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Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter Blog Tour Stop

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii When your world blow
s apart, what will you hold onto?
TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.
LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .
When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?
Curses & Smoke was a fascinating historical! I feel like the author did a great job at incorporating the Pompeii volcano tragedy with an interesting storyline.

The book follows the story of two people, Lucia and Tag, who fall in love despite their different social standings. Their romance definitely had some instalove, although they were childhood friends which made it a bit more understandable. I though Tag was a likable person, but I couldn't understand Lucia and a lot of the decisions she made. She didn't think about much more than Tag and herself at times. 

The plot was entertaining, and although the main focus was the romance between Lucia and Tag, there were a few smaller subplots throughout the book that were interesting. I wasn't entirely happy with the ending, but at the same time I don't know how else it could have ended.

Despite a few things I didn't like about one of the main characters and the romance, Curses and Smoke was a great historical. I'd give it 3 out of 5 flowers.


  1. I hate those books you love..right up until the ending. They can make rating and reviewing a book so darn hard! Especially if the ending was open ended or not the HEA you were expecting.

    Great review!

  2. Seems like an interesting premise...if only the book wasn't as focused on the romance. Those doesn't always work as well for me. :)

  3. I love historical books, and this one features Pompeii, which I don't see often if at all in books, so this is very interesting. And I love the friends to something more romance types, so maybe I won't have so much trouble with the instalove issue, however, I am not liking Lucia. To bad about the ending too! :( I'm glad you still found this to be enjoyable, Montana, despite your reservations. Great review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  4. Pompeii was what started my interest in volcano, so a story involving that really intrigues me. Great review!

    Safari Poet


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