Blog Tour ARC Review: Sugar Lump By Megan Gaudino

Blog Tour ARC Review: Sugar Lump By Megan Gaudino



Sugar Lump

Title: Sugar Lump
Author: Megan Gaudino
Release Date: January 10th, 2018
Available: Amazon/Goodreads


Seventeen-year-old travel blogger CC is stuck on a never-ending road trip with her wanderlust-addicted father. When her dad lands the job of his dreams in Sugar Lump—wedding capital of the world—CC finally finds a place to call home. Complete with two quirky best friends and a quixotic guy to crush on, Sugar Lump is more shades of perfect than she can possibly count.

But when CC accidentally overhears the mayor complaining that she has to “take out” a rogue employee for not fulfilling the terms of his contract, the idyllic town’s facade crumbles. Devastated by the possibility of having to move yet again, CC discovers everyone has been keeping a massive secret from her—including her own father.


My Review

Travel blogger C.C. and her father move into a small town where everything seems to be “perfect”. Perfect neighbors, perfect bakery job, perfect friends, etc.. Warning signs begin to pop up for the girl, though, when her father immediately changes his actions around his daughter. That is, she should have noticed them as warning signs that something was seriously up. Ok, at first I was like….


Then the novel began to take a turn when one overheard conversation cracks the armor of this perfect little town. Cue in more Stepford Wives!


This is a pretty unique YA novel that stands out on it’s own and keeps you guessing. I’m assuming it’s a standalone but the ending leaves you wondering could there be more? Is there more to the resolution we are given? I MUST KNOW!

Try this novel out if you are into YA Mysteries that will keep you on your toes!


Rating 8




Happy Reading,


TBR 2018 Challenge

TBR 2018 Challenge

Hi Everyone!

If you’re like me, your TBR is a long, endless list of books you try to promise yourself you’ll conquer. The key word here is try. Let’s face it, we NEVER can conquer it! Or at least we have that frame of mind.

This year one of the Facebook book groups I’m part of challenged everyone to tackle their TBR and try to read as much as possible. Now, we have eleven more months to go in this new year. Eleven more months where we all know we will be adding onto our TBR. But you know what? I’m still tacking my TBR and my goal is to read half of my TBR this year!

Here is my starting point:

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Taking into perspective that’s over five hundred books! I’ll be honest it’s an insane idea, but you know what? This is a year of reaching new heights in everything! Instead of doing a “Down the TBR” Tag and weeding out books – I’m going to read them!

I’ve already placed a mix of audiobooks, ebooks, and regular books of over 30 of my TBR books this year. Right now, I’m in the middle of three of them and ready for more. It’s all about pacing. I’m not always going to go through an in-depth book review of each one, but I will be sharing my progress throughout the year and ratings of the different books.


If you are doing a new challenge in your life – what is it?

Let me know in the comments below!


Happy Reading!


Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post, & ARC Review: Busted By Gina Ciocca

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post, & ARC Review: Busted By Gina Ciocca

Title: Busted
Author: Gina Ciocca
Available: Amazon/B&N/Books-A-Million/Chapters/iBooks/Kobo
Add to Goodreads

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy via NetGalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for a review. This does not effect my review.

hs- about the author

Catching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation— and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take cheater to a whole new level…

hs- about the author

Contact: Blog/Instagram/Twitter

Gina Cioccagraduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her taking long walks around the lake in her neighborhood.

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hs- my review

Firstly, thank you Sourcebooks for inviting me to participate in this blog tour! I absolutely loved this novel! It was never ending fun that kept me on my toes.

Marissa is this creative teenager with a heart for helping out her friends and sticking up for them. Little did she know the impact she had after catching her friend Charlie’s date cheating on her and capturing it for the world to see. News of her investigative skills reached her school and into the ears of her former childhood friend Kendall, sparking a chain of events that I did not see coming.

The story starts out innocent then spirals into a mystery and reminded me like a hit CW show, in a fantastic way! Marissa begins her case for Kendall by following her friend’s boyfriend, T.J.. As she begins to follow him, she begins to get to know him on the side, discovering they both have a similar love for creating things for others like paintings, bracelets, pins, and belts. Although there may be those similarities, they are linked by a deep mystery that rocks both of their worlds.

Marissa’s best friend, Charlie, is accused to stealing test answers and selling them throughout her high school which risks her scholarship and future. The more Marisa investigates Charlie’s case, the more she realizes T.J. may possibly be involved….or is he?

I could not get enough of this book! The pacing was quite fast and there was never a dull moment amongst these characters. The chemistry is off the charts, the dialogue is informative and very hilarious at times, and the premise of the book is merely scratching the surface.

Oh, and the banter between Nick, Charlie, and Marissa is PERFECT! They are officially my current favorite YA literary group. I could never get enough of their interactions together. If there would ever be a sequel – please let it be about Nick and Charlie!

hs- giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Busted!

Enter Here!

Marisa’s Top 5 Tips For Sleuthing

Hey there. Marisa Palmera, Private Eye here. Okay, so I don’t actually call myself that, and neither does anyone else. In fact, I never meant to become a sleuth-for-hire. But spend one night scaling your best-friend’s boyfriend’s house to take incriminating pictures, and suddenly everyone wants you to be something you’re not…and when they ’re willing to line your sadly lacking pockets for it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. So, should you find yourself an unwitting Girl Friday (or even a witting one… Is “witting” a thing?) like I did, here are some tips that just may save your butt:

  1. Always have a camera handy. Whether it’s your cell phone, or the fancy camera you borrowed from your school’s yearbook club, you never know when you’ll need to snap an evidence shot. Just, um, make sure you turn off the flash if said camera is aimed through a window into a dark living room. I may have learned this the hard way.
  2. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sounds ominous and dramatic, I know. But if someone gives you the vibe that they shouldn’t be let out of your sight? GO WITH IT.
  3. Think fast. Suck at lying? Me too. Get over it, because you’ll be fudging the truth a lot.

  4. But know when to say no. Weave enough white lies, and suddenly they’re a sticky, tangled web with you trapped inside. Know when it’s time to run, and do it like the flames of hell are licking your feet.

  5. Don’t fall for the person you’re investigating. Yeah. You’re just gonna have to do as I say and not as I do on this one. Oops…

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Rating 10

Happy Reading!


Goodreads Reading Challenge 2017/2018

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2017/2018

Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year! Last year was tremendous reading wise and life-wise. Got to visit new places, meet new people, and read more books than I thought possible.

I originally set my goal last year for 77 books. I quickly accomplished it before June and extended it to 177. At the end of last year, I exceeded my goal and read over 190 books!

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This year, I’m going to go above and beyond my goal! I think 200 books is achievable and have already completed two books so far. Butterflies are madly flying in my stomach, I’m extremely excited for what this year may hold!

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What are your reading goals for this year?

Join the Conversation and Let me know in the comments!


Happy Reading!


C.B.H. ARC Review: Pretty Dead Girls By Monica Murphy

C.B.H. ARC Review: Pretty Dead Girls By Monica Murphy


Title: Pretty Dead Girls
Author: Monica Murphy
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

*Disclaimer – I received an ARC copy courtesy of Entangled Publishing & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*


Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she’s next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she’s never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There’s something he isn’t telling her. But there’s something she’s not telling him, either.

Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

My Review

We are told throughout the novel that nothing happens in the small Northern Californian town of Cape Bonita. MURDER doesn’t happen in Cape Bonita. For a society of popular high school girls called “The Larks”, their world is about to be rocked by the senior Larks being killed off one by one. By who, you may ask? Penelope, President of the Larks, is searching for answers.

This story is told from the perspective of Penelope and the killer. The gender reveal of the killer happened quite early in the novel to my dismay. I wished this detail remained anonymous due to it narrowing down my personal list of suspects.

These group of girls, specifically the seniors, are not what you would call role models….oh what am I even doing, these girls are savage. Well, except for Dani and Penelope. Gretchen, Courtney, and Lexi are another incarnation of the original Mean Girls themselves minus being-


I flew through the book rather quickly. My main problems with this book was the dialogue, the extremely strange information dumping sessions, and, I hate to say it, but underwhelming reveal at the end. The motivations behind the killer’s actions reminded me of the classic horror movie Prom Night.

Penelope’s dialogue is strange and I had a hard time staying connected with her. I don’t know if it’s because I’m an adult or what, but there were times where I rolled my eyes and longed to tell her to get over herself. The information dumping sessions she would throw at you made no sense. It’s like “ok, what is the point of you talking about this? It has nothing to do with this current situation.” This didn’t happen on one occasion either, this was a continuous loop.

Mind you, this was the unreleased draft. These problems are probably fixed, but they constantly bothered me. Other than these issues, it’s worth the read.


Rating 6


Happy Reading!


Blog Blitz & Giveaway: It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe By L.P. Dover

Blog Blitz & Giveaway: It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe By L.P. Dover

Title: It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe
Author: L.P. Dover
Publication date: December 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Finding your soul mate is a dream Adeline Hamilton thought was just that … a dream. After several failed relationships, she realizes she’s not capable of falling in love. The only passion she’s ever had is teaching U.S. History at the local high school.

A week before Christmas, Adeline is all set for her best friend’s wedding, even though she dreads having to go to it alone. But when she’s given a Christmas wish that could change her future forever, she’s whisked away to the past, to a completely different place and time. It’s also when she meets him, William Blair, the man who steals her heart.

As their relationship grows, Adeline realizes that true love does exist. What she doesn’t know is that her wish can’t last forever, that soon she’ll have to leave the past behind. Will Adeline and William find their way back to each other? Or will their love have to stay where it all began . . . in 1865? With mistletoe and Christmas magic, anything’s possible.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords / Google Play



Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, the Society X series, the Circle of Justice series, and her standalone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter



Want a chance to win a A signed paperback of It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe? I also comes along with a snowflake necklace! 

You can Enter the Giveaway Here:

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Happy Reading!



Silver Dagger Tours Blog Tour/Guest Post: Hypathia of Alexandria By Laurel A. Rockefeller

Silver Dagger Tours Blog Tour/Guest Post: Hypathia of Alexandria By Laurel A. Rockefeller

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Hypatia of Alexandria

The Legendary Women of World History #8

by Laurel A. Rockefeller

Genre: YA Historical Fiction


Teacher. Philosopher. Astronomer.

Born in 355 CE in the aftermath of Constantine’s reign, Hypatia of Alexandria lived in a collapsing Rome Empire, a world where obedience to religious authorities trumped science, where reason and logic threatened the new world order. It was a world on the edge of the Dark Ages. As libraries burned, she dared defend the light of knowledge.


Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide.

With her lyrical writing style, Laurel’s books are as beautiful to read as they are informative. In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series. 


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Describe your writing style

Lyrical is probably the best word for it. I came into writing through my music. I was making up songs long before I could read. My songs helped me express myself and survive a very difficult and often very violent childhood. I was in my teens the first time my poems were published, including a sonnet, “Why Bilbo?” for the American Tolkien Society in the winter of 1991/2. So, it makes sense that my writing has a musical quality to it and translates so easily to audio books. Indeed, poetry and music is a common feature in most of my books, both fiction and non-fiction. “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd” opens with an original poem called “Gwenllian’s Tears” and “Mary Queen of the Scots” opens with the original poem, “Of Scotland Forgotten.” There is plenty of period music in the narrative biographies and original music in the “Peers of Beinan” science fiction novels. You can hear me sing many of these songs on my youtube videos.

What makes a good story?

To me a good story has to pull at your heart strings. There are many very competent writers out there who know their stuff, but fail to really get you invested emotionally. If you aren’t empathizing with the characters or historical persons, then the author is not doing her or his job. With a good story you really truly care about these people and what is happening to them. You hurt with them at the difficult moments and you rejoice with them when they succeed at something. For non-fiction science, the aim has to be making whatever it is really compelling and interesting without sacrificing accuracy or reading comprehension. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an expert at this which is why he is one of my favourite authors.

What are you passionate about these days?

Immigration to England! As a very hands-on historian I feel I do my best work when I have walked the places I’m writing about and done many of the activities in my historical narratives. There is no substitute for direct, personal experience when you are writing. And while yes, it is possible to travel to the UK and the EU from the USA, such trips are too long and expensive to take on the sort of regular basis I need in order to do the best possible work I can. So I am engaging in this extremely long, difficult process called legal immigration.

Making my life more difficult in pursuit of this effort is the current anti-immigrant climate in both the USA and abroad. Ten years ago all you really needed to prove was that you were earning enough money to be self-supporting for the first three to ten years in your new home country. Today those skilled worker visas are extremely hard to come by, particularly for writers and other creative professionals. Everyone is presumed to be a potential terrorist or an economic threat to native-borns so the number of visas available has dramatically shrank and the standards for what skills you need have skyrocketed. It’s no longer good enough to be even in the top 25% of your profession to be considered skilled.

The good news for me is that with your help, I can and will reach England from which I will be better empowered to tell these stories of inspiring historical women. All it takes from you is a review or two on Amazon and sharing what you love about my work with others! So please, help me make my dream come true. Help me earn that visa!

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I have two beautiful cockatiels who are my pride, joy, and usually a form of amusement for me. Absolutely love my birds. I play a couple Facebook games on a daily basis. And of course, I’m a big movie fan, especially of classic films. Favourite television series include Doctor Who, Star Trek the Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, the West Wing, Victoria, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey. For social activities, I enjoy fine food and drink (I’m quite the foodie at times), history tourism, and playing several outdoor games. I don’t generally exercise if I’m alone, but in the company of a small group I rather enjoy golfing (either the driving range or miniature golf), badminton, archery, frisbee/catch games, and sometimes a bit of football (soccer). Walking around zoos and botanic gardens is also fun too, especially if the trip involves seeing birds. Roses are my favourite flowers, especial white and fire-and-ice varieties.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

I don’t think anyone in this business really wants per se to be a writer. I think it is like acting and you are a writer from birth and then, through the trials and tribulations of life, finally learn to embrace your talent. As with acting, the road can be very long and convoluted and take decades before you take the plunge and decide to really go for it as a trade as opposed to a hobby you do for fun. Some published authors never take it out of hobby mode. I personally resisted making writing my profession. None of my family, living or dead, support(ed) the idea and I was pushed hard to pursue a “real” job. That’s a key reason I majored in Psychology while in University – my writing major was for me and my psych major was for my mother. History came about through my elective course options. By the time I was registering for classes for senior year my minor advisor in the history department told me I only needed three specific required courses to turn my minor into a major –so I did. History is really the hobby I made into a profession via becoming a non-fiction history author.

As for the right or wrongness of the decision, well it took me over 25 years to finally stop resisting my talent and go for it. In that time, I tried to make a living doing anything except write; the list is very long of the odd, usually poorly paid jobs I took. Now I have taken the big plunge and made writing my sole source of income, yes, I am happy with the decision. I’m finally doing what I was always meant to do.

A day in the life of the author?

I don’t think there is a typical day for me. I get up, check my email and social media, and go from there. I am very active on twitter and there are certain people I like to keep up with every day if I can. I love a good twitter conversation about history, birds, and so forth.

My work usually involves interacting with my translators on a regular basis and in truth I enjoy talking to them about both work and personal stuff. I may have writing or research to do that day or book promotion. It really all depends. When I’m doing initial research for a book I usually start with youtube in search of documentaries relating to the new project. Look through my bibliographies and you usually will find at least one video listed as proof of that.

One thing I always do every day unless I’m traveling is take a nap after my mid-day meal – usually with my cockatiels nearby. The mid-day nap time is often my main time to get in quality interactions with each bird because they are often most friendly with me then. What could be better than your cockatiel walking right up to you for a head rub or a kiss? Heaven!

Do you have advice you would give new authors or aspiring writers?

Learn everything you can. Nothing is irrelevant. When I was seventeen I never thought I would use my high school chemistry. Flash forward to 2011 when I started writing “The Great Succession Crisis” and was laying down the scientific foundations for my world-building and I was neck deep in three different versions of the periodic table of elements, tables I couldn’t have understood without that foundation from high school.

Another piece of advice: there is no substitution for either practice or hands-on experience. Writing is not something you can really learn in the classroom. You can and should master grammar and vocabulary, the technical parts of the languages you are writing in and that can be taught to you. But the creative part of writing, the instincts for plot, pacing, character, and so forth comes from experience and from reading a lot. Details matter a great deal in making your work believable which is why you must travel and experience life directly. The more you get out into the world and experience the breadth of what life has to offer the better your writing will be.

For example, in “Mary Queen of the Scots” there is an especially detailed dancing scene, a scene that reflects my many years dancing at Society for Creative Anachronism events. The scene works because I’m not imagining how people danced at Mary’s court; I know how they danced after years of dancing those dances myself. Likewise, in “Hypatia of Alexandria” there is an early scene with Hypatia trying to learn to spin with a drop spindle. Drop spinning is one of those medieval crafts I practice and do badly. So the scene is coming from real life. Drop spinning takes years of constant practice to master. Being mathematically inclined and with her talents being much more for philosophy and astronomy, I have zero doubt that Hypatia struggled with the “traditional” crafts women are expected to master just as much as I have all my life.

Those scenes work because I have broad experiences. Therefore allow me to encourage you to put down the tech and reach for all the different sorts of experiences you can.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading “Forgotten History: Unbelievable Moments from the Past” by Jem Duducu. Like me, Duducu brings history out of academia and into the hands of “the common man” though he goes about it quite differently and focuses much more on the military side of history than I do.

How long have you been writing?

I don’t believe you choose to be a writer. I believe writing chooses you. This is my entire life for my entire life. I began as a song-writer using my music to help me cope with a violent home life. Today we call that music therapy and recognize the healing power of music, but back in my childhood people simply thought I was a freak for constantly making up songs and singing to myself, despite my lovely voice.

As for making a living writing, that really started in the wake of the Great Recession and the loss of my salaried job as a commercial photographer and graphic artist. I resisted pursuing a writing career for decades; the familial antagonism towards the profession was simply that strong. I started numerous small businesses which each failed and threw me into debt. I really come into this career really kicking and screaming.

In August 2012 I published the first version of “The Great Succession Crisis” (it is now in its third edition). Five years out it is still not yet a commercial success, but that is fine because I am happy with the quality of my writing and I recognize that science fiction is a very crowded genre. People will discover GSC in time along with its prequels and sequels in the Peers of Beinan Series. As a literary social science fiction I am well-prepared for that.

Until then, I am very happy to continue to write the Legendary Women of World History series. There are currently eight titles in English. In 2018 I begin work on “Cleopatra VII” and on “Hildegarde von Bingen.” The series itself will probably finish after about 40-50 total titles meaning you can expect more great narrative biographies for years to come!

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

Whenever I start a new biography I usually begin my research by going as far back in time for that culture or nationality as possible and then working forwards in time. For example, on “Mary Queen of the Scots” I began by watching documentaries on ancient Scotland and the first known settlements in the highlands. With “Empress Matilda of England” I began with pre-Roman Germany and discovered that for all the differences between the Germanic and “Celtic” languages, northern Europeans were far more similar to each other than they were different. From there, the research propelled me into the Roman era, the formation of the “Empire of the Romans” (the term “Holy Roman Empire” dates to the Renaissance), and finally into the Salian dynasty and to Kaiser Heinrich and Matilda herself.

As a rule, I start with documentaries and then work my way into books, journal articles, and online published content. I’m very top-down, working from largest and broadest details to more specific. All this time I log my sources used and construct the timelines you see in every LWWH book since the second one (Boudicca does not have a timeline because we do not have precise dates for events in her life). In that sense I am outlining because with history I must present events in the sequence they happened.

I’m not outlining the story per se in the traditional sense, but I am logging what happened and when which in turn functions like an outline. The story telling itself (which events to include and how) does not get outlined. The bulk of what you see in the Timeline appendix in each book does not make it into the narrative. That adds to its usefulness.

With the main parts of the Timeline worked out, I usually begin with writing the opening prologue or poem that breaks the ice, that first 1-3 pages that most potential readers first see on retailer websites. Once perfected, a simultaneous process of writing, research, and editorial begins in earnest as I shape my list of historical events into a compelling narrative biography. Once I am satisfied with the core narrative, I finish by organizing, formatting, and polishing the appendices before uploading each book for publication.

Can you tell us a little bit about the historical persons in “Hypatia of Alexandria?”

Hypatia of Alexandria was born in 355 CE, just twenty years after the death of Constantine. The sixty years of her life saw some of the most sweeping changes of the late Roman Empire. It was a time of transition from the classical world to the medieval world. Hypatia lived right in the heart of it, in the intellectual capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was, for all practical purposes, the very last of the classical philosophers.

Two of Hypatia’s most famous students were Orestes and Synesius of Cyrene. Very little is known about Orestes. In the film “Agora” he is treated as a love interest for Hypatia, but in fact we have no evidence of that either way. The only mention to Orestes in historical sources tell us he was ’Praefectus augustalis’ which was the title given to the Roman governor of Egypt. Sources then go on to very briefly tell us of Orestes’ conflict with Patriarch Cyril in the events immediately leading up to Hypatia’s murder. After her death, Orestes disappears from the historical record entirely.

Synesius of Cyrene studied with Hypatia from 390 CE to 395 CE at which point he returned to Cyrene in modern day Libya to become its bishop in 409 CE. By this point, Synesius was married and had two sons which he refused to put away upon his elevation to bishop as was normal custom. Much of what we know about Hypatia comes from the surviving letters he wrote to her from Cyrene. He loved Hypatia deeply and to some degree continued her scientific work after he left, inventing numerous scientific instruments—some of them more successful than others. Synesius of Cyrene died heartbroken in 413 CE following the death of his wife and children. Contrary to the film “Agora” he never lived to see the brutal murder of his beloved “Philosopher” let alone contributed (as the film shows) to her death on the 15th of March, 315 CE.

Tell us about Hypatia – what makes her tick?

Hypatia of Alexandria was a woman both ahead of her time and yet very much a part of it. She was in many ways a classical philosopher in a classic sense with much in common in terms of upbringing and outlook as other greats from the classical period. She received both a Roman and Greek education, the Roman being very practical and emphasizing education to foster good citizenship and the Greek emphasizing arts, sciences, physical education, and music. The Greeks considered education a form of worship to the Gods which is one reason why Christianity so often took on anti-intellectual qualities. When Paul writes in Colossians, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ,” part of what he opposes is this Greek belief that learning itself is a form of worship. To Paul, philosophy was a form of idolatry, a belief that really empowers Patriarch Theophilus and his successor, Cyril, to go in and attack the intellectual communities and institutions that made Alexandria the educational center of the Roman world.

Hypatia’s world is literally falling apart around her. Everything she has ever known and ever believed in is under attack. But rather than turning a blind eye as those she knows and loves are taken off and killed, she puts her own life at risk helping and defending them, including many Jewish friends who were by this time facing extermination at the hands of the church leaders.

Hypatia taught anyone and everyone who came to her without concern for money, nationality, or religion. She put everything on the line to help and teach others. Truly a great role model for us in these turbulent times.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Tough one because as a rule I love the research aspects of writing each of my books. But if I needed to specify one thing unique to Hypatia that is not present in the other books so far it is the astronomy which was really my first love growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska. Before the car accident that took my eyesight, I seriously considered a career in science. Getting back to my astronomical roots was a lot of fun and I have some very cool astronomy-related resources in this book’s bibliography along with an appendix providing the latitude and longitude coordinates for several Roman Empire cities. This appendix will help you look up star charts for each location so you can see first-hand how the night sky differs depending on where in the world you are. I also really enjoyed writing the big astronomy scene in chapter two where Theon is introducing Hypatia to what becomes her life-long passion with the stars. We forget that each of these constellations have stories behind them. It was a lot of fun researching and telling the stories of Ursa Major (the Big Bear) and Ursa Minor (the Little Bear) and exploring several of the Greek astronomical discoveries in the process.

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