Review: The Gates of Hell by Michael Livingston
Reviews / November 14, 2016

As the second volume in a historical fantasy series about Ancient Rome, The Gates of Hell can be viewed as the “next chapter” of the events following the Final War of the Roman Republic. Approximately five years have passed since Alexandria fell. Marc Antony and Cleopatra are dead. Their daughter Selene has been taken into their conqueror’s household, becoming one of Augustus Caesar’s adopted children. But for all that, she knows she is still a hostage and the longing for avenging her parents still burns inside. The book begins with Selene taking matters into her own hands, seeking her own Shard of Heaven after finding out about the godlike abilities they can grant to the people who wield them. She manages to find and obtain one disguised as a statue in the Temple of the Vestals, bringing another of one these powerful artifacts into play. Meanwhile, her arranged marriage to Juba of Numidia, an adopted son of Julius Caesar, ultimately grew into to be a relationship based on love and respect. Together with her husband, who also possesses a Shard of Heaven, they begin to experiment and practice with their artifacts, learning how to harness their power. At the same…

Under Appreciated Books of 2015
Book List / December 29, 2015

So amidst all the lists at the end of the year, we wanted to focus on some of the books we’ve read that we really think need a bit more love and attention. I asked each of our contributors to highlight a few of their favorite reads of the year that they feel fell under the radar. Some of these rated high enough to make our Best of 2015 list, and some of them were nominated/ranked in the list we used for the Best Of list, but just didn’t quite make the final cut. Books that only one of us read were at a bit of a disadvantage. So this is a great chance for each of us to highlight books we felt were wonderful reads and deserve another mention as the year draws to a close.   BOB’S PICKS         LISA’S PICKS           LYNN’S PICKS             STEPHENIE’S PICKS           TAMMY’S PICKS   .  

Review: The Shards of Heaven by Michael Livingston
Reviews / November 16, 2015

The Shards of Heaven is a captivating story, that presents some alternative theories for how and why some events in history may have unfolded as they did. Following Julius Caesar’s death, there is a struggle for power between Cleopatra, Marc Antony and his young son and his adoptive sons. Cleopatra is seen as outsider by many and so there is civil war. This story and time period has so much going for it in terms of story! Who doesn’t love delving into the political machinations of war and succession challenges? I loved how the speculative aspect was woven into the story in such a way, that it just felt natural. It takes real events and adds just a dash of something fantastical that helps explain well known stories revolving around gods and religion. Things like how Moses parts the red sea. I feel like I have to fess up, history was never my subject. I am really, embarrassingly, under informed on so many things. But, that also means that when I read a book like this, I have no idea what will happen, which can be fun. Honestly, I think even if I did, I would not have cared. The…