Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bye Bye 2011 and Congrats to Winners!!!

And for this last day of 2011- I am announcing the WINNERS of my Absolute FAVOURITE READ for this year...

The WINNER!! of an autographed copy of Juliet Grey's: Becoming Marie Antoinette is:


For the CD array of this Fabulous book- The Lucky Winner!! is:

Let me positively assure you that you will LOVE reading this in 2012:)

Please send me your contact info at:

To all my family, friends and lovely readers, THANK YOU for another fabulous year. You help give my blogging purpose, and I very much appreciate that.

Wishing you Health, Happiness, Love, Success and Peace.  God Bless you all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My BEST Read of the Year! Plus GIVEAWAY!!

2011 is soon coming to an end and here I am looking over some of the wonderful books I read this year…It’s been awhile though- or maybe years since I’ve actually picked a ‘favourite’ of the year.  As you know I only review that which I love to read. And so, this past year I’ve read quite a bunch- but I let you in only on the very best books that I enjoyed very much.

Today though is different. I want to highlight my very FAVOURITE book for 2011!  An absolute MUST READ- and if you’re thinking of what to ask Santa for Christmas…boy do I have a book for you!

Another take on Marie Antoinette, you say? Pardonnez-moi…but although I am a super duper fan of Marie Antoinette- This is in NO way just another book on the beloved martyred queen!  

Captivating from the very beginning, BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE starts from when the young duchess was a young child.  There is so much detail that this whole book tells only a third of what happens in her lifespan!  (Hence the reason why it’s the first book in the trilogy- Yay!)  The unraveling of this story  is enchanting-Not one boring moment in this book.   Grey is outstanding in not making it feel dry, diary-like, or repetitive of what we already might know.  

I would describe this as seeing Marie Antoinette’s life through her own watching a movie from within her person.  The writing is impeccable and because I was so engulfed by the story, I almost forgot this was a novel.  Are you kidding me?! This book is better than any of the history books out there on MA in terms of accuracy. I’m serious. Indeed the minute details pertaining to the  history are impressive to say the least. It’s veritable, captivating and entertaining! Historians take note: You can actually quote from this.  That’s how good it is.

In addition, I could not have imagined some of the scenes to be more real than this.  Denoting the character of MA in such realistic nuances- for example her views on la Du Barry and the stance she takes with her! This was perfect development of character; reflective of her youth, logic, personality and morals.  And there were so many funny moments as well; like the one where she notices a noblewoman in the palace hall, looking so snobbish and ‘etiquette-like’ -then all of a sudden the lady stops walking momentarily to…  (gasp!) …I won’t spoil it for you! 

There are also the tender moments that made me smile to see MA and Louis so real; truth is, the young are young no matter the era.  MA is truly hopeful to please her husband and so longing for his love…and Louis, tender as well, often awkward- but a sensitive soul.  Precious.

All the characters come to life through the eyes of Marie Antoinette.  You see them as she did, at her age, through her own circumstances. As the story develops, the tender Marie Antoinette also evolves.  Her opinions change and her ways take more maturity. Throughout though, her personality shines through crystal clear; Marie Antoinette is true to herself.  That’s who she was. The more I read her story, the more I understood her and the more I loved her.  

You must trust me completely on this- because honestly there is tons of material on MA out there. (And once you start reading up on her- let’s agree that fresh material on this grand queen is not exactly pouring from the heavens).  Writing a refreshing and completely engaging novel on MA is a challenge in itself.  Juliet Grey has risen to the occasion.  Outstanding!

Spectacular in the details of every particular moment that resounds from history,
BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE is an exceptional read and my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE for 2011. 

 I look forward to its sequel; which I imagine the build up to what was an incredibly tragic life can only be that much more engaging to read…I can’t wait!

Loved, loved, loved BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE (I even carried it with me throughout Paris and right into the Versailles Palace! 
(Yours truly standing beside MA's bed in Petit Trianon at Versailles, holding the book)  

I urge you to go out and get this book NOW!  Seriously- best book yet!
AND Now…A Fantastic GIVEAWAY!
Author Juliet Grey is graciously giving one Autographed copy of BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE
One Audio Book (13 CD set- real gem! The author only has a few on hand and is graciously giving one away to one of my lucky readers! 50$ value)

To Enter:
1)      You must be a follower of this blog
2)      Extra points for EVERY FB, Twitter, blog post- entry (send back the link in your comments)
3)      Another extra point if you write something Fun about MA!

Open to Canada and US


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Back in Gear...Making Art!

Hello everyone!  I'm back and am ready to post again some of my art.  Actually I also wanted to announce my NEW ETSY SHOP!  (check it out on my sidebar!!!)
Since I love history and all that is historical and royal, I named my shop:  Royal Artsy Creations...the Subtitle in French: L'Altesse et La Vedette (which roughly translates to : the Royal, or Highness, Majesty- take your pick-  and the Star.  This is pretty reflective of all that I love to draw and paint- so we'll see!

My new banner is actually one of the paintings I am selling. It's a Parisian girl with backdrop setting of a palace and all that's French- Marie Antoinette included. It was inspred by a recent trip, hubby and I took to
Paris. Hope you like it;)

I'm really excited about this. The idea kicked off last Monday, when I had my first art exhibit at the Montreal Law Firm: Heenan Blaikey.  I'm pleased to say that I have had 3 paintings commissioned there! But, when asked where I displayed my art..and if I had a site...that's when I realized I had better open up an Etsy Shop.  I can't believe how easy that was.  So now I have my own art place:)  Pretty neat.  Come visit me!

I'm new at this, so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

What's Coming Up...

Hello everyone! As you can tell, blogging has not been the number one item on my agenda for a  few months now...But- after taking care of important family stuff, re-aligning work schedules, kids' relocating and new schools...time flies! Amidst all this though, hubby and I did get away for a week in Paris! I will be posting some pictures very soon with a bit of story behind them.

 Our beloved Marie Antoinette taken at Versailles

Plus, I did manage to get some reading done...

So... coming up next week, a review of My Absolute Best Read of 2011, plus Giveaway! 

Missed you!  Hugs to All and talk to you next week. xoxo

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Winners of To Be Queen...

Here are my TWO Lucky Winners of this Fantastic Book....

Congratulations to Margaret and MammaBunny You both win a Signed Copy of TO BE QUEEN!!!

Please email me your contact information:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway of TO BE QUEEN, by Christy English!

I don’t think I can refer to the great Aquitaine queen as simply Eleanor  after reading Christy English’s fabulous novel, To Be Queen. ‘Aliénor’ was her real name and as much as this was a pleasant revelation to me (don’t you love the sound of her name), her personality also appeared refreshingly new to me as well.
Other books I’ve read based on this extraordinary queen usually portray her as (yes, definitely strong)- but also as conniving, consumed by lust, greedy and stopping at nothing to get her way...Well, in To Be Queen, you get a deeper and more amiable perspective of who Alienor might have been.  I am now all the more fascinated by the Aquitaine queen after having read this book!
The story is about the young Alienor’s life  all the way upto when she meets the dashing, young and exciting Henry II.  It gives us a refreshing look at how she rose to become the grand queen in history as  we all know.  From a young age, Alienor was sharp and alert absorbing all that her father had to teach.  I particularly enjoyed reading how she handled a specific scene involving her father’s mistress (you’ll have to read the book to enjoy this one;)...even as a young child she began to master her control of feelings and emotions for the grander cause of becoming ruler.
Her love of family is felt throughout- not only for her father, but especially for her young sister as well.  Alienor was loyal to them always.  After her father’s passing, Alienor now Ruler, was but a child raising herself and her sister.  She literally barricaded herself from the world while awaiting marriage to Louis VII-lest any other man ravaged her to then claim her his own.  Not surprisingly, Alienor was brilliant enough to accumulate loyal, strong and devoted followers that would fight till no end to protect her.
And what about the ‘insatiable’ side of this grand queen? Let me just say that after reading what she had to go through with her wimpy husband, Louis VII...I actually felt sorry for her most of the time!  For Louis, needing an heir to France was the only reason for consenting to intimate encounters...other than that, a simple handshake would probably have brought on more physical warmth and pleasure!
 I absolutely adored this book.  Reading about Alienor in this light; where she is presented as a young, bright, loyal and fearless young girl to a woman who can hold her own- ready for a new passage into her life, was just perfect. All I’ve ever read about Alienor dealt with her brief marriage to Louis to then stress mostly on life with Henry- and her grandness as queen.  But there’s not much out there about the ‘girl’ and how she became a woman and grand ruler in her own right.  If you want to read about that, well this is the book for you.   Now I’m ready for a part two by Christy English!
A fast read, fulfilling, true to the history and beautifully written.  Excellent.
And now for The GIVEAWAY!!
Christy is graciously giving away 2 Signed copies!!!
To Enter:
You must be a Follower of this blog
Extra chances for every time you FB, Twitter, Blog, Sidebar...and show link in comment

Open to US and Canada
Good Luck to All!!!
Winners Announced on Sunday, September 25th

Friday, September 16, 2011

WINNER of INKBLOT Giveaway!!!

You are so lucky to Win this!  You will love it...And will have so much fun creating:)


Send me your contact info please!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Announcing Winners of The Blighted Troth....

The lucky Winners of Mirella Patzer's, The Blighted Troth


Celtic Lady for the hard cover
Fleur de Mar for the e-book format


Please send me your contact info at:


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway of THE BLIGHTED TROTH!

Love against all odds- that’s definitely what Mirella Patzer’s historical novel, The Blighted Troth is mostly about.  This treasure of a book is set in 17th c. New France (yes a book set in my very own beloved Quebec!!)  And I especially wanted to read it because of this.   I know this history very well and was interested in seeing how it would be adapted into an historical fiction read- especially with the details of the time that I am very familiar with.  I am happy to say that for me The Blighted Troth passed the test on all levels! The historical details are exact and true to the times and written accordingly so.  What a treat for me!
Emilie and Robert, the main characters of this novel, are doomed from the very beginning.  A wedding that should have taken place, is replaced by the couple being faced with obstacle after obstacle of the very worst kind; including abductions, threats, illness, treachery, deception, religious vows and so much more. 
The story involves so many interesting characters that bring the setting to life.  From locals (les habitants), tavern and inn keepers, tyrants and lords, aunts and nephews, priests and bishops, nuns, vow takers and a fille du roi, plus, plus, plus...a whole community to set the stage for this beautiful tale of love and endurance in the 17th c. 
Every one of the characters was specifically entwined into the plot; giving each their own specific role in bringing forth the story.  Beautifully written with a touch of old history spirituality, true to Quebec’s Christian origin, made the story feel real and indeed very possible.  I could so picture all of this happen! I was completely enthralled by Mirella Patzer’s  story development.
For those of you who have read and enjoyed I Promessi Sposi- The Blighted Troth is based on this Italian classic (except much shorter and so much easier to read!) You will definitely enjoy the similarities of good vs evil in a battle where love conquers all. 
Mirella Paltzer weaves a tale that brings you beyond your imagination. Everytime I thought I could predict the next scene, I was transported to yet another surprising twist. Beautifully written and historically detailed, The Blighted Troth is a book you will want to read.
Loved it!

And now for the GIVEAWAY!  Mirella Patzer is graciously offering 1 trade-paperback AND 1 e-book in the format of the winner's choice!!

To Enter:

1) You must be a follower of this blog.
2) For Extra chances, blog about this, FB, Twitter...just send me the link

2 Winners will be announced on September 3rd.  Good Luck to All!!

((((Psst...if you're interested in entering a fun Art book Giveaway- go check out my Art Blog))) HERE.

GIVEAWAY of INKBLOT, by Margaret Peot

Who would have known that splats of colour could be so much fun? At first glance, Inkblot by Margaret Peot, seems like a this could be a fun activity book for kids only...Surprise, surprise, it's not only for kids! Granted, my youngest daughter and I did have some great moments doing art together...But really, I spent many hours experimenting on my own and taking this art form to another level.

Innovative artist, Margaret Peot shows us how to take a simple ink blot and transforming it into an incredible piece of art.  Blots can be made with ink or paint- by smudging, spraying and so many more interesting techniques.  The results can be very amazing and quite breathtaking.

And for anyone suffering from the occasional artist block- no big deal! Inkblot is the perfect springboard that sets the stage for brand new images and ideas that literally stare you in the face.

Inkblot by Margaret Peot is a MUST- have for any artist.  But enough talk- check out what I created from simple inkblots:

These two figures are actually on one sheet of paper folded in the middle that reproduce these two blots (scanner just kept giving me two images separately).  So at first glance, what possibilities did I see? 

Well, being the history buff that I am, I naturally turned it into these historical ladies.  Here's the first draft:

You can see how I began to gesso out the unwanted areas and started working on the idea that was flourishing.  Here is the final result using Prisma Colors and gel pens.

I found this technique pretty cool and when you start this- you literally can't stop because the ideas just keep flowing.
This book is fantastic and I highly recommend it!

Here are two more done with ink sprays; left as is:

AND NOW...Would you love to Win this fantastic book? 
If so Enter my Giveaway! Thank you Margaret Peot and Diane of Saima Agency:)


1- Follow this blog
2- In your comment tell me what you see in this blob and what would you turn it into?

3- For EXTRA Chances of winning: Blog about this, Twitter, FB... and send me the links:)

Open to US and Canada- Winner Announced on 
September 9th
Good Luck To ALL!!

(((Psst...If you'd like to also Enter my Giveaway of a wonderful historical fiction novel:
The Blighted Troth- )))
Visit my Other Blog Here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Announcing 2 Winners of Finding Emilie...

Who are the Lucky Winners of the beautifully written, Finding Emilie, by Laurel Corona.....?

Congratulations to:

Laura of Laura's Reviews      AND       Amanda of Diary of a Book Addict

Please send me your contact info at:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review: The Secret Diary of a Princess...

 Let me begin by saying that I am so glad Melanie Clegg (Erzibet) wrote this novel about the young Marie Antoinette. The reason I say this is because it’s not often that we get such a tender look at what lay at the basis of this martyred queen. Marie Antoinette is probably one of the most maligned queens in history and perhaps by looking into her young life we can get a better sense of what she was really all about.

Melanie Clegg’s novel is written (as the title suggests) in diary format and is a delight to read. From the very first page you get the sense of how genuine Maria Antonia (as she was then called) comes forth. There is such a tenderness, refreshing naiveté and true wanting to please in this young archduchess.

Her diary entries are filled with her love of family, her light mischievousness and free-spirited attitude. As you read this enchanting novel you sense how kind Maria Antonia genuinely was. She is always looking on the positive side and being hopeful for something better.

It is also refreshing to read about her in this light since it brings about a realization that the young royal was not brought up to be pompous, wanting and forever spoiled. Quite the contrary, Maria Antonia was seemingly raised for the ultimate sacrifice of self-Always doing for others, and as she was expected. This is probably something that is difficult to imagine for a member of the Hapsburg family and yet it was simplicity, obedience and piety that, for the greater part, shaped the young Maria Antonia.

Although I would classify this primarily as a YA novel, I am certain that both young and older can enjoy and revel in the dreaminess of this book. Notably, the historical details pertaining to both people and surroundings are impeccable.

Loved it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway of Finding Emilie!

Finding Emilie is a precious gem.  I say this because rarely do I fall this much in love with a novel that is not totally the ‘true’ history.  Laurel Corona’s book has added to the history by writing a story about ‘what might have been’ and created a novel that captivated me in all of its beauty and prose.  
Based on the lives of both Emilie du Chatelet (Voltaire’s love) and (mostly) her daughter, Stanislas-Adelaide; known as Lili- the story takes you into the pre-Revolution time of the 18th c.  This was a time in France where women were not supposed to dabble in the sciences and other ‘higher’ learning subjects-let alone write. 
Emilie’s death a few days after giving birth results in Lili being raised by Julie de Bercy (Emilie’s close friend). Julie's daughter, Delphine and Lili are raised like sisters.  Lili however presents herself as quite trying and out of the ordinary in terms of all her questioning at the convent where she and Delphine were schooled. 
Lili finds herself intrigued by her defunct mother and wants to find out more about her.  Knowing that she resembles her not only physically, but also in spirit, Lili desperately wants answers for her own life through ‘finding Emilie’. This becomes a difficult task since her aunt is reluctant in sharing anything about Emilie’s remarkable life (she was the one who actually re-wrote Newton's work! can only imagine how deep her understanding and knowledge of the material stretched)- But Lili is adamant about finding out the truth about her mother.
Unlike her despicable aunt, Julie is a constant and wonderful support for Lili as she blossoms into a great philosophical writer and lover of science. Lili does publish her work, but because this was a time where women’s brains were not something deserving of praise or recognition, she does this under a pen name.
I love that the author put this twist in history and added Lili’s life into it to give closure to what could have been a continuation to Emilie’s life.  I almost bet you Emilie would have expected nothing less of this remarkably strong and intelligent daughter! 
Bravo Laurel Corona!
Also check out:

GIVEAWAY of 2 COPIES of this wonderful novel! 
Open to US and Canada
To Enter:
 Follow this blog
Get Extra chances for every FB, Twitter, Blog sidebar...Just send me the link!
Good Luck to All!

Winners Announced on:  Friday, August 26th

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Announcing Winner of BEFORE VERSAILLES...

The WINNER of this Fabulous Read is....

Please email me with your contact info at:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Announcing Winner of Madame Tussaud...

So who gets this great book and Fabulous earrings??

The Winner is...(Drum roll please!)...


(Darlene, send me your contact info please at:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Before Versailles Review and GIVEAWAY!

I especiallly love this period of French history and with Louis XIV as my absolute favourite king, it was easy for me to dive head first into Before Versailles.  First of all let me say that the research in this book must have been of the most meticulous! The juicy parts and descriptions that entail mystery and kept me fascinated were impeccable in accuracy.  I loved reading about palace life and the very details of day to day- the glamour, the splendour of this time- truly sweeps you off your feet.  Koen is master at doing this in Before Versailles.
Having read loads of history on this fabulous king, I must say that such a detailed look at the period and events in his life (taking place over only a few months!)- was practically like having been there myself-true indulgence! So much detail (history buffs and lovers of all that is French will be in heaven:)
There is so much to this book; an iron-masked boy; mystery, intrigue and somewhat of a love triangle. About that- there’s just something I had a little trouble with; Henriette’s character portrayal. Let’s just say that I’m more used to reading about her kindness and some frivolity- yes of course...but for the most part she is the darling of this period.  It's really her husband that history rather portrays  as being the all-around awful one with a deceiving and warped mind along with kinky male preferences. So I had some adjusting to do when it came to reading of Henriette as a little on the scandalous side. But since the book is so well researched, I will attribute this all-time party girl portrayal on the fact that the story takes place in such a brief time span.  I should also mention that there were most tender and very touching moments where  I got teary more than once..
So, not only is this book an absolute extravaganza into French history in all of its glory, the other thing that is for sure; Before Versailles has made me fall in love with Louis XIV even more! Awhile back I read Koen’s: Dark Angels and was absolutely enthralled by it- Well- apparently Before Versailles is its prequel.  So, if you can, try to read both of these (I’m going to reread Dark Angels again for sure!) Talk about a mega dose of delicious Louis XIV.
Giveaway of this perfect French historical!!
To Enter please follow my blog and also get extra points every time you post on FB or Tweet about it- Blog Sidebar and posts too:)
Open to residents of USA and Canada only
Winner announced on July 25th
Good Luck!

Go Check out what others have to say

Karleen Koen’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, July 5th:  2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Wednesday, July 6th:  Broken Teepee
Thursday, July 7th:  The Bookworm
Friday, July 8th:
Monday, July 11th:  In the Hammock
Tuesday, July 12th:  Living Outside the Stacks
Wednesday, July 13th:  The Maiden’s Court
Thursday, July 14th:  Royal Reviews
Monday, July 18th:  Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, July 19th:  Enchanted by Josephine
Wednesday, July 20th:  Laura’s Reviews
Thursday, July 21st:  Historical Tapestry AND  Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Friday, July 22nd:  Books Like Breathing
Monday, July 25th:  Stiletto Storytime
Tuesday, July 26th:  Hist-Fic Chick
Wednesday, July 27th:  Life in Review
Thursday, July 28th:  Reading, Reading & Life