Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.

Philippa Gregory's book The Other Boyeln Girl was the book that started my love for Historical Fiction, I just loved that book along with 2 others in that series.  I looked forward to her new series The War of the Rose also known as the Cousins War with high hopes.
This is book 3 in the  series.  The Red Queen was about Elizabeth Woodville, so we did see her mother in this one.  The White Queen was about Margaret Beaufort.  

So now we turn to Jacquetta, mother of Elizabeth Woodville.  The book started off so nicely, there was Joan of Arc, her ties to Melusina and what I thought was a great beginning.  Everything flowed together so nicely, I looked forward to reading more.   There was her marriage to John, Duke of Bedford, widowhood and then falling in love with Richard Woodville.  About half way through I felt it started to slow down somewhat.  The friendship between the Queen and Jacquetta didn't seem genuine to me, I actually found the Queen to be somewhat spoiled, but that is my opinion, and she very well might have been.  There was baby after baby (seriously I lost count as to how many there were and I found myself wondering what her body looked like after all those pregnancies).

It was still an interesting story, not as good as The Other Boleyn Girl and I am glad to have read it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister. Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

Paperback, 337 pages

Published January 18th 2011 by Mira
library copy

Sometimes you just need a break from Historical Fiction, this book was my break.

I am trying to come up with words to describe this book, but I can't. It took all of 3 days to read it. I was drawn in right away, it had emotion, it had mystery and surprises. Given the subject matter it sounds strange (sadistic even) to say I enjoyed this book, but I did.

Heather Gudenkauf is a new author to me and I will read more of her works.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Daughters of Rome By Kate Quinn

A.D. 69. Nero is dead. 

The Roman Empire is up for the taking. With bloodshed spilling out of the palace and into the streets of Rome, chaos has become the status quo. The Year of Four Emperors will change everything—especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome…. 

Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister, Marcella, is more withdrawn, content to witness history rather than make it. Even so, Marcella has her share of distinguished suitors, from a cutthroat contender for the throne to a politician’s son who swears that someday he will be Emperor. 

But when a bloody coup turns their world upside down, Cornelia and Marcella—along with their cousins, one a collector of husbands and lovers, the other a horse-mad beauty with no interest in romance—must maneuver carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor … and one Empress.

I am a follower of Kate Quinn's blog, if you're not you should be, she is a hoot.  In one of her posting a reader was complaining about this book and how it was confusing because the story was about 4 girls all named Cornelia.  As a mother of 4 sons I could relate, there were plenty of days where I got confused too (and I didn't name them the same), so starting this book I was a little nervous.  

From the opening prologue this book grabbed me and really didn't let go.  I was able to tell one Cornelia from the other (nicknames did help alot).  Each Cornelia had a distinct personality and lifestyle and I got to each of them quite well.  Diana (Cornelia #4) was my favorite, she just knew exactly what she wanted, didn't care what anyone thought, just did her own thing.   But in the end she was always there for her family (loved the way she put an end to one wedding ceremony).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hardcover, 387 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Doubleday (first published September 1st 2011)
Read this on by Kobo App via Toshiba Tablet

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Before this book was released it seemed everywhere I looked there it was. Reading review blogs, there it was. I received emails from Amazon and Chapters about this book. This book that was so amazing, that it was the new Harry Potter. Its not a good thing to read raving reviews, it puts one expectations way too high.

What did I really think of this book? Well, I did enjoy it. I loved the writing style, the sentences just took on a life of there own that matched the time period and story line. Does that make sense? I guess maybe you will have to read the book to understand.

The story was original, but I can't say that I absolutely loved it. I really enjoyed it, I connected more with some of the secondary characters more so. I will definitely read more by this author, after all things can only get better

Monday, October 24, 2011

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

In her first historical novel, popular royal biographer Alison Weir cunningly places the short-lived Lady Jane Grey (1537-54) at the heart of a fiction with haunting similitude. Real personages, including Henry VIII, Prince Edward, and the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, people this tale of religious strife and court intrigues. An auspicious fiction debut.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am not sure if was because it was audio, but I got to know each character so well. Each chapter was from a different persons point of view, which had a different narrator. I liked that, though some voices were close to others. I was distracted a bunch of times by some swallowing, but not enough to take away from the story.

My heart ached for Jane and what happened to here. My first HF by Alsion Weir (and I guess her debut fiction book) and I will definitely be reading/listening to more.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Paperback, 694 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Bantam

From the cover:

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin's magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin's stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.


Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

My Thoughts:

My son The Illiterate Scribe, has been after me to read this book for a while now. Fantasy is not my favorite genre these days, Historical Fiction is. I didn't jump when he said read (I am remembering The Wheel of Time, huge books, intense plots, a huge pile of characters plus lots and lots of fantasy). But when I saw Kate Quinn (Mistress of Rome author) gush about this series, well what could I say, if Kate (Historical Fiction author) loved it, comparing it to the War of the Roses, well then I would give it a try.

I have to say that I am glad that I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were quite a few names that I will never remember and at some points wondered which side they were on. But all in all it was a great read. I loved the chapter names (each a character rather then a number), I got to know each of the main characters, I have my favorites and those I dislike too. What really impressed me was how the storyline just seemed to flow smoothly, I didn't find anything that was disjointed or distracting either. I didn't always like the way the story went, but could see the reasons why things happened.

I am almost finished the HBO series now. I really felt they did a great job of casting the characters, they matched the personalities nicely and I can't wait to read the next book so that I can watch Season 2 as it is televised.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matched only by her husband’s perceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to conceive an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds—and brave enough to tell the queen—is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.

Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister’s desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. Her greatest hope is to share her life with the general who has won her heart. But as Nefertiti learns of the precariousness of her reign, she declares that her sister must remain at court and marry for political gain, not love. To achieve her independence, Mutnodjmet must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt—while also remaining loyal to the needs of her family.

Love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict—Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history. 

Hardcover, 463 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Crown Publishing Group

This was my first Michelle Moran book and also my first HF about Egypt. This is also the authors debut novel (I love reading debuts). I really enjoyed reading this book, I thought the characters were portrayed nicely and I had pictures in my mind of what everyone looked like as well and the scenery. I kept thinking what a society, letting 15 & 17 year old's running the country, but if you are born royal that is your lot in like. I only wish that I knew alittle more about the culture, gods and calendar of Egypt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A sweet haul :)

Today I went for a little visit to my favorite used book store. As you can
see it is basically an old house. Now we often refer to it as the fire

hazard store. Every room is filled with books, they are piled on tables, piles in boxes on top of piles. Its the kind of store you keep your arms in when walking as just the slightest touch could send books raining on you. The nifty part also is that it is 2 storeys high, twice the fun.

What made today so special is that everything is half price. I asked about a particle book and it was scary, but the gal knew exactly where I would find it (if they had it, but they didn't).
But that's fine because I came away with 2 little treasures. One I started to read there, but alas no chair to be found.

Joan if Arc by M D Holmes (published 1930) - its similar to this one, but I am keeping mine.

But that is not the end of my book buying adventures this week. There is also The Book Depot, some of you might know it as
They have a scratch and dent section, everything a couple bucks.

My little puppy, Spencer, was helping me.

One of the hazards of good deals is coming home with something you already have.

The Queen's Sorrow by Suzannah Dunn is a duplicate for me. Anyone want it?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Introducing Spencer...

It has been six years since we have had a puppy in the house. We vowed never to do it again, not that it was a bad experience, just alot of work.

So here is Spencer, 9 weeks old, alot of work and alot of fun.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ella March Chase books

As captivating now as it was more than four centuries ago, the reign of Elizabeth I—with its scandal, intrigue, and resilience—has spark
ed the imaginations of generations. In her sweeping historical debut, Ella March Chase explores a thrilling possibility: that the Tudor bloodline did not end with the Virgin Queen.

This was Ella March Chase's debut novel. I know very little about Elizabeth I's reign and thought this would be a good read. It was given 4 and 5 start reviews on goodreads and amazon. I have to say that I did enjoy the story, but just found something missing. I can't quite put my finger on what it was, but it just didn't have 'that grab me by the neck and not let go until I was finished feeling'. The story was good, the characters were developed, though it was predictable.

In the second novel from Ella March Chase, we meet sixteen-year-old Jane Grey, a quiet and obedient young lady destined to become the shortest reigning English monarch. Her beautiful middle sister Katherine Grey charms all the right people—until loyalties shift. And finally Lady Mary Grey, a dwarf with a twisted spine whose goal is simply to protect people she loves—but at a terrible cost.

Well here is Ella March Chase's second novel. Again another piece of history that I was not familar with. I guess that is why I was drawn to these two books. This one took only a couple days to read, I just had to find out what was going to happen to these 3 sisters. The author did a really good job of developing each of their characters, I felt like I knew them. Again I found it hard to take how women were treated during this time period and very thankfully I wasn't born then (my goodness it was bad). I felt their emotions and hoped that somehow history would have change while reading this book.

One of my feelings about both of these books was that they seemed more like Young Adult novels, but good YA novels.

These books were added to Where Are You Reading

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, time to share what you are reading and plan on reading (but if you are like me that could change from day to day).

Shelia over at Book Journey gets this rolling faithfully every Monday morning.

So my plans for last week didn't work out like I had planned. We will see if this weeks plans work out :)

I am almost finished Three Maidens for a Crown: A Novel of the Grey Sisters (my Kindle read)

My audio read is the Hunger Games. Originally I was going to listen to something else, but this jumped out at me instead. I should be done in a day or so and then move on to Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

My actual book read is Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. My oldest son, the Illiterate Scribe always asked if I have started this book, which is about once a month for the past year. When I went away for 2 days I only brought one book and had no choice. So I started and am enjoying it.

Once I am done with the Three Maidens I hope to begin Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, which I think looks very interesting.

Plus its not a huge read and should be able to finish in a couple days.

I am behind in some of my reviews, so hoping to get a couple extra done in that department this week also.

So that my plans for the week, what are yours?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson

Every day Christine wakes up not knowing where she is. Her memories disappear every time she falls asleep. Her husband, Ben, is a stranger to her, and he's obligated to explain their life together on a daily basis--all the result of a mysterious accident that made Christine an amnesiac. With the encouragement of her doctor, Christine starts a journal to help jog her memory every day. One morning, she opens it and sees that she's written three unexpected and terrifying words: "Don't trust Ben." Suddenly everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. What kind of accident cause d her condition? Who can she trust? Why is Ben lying to her?

I thought the story line was a great idea, maybe I just haven't read enough but I can't recalling reading about an amesiac before. The write up about the book left me with a real desire to buy the book. I haven't read a good mystery in ages and was really looking forward to getting started, I mean even the reviews were glowing.

So why then did it take me about 2 weeks to get 53% of the way through (yes I have a Kindle)? It started out strong, how could it not. I mean poor Christine, what a life that would be. Waking up everyday and not remembering anything. The author did portray Christine well and I couldn't help feeling for her and also for Ben, her husband. But the book just didn't grab me like I had hoped.

Once I sat for 4 hours straight (don't tell hubby I did that :), then the action started. I couldn't put the book down. I loved the ending and honestly didn't see it coming (and I am usually pretty good at figuring out endings). Without an spoilers here, even the last couple of pages were great and it was really the only way this book could end.

This book was added to Where Are You Reading?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In The Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap

It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm? A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as "the lady with the lamp".

I knew nothing at all about Florence Nightingale, for some reason it just sounded like a made up name and not a real person. I pictured someone mysterious and almost supernatural like (don't ask why, I just did). So when I discovered this book I knew I had to read it (thank goodness for mr. kindle, I didn't even have to leave the house).

It's 1854 in London, Molly has been unjustly dismissed from her job, what can she do when supporting a mom but lie and worm her way over to Turkey with Florence Nightingale. I learned alot about this war (that I never heard of before), the author has a real talent with words and I could picture the hospitals, the journey, the war and even the rats. Some things were predictable, the ending I liked. Definitely YA, but a good YA novel.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

From the acclaimed author of STILL MISSING comes a psychological thriller about one woman’s search into her past and the deadly truth she uncovers. All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara’s home life was not ideal. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and find closure.

But some questions are better left unanswered.After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother—only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her father is him finding out about her.

Ever since reading Still Missing I have looked forward to this book, the idea sounded so very original and had the same suspense mystery feel that Still Missing had.

I will admit that I liked Still Missing more. This one was also good, but there were just too many times I sat there shaking my head thinking that 'that would never happen in real life". But don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book.

The author was able to portray Sara in such a way that I felt for her. The struggles she went through growing up, her relationship with her adopted parents and sisters. There were parts where I just wanted to slap her across the head and ask 'what are you thinking'. But that is part of the story.

The ending was good, an all round good story and I look forward to Chevy's next novel.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's the start of another week. I have been so bad with keeping my blog up over the past few months. Where have I been? Well right here at home (though a fe
w weekends away over the summer). I have gone from being the primary care giver to an elder parent (in-law) to not being one. So after 10 years I am adjusting to a very different way of life.

One of my adjustments is moving my library around in the house. I have reorganized my books and so geared up to just sit and read like I used to.

So my plans for
the week are:

1) finish reading Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson (Kindle - so glad I got it when it first came out, only paid $9.99 and it is over $17 today).

2) finish reading The Hobbit (started it on a canoe trip early Aug. - had to take a book that could stand some abuse, I have 2 copies of it).

3) start The Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali - I got it from Audible and heard so many good things about it

4) start something historical (which is my favorite these days), any suggestions??

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Quinn convincingly conjures the terrifying reign of Emperor Domitian in her solid debut that follows the travails of Thea, a slave girl and mistress to the emperor. While she is tormented by Domitian, she holds her secrets—a gladiator lover, a young son—close. When these facts are brought to Domitian's attention by Thea's jealous rival, Thea takes drastic actions to secure her family. Quinn's command of first-century Rome is matched only by her involvement with her characters; all of them, historical and invented, are compelling and realistic, and she explores their dark sides without crossing into gratuitousness. Readers will finish eager for a sequel, which is a good thing because Quinn has left the door wide open for a follow-up. This should make a splash among devotees of ancient Rome.

This is Kate Quinn's debut novel. I really enjoyed it. I found the historical part very interesting, since this is really my first HF for this time period and only 2nd taking place in Rome. I love the way the book was from Thea's point of view, then Lepdia and just narration, it all flowed together very nicely.

I thought the characters very well developed, with Vix being my favorite (he reminded me of my son). I am so looking forward to Daughter of Rome and have already preordered the 3rd book.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

It all begins with a lost manuscript, a reluctant witch, and 1,500-year-old vampire. Dr. Diana Bishop has a really good reason for refusing to do magic: she is a direct descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, and her parents cautioned her be discreet about her talents before they were murdered, presumably for having "too much power." So it is purely by accident that Diana unlocks an enchanted long-lost manuscript (a book that all manner of supernatural creatures believe to hold the story of all origins and the secret of immortality) at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and finds herself in a race to prevent an interspecies war. A sparkling debut written by a historian and self-proclaimed oenophile, A Discovery of Witches is heady mix of history and magic, mythology and love (cue the aforementioned vampire!), making for a luxurious, intoxicating, one-sitting read.

I have been wanting to read this book ever since it was released. The hard part of starting A Discovery of Witches was not to get my expectations too high (sometimes high expectations aren't always a good idea). I thought it started a little slow, but it didn't take long for it to grab me and I was done in about 5 days.

How to say more without spoiling anything? I will try. I felt in some ways it is an adult version of Twilight (though 1000% times better writing and storyline - not a big Twilight fan here). There is the history that I love (hard to pinpoint a time period, that would be impossible - Matthew is really old). Romance - but not done in a mushy, overly cutie kinda way. Adventure and suspense throughout the book.

My only negative comment is that they is no release date for the sequel (yes there is a sequel)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sowing The Seeds of Love by Tara Heavey

Though she knows nothing about gardening, the day Aoife spots a neglected walled garden it casts a spell over her. She persuades its reluctant owner to let her take it over and advertises for helpers. Just two turn up: Uri, a retired tailor, and Emily, a gentle student. It's not promising but Aoife persists. The tailor's son, Seth, joins them and in time even the crotchety owner, Mrs Prendergast, joins in.

Being recently widowed and newly arrived in Dublin with her little boy, the project gives Aoife a much-needed outlet in this new place and an escape from the turmoil in her head. What she does not realise is that in their various ways the other four � Uri, Emily, Seth and Mrs P � have also been burned by life and are just as in need of the garden's healing powers.

As their relationships develop in surprising, challenging and life-altering ways their extraordinary stories show Aoife the amazing resilience of the human spirit. But that doesn't make it any easier for her when she has to answer the hardest question of all: can she trust herself to love again?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed and I got to know them so well. The ending was kinda predictable, but the mystery of each of their pasts was revealed nicely. I was hoping that there would be a sequel because I just wanted to keep on reading.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

Continuing my quest to read Newbery Award winners I read this 1963 Winner. It was a quick easy read, mostly because I wanted to see if Meg and Charles would find their father, did they? You will have to read for yourself.

Though science fiction is not my thing (I think I have mentioned that before), I did enjoy this one, it had just the right amount of science fiction. I loved the characters and each one so different, Meg is the protagonist, but I gotta say I loved her little brother Charles Wallace, he was just a little quirky (reminded me of one of my kids). Even Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which added so much to the story. There was also a mother and twin siblings left a home, but hopefully we will see more them in the 3 sequels that are out.

This book added to Where Are You Reading?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching needs magic--fast! Her sticky little brother Wentworth has been spirited away by the evil Queen of faerie, and it’s up to her to get him back safely. Having already decided to grow up to be a witch, now all Tiffany has to do is find her power. But she quickly learns that it’s not all black cats and broomsticks. According to her witchy mentor Miss Tick, "Witches don’t use magic unless they really have to...We do other things. A witch pays attention to everything that’s going on...A witch uses her head...A witch always has a piece of string!" Luckily, besides her trusty string, Tiffany’s also got the Nac Mac Feegles, or the Wee Free Men on her side. Small, blue, and heavily tattooed, the Feegles love nothing more than a good fight except maybe a drop of strong drink! Tiffany, heavily armed with an iron skillet, the feisty Feegles, and a talking toad on loan from Miss Tick, is a formidable adversary. But the Queen has a few tricks of her own, most of them deadly. Tiffany and the Feegles might get more than they bargained for on the flip side of Faerie!

This is a stand alone DiscWorld book, though the first of 3 books in series. I have wanted to read this ever since reading Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (which I have read 3 times, so I must love it).

Did I love Tiffany as much as Maurice? No I didn't, but that is not to say I didn't enjoy this book. I could see myself rereading it. I think with Prachett rereading is necessary because there are is always so many quirky one liners that you missed the first time.

What I loved about this book was Tiffany's drive, she knew what she wanted and by golly nothing was getting in her way. Not Miss Tick (her loans Tiffany her talking frog), Rob Anybody and I smiled everytime 'Slightly Bigger Than Wee Jock But Not So Big as Middle-Sized Jock Jock' had something to say.

Looking forward to A Hat Full of Sky and see what happens next.

This book NOT added to Where Are You Read? (because really I don't where Discworld is)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Sonía, 16, thinks that sunny metaphors that portray America as a melting-pot are nonsense. Her parents are illegals, driven north by poverty across the Mexican border, but she was born in the U.S. and is determined to graduate from high school. Her struggle is part Cinderella fairy tale and part contemporary immigrant realism, as she is forced to cook and clean for her family and must stay up past midnight to get her homework done. Candid about the prejudice not only toward Latinos but also within the Latino community (her gorgeous, tender boyfriend is Salvadoran, so he must be kept secret), Sonía’s first-person narrative expresses her fury at her family, including her mother, who still doesn’t speak English and treats Sonía as a servant; her macho brothers; and especially her drunk uncle (druncle), who tries to rape her. But Papi works three jobs, and he is her strong support, and after Sonía visits Mexico, she gains new respect for her roots. Sonía’s immediate voice will hold teens with its mix of anger, sorrow, tenderness, and humor.

I would never have picked this book up if it wasn't for a Challenge that I am involved with on Goodreads. I had to find a book on or about Mexico in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Originally I was going to read The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz, but I wasn't in the mood for it.

I had a wander at one of my favorite book stores, The Book Depot, it is a huge store and not the kind of place you can run in real fast, grab a book and leave. So wandering the Young Adult section I found this book.

Picked it up Wed, Friday morning I started and finished on Saturday morning. I just couldn't put it down, it grabbed me right away. Sonja's character was well developed. I felt alot of empathy for her and was rooting for her the entire book. I wanted to give the mother a good shaking and the brothers something else. And of course I wondered about papa, but he did show up (sorry no spoilers here). I loved the ending, thought it was great. On the negative side I think that I would have like to see Sonja stand up for herself, though maybe in that culture it would be a difficult thing to do, I don't know.

One thing I would really like to read is a sequel now.

This book added to Where Are You Reading?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Revente

International bestseller Pérez-Reverte (The Club Dumas) offers a winning swashbuckler set in 17th-century Spain. Hooded figures, apparently acting on the behalf of Fray Emilio Bocanegra, "president of the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition," hire famed soldier Capt. Diego Alatriste to murder two Englishmen who have come to Madrid. One of the hooded figures, however, begs Alatriste (out of earshot of the others) only to wound the pair. When Alatriste and his fellow assassin, an ill-humored Italian, surprise the British, the captain is impressed by the fighting spirit they show, and he prevents the assassination from taking place. (The Italian, infuriated, swears eternal revenge.) When the Englishmen turn out to be on an important mission, Alatriste suddenly finds himself caught between a number of warring factions, Spanish and otherwise. Splendidly paced and filled with a breathtaking but not overwhelming sense of the history and spirit of the age, this is popular entertainment at its best: the characters have weight and depth, the dialogue illuminates the action as it furthers the story and the film-worthy plot is believable throughout.

I have had this book on my shelf for a couple of years, it sounded great and the cover looked all mysterious. This is apparently the first in a series, will I continue? I have my doubts.

To put it mildly, I found this book boring, it was slow moving, there was too much stuff that did not pertain to the story. There were poems there, it almost seemed like a filler. The story itself was interesting and I would really have liked to see it developed more.

This book added to Where Are You Read?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom

The Grace in Africa series is a sweeping three-part historical saga of slavery and freedom that takes the reader from an island off the west coast of Africa to Southern plantations and finally on to Canada. All her life, Grace Winslow, the daughter of a mixed marriage between an English sea captain and an African princess, has been sheltered from the truth about the family business--the capture and trade of slaves.

Set in 1787 in West Africa, The Call of Zulina opens as the scorching harmattan winds blow. Desperate to avoid marriage to an odious suitor, Grace escapes the family compound only to be caught up in a slave revolt at the fortress of Zulina. Soon, she begins to grasp the brutality and ferocity of the family business. Held for ransom, viciously maimed by a runaway slave, and threatened with death, Grace is finally jerked into reality and comes to sympathize with the plight of the captives. She admires their strength and courage and is genuinely moved by the African Cabeto’s passion, determination, and willingness to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for his people’s freedom.

This was a freebie from Amazon, I would never have read or discovered this author if I had to pay for it. I am glad to read it.

Previously I have read about John Newton and his slave trading along with his conversion. This book took on the other side, from those captured and readied for a voyage to American. It was tagged as Christian Fiction, however I did not find it preachy. It was an emotional read that showed how real the slave trade was and I can't help but feel for these people. To have men grab people off the street and take them away, never to be heard from again. So sad.

Looking forward to reading the next book.

This book added to Where Are You Read?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

Though well aware of her cousin Anne Boleyn’s fate only four years earlier, 15-year-old Catherine Howard acquiesces with her ambitious, conniving relatives’ plans and marries King Henry VIII. He calls her “my rose without a thorn,” but she is well aware of the thorny secrets she conceals: no virgin when she and the king married, she later begins a sexual liaison at court, partly in a desperate effort to produce an heir. Soon, Catherine begins a downward spiral toward madness and despair. An author’s note separates historical fact from conjecture in this account of Catherine’s short years as Henry’s “rose.” Libby offers a convincing, sympathetic portrayal of a young woman who relinquishes her hopes of marrying for love and finds herself doomed by her choices and deceptions. Hardly an active heroine, Catherine falls into a trap early on and, in the end, has little left but her dignity. This one’s for historical-fiction fans who will appreciate this character study of Henry’s fifth wife.

I have read other books about Katherine Howard, this is the first from her point of view. Just as her cousin, Anne Boleyn, was a pawn for the Howards so was it for Katherine. I really enjoyed this book, it showed a side of Katherine that I have never seen before. An immature 15 year old girl, suddenly catching the eye of King Henry and becomes his 5th wife. Forced to forget her previous 15 years and become 'the rose without a thorn'.

An emotional book that showed the confused and emotional side of Katherine that was a refreshing change.

I recommend this book.

Added to Where Are You Reading

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders." Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing "an inspiring heroine" (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.

This was an audio book and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. The author did the reading and I felt her voice lent well to the story, bringing it to life.

This is my first book by Geraldine Brooks and will not be my last. I felt the emotion of Anna with all she endured during that year of the Plague. I could very easily picture the village in my mind along with the characters and the despair that they felt.

There was one scene towards the end of the book that I felt wasn't necessary and seemed out of the place. A lot of reviews criticized the ending, but I didn't mind it.

The book added to Where Are You Reading

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Moments before Earth is destroyed, Ford Prefect, an alien who's been incognito for 15 years while researching a newer edition of THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, rescues his friend, Arthur Dent. The two stow away on a passing spaceship, and their adventures begin. Ford and Arthur encounter ex-hippie Galaxy President Zaphod Beeblebrox; Marvin, the morose robot; and a slew of otherworldly weirdos populating Douglas Adams's cult classic. Stephen Fry's performance is priceless as the interstellar travelers tumble from one near disaster to another. His voice shifts are inspired bits, half schtick, half nonsense. Without editorial comment, Fry injects just the right touches of irony into Adams's cheeky, always hilarious social satire.

Never really had any desire to read this book, the title is too long and really it sounded too science fiction to me. I am in a book challenge and had to read a book that someone gave me. For me to receive a gift of a book is a rare thing (not sure why). I sat and searched my many shelves of books, finally grabbed my Kindle and started pressing buttons and finally came across this one.

My son gave it to me so I read it. I didn't hate it, but also didn't love it. Reminded me of Terry Pratchett and his Discworld Series. I am glad that I read it, it made me smile (even laughed) in places, made me a little confused in a few places too.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Having fictionalized Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen (2009), royal chronicler Gregory now turns to Henry VIII's other indomitable grandmother. The opposite of her alluring Yorkist rival, plain Lancastrian heiress Margaret Beaufort grows up knowing women are useful only for bearing sons, but divine visions grant her an unwavering conviction about her future greatness. At age 12, she weds Lancastrian warrior Edmund Tudor and pours her ambition into his posthumous son, Henry. Constantly separated from her beloved child after her second marriage to a pacifist knight, her frustrations are palpably felt; she later brokers her own union with a crafty turncoat who may be the key to her hopes. While England seethes with discord during the turbulent Wars of the Roses, Margaret's transformation from powerless innocent to political mastermind progresses believably as rival heirs to England's throne are killed in battle, executed, or deliberately eliminated. With constant pronouncements about Margaret's God-given destiny, the approach isn't exactly subtle, but Gregory's vivid, confident storytelling makes this devout and ruthlessly determined woman a worthy heroine for her time.

Even though this book has been sitting on my shelf since its release I never got around to reading it. Last week while at the library I found the audio of it, so it came home with me. I so enjoyed listening to this book. It felt like Margaret Beaufort was sitting with me telling her story. The story was a good, though I did get tired of hearing Margaret's whinning, her 'woe is me' got to be a bit much.

All in all a good listen, and I am looking forward to next 2 in this series.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

On July 5, 1906, scandal breaks in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, when the proprietor of the general store, E. Rucker Blakeslee, elopes with Miss Love Simpson. He is barely three weeks a widower, and she is only half his age and a Yankee to boot. As their marriage inspires a whirlwind of local gossip, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy suddenly finds himself eyewitness to a family scandal, and that’s where his adventures begin.

Cold Sassy Tree is the undeniably entertaining and extraordinarily moving account of small-town Southern life in a bygone era. Brimming with characters who are wise and loony, unimpeachably pious and deliciously irreverent, Olive Ann Burns’s classic bestseller is a timeless, funny, and resplendent treasure.

The only reason I even read this book was because it was the April read for a book group that I joined. I would never have discovered this book on my own and for that I am grateful. I started out reading the book, then quickly discovered the audio. The audio itself started out very fast, like the reader had a certain time limit to finish, but gradually he slowed down. The other thing was that sentences repeated itself in the audio (very distracting).

The story itself, I loved. It was a story that flowed together nicely. Told from the point of very of 14 years old Will. It was an honest veiw of 1906 Georgia, rich in detail of what life was like back then. The beliefs, the lifestyle, the do and don'ts, so different from today.

If there is anything negative I can find is that it ended too soon, I would have loved to hear more. I understand that there is a small sequel, however the author passed before she could finish it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Fortier’s debut offers a beguiling mix of romance, intrigue, history, and Shakespeare. Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is stunned to find the aunt who raised her has left everything to her self-involved twin, Janice, save for the key to a safe-deposit box in Siena, Italy. Hoping to get some answers about the suspicious deaths of her parents over two decades ago, Julie travels to Siena and learns she’s actually a member of the Tolomeis, a powerful Sienese family. Her first acquaintances in Siena are a vibrant woman and her handsome godson Alessandro, who happen to be members of a rival family, the Salimbenis. Julie can’t figure out why Alessandro seems to dislike her almost instantly, but she’s soon embroiled in the mystery opened up by the safe-deposit box, which contains notebooks and letters belonging to her mother. Soon Julie is engrossed in the historical story of Romeo and his love, Giulietta, and on the trail of a legendary treasure.

Have you ever heard about a new book that is about to be released, seen the cover, read what the book is about and knew instantly that you had to have it and that it would turn into a favorite? That is how I felt when I first heard about Juliet. It had the historical aspect that I love, the mystery, the suspense and adventure. Then add to that some romance (which has to be done the right way, otherwise it is too mushy) and you have Juliet. I just loved this book and can honestly say that I will even reread it. The story line was great, weaving back and forth from present day to 1340, the story flowed nice and smoothly, even with all the twists and turns (that I didn't even see coming).

I highly recommend this book and have added Anne Fortier to my favorite author list.

This book has been added to Where Are You Reading?