Monday, February 17, 2020

The Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo - Blog Tour Excerpt

The trials of Renaissance Italy play out through the eyes of one of Italy's most powerful men - Cesare Borgia - as well as one of the least powerful - a simple maid. In THE BORGIA CONFESSIONS (St. Martin’s Griffin; on sale February 11, 2020; $16.99), author Alyssa Palombo brings a story of passion, politics, and class, set against the rise and fall of one of Italy's most infamous families--the Borgias.

During the sweltering Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to power as pope. Rodrigo’s eldest son Cesare, forced to follow his father into the church and newly made the Archbishop of Valencia, chafes at his ecclesiastical role and fumes with jealousy and resentment at the way that his foolish brother has been chosen for the military greatness he desired.

Maddalena Moretti comes from the countryside, where she has seen how the whims of powerful men wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary people. But now, employed as a servant in the Vatican Palace, she cannot help but be entranced by Cesare Borgia’s handsome face and manner and finds her faith and conviction crumbling in her want of him.

As war rages and shifting alliances challenge the pope’s authority, Maddalena and Cesare's lives grow inexplicably entwined. Maddalena becomes a keeper of dangerous Borgia secrets, and must decide if she is willing to be a pawn in the power games of the man she loves. And as jealousy and betrayal threaten to tear apart the Borgia family from within, Cesare is forced to reckon with his seemingly limitless ambition.

Chapter 3

Not much changed for those of us in service at the Vatican Palace when the new pope took over. There were still the same tasks to see to, the same rooms to be cleaned, the same floors to be scrubbed, and the same laundry to be washed. The Holy Father was to be obeyed whoever he was, and his earthly house was to be kept clean and running smoothly so he could attend to far more lofty matters. 

One morning I was returning to the kitchens with an empty tray from one of the cardinals’ rooms—the new Vice-Chancellor, Ascanio Sforza by name—when I passed a man heading for the Holy Father’s audience chamber. He was rather garishly dressed, in brightly colored hose and tunic with a huge codpiece, and wear- ing a hat with a large feather in it. He winked and leered at me as I passed, and I cast my eyes down. Surely such a man was not fit for an audience with the Holy Father?

I caught up with one of the other maids, Fabrizia, at the end of the hallway. “Fabrizia,” I murmured, my voice low so my words would not echo off the marble floors and walls, “who is that man?” I jerked my chin toward the man’s retreating back.

She snickered. “That’s Juan Borgia. The pope’s son,” she confided. 

I gasped. All of Rome knew of the existence of Cardinal Borgia’s children—Pope Alexander, I corrected myself. It was no secret that many of the other cardinals had mistresses and bastard children as well. But for a pope to acknowledge such children . . . “He brings his children into the Vatican?” I asked, shocked. “He allows them to be known as such, even now that he has been made pope?”

Fabrizia nodded. “It is unusual, indeed. No referring to them as his nephews or nieces, as popes usually do. And you know he keeps a mistress, yes?”

I gasped again. I had heard the whisperings, but I tried my best to close my ears to such things. Gossip—especially gossip about the Holy Father—was a sin.

Yet my curiosity rose, despite my pangs of guilt. I shall confess this sin after Mass on Sunday, I promised myself. “I . . . he does?” I asked.

Fabrizia’s eyes gleamed, and she drew me into a small alcove. She was well and truly settled in to gossip. “Oh, yes. Honestly, Maddalena, even for a country bumpkin you seem altogether too innocent sometimes—and you a widow, no less. Her name is Giulia Farnese and she is the most beautiful woman in Rome. He keeps her with his cousin, Adriana, and his daughter, Lucrezia. Can you imagine? And La Bella Farnese is married to Adriana’s own son! They were just married when Giulia La Bella caught Cardinal Bor- gia’s eye, and so Donna Adriana banished her son to the country estates to get him out of the way—before the cuckold’s horns were even properly affixed to his head, they say.” She snickered. “If the stories are true, Cardinal Borgia—Pope Alexander—has rewarded Adriana and her family richly, including the poor cuckolded son, which is exactly what she was hoping for.” She leaned closer and lowered her voice further. “He is said to be moving them to the pal- ace of Santa Maria in Portico. He wants La Bella Farnese nearer to him—they say there is a secret passage that connects the Vatican Palace to that one, so he can visit her in secret.”

I crossed myself automatically. “God forgive him,” I said. “He has been led astray by a harlot.” Immediately I regretted my words—he was the Holy Father; he could do no wrong. Who was I to criticize, when I could not understand the ways in which God spoke to His representative on earth? “But that is not for us to say,” I added hastily.

Fabrizia rolled her eyes. “Indeed,” she said. “All I know is men do what they want, whether they wear hose or a cardinal’s robes. Or a pope’s, even. I don’t know that God has much to say about it. But his son, that Juan . . .” She nodded in the direction from which we’d come. “They say Pope Alexander has big plans for him, and for his other son, Cesare. He’ll not let his children fade into the background, not the Borgia pope.”


It was some weeks before I saw the other son, Cesare. It was late evening, and he looked to be heading in the direction of the pope’s private rooms. I curtsied to him as he passed in the darkened hall- way in his purple archbishop’s robes. I felt his eyes on me as I curt- sied, and when I rose our eyes met briefly. Goodness, but he was handsome, with his head of thick, dark curls under his cap and his dark eyes and the stubble lining his cheeks and chin, which looked like they belonged on a statue in the Vatican gardens. He was much more handsome than his fop of a brother, that was for certain. His eyes turned away, forward once more.

My cheeks burned with shame as I continued on, back to my cot in the bowels of the palace where I shared a room with three other maids. Cesare Borgia was a man of God, an archbishop, no less—it was not meet that I should think him comely or attractive. I crossed myself, whispering a silent prayer of forgiveness. Back in my room, I bent over the handkerchief I was embroidering, squinting at it in the dim light, and recited a prayer with each few stitches to keep my thoughts from wandering where they did not belong.

ALYSSA PALOMBO is the author of The Violinist of Venice, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, and The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her friends, traveling, or planning for next Halloween. She lives in Buffalo, New York, where she is always at work on a new novel.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Shattered by D.A. Charles - Book Review



Eighteenth birthdays only occur once in one’s lifetime and they are supposed to be life changing-fate had a grim sense of humor when she attended Steven’s Maxwell’s party.

Irrevocably shattered when a devastating accident changes every aspect of his family dynamic, Steven Maxwell must salvage what’s left of his life; fitting the pieces into a puzzle that not only leads him through recovery, but to self discovery.


Abigail Harris has her life all planned out in perfect compartments. Her job. Her family. Her social life. Abby doesn’t have room in her life for the unexpected. She doesn’t have room in her tiny apartment either-especially when not one, but both of her long-divorced parents end up on her threshold within hours of each other.

Enter Abby’s Christmas Eve nightmare, turned medical mystery-the young educator is shattered when her health takes an unexpected detour.

Cue providence stepping in and sending an ambassador with a disability who welcomes Abby into his world and shows her-a life with physical limitations is still a life with quality.

Shattered is not broken.

-The Roll Models Saga-

Close your eyes and imagine a journey where even the smallest things in life cannot be taken for granted. Connect with characters so deep that when you open your eyes, all the layers that have been pulled back reveal an emotional response you never expected.

My Thoughts:

An emotional, realistic look into life with disabilities. The first 76% of the book is about Stephen and his struggles with living with a sudden disability as he adjusts to the changes and deals with his personal care, mobility issues, and personal relationships.
Finally we meet Abby and see how she deals with her disability. Her story felt a bit rushed after getting Stephen’s in so much detail. I wish we could have seen more of the two of them together. And the ending was pretty abrupt. I’m not a fan of big cliffhangers.
This is a really good read. I recommend for anyone interested in what it is like to live with a disability.

My Rating: ****
Steam Factor: *

Where to get it:


Where to find the author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Sam's Folly by Carmen DeSousa

When a bigwig fight promoter needs someone to search for his missing fiancée, he hires expert tracker Sam Belgarde and his search dogs. Sam is more than a little reluctant. His family's company, Search and Rescue Alaska, is in financial trouble, though, so if searching for a spoiled socialite will save it, then he's willing to break the rules--just this once.

After witnessing a murder, Nora Molina needs to get away--fast--and her best hope to escape without her passport is Alaska. A native of Argentina, Nora's accustomed to harsh winters and high elevation, so she gets more than a little irritated when some tracker thinks she needs rescuing. Even if he is get-out sexy. And even if he's the guy she stood up before leaving town. It's going to be a long few days.

When an unexpected storm rolls in, Sam and Nora find themselves in each other's arms--to keep warm. Things get a little too hot when it's clear someone wants the two of them to stay lost--permanently.

The Midnight Sons ~ Men as Wild and Rugged as The Last Frontier Itself

Five brothers risk their lives to rescue those caught in the death grip of the Alaskan wilderness...and find their hearts in danger of falling for women as tough as the Land of the Midnight Sun.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Proofreading Services

Are you writing a book or short story? You want it to be perfect before it gets to readers. Nothing takes a reader out of a story like typos and inconsistencies.

I help authors make their projects the best they can be by eliminating typos, fixing spelling and grammar errors, and checking for consistency and clarity in order to ensure a good experience readers.

I proofread and copyedit fiction and nonfiction works. Fiction genres include mystery, suspense, thriller, fantasy, science fiction, crime, horror, speculative fiction, literary fiction, paranormal, romance, and erotica. Nonfiction specialties are memoir, biography, education, parenting, family, popular culture, and crafts.

I can also prepare documents by non-American or non-native English speakers for an American audience by fixing awkward phrasing and picking out non-American words, phrases, and spelling.

My goal is to preserve the author's voice wherever possible. 
I make straightforward changes using track changes, while making comments with questions or suggestions for less obvious situations.

My standard references are The Chicago Manual of Style and Webster's Dictionary. I can also work with your style guide or personal preferences.

Pricing: $10 per 1000 words.

​Contact me today for a sample edit.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Off Limits Collection by Jane Anthony - Release Blitz

In this limited-edition box set, USA Today bestselling author Jane Anthony brings you three forbidden tales of love, lust, and betrayal. This set contains two full-length novels, as well as a brand new bonus novella, ONLY available in the Off Limits Collection.

Secret Promises
Jillian Morello is off-limits.
I promised her brother when we were kids, and I keep my word.
But best-laid plans often go awry.
I drove into Morello and Son’s Restoration after five years away hoping for an oil change and a trip down memory lane. I wasn't looking for a job, and I never expected to fall for her.

Chasing Casey
Casey Grainger is the girl of my dreams.
She stole into my heart the way sunlight sneaks up on the day.
Then the unexpected threw her back into the arms of her ex-fiancé.
Austin still loves her, and he’s made it known. I don’t care that Casey’s heart belongs to someone else. I’m determined to have her no matter what.

No Regrets*
Gabriella Donofrio is too young for me.
Pure and innocent, a Catholic princess who lives under daddy’s rule.
But age is just a number, right?
With her short, pleated skirt and fuck-me eyes, the little rebel is begging to be corrupted. And, despite what her father thinks, I’m just the man for the job.

*No Regrets is a limited-edition novella available ONLY in the Off Limits Collection.

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