playboy. He has uncountable casual relationships / one night stands with girls whose names he might not even remember. He likes (or loves) Aislinn so much that he decides to abstain from sex for 7 months. He even got tests regarding his 'health' to prove that he is clean from sexual diseases like STD, HIV etc. and shows Aislinn the reports. Crazy.

My favourite character in this book is probably Donia. She is the Winter Girl - one who took the test and failed. Even though she suffers from extreme coldness and feels pain whenever she is near Keenan, in her heart she still loves Keenan. She has a beautiful, melancholic appearance which made her seem fragile. She still has mortal feelings although she has been a faerie for a long time, and she respects Seth for his willingness to protect Aislinn. She gives me an impression of an ethereal creature.

As a conclusion, Wicked Lovely didn't turn out to be as captivating as I'd expected, but it still has some good qualities. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. A mix of adventure, romance, and fantasy, this story will appeal to readers who love reading about faeries.

Rating: 3

Note: Parents need to know that, while there's nothing graphic, there is discussion of sex, virginity, first times, STDs, and other sexual content. There's also a bit of swearing, alcohol, and drugs. Parental guidance recommended for teenagers below the age of 16.

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Melissa MarrMelissa Marr grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college literature for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing. Wicked Lovely was her first novel. Currently, Marr lives in the Washington, D.C., area, writes full-time, and still believes in faeries and ghosts.

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official website of melissa marr
Visit the blog of melissa marr




Book Review : Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog

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A captivating and witty dark fantasy that will have girls lusting after it.

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Hardcover, 248 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN 0385737068

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Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future.

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I'd always wanted to read Fairy Tale. I liked the book cover, and the synopsis intrigued me. I'm really glad that it did not fail to live up my expectations. I finished it in one sitting by staying up late at night, reading until 2 a.m. in the morning. Yes, I'm that crazy.< Alright, back to the point. I loved everything about this book. The characters, the plot, the author's writing style... everything! The story was told from Morgan's point of view, and I really liked that because her boyfriend, the perfect, gorgeous Cam is under a transformation into a faerie and she was worried that she would lose him soon as he needed to go back to the Faerie world to be the new king. And when Pip - the boy who was kidnapped by the faeries when he was a baby was returned to the human world as an exchange for Cam so that he could substitute Cam's place in the real world. I love Pip's character, although his name sounded somewhat sissy. LOL. He was such a sweet, innocent and charming boy who would do anything to make Morgan happy. I wanted to cry for him when he volunteered to take Cam's place to return to the Faery world so that Cam and Morgan could remain together although he knew deep down what would happen if he were to do that.

I found Morgan's lack of confidence similar to my own, so maybe that's why I could relate to her so well. She tried her best to keep Cam in the human world, but when she knew what punishments would Pip receive if he were to take Cam's place, she suddenly questioned her plans. Was it right to sacrifice Pip to save Cam? Would she be able to do that?

Balog's writing has a smooth flow and is constantly sprinkled with humour. It's really delightful and lovable. I loved the fact that unlike other faeries, Cam was able to feel love. And it's not just romantic love towards Morgan, he also showed friendly love towards a little girl who was dying of leukemia. And he knew that true love is not a manacle, but rather a warm embrace; a promise of love which sets one free

I will conclude my review with one word: Wonderful.

Rating: 5

Note: Parental guidance recommended for teenagers below the age of 15. There's some mild swearing, violence, and sexual references.

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Cyn BalogCyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She is author of young adult paranormals FAIRY TALE (2009), SLEEPLESS(2010), and two other forthcoming novels from Delacorte. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit Cyn Balog's Website

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme
Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

Here are the rules if you wish to participate:
* Grab your current read.
* Let the book fall open to a random page.
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
* You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.
* Please avoid spoilers!

My Teaser:

Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1)
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

"I love - loved - him enough to risk the cold; they didn't. Yet they had him."
--- Donia (pg 96)

Wither Book Trailer

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Enjoy this trailer!

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano is coming out on March 22nd, 2011!

Book Review : Love Is Hell by Various Authors

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Love Is Hell by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, Laurie Faria Stolarz

Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061443042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061443046
  • Available on: Amazon Barnes & Noble

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Sure, love is hell. But it's totally worth it.

In these supernatural stories by five of today's hottest writers—Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely), Scott Westerfeld (Specials), Justine Larbalestier (Magic or Madness), Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Blue is for Nightmares)—love may be twisted and turned around, but it's more potent than ever on its quest to conquer all.

From two students who let the power of attraction guide them to break the hard-and-fast rules of their world to the girl who falls hard for a good-looking ghost with a score to settle, the clever, quirky characters in this exciting collection will break your heart, then leave you believing in love more than ever.

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Note: This book consists of 5 individual short stories. I will review them one by one.

Sleeping with the Spirit by Laurie Faria Stolarz

I started off with this story, feeling very excited. I had read Stolarz's Deadly Little Secret not long ago and loved it to pieces. But I found Sleeping with the Spirit boring and predictable. This is definitely not one of Stolarz's best works.

2 out of 5

Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld

This one was even worse. I never really finished it. While most people has a liking for this particular story, I found myself confused and clueless about the whole thing. Sorry, Scott, I really love your Uglies series but Stupid Perfect World is not for me!

2 out of 5

Thinner Than Water by Justine Larbalestier

Unexpectedly, I found myself enjoying this story more than the previous two. Thinner Than Water is downright beautiful, bone-chilling and treacherous. Well done, Larbalestier!

4.500

Fan Fictions by Gabrielle Zevin

Fan Fictions somehow reminds me of a short story written by Anthony Horowitz in The Complete Horowitz Horror. It's called The Hitchhiker. Does that title ring a bell? I was surprised by how this author (whose name I've never heard before) weaves this eerily twisted story perfectly, sending readers away feeling shocked and awed at the end. Kudos to Gabrielle Zevin!

4.500

Love Struck by Melissa Marr

I enjoyed this story. It was really sweet and charming. Filled with Celtic myths of Selkies (mythological shapeshifting creatures - often in the form of seals - that lives in the sea) and a decent amount of teen romance, this story is going to make you smile.

4.000


Overall Rating: 3.685 - 3.5 stars

Author Michelle Moran Answers Readers' Questions on The Bookaholics!

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Michelle Moran, the bestselling author of Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen has graciously agreed to answer our readers' question on her latest book, Madame Tussaud. Enjoy the interview!

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US Hardcover:
Amazon $13.71
The Book Depository $21.32
Barnes and Noble $13.57

UK Paperback:
The Book Depository $15.68

Lexie asked: What inspired you to write about the French Revolution?
It is a period that has always fascinated me and I feel that it has some resonance today. Marie found herself struggling to survive and protect the ones she loved in a time of intense political conflict. Of course, in her time, those passions culminated in one of bloodiest political purges in history. I chose to write about Marie and the times she lived through because I wanted to understand her amazing instinct for survival. It is easy to believe that our times, with ongoing war, unrest around the world and tragic natural disasters, are the worst humanity has seen. But history has had many periods of tumult and chaos. I hope that readers will find some solace in Marie's story and strength.

Kelly asked: How do you pick the historical figures whom you write about?
It varies from book to book. I occurred to me that almost everyone has heard of Madame Tussaud, but few people know her story. The more I learned about her in my research, the more I knew that I wanted to write about her.

Misha asked: According to your bio, you have travelled to India. Can I ask which historical sites you visited there?
I visited many places in India. I loved my travels there, the colors, the sights, the richness of the history there. I was moved by the Taj Mahal and the love story that built it. I was also deeply impressed by my visit to Gandhi's house. I have always found him to be an inspirational figure, a modest man whose impact on the world was colossal.

Vivien asked: How much research did you have to do for this novel? Did you have to research multiple things?
I immersed myself in many months of research, poring through historical newspapers, memoirs of Marie's contemporaries and tomes of non-fiction.

TheGirlOnFire asked: The French Revolution is a very interesting time period. Do you think the was an era you would have wanted to live in?
It was a very dangerous time, a time in which the smallest misstep could cost an innocent person her life. People were beheaded for wearing the wrong colors or style of hat. As much as it captures my imagination as a writer, I do not think I would want to live in that time.

Elysium asked: Which wax figure is your favourite?
My favorite is the wax figure of Shakespeare in the London museum. I felt it was the closest I could ever come to standing beside him. I think it was that feeling that made Marie, in a time before photographs and television, so popular. That's what makes Madame Tussaud still so impressive today.

Rachel asked: Would you like to have a wax model made of yourself?
I am not sure I would ever see myself in that pantheon of celebrities. I am just happy to visit the museum and enjoy.

Terry asked: Have you started working on a new book yet and if so can you disclose the topic?
I am working on a book about Napoleon's second wife, Marie-Louise. When Napoleon conquered Austria, he demanded that Austrian princess Marie-Louise marry him as a political alliance. She came to Napoleon's court as another of his spoils of war. The book follows her struggles living with this complicated and often cruel man and how she finds the strength to survive and find happiness.

Amanda asked: Why do you enjoy writing about history?
I studied history and I have always loved other times and places. It is a way of taking yourself out of the world that you know and imagining alternative realities, ones that really existed. In what I do, I seek to understand the people and the motivations that made history, what's beyond the dates and facts.

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Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.

Michelle has traveled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. She is the international bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, was released on February 15, 2011.