Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mailbox Monday (7)

Mailbox Monday is a traveling meme started by Marcia at To Be Continued.  It's a great way to highlight all the bookish things you receive each week.  This month it is being hosted over at Rose City Reader.

I haven't received any books in a few weeks and then all of the sudden two of my holds came in at the library.  I can't wait to read these!  I am off work until January 2 so I am hoping that I will have time to read them.

From the Library:

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Allegiant by Veronica Roth

What books did you get this week?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: "A Newfound Land" by Anna Belfrage

Synopsis:  It’s 1672, and Matthew Graham and his family have left Scotland. Having taken the drastic decision to leave their homeland due to religious conflicts, Alexandra and Matthew hope for a simpler, if harsher, life in the wilds of the Colony of Maryland.

Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as you want them to, and the past has a nasty tendency to resurface at the most inappropriate moments. Both Matthew and Alex are forced to cope with the unexpected reappearance of people they had never thought to meet again, and the screw is turned that much tighter when the four rogue Burley brothers enter their lives.

Matters are further complicated by the strained relations between colonists and the Susquehannock Indians. When Matthew intercedes to stop the Burleys from abducting Indian women into slavery he makes lifelong – and deadly – enemies of them all.

Once again Alex is plunged into an existence where death seems to threaten her man wherever he goes.
Will Matthew see himself – and his family – safe in these new circumstances? And will the past finally be laid to rest?

A Newfound Land is the fourth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

My Thoughts:  Anna Belfrage has done it again!  I know I've gushed about this series before but I have to say that A Newfound Land is another wonderful installment in the Graham Saga.  I've grown so attached to this series that I'm starting to feel like Matthew and Alex are family.

This installment finds Alex and Matthew in America with their ever growing family and features Alex's father Magnus.  The one thing I was missing in the last book was Alex's family in the present day so it was nice to see Magnus again.  I thought the author did a great job of showing all the emotions Magnus dealt with as he saw Alex in a completely different light.  He struggled to see how happy she was because he was seeing her life through the eyes of someone living in the present and I thought it was really interesting to see his point of view.  I also enjoyed the addition of some Native American characters.  They made a brief cameo in the story but I wonder if they will show up in a later book.

I'm so eager to see where the story will go next.  Matthew and Alex are getting older and their children are growing up and there seems to be so much more that could happen. I'm very curious to see if Alex's older son, Isaac, will make an appearance in future books or if her former life will completely fade away.  I never expected to fall in love with this story but now that I have, I can't wait for more. The Graham Saga is a fabulous series that I can't recommend enough and A Newfound Land is a great addition to it.  This series has definitely become one of my favorites! 4 stars.

About the Author:

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive
… Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website.  You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Check out other stops on the tour here!
Follow the tour on twitter: #NewfoundLandTour

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Quick Review: "Elizabeth of York" by Alison Weir

From Goodreads:  Many are familiar with the story of the much-married King Henry VIII of England and the celebrated reign of his daughter, Elizabeth I. But it is often forgotten that the life of the first Tudor queen, Elizabeth of York, Henry’s mother and Elizabeth’s grandmother, spanned one of England’s most dramatic and perilous periods. Now New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir presents the first modern biography of this extraordinary woman, whose very existence united the realm and ensured the survival of the Plantagenet bloodline.

My Thoughts:  Let me preface this by saying, I love Alison Weir and will read anything she writes.  However, I struggled to get through this book.  I think Elizabeth of York is a fascinating historical figure so I was really hoping for an enjoyable read but I got a kind of dry, slow read instead.  This definitely wasn't one of those works of non-fiction that read as easily as fiction does.  There seemed to be almost too many details about things I didn't care about; at one point there were pages and pages of a song written about Elizabeth.   It felt at times that there wasn't enough information to write a full length book.  

 There isn't a whole lot known about Elizabeth's life that is 100 percent fact so I always find it interesting to see what different writers opinion of her is.  There isn't a lot of information that I hadn't seen before though some of Weir's claims are new (at least to me).  Overall, an okay read.  3 stars.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

October/November Wrap Up

Phew.  The last two months have been a little crazy so I haven't been around much.  I've been struggling to keep up with the blog but I have done some reading.  Honestly, I kind of think I need a break.  It's not that hard for me to read but I am having a hard time writing posts and reviews.  I have quite a few review books to read in the coming months but I think I am going to limit the ones I accept from here on out so I don't feel so limited in my reading.  Once I'm caught up, I'm going to have to do some serious thinking about whether or not I continue blogging.  I'm just so busy lately that I am not sure if there will continue to be room in my life for this. 

I think I am doing pretty good with my reading goal this year.  I planned to try to read 75 books and have exceeded that!  I am at 82 books for the year; I would like to make it to 90 but I am pretty sure that isn't going to happen unless there is some sort of Christmas miracle.  I read 6 books in October and 4 in November so I have slowed down on my reading dramatically but at least I am still reading!

In October I read:  
1.) The Loyalist's Wife by Elaine Cougler
2.) The Child Thief by Dan Smith
3.) Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
4.) Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
5.) Illuminations by Mary Sharrat
6.) Dark Places by Gillian Flynn 

In November I read:  
1.) A Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift
2.) Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir 
3.) A Newfound Land by Anna Belfrage
4.) The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley 

What books did you read in November?  Are you on track to meeting your reading goals?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mailbox Monday (6)

Mailbox Monday is a traveling meme. This month it is hosted by Rose City Reader.

I have received several books over the last few weeks despite being in kind of a slump. 

For Review (from HFVBT):

From the Library:

What books did you get this week?
Imagination Designs