Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: "Blood Sisters: The Women who Who Won the Wars of the Roses" by Sarah Gristwood

From Goodreads:  ...In this completely original book, acclaimed author Sarah Gristwood sheds light on a neglected dimension of English history: the impact of Tudor women on the Wars of the Roses. She examines Cecily Neville, the wife of Richard Duke of York, who was deprived of being queen when her husband died at the Battle of Wakefield; Elizabeth Woodville, a widow with several children who married Edward IV in secret and was crowned queen consort; Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, whose ambitions centred on her son and whose persuasions are likely to have lead her husband Lord Stanley, previously allied with the Yorkists, to play his part in Henry's victory.

Until now, the lives of these women have remained little known to the general public. Sarah Gristwood tells their stories in detail for the first time. Captivating and original, this is historical writing of the most important kind.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I think the era of the Wars of the Roses is so incredibly fascinating so when I saw a book that focused on the women players, I jumped at the chance to read it.   

I loved the first half of this book.  It focused on all the drama between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians and focused heavily on Elizabeth Woodville, Cecily Neville and Marguerite of Anjou.  All three were incredibly strong minded women who lived such fascinating lives.  I also feel like all three women lived very tragic lives.  Even when things were going their way, life was quick to throw a horrible curve ball at them.  All of them lost their husbands and some of their children and yet were forced to stay strong for those left around them.

This book was obviously extremely well-researched.  There was so much detail about each woman and their every day lives.  Ms. Gristwood even discussed some of their expenditures:  it was really neat to be able to see the kinds of things these women purchased.  Ms. Gristwood also did a good job of keeping the story well-ordered and organized.  I have read books on the Wars of the Roses before where I couldn't keep the people or events straight because there was so much going on and everything was jumbled together.  That was not the case with this book.  I thought that for a work of non-fiction, this was a pretty easy read and at times it felt like I was reading a novel.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was how much the story slowed down in the second half.  Once the story got to Henry VII's reign, things got kind of boring.  I think Elizabeth of York lived a complicated life but without all of the drama of the Wars of the Roses, the story wasn't so exciting any more.  It didn't ruin the book for me, it just made it take me a lot longer to finish.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It is definitely a great read for anyone who is interested in this period of history.  3 stars.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: "Romancing Olive" by Holly Bush

Synopsis: In 1891, spinster librarian, Olive Wilkins, is shocked to learn of her brother’s violent death at a saloon gaming table and her sister-in-law’s subsequent murder, traveling far from her staid life to rescue her niece and nephew, now orphans. She arrives to find the circumstances of her brother’s life deplorable and her long held beliefs of family and tradition, shaken.

Accustomed to the sophistication of Philadelphia, Olive arrives in Spencer, Ohio, a rough and tumble world she is not familiar with, facing two traumatized children. Her niece and nephew, Mary and John, have been living with a neighboring farmer, widower Jacob Butler, the father of three young children of his own and a man still in pain from the recent loss of his wife.

Real danger threatens Olive and Mary and John while Jacob and his own brood battle the day-to-day struggles for survival. Will Olive and Jacob find the strength to fight their battles alone or together? Will love conquer the bitterness of loss and broken dreams?

My Thoughts:  This book was just what the doctor ordered!  I read two kind of difficult books before I picked up Romancing Olive and was in dire need of a good read.  Romancing Olive grabbed me and held me from beginning to end.  I flew through it in less than 24 hours because I could not stop reading!

Olive is a single woman in her mid-thirties who travels to Ohio to take custody of her brother's children after his death.  She is one of the neatest characters I have read in a long time.  She wasn't the typical heroine that you might see in a historical fiction novel and that made me love her even more.  She seemed so stuck up and boring in the beginning but as the story progressed she opened up and learned a lot about herself and the world around her.  It was kind of fun to watch her grow throughout the story; it was almost like she aged backwards.  She seemed 'old' in the beginning but as she loosened up, it seemed that her attitude and mindset became that of a younger woman.

I pretty much knew how the story would end but it was still a wonderful read.  Ms. Bush turned the little children into really deep and interesting characters and made Jacob into the perfect love interest.  I also loved how the story was funny and yet really touching at the same time.  There were parts that made me giggle and others that made me tear up; there is nothing I love more than a story than evoke emotion.

About the Author:

Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out.  Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.

Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.

Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, has been an active member of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.

 Check out more stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on twitter:  #HollyBushVirtualTour

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (35)

 Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Whew!  This has been a crazy week! We had a huge snowstorm on Thursday and my work was shut down for two days.  There is snow everywhere and they are calling for more tomorrow!  I only got two books this week but I have a lot of review books waiting for me so I am fine with that.

Here is what I got:

For review from Historical Fiction Virtual Tour (ebook)

Purchased (ebook):

What books did you get this week?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Quick Review: "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" by Peggy Orenstein

From Goodreads: The acclaimed author of the groundbreaking bestseller Schoolgirls reveals the dark side of pink and pretty: the rise of the girlie-girl, she warns, is not that innocent.

Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source,the source of female empowerment. And commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.

But, realistically, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-size wedding gown or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway, especially given girls' successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualization, or prime them for it? Could today's little princess become tomorrow's sexting teen? And what if she does? Would that make her in charge of her sexuality, ;or an unwitting captive to it?

Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland
and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. She dissected the science, created an online avatar, and parsed the original fairy tales. The stakes turn out to be higher than she - or we - ever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable; yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents can effectively counterbalance its influence in their daughters' lives.

My Thoughts:  I have heard a lot about this book and after finding out that we are having a little girl, I figured it was high time that I read it.  I was very intrigued by the premise but I feel like a lot of what is discussed in the book is not new information.  There was very little in it that I had not already heard so I was a little sad about that as I was expecting some fresh new insights.

I also felt like the author made some broad generalizations about her topics.  While I completely agree with much of what she had to say, it seemed like she took one situation and made it seem like that happened to everyone and that everyone deals with the same issues in the same way.  I didn't really buy it.  It also seemed to me that her point got lost in the stories she told.  She told these elaborate tales of experiences she had with other mothers and by the time the story was over I couldn't remember what the point she was originally trying to make was.  

In the end, I am glad that I read this book but I definitely was let down a little.  It was a decent read but I was really expecting so much more from it.  3 stars.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: "The Black Russian" by Vladimir Alexandrov

From Goodreads:  The Black Russian is the incredible story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, born in 1872 to former slaves who became prosperous farmers in Mississippi. A rich white planter’s attempt to steal their land forced them to flee to Memphis, where Frederick’s father was brutally murdered. After leaving the South and working as a waiter and valet in Chicago and Brooklyn, Frederick sought greater freedom in London, then crisscrossed Europe, and—in a highly unusual choice for a black American at the time—went to Russia in 1899. Because he found no color line there, Frederick made Moscow his home. He renamed himself Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas, married twice, acquired a mistress, and took Russian citizenship. Through his hard work, charm, and guile he became one of the city’s richest and most famous owners of variety theaters and restaurants. The Bolshevik Revolution ruined him, and he barely escaped with his life and family to Constantinople in 1919. Starting from scratch, he made a second fortune by opening celebrated nightclubs that introduced jazz to Turkey. However, the long arm of American racism, the xenophobia of the new Turkish Republic, and Frederick’s own extravagance landed him in debtor’s prison. He died in Constantinople in 1928.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I had a Russian teacher in college who taught a lesson on African-Americans in Russia and I thought it was super interesting.  When I saw this book, I remembered that class and felt like I had to read this book.

Frederick Thomas was an African-American who left the U.S. and eventually settled in Russia and made his fortune.  He had a very poor upbringing but managed to become an incredibly wealthy and well-respected figure in Moscow in the early 20th century.  It was fascinating to read about how he was able to make his way through Europe and live in Russia without the threat of discrimination.  It seemed that there really wasn't a color divide in Russia at that period of time and the only instances where he experienced discrimination was when he encountered Americans.  It is really sad that he had to leave his home country in order to obtain the respect of his fellow man and to be able to make a life for himself.  It kind of says something about how backward America's thinking was in regards to race at that time.

The book was so well-researched and very detailed.  I couldn't believe the plethora of information that was included in the book regarding Frederick's early life, his business dealings and his family. There was even information about some of his employees and business partners.  I was also surprised to see that several of the Americans he encountered wrote about him albeit in a very demeaning, racist manner.  

 Overall, this was a really good book.  It did get a little slow towards the end (after the family got to Constantinople) but for the most part it kept my interest throughout.  I typically tend to get a little bit bored when I read non-fiction but that didn't happen with this book.  I would definitely recommend this to people interested in unique historical figures.  3 1/2 stars.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guest Post: 'Valiant or Villain?' by Anne Easter Smith

I am so excited to welcome Anne Easter Smith, author of Royal Mistress, to the blog today!  She is here as part of the Royal Mistress/Richard III blog tour.

Thanks for hosting me today!

So now we know! It was Richard III under the car park in Leicester, and the exciting announcement on February 4th made me cry. Now all of us who are Richard fans will have somewhere to go and pay our respects. It appears Leicester has won out in the re-interment battle between there and York Minster. A ceremony is being planned for early 2014, I understand.

Those of you who have read my first four books will know about my obsession with Richard III and can perhaps understand my excitement when an archeological dig last September uncovered what might be his skeleton, buried under the nave of Leicester’s Greyfriars Church, itself long buried under a municipal car park! Newspapers had a field day, even headlining: “Should dead king pay 500-year parking fine”!!

If the DNA taken from the descendant of Richard’s sister confirms the skeleton is the remains of King Richard III, killed at the battle of Bosworth on August 25, 1485, it will clear up the mystery of his missing grave these 500 years, but it will not give us any more clues about who this man actually was.

Richard of Gloucester was born at Fotheringhay Castle to the duke and duchess of York on October 2nd, 1452, and was the last surviving child of the couple’s 13 offspring. After his father was killed at the battle of Wakefield in 1460, Richard’s brother the earl of March was crowned King Edward IV following victories against the then-king Henry VI. York’s claim to the throne had led to the civil war known now as the Wars of the Roses, and after Edward was crowned, Richard became a royal prince.

My book Queen by Right tells the story of how a Yorkist came to the throne and of the love young Richard had of his larger-than-life, handsome, charismatic oldest brother. Edward recognized loyalty when he saw it, and he entrusted the governance of the sometimes rebellious north of England to Richard for the years leading up to his unexpected demise at age 40.

Loyaulte me lie (Loyalty Binds Me) was Richard’s motto, and the way in which he held the north strong for Edward was testament to those words. As far as we know, Richard was also faithful to his marriage vows, unlike his profligate brother. From all we can gather, Richard did not possess the charisma of his brother nor his magnificent stature, but until the unsettling few weeks that lead up to his own coronation gave rise to conjecture about his motives, there is nothing untoward in his character that can be found any chronicles or manuscripts of the time. Did he suddenly become a “monster?” I think not.

No historian or chronicler has ever disputed that Richard and his wife, Anne Neville, had anything but a happy marriage, and their grief at hearing of the death of their only child was chronicled as intense. Within a year of that tragedy, Richard lost his beloved Anne to tuberculosis (not poison as some would have); the royal cousin he gave untold power to rebelled against him and had to be executed for treason; the rumor that he had done away with his nephews; and the threat to his two-year reign from Henry of Richmond always ready to invade from France must have been too much for one man to bear.

When he became king, through a series of events following Edward’s death that I go into thoroughly in my new book Royal Mistress, Richard enacted several statutes that show his compassion for his people. In the judicial system, for example, his third statute protected an accused criminals goods before conviction. And I love that he was the first king to enact legislation to protect the art of printing and the importing or selling of books. For more information on his statutes in that Parliament of 1484, you can go to:
Of the six murders laid at Richard’s door by Shakespeare and others, only the execution of William Hastings is actually one Richard orchestrated. (It is the one act of his that I still have trouble understanding, but I think I came up with a reasonable explanation in my newest book, Royal Mistress, in which Richard is a major character.)

I was asked in a Q&A whether I had changed my mind about Richard during the writing of Royal Mistress, because of the harsh way he treated Jane Shore and certainly Will Hastings. Luckily, I have always thought of Richard as a very complicated character--which is partly why he has fascinated historians all these years--and by using omniscient narration this time, I was able to be in Richard’s head as well as Jane’s, Will’s, and Edward’s. It allowed me to show why he acted the way he did, based on his strict moral code and sense of duty. I hope I have been able to deepen interest in his character through my books.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith when it comes out on May 7!
SYNOPSIS: From the author of A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York comes another engrossing historical novel of the York family in the Wars of the Roses, telling the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the final and favorite mistress of Edward IV.

Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible.

Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance.

This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for 500 years, and told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.

 For more great posts and interviews from Anne Easter Smith, visit other stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on twitter!:  #RoyalMistressBlogTour

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (34)

 Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

This week I got sucked into Barnes and Noble's top 100 ebooks under $2.99 and wound up purchasing four books!  Oh well, at least they are ebooks and won't take up any real space on my shelf.  I also got several books for review this week.  I really should be reading books on my shelf but I fig ure I should read review books while I can because once the baby is here I don't know how much time I will have for them.

Here is what I got:
(Click on picture to link to goodreads)

For Review (from Historical Fiction Book Tours):

For Review (from NetGalley):

Purchased (ebooks):

 What books did you pick up this week?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: "City of Lost Souls" by Cassandra Clare

From Goodreads: 
What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My Thoughts:  This book was, for the most part, a complete and utter disappointment.  I hate leaving series unfinished but I am not convinced that I will pick up the sixth book in this series.  I started this book a couple months ago and set it aside because I couldn't get into it.  I finally decided that since I own it, I should probably finish it.

My biggest complaint?  I am so SICK of Clary and Jace.  They whine so much (especially Clary) and make stupid decisions because of how much they 'love' each other.  It is such a toxic relationship that I don't even find it romantic or sweet anymore.  It just annoyed me to no end.  I used to really like Clary as a character but I have pretty much lost all respect for her. 

Also, this book kind of seemed like a bunch of filler.  There was a lot more unnecessary information about different characters' romantic relationships and less about Shadowhunter stuff.  It was really disappointing and was very long for how little actual story was included in the book.  I do still really like Simon and Magnus as characters but they can only carry the book so far.

I do have to say that the last couple chapters kind of redeemed the story for me.  There was a lot of action and excitement and it felt like some of the earlier books.  It *almost* made me change my whole opinion of the book, almost but not quite.  There were things left up in the air that made me want to read the next (hopefully final) book but I am still not sure.  I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.  3 stars (only because the end was so good).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Romances

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Favorite Romances

My list focuses on romance novels rather than couples.

1.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon-Love that lasts centuries?  No wonder this is one of my all time favorite romances.
2.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons-If you have ever read my blog, you know how much I love this book.  It is painful, beautiful romance at it's best.
3.) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green-This isn't your typical romance novel but Hazel and Augustus' relationship is both heart-breaking and endearing.
4.) Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett-I just like that this is a fun romance that brings two childhood sweethearts together.
5.) The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward-I don't need to say anything about this series.  It speaks for itself. : )
6.) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead-Oh Dima and Rose, it was so hard to watch you fight it for so many books!
7.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell-Even though Scarlett and Rhett don't wind up together, I still think this story is the epitome of romantic.
8.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen-I think this book is terribly romantic and prefer it to Pride and Prejudice.
9.) The Bridal Quartet by Nora Roberts-I don't normally read Nora Roberts' books but I loved these and I am pretty sure that every single book made me cry.
10.) The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning-Mac and Barrons?  Enough said.

What are you favorite romances?   Leave me a link in the comments so I can check out your list!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (33)

 Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. 

 I picked up couple great books this week!  I can't wait to read them.

Ebook, From the Author:

I am reviewing the sequel to this book for a blog tour in April so I need to read the first one!

For Review:

I am reviewing this for another blog tour in April.

From the Library:

I have been wanting to read this for a while and after finding out that we are having a little girl, I decided now would be a great time!

What books did you get this week?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quick Review: "The Virgin Cure" by Ami McKay

From Goodreads: Set on the streets of Lower Manhattan in 1871, The Virgin Cure is the story of Moth, a girl abandoned by her father and raised by a mother telling fortunes to the city's desperate women. One summer night, twelve-year-old Moth is pulled from her bed and sold as a servant to a finely dressed woman. It is this betrayal suffered at the hands of her own mother that changes her life forever...

My Quick Thoughts:  I loved Ami McKay's first book, The Birth House, so I was excited to read this.  The book has a really interesting premise but for some reason I just didn't enjoy this book.  It wasn't a bad book but there was something about it that I didn't like.  

I had a really hard time with the main character, Moth.  The story is told from her point of view and despite being twelve years old, the her voice was way older than that.  She definitely was more mature than the average twelve year old but it was hard to relate to her plight and really understand the horrors she was going through because I kept forgetting that she was only twelve.   I was also really hoping that the ending for Moth would be different than it was.  It wasn't a bad ending for her but it still seemed like she deserved something more than what she got.  

As I said above, I don't think this was a bad story.  I just either didn't get it or was just not in the right mindset to enjoy the story.  3 stars.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: "Shadow on the Crown" by Patricia Bracewell

From Goodreads:  In 1002, fifteen­-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.

Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.

Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces readers to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern readers.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I had no idea that early English history was so interesting!  I never knew there was such a person as Emma of Normandy until I read this book but I think she needs to feature more in popular history because she is such an interesting character.  I also think the times she lived in seem really interesting and I definitely hope to learn more about this era.  There was so much action going on through the story (and the era) with the all of the infighting in England and the Vikings attacking them, it made for a really good read.  The story dealt with such a new and fresh era for a work of historical fiction and I really liked that.

Emma is extremely intelligent and well-educated but has to temper this intelligence as she dealt with her new husband.  King Aethelred was a terrible husband and treated her like garbage but for the most part she managed to maintain her sense of self and her inner strength.  Aethelred never seemed to be able to completely break her and I admired her courage in dealing with the difficult situations she was put in. 

King Aethelred was not  a likable character but I kind of felt sorry for him because he had some major issues stemming from the murder of his brother when he was a child.  However, his issues made him treat everyone like garbage especially his children.  His eldest son, Aethelstan, seemed like he had a good head on his shoulders but his father distrusted him and would never listen to anything he had to say even when Aethelstan was completely right.  I really liked Aethelstan as a character and would have liked to see even more of him in this book. 

This story seemed very well-researched; I loved the excerpts from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle  and the extensive author's note at the end of the story.  I also really appreciated the glossary and the list of characters at the beginning as it was difficult to keep track of the characters and who they were.  I have to say that at first I was really frustrated with the way this story ended because things were going so well in the story and it just ended really abruptly.  Come to find out, this is the first book in a trilogy about Emma of Normandy so the end makes much more sense now.  I am actually pretty interested in reading the next book because I really want to know more about Emma and her family.  Shadow on the Crown is a fascinating story with great characters and a lot of action making it a good read for any fan of historical fiction. 3 1/2 stars.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (32)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I received two books this week both of which are for review.  I think they both look really good so I am excited to get to them.

From NetGalley:

For Review:  

What books did you get this week?

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Wrap Up

I am so glad January is over!!  Work was awful this month and I am hoping that February will be better all around.  Book wise, January was a great month!  I read 9 books this month which is a lot compared to the past couple months.  I am hoping to read 75 books this year so I am making really good progress.  Of the 9 books I read, 3 of them were books I own so I think I am doing pretty good there considering 5 of the books I read were review books.  I still have several review books to get through but I think I will be able to make more progress on the books on my shelf.

Here is what I read this month:
 1.) The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe
2.) The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan
3.) A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4.) Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Branwell
5.) The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
6.) A Shot of Sultry by Macy Beckett
7.) The German Woman by Paul Griner
8.) The Cross and the Dragon by Kim Rendfeld 
9.) Blood Sisters:  The Women Who Won the War of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood

How was your January?  What books did you read?  
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