Monday, February 10, 2020

Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo

The Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo releases tomorrow!  Read below for an excerpt and reviews of the book, as well as information on Ms. Palombo.   
...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...

Praise for Alyssa Palombo and THE BORGIA CONFESSIONS
"[A] vivacious tale of power and love set in 1492... Excavating the personal relationships and petty disagreements that fueled Pope Alexander VI’s controversial reign, Palombo’s enticing tale will please fans of Sharon Kay Penman." 
Publishers Weekly

"Readers looking for an immersive, light, romantic read will enjoy this book."

"Under Palombo’s skillful hand, the entangled world of the Borgias comes vividly to life, exposing the dark facets of class structure and the all-consuming greed that comes with ambition--and love. I was utterly engrossed from page one. A colorful and suspenseful novel, The Borgia Confessions is packed with complex characters and political intrigue, and will leave readers hungry for more." 
Heather Webb, internationally bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris and Meet Me in Monaco

“Palombo has crafted a sweeping and surprisingly sympathetic portrait of Cesare Borgia, one of history’s most notorious "bad boys,” and the world surrounding him. [A] dark Renaissance parable about the intertwining of lust and power. If you’re as fascinated with all things Borgia as I am, you won’t want to miss this one!” 
Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams and Bad Princess

"Handsome. Intriguing. Dangerous. Seductive. [This] is everything you want in a book--it's a romance, a page-turner, and a ride deep into the sumptuous and tumultuous time of Renaissance Italy." 
Crystal King, author of The Chef's Secret

"Alyssa Palombo’s deft and delicate prose makes a gorgeous contrast against the visceral and cutthroat world of the Borgias. Dark and decadent, THE BORGIA CONFESSIONS is mesmerizing from start to finish." 
Meghan Masterson, author of The Wardrobe Mistress

A Novel
By Alyssa Palombo

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.

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.

***I received a free copy of this Novel from the publisher in exchange for writing this blog post. I will touch base in a few weeks with my take on the story, as I'll be reading it while Hubs and I are on a cruise shortly. ***

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Joe Joe's Place Animal Rescue in NJ

An animal rescue group that we work with (i.e. foster dogs for and volunteer our time with) recently took in a litter of very, very sick puppies.  While the puppies arrived appearing healthy, the first one took sick very soon after arrival.  It was confirmed that the puppy they called "Princess Diana" had parvo.  If you don't know a lot about parvo, it's very dangerous for puppies and it is also very contagious.

Princess Diana was in the animal hospital in a "critical" condition for a few days.  During the course of her hospital treatment, Joe Joe's Place incurred over $5,000 of debt for Princess Diana's care alone.  That, added to their existing debt of treating many sick animals over the course of the past few years, puts them in a precarious situation. They are on the brink of having to close their doors - permanently, unless there are thousands of dollars in donations - quickly.

Joe Joe's Place was formed by my friend, Taryn, after her younger brother passed away in his sleep - for no apparent reason.  I wish I could have known Joey as he seems like he was a great person with a huge heart (I see that in his sister too).  Having lost a sister recently and a daughter a few years ago (yes, they both still weigh on my heart like it was yesterday) I know how important it is for Taryn and her family to keep Joe Joe's Place moving forward in Joey's memory.  In a way, it keeps him close - to all of us, even those of us who never had the chance to meet him.

A GoFundMe campaign has been created for Joe Joe's Place and you can find it here:  Even if you can't afford to help right this minute, please share the link - maybe someone that you know has a soft spot for animal rescues or helping someone who has lost a sibling.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Do You Switch?

Do you switch your fruits in the supermarket?  I'm not talking loose fruits like tomatoes or avacados - I'm talking fruits that are packaged - in clamshells - like strawberries.  

While Jonah and I were just in the local supermarket, I watched a lady who had strawberries laid out on top of all of the other clamshells and was picking the best ones for her clamshell.  Wouldn't you want to go to a farm to pick your own if this is your mission?  It's like taking a bouquet of flowers from the floral section apart and only taking the daises or the roses and leaving all the other "leftovers" or "bad" ones for someone else. 

In NJ, we are just coming in to strawberry season.  However, it's been wet lately.  I'm talking Seattle wet.  It's been raining here since Tuesday and *might* clear up tomorrow (for the day) leaving us humid and hot but not to worry, it's going to rain again on Monday and Tuesday.  While this does wreak havoc on the berries and the farms and *maybe* this woman couldn't get to the farm for fresh picking because of the rain, mud and berries coming in late ... but I guess I'm just surprised.  I didn't know that mix and matching out of a clamshell is allowed.