Anthology: Tales of Ancient Rome by S. J. A. Turney

Tales of Ancient Rome by S. J. A. Turney(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

A collection of bite-size stories of varying styles all based in the world of ancient Rome. 12 tales of the ancient world, plus a bonus tale to finish.

The second edition contains two new tales not told in the 1st. Laugh, cry and shudder at:

Hold The Wall – Hadrian’s wall in the last days of the western empire
Vigil – A comedic tale of firefighting in Rome
*NEW* Rudis – A champion gladiator fights his last fight
*NEW* The Discovery – A Roman trader makes a surprising find in distant China
The man who bought an Empire – The lowest point of Imperial succession
Trackside seats – A slave helps his blind master at the circus
How to run a latifundium – A cautionary tale of estate management
A Reading – What does the future hold in Judea?
Exploratores – Trajan’s scouts on the trail of Dacian warriors
With a pinch of salt – A comedic tale of food in Claudius’ Rome
The Palmyrene Prince – Rome’s eastern border tells grim tales
Temple Trouble – A tale of the early days of Fronto (of the Marius’ Mules series)
Bonus tale: Aftermath in the Ludus – A fun finish.

As you guys probably know from my reviews I don’t actually read all that many anthologies. They’re just usually not my thing unless they’re from a writer I really love.  Still, I decided to download Tales of Ancient Rome for free on Amazon one day because I figured I had nothing to lose and at least something to gain.  I mean, I love ancient Rome.

So overall, how was the anthology?  Pretty good, actually.  Turney managed to span quite a few different periods of time in the Roman Empire, from the reign of Claudius to the last days of the empire as it was being torn apart by invaders and civil wars.  I always like a little variety in an anthology and this one certainly delivered in that respect.

Most of the stories were pretty solid.  They’re quite short but they’re nice little slices of Roman life.  We have everything from the viewpoints of foreign princes to slaves and each character has a distinct outlook on life.  Some stories are more humourous than others but pretty much all of them are interesting.  One of my favourites was Rudis, the tale of the gladiator in his very last fight before his freedom because the ending was so unexpected.  He was a fascinating character, even though he didn’t get much page time.  Temple Trouble was laugh out loud hilarious and it actually makes me want to read the full length series in which that character features.  He would certainly get into some interesting situations!  There were some weak stories like Ludus but most stories were pretty good.

As for historical accuracy, I was quite impressed.  Turney knows his stuff and all of the little details he puts into his writing makes it better.  He has a good grasp of the wide span of Roman history and although it would be a little hard to orient yourself if you’re not familiar with Roman history, I quite enjoyed the stories because I picked out little clues as to the time period.  If you know sort of a general outline of Roman history you should be fine with Tales of Ancient Rome but if you’re a newcomer I wouldn’t recommend the anthology.

Basically, Tales of Ancient Rome (Volume 1) was a solid anthology.  It wasn’t the best I’ve ever read and there were some weaker aspects to it but overall I was quite impressed.  I certainly got more than my money’s worth out of it and I’d recommend it to my fellow Roman history enthusiasts.  Best of all, it’s free as a Kindle or Nook ebook.

I give this anthology 4.5/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Cover Reveal: Starlet’s Light by Carla J. Hanna

Starlet'sLightCover_smToday is the official launch day of Starlet’s Light by Carla J. Hanna!  Starlet’s Light is the third in the Starlet series and I can tell you it’s going to be a great addition to the series.  With a greater focus on the effects of the Hollywood lifestyle and how actors and actresses cope, Carla Hanna has written yet another thought-provoking book.

As a way to celebrate the launch of Starlet’s Light, the Kindle edition will be free on Amazon for 5 days, starting today (May 6).  Even if you haven’t already read the first two books, take this opportunity to download the third one.  You can always buy the first two and in my opinion, it’s a pretty safe investment.  If you don’t like the first, you don’t have to buy the second and you can just delete the third.  But act now and get your copy of Starlet’s Light for free.

Giveaway: Puppet Parade by Zeinab Alayan

After I read Puppet Parade and absolutely loved it, I asked Zeinab Alayan if she would like to do a giveaway with me.  Obviously she said yes, but she went the extra mile and came up with a great question that relates to the whole premise of her novel.

RULES:

1.  You must answer the question below and provide an explanation for your answer.

2.  It can be as creative/thoughtful/serious/whatever as you like.  Truly, there is no wrong answer.

3.  You may only enter once.

PRIZES:

1.  Two Smashwords coupons.  Zeinab will pick one winner and I will pick the other based on their answer.

Now here is the question you must answer and it’s one that Zeinab herself answers in Puppet Parade:

You broke free after being locked inside a single room for years, what would you do?

This giveaway begins today, November 12, 2012 and will end on November 19, 2012.  I will be announcing winners on November 20 at 12:01am and Zeinab will contact them via email, so be sure to have a valid email address connected to your account!  If one or both winners do not respond within 7 days of being contacted, new winners will be announced.

The Mad Reviewer’s First Giveaway: Round Two

Since there was no winner for round one (no one guessed what my favourite aria was), I’m going to ask two different questions for round two.  Michelle Hansen and I will pick one winner in each of the two question categories.  So here are the questions:

1.  What is your favourite historical figure and why?

2.  What is your favourite book and why?

You may only enter once and you can answer both questions.  Since I love history, I will be picking the winner in Category #1 and since Michelle Hansen is an author, she will be picking the winner in Category #2.  Please, pick whatever historical figure or book is your favourite, rather than what makes you look good.  I do appreciate honesty and I’m probably one of the last people who’s going to judge you because, hey, I’m a dork.

This round will last a week and I will announce the winners on Friday, July 27th at 12:01am Central Time.