Checking My Links, Again . . .

I sometimes go months and months without making sure the links I have on my sidebar are still relevant and up-to-date. I just finished checking them again and added and deleted a few and also found out some interesting news items.
 

First and foremost, Sarah Dunant’s new historical fiction book on the Borgias is being released on May 2nd and I am super-excited about this news. If you have not read The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan, or Sacred Hearts, then you have missed out on some excellent historical fiction set in Italy. Her newest book, Blood and Beauty: The Borgias, is about that Renaissance family you might be familiar with via the Showtime series called The Borgias and starring Jeremy Irons. Ms. Dunant started researching the Borgias for her book before the series began, so I know her years of work will result in a big payoff for me as a reader. Reading about Italy and the Borgias just might be the catalyst needed to revisit Firenze . . .
 
Isabel Allende also has a new book already released entitled Maya’s Notebook. Following is an excerpt from Maya’s Notebook:
 
“My name is Maya Vida. I’m nineteen years old, female, single – due to a lack of opportunities rather than by choice, I’m currently without a boyfriend. Born in Berkeley, California, I’m a U.S. citizen, and temporarily taking refuge on an island at the bottom of the world. They named me Maya because my Nini has a soft spot for India and my parents hadn’t come up with any other name, even though they’d had nine months to think about it. In Hindi, maya means “charm, illusion, dream”: nothing at all to do with my personality. Attila would suit me better, because wherever I step no pasture will ever grow again. My story begins in Chile with my grandmother, my Nini, a long time before I was born, because if she hadn’t emigrated, she’d never have fallen in love with my Popo or moved to California, my father would never have met my mother and I wouldn’t be me, but rather a very different Chilean girl. What do I look like? I’m five-ten, 128 pounds when I play soccer and several more if I don’t watch out. I’ve got muscular legs, clumsy hands, blue or gray eyes, depending on the time of day, and blond hair, I think, but I’m not sure since I haven’t seen my natural hair color for quite a few years now. I didn’t inherit my grandmother’s exotic appearance, with her olive skin and those dark circles under her eyes that make her look a little depraved, or my father’s, handsome as a bullfighter and just as vain. I don’t look like my grandfather either – my magnificent Popo – because unfortunately he’s not related to me biologically, since he’s my Nini’s second husband.”
 
 
The summary on Ms. Allende’s website already has me wanting to read her book NOW.
 
Kathryn Harrison also has a new book out set in Russia and featuring the daughter of Rasputin. You can read all about Enchantments HERE. Also, a review from the NYTimes can be found HERE.
 
 

Finally, I have been waiting months for Harris X (Harris 10, as in Rifleman Harris), the tenth video diary by Jason Salkey from the Sharpe series produced in Britain a while ago. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching the Sharpe series via Netflix and then reading all the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell (see link to his website on sidebar). I also have ordered and watched all the Harris video diaries produced by Mr. Salkey and enjoyed extending my Sharpe experience through these videos. Here is the promo for Harris X:

 

One of my most popular hits on my blog is the interview with Mr. Salkey done in 2010.