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Showing posts from August, 2011

Review: "Becoming Marie Antoinette" by Juliet Gray

From Goodreads:  Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny? Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon. Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen. My Thoughts:  This book was provided to me by NetGalley for review.  I have always felt sympathy for Marie Antoinette and felt like history has been pretty hard on her.    I was really looking forward to this book but I simply didn’

Top Ten Books on my TBR pile for the Fall

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  The Top Ten Books on My TBR (to be read) Pile this Fall Some of these are books coming out this fall but most of them are books I have just been really wanting to read and haven’t gotten to yet.  I am really behind on reading, especially reading the books I own. 1.)     Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran 2.)     Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 3.)     The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss         --All three of the above books have been on my nook for MONTHS.  4.)     Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie-I can not wait for this to come out in October.   I love Catherine the Great and Massie’s books are always good. 5.)     Mary Boleyn:   The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir-This book also comes out in the fall and Weir’s fiction and non-fiction works don’t disappoint. 6.)     City of Bones by Cassandra Clare-I b

Review: "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness

From Goodreads:   Sometimes scholars should be more careful: Youthful researcher Diana Bishop briefly consults an medieval alchemical manuscript; then, after jotting down a few notes, sends it back to its prison in the stacks. Unfortunately for Diana, her quick dabbling has unleashed a long suppressed curse—and now only she can break the spell. Carefully researched, this debut novel will appeal to fans of historical novel infused with strong paranormal elements. My Thoughts:  This was a LONG book but it was so good.   I feel like I haven’t read a really good book in a while and this one definitely broke my not so good book streak.   I loved the mix of paranormal with history.   It makes me wish I knew someone, like Matthew, who had lived through so many historical events and personally knew a bunch of famous historical figures.   I am also glad the author made sure that the paranormal aspects didn’t get ridiculous.   The characters were believable and relatable even if they weren’t

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren .  It's a way to showcase the books I purchased, downloaded to my nook and borrowed from the library in the past week. From the library: The Betrayal  by Diane Noble The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir Borrowed from my mother in law (not pictured): Licensed to Pawn by Rick Harrison What goodies you get this week?

Book Blog Hop (15)

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books.   It's a great way to connect with other bloggers and check out some cool blogs. This week's question is:  Do you have pets? I have an eight month old puppy named Turbo.  He is an English pointer and is extremely hyper but very cute.  Below is a semi recent picture of him. Happy Friday!!!

Review: "Beauty Queens" by Libba Bray

From Goodreads:  The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? My Thoughts:  The premise of this book is hilarious and for awhile I really enjoyed this book.  It is sarcastic and makes fun of beauty pageants which cracked me up.  But, it got old after awhile.  I think this book would have been much better if it hadn't been nearly so long.  The jokes started to get old about half way through and then I kind of just waited to see if it would get

Review: "My Fair Lazy" by Jen Lancaster

From Goodreads:  Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces. In Jen's corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing's for certain: Eliza Doolittle's got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option. My Thoughts:  I love Jen Lancaster; her books and her blog are hysterical.   That being said, I d

Top Ten Tuesday-Top Ten Books I loved but never Wrote a Review for

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish .  This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I loved but never wrote a review for! (All of these were read prior to my having a blog and my really caring about writing book reviews.) 1.)     Outlander by Diana Gabaldon-I really loved this book but I don’t think I knew how much I loved it until I finished the series.   I wish I had written down what I thought of it initially. 2.)     The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons-I know I have gushed about this series but I was so in awe of this book when I first finished it. 3.)     The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 4.)     Harry Potter series   by JK Rowling-I was a major Harry Potter hater until I finally read the first book which was at the time that book #5 came out. 5.)     The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory-I HATED this book and at the time, I could not tell enough people how much I hated it.   I don’t know if I care enough anymore but when I f

Review: "Pope Joan" by Donna Woolfolk Cross

From Goodreads:  For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die–Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Now in this riveting novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept. Brilliant and talented, young Joan rebels against medieval social strictures forbidding women to learn. When her brother is brutally killed during a Viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak–and his identity–and enters the monastery of Fulda. As Brother John Anglicus, Joan distinguishes herself as a great scholar and healer. Eventually, she is drawn to Rome, where she becomes enmeshed in a dangerous web of love, passion, and politics. Triumphing over appalling odds, she finally attains the highest office in Christendom–wielding a power greater than any woman before or since. But such

Review: "A Love that Multiplies" by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

From Goodreads:  In this second book from the Duggars, they focus on the principles that equip them to face life's challenges—drawing from their most recent challenge with the 3-month premature birth of their newest child, Josie. They also share the new challenges their older children are facing as they prepare for adult life. Central to the book is a section on the principles that the Duggars have consistently taught their children. These simply worded principles are basic to the Duggar family and are shared in a way that other parents can incorporate in their own homes. A special chapter on homeschooling gives valuable information to parents who are considering this route or are already invested in it. The world continues to be amazed by their nineteen well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children and their home life, which focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith. The Duggars show how parents can succeed whether they’re rearing a single

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren .  It is a great way to showcase books I have received throughout the week.  This week has been crazy!  I just finished my second week at a new job and my old laptop gave out.  Luckily I was able to get a new one (thanks to my hubs!) but am now super behind on my reviews.  I will try to catch up this week.  I did get a couple new books this week. From the Library: Before Versailles by Karleen Koen The Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott Beauty Queens by Libba Bray Have any of you read these?  Did you all get anything good this week?

Book Blog Hop (14)

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books .  It is a great way to hook up with other bloggers and check out cool blogs.  I am sorry I am posting this so late, my new job is keeping me pretty busy! This week's question:  What is the longest book you have ever read? I am not sure which is the longest, but I have read War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged, and The Stand and they are all super long! What about you?

Review: "Next to Love" by Ellen Feldman

From Goodreads:  A story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave, Next to Love follows the lives of three young women and their men during the years of World War II and its aftermath, beginning with the men going off to war and ending a generation later, when their children are on the cusp of their own adulthood. Set in a small town in Massachusetts, the novel follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible—while their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America—from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and technological inn

Review: "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver

From Goodreads:  Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't. My Thoughts:  I think I am getting bored with the whole dystopian genre.  As much as I love dystopian novelsI  think that after this book, I need to take a break.  Delirium was a good story and I thought that the idea of there being a cure for love to be intriguing.  It was kind of annoying that there was no discussion of how they cured someone of being able to love or how they developed this procedure but hopefully in future books, this will be answered.  I liked the characters well enough but I didn't feel super connected to any of them. 

Top Ten Tuesday-Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week the topic is open so in honor of the new movie The Help , I decided that my Top Ten list would be my Favorite, and least favorite, Book to Movie Adapatations. Favorite: 1.) A Time to Kill 2.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 3.) Shutter Island 4.) Sense and Sensibility 5.) Gone with the Wind Least Favorite: 1.) The Horse Whisperer 2.) Interview with a Vampire 3.) Twilight 4.) The Reader What's on your Top Ten list today?

Review: "Christine" by Stephen King

From Goodreads:  It was love at first sight. From the moment seventeen-year-old Arnie Cunningham saw Christine, he knew he would do anything to possess her. But Christine is no lady. She is Stephen King's ultimate vehicle of terror My Thoughts:  I was really nervous about reading this book.  I saw parts of the movie as a child and it completely freaked me out and because of that I had no desire to read the book.  I am so glad I did because I could not put it down.  This is one of my new favorite Stephen King books.  The story was so good, the characters were amazing and oh my goodness, was it creepy.  The idea of a possessed car sounds kind of lame but trust me, this book is anything but lame.  Roland LeBay is the perfect villain and Dennis Guilder is the average guy turned hero; I can't say enough about how well-written and well-developed these characters were.  And of course, King had to end the book in a way that made my skin crawl.  I really loved this book and I highly

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren .  It is a great way to highlight any books I have received throughout the week. I started a new job this week and have been super busy so I only received one book this week.  Which is fine seeing as how I have a huge stack of library books to get to. From NetGalley:    Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey What's in your mailbox this week?

Book Blog Hop (13)

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Je n at Crazy for Books .  It's a great way to meet other bloggers and check out some really cool blogs. This week's question is:  “Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!” There are two titles that I think are cool in my collection:    "When Christ and His Saints Slept" by Sharon Kay Penman    "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair" by Nina Sankovitch Are there any cool titles in your collections?

Review: "Accidents of Providence" by Stacia M. Brown

From Goodreads:  A new voice in historical fiction rescues a woman wronged by her time and forgotten by history, whose love affair leads to her trial for murder. It is 1649. King Charles has been beheaded for treason. Amid civil war, Cromwell’s army is running the country. The Levellers, a small faction of agitators, are calling for rights to the people. And a new law targeting unwed mothers and lewd women presumes anyone who conceals the death of her illegitimate child is guilty of murder. Rachel Lockyer, unmarried glove maker, and Leveller William Walwyn are locked in a secret affair. But when a child is found buried in the woods, Rachel is arrested. So comes an investigation, public trial, and unforgettable characters: gouty investigator Thomas Bartwain, fiery Elizabeth Lillburne and her revolution-chasing husband, Huguenot glover Mary Du Gard, and others. Spinning within are Rachel and William, their remarkable love story, and the miracles that come to even the commonest lives.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Underrated Books 1.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons 2.) Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov 3.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov 4.) We the Living by Ayn Rand 5.) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins I can only come up with 5 right now.  Is there anything you think I should add?

"Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade" by Diana Gabaldon

From Goodreads:  Diana Gabaldon takes readers back to eighteenth-century Britain as Lord John Grey pursues a deadly family secret as well as a clandestine love affair, set against the background of the Seven Years War. Seventeen years earlier, Grey’s father, the Duke of Pardloe, shot himself, days before he was to be accused of being a Jacobite traitor. By raising a regiment to fight at Culloden, Grey’s elder brother has succeeded in redeeming the family name, aided by Grey, now a major in that regiment. But now, on the eve of the regiment’s move to Germany, comes a mysterious threat that throws the matter of the Duke’s death into stark new question, and brings the Grey brothers into fresh conflict with the past and each other. From barracks and parade grounds to the battlefields of Prussia and the stony fells of the Lake District, Lord John’s struggle to find the truth leads him through danger and passion, ever deeper, toward the answer to the question at the centre of his soul–w

Review: "The Likeness" by Tana French

From Goodreads:  Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still recovering, Transferred out of Dublin's Murder squad at her own request, she vows never to return. That is, until her boyfriend, Detective Sam O'Neill, calls her one beautiful spring morning, urgently asking her to come to a murder scene in the small town of Glenskehy. It isn't until Cassie sees the body that she understands Sam's insistence. The dead girl is Cassie's double, and she carries ID identifying her as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie herself used years ago when she worked undercover. The question becomes not only who killed this girl, but who was this girl. Frank Mackey, Cassie's former undercover boss, sees the opportunity of a lifetime, Having played Lexie Madison once before, Cassie is in the perfect position to take her place. The police will tell the media and Lexie's four housemates that the stab wound wasn't fatal. And Cassie will go on

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.   It's a great way to share books that I have received in the last week.  I am on a self-imposed book buying moratorium so I will be sharing a lot of library books for the next couple of weeks. From the library: A Love that Multiplies by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster A Discovery of Witches  by Deborah Harkness From Netgalley: Next to Love by Ellen Feldman What's in your mailbox this week?

Review: "Dead Souls" by Nikolai Gogol

From Goodreads:  A socially adept newcomer fluidly inserts himself into an unnamed Russian town, conquering first the drinkers, then the dignitaries. All find him amiable, estimable, agreeable. But what exactly is Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov up to?--something that will soon throw the town "into utter perplexity." After more than a week of entertainment and "passing the time, as they say, very pleasantly," he gets down to business--heading off to call on some landowners. More pleasantries ensue before Chichikov reveals his bizarre plan. He'd like to buy the souls of peasants who have died since the last census. The first landowner looks carefully to see if he's mad, but spots no outward signs. In fact, the scheme is innovative but by no means bonkers. Even though Chichikov will be taxed on the supposed serfs, he will be able to count them as his property and gain the reputation of a gentleman owner. His first victim is happy to give up his souls for free--l

Book Blog Hop (12)

The Book Blog Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books and is a way to connect with other bloggers. This week's question is:  What is the one ARC you are dying to get your hands on right now? I am really hoping to get my hands on Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Gray!  I requested it from so we'll see if they approve my request. What about you?

Review: "Pale Rose of England" by Sandra Worth

From Goodreads:  From the award-winning author of The King's Daughter comes a story of love and defiance during the War of the Roses. It is 1497. The news of the survival of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, has set royal houses ablaze with intrigue and rocked the fledgling Tudor dynasty. With the support of Scotland's King James IV, Richard-known to most of England as Perkin Warbeck-has come to reclaim his rightful crown from Henry Tudor. Stepping finally onto English soil, Lady Catherine Gordon has no doubt that her husband will succeed in his quest. But rather than assuming the throne, Catherine would soon be prisoner of King Henry VII, and her beloved husband would be stamped as an imposter. With Richard facing execution for treason, Catherine, alone in the glittering but deadly Tudor Court, must find the courage to spurn a cruel monarch, shape her own destiny, and win the admiration of a nation. My Thoughts:  I know that I said I want to see less Tudor novels but I mu

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Trends You Would Like to See More/Less Of Less: 1.) Vampires - I have had it with teen vampire novels and authors trying to bank on Twilight's popularity.  Try something new! 2.) Tudor novels - I love historical fiction and during my undergraduate years, I studied Tudor Britain extensively and I am currently reading a Tudor novel.  That being said, it's getting old and the books are getting worse.  There are so many interesting historical characters and time periods but it seems that all the new historical fiction I see is about the Tudors or takes place at the Tudor court or whatever.  If the books were well done, I wouldn't mind but a lot of the really new stuff is garbage. 3.) Trilogies- I am so tired of reading trilogies and series.  Whatever happened to stand alone books???  Quit leaving me hanging for years on end. 4.) Bookstore closings- My local Bord

Review: "The English Patient" by Michael Ondaatje

From Goodreads:  Haunting and harrowing, as beautiful as it is disturbing, The English Patient tells the story of the entanglement of four damaged lives in an Italian monastery as World War II ends. The exhausted nurse, Hana; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burn victim who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. In lyrical prose informed by a poetic consciousness, Michael Ondaatje weaves these characters together, pulls them tight, then unravels the threads with unsettling acumen.  My Thoughts:  I bought this book at a library sale a few months ago and was not sure whether or not I would like it.  I must say that I was pretty surprised at how the story pulled me in.  The English Patient is a beautifully written story; Ondaatje's writing is full of emotion and his descriptions are amazing.  The story it

July Wrap-Up

July was a rough month for me.  I read a lot of books but many of them I did not enjoy.  It's completely hit and miss with books (some sound great and aren't) but I am hoping that in August, I will have better luck.  My goal for August is to try to make a dent in the books I already own and haven't read but we'll see how that goes. I read 18 books in July and have read a total of 119 books for the year.  Here is what I read this past month: 1.) In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson 2.) Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich 3.) The Bone-Setter's Daughter by Amy Tan 4.) Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich 5.) The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn 6.) Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich 7.) The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston 8.) The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner 9.) Divergent by Veronica Roth 10.) Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters 11.) Forever by Maggie Stiefvater 12.) Portrait in Sepia b