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Showing posts from 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?

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 M

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

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 boo

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):   Degrees of Courage by Shari Vester   Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb From the Library:   Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning What books did you get this week?    

Review: "A Divided Inheritance" by Deborah Swift

Synopsis: London 1609... Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace. Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relative but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary - determined to claim back from him the inheritance that is rightfully hers. Under the searing Spanish sun, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery which finally unlo

Review: "Illuminations" by Mary Sharratt

  S ynopsis: Skillfully weaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Illuminations brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was expected to live in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned, disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. But Hildegard rejected Jutta's masochistic piety, rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died, Hildegard broke out of her prison, answering the heavenly call to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed. My Thoughts:  I have had a few of Mary Sharratt's books on my TBR list for a long time so when I was offered the opportunity to read and review Illuminations, I jumped

Mailbox Monday (5)

 Mailbox Monday is a traveling meme where bloggers can showcase all the fun bookish goodies they received each week!  This month Mailbox Monday is hosted by Crystal at I Totally Paused . I forgot to post last week so these are all the books I received over the past two weeks. From the Library:   Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich Jane Boleyn by Julia Fox Purchased for Kindle:   Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (it was only $1.40, how could I resist?!) For Review from HFVBT: A Newfound Land by Anna Belfrage (I love this series!!) What books did you get this week?  

Quick Review: "The Boleyn Deceit" by Laura Andersen

From Goodreads:  Henry IX, known as William, is the son of Anne Boleyn and now the leader of England, his regency period finally at an end. His newfound power, however, comes with the looming specter of war with the other major powers of Europe, with strategic alliances that must be forged on both the battlefield and in the bedroom, and with a court, severed by religion, rife with plots to take over the throne. Will trusts only three people: his older sister, Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by Anne Boleyn. But as the pressure rises alongside the threat to his life, even they William must begin to question-and to fear.... My Thoughts: I really love this trilogy so far!  I haven't read many 'alternate history' books but I think Ms. Andersen has really out done herself. The whole Anne Boleyn/Henry VIII story has been done to death but with this alternate version of history, Andersen breathes new

Quick Review: "Mystic River" by Dennis Lehane

From Goodreads:  When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened -- something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever. Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con who owns a corner store. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay -- demons that urge him to do terrible things. When Jimmy's daughter is found murdered, Sean is assigned to the case. His investigation brings him into conflict with Jimmy, who finds his old criminal impulses tempt him to solve the crime with brutal justice. And then there is Dave, who came home the night Jimmy's daughter died covered in someone else's blood. A tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love and loyalty, faith and family, in which people irrevocably mar

Mailbox Monday (4)

Mailbox Monday is a traveling meme where you can showcase the awesome books you received each week.  This month, Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Gina at Book Dragon's Lair .  I really need to stay away from NetGalley but I just can't resist all the good books! From NetGalley: The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak What did you get this week?

Mini-Reviews (2)

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory I am not a huge fan of Philippa Gregory and yet I just keep reading her books.  I am so intrigued by the War of the Roses that I just can't stay away from her Cousin's War series.  Elizabeth of York is a fascinating historical figure and I can't help feeling bad for her in both real life and this story.  I must say that I really enjoyed this book.  This is probably the first book I've read where Elizabeth Woodville seemed like a pretty nice person and a very loving mother; she was portrayed in a completely different manner in this book than in others I've read.  I enjoyed that but I'm not sure if it's an accurate depiction or not.  Also, while I loved the fact that Gregory had one of the 'princes in the tower' survive, I was annoyed that she asserts in her author's note that she believes that this version of the story is correct.  I feel like sometimes she makes a lot of assertions that she doesn&#

Top Ten Character Names that I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Character Names that I Love  It was really hard to pick only 10 because there are a lot of names I love.  Most of these I wouldn't consider naming one of my kids but I love them just the same. 1.) Kira from We the Living by Ayn Rand- I like this name but I think the character made me love it more. 2.) Eleanor from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen- Eleanor is a name that I wouldn't mind naming a child.  It's so pretty! 3.) James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon -How can you not love this name?! 4.) Hazel Grace from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- I wasn't ever a huge fan of the name Hazel until I read this book. 5.) Jonas from The Giver by Lois Lowery- Great name! 6.) Andrei Bolkonskii from War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy- I think I had a crush on this character when I first read War and Peace and have lov

Mailbox Monday (3)

Mailbox Monday is a traveling meme and this month it is hosted by Gina at Book Dragon's Lair . I haven't done a book haul post in a couple of weeks!  I have just been trying to catch up on library books and review books I already have but I did get two new books this week. Ebooks For Review (from HFVBT): A Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift The Harlot's Tale by Sam Thomas Gifted:   Dark Places by Gillian Flynn Mariana by Susanna Kearsley   I really enjoy both of these author's works so I am excited to read them! What books did you pick up this week?

Review: "The Loyalist's Wife" by Elaine Cougler

Synopsis:  When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has. With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles. The Loyalist’s Wife is the first of three books in The Loyalist Trilogy. The Loyalist’s Luck is scheduled for rele

Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.   This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I was "Forced" to Read  (either by teachers, friends, other bloggers, book club)       1.) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon- I technically wasn't forced to read this but it was a book club pick one month and I absolutely loved it.  I probably never would have read it because the synopsis didn't sound that interesting to me. 2.) A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley- I had to read this in 12th grad honors English as a companion to King Lear. At the time I completely hated it but I wouldn't mind picking it up again in the future. 3.) All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque- This was required for one of my college classes and I really enjoyed it.  I have read it a couple times now and it's definitely a favorite of mine. 4.) Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist- Another book club pick that I loved. 

Mini Reviews (1)

I've decided to start posting mini-reviews every now and again.  A lot of times there are books I read that I just don't have enough to talk about to warrant a whole review or even a shorter 'quick review'.        Six Days in Leningrad by Paullina Simons   I loved The Bronze Horseman and this memoir chronicles the trip that Paullina Simons took to Russia to do research for it.  Simons is originally from Russia and this trip was her first time back after leaving when she was a child.  It was a sad but fascinating look at what it's like to revisit one's childhood.  Her memories didn't always coincide with reality and it seemed to be quite shocking for her when this was brought to her attention.  I want to visit Russia so bad and this book only encouraged that desire.  It's only available as a kindle ebook which is kind of a hassle and there were a lot of typos but I would still recommend this book.  4 stars. This book is part of my pers

Review: "A Wilder Rose" by Susan Wittig Albert

From Goodreads:  In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good. Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history. But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising

August/September Wrap Up

October is here, can you believe it?!  I am so excited for the next couple of months and all of the holidays coming up!  I still have to find a costume for baby girl but I can not decide what to dress her up as! I never got around to writing an August wrap up post so this is going to be a combined post.  So far this year, I have read 72 books which is only 3 books away from my goal of 75.  Yippee!  I really wish I could make it to a 100 books this year but there is no way that is going to happen.  I only read 4 books in August and 5 books in September so at that rate I'll be lucky to hit 90 books by the end of the year. I just don't have as much free time to read as I used to.  Heck, we moved at the beginning of August and I STILL have not unpacked my books yet.  There are just empty bookshelves in my living room right now! August books: 1.) The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields  2.) Song of the River by Sue Harrison  3.) His Last Mistress by Andrea Zuvich  4.) The Boleyn

Review: "Royal Inheritance" by Kate Emerson

From Goodreads:  Audrey Malte, born about 1528 and raised at court by the king’s tailor, John Malte, was led to believe she is Malte’s illegitimate daughter when, in fact, her father is King Henry VIII. When she reaches marriageable age, she begins to realize, from the way certain people behave toward her, that Malte is keeping secrets from her, and she sets out to discover the truth. Her quest involves the best and the worst of the courtiers, among them a man with whom she falls in love. Unfortunately, Malte has already entered into negotiations for her betrothal to someone else, and Audrey guesses the truth about her legacy when the king settles property on her, jointly with Malte. Marriage is definitely in Audrey’s future, but will it be to the man she wants to wed? My Thoughts:  I have read a lot of Tudor era novels but this one caught my eye because the main character sounded so interesting.  Royal Inheritance features Audrey Malte who I originally thought was a fic

Review: "A Study of Murder" by Susan McDuffie

Synopsis:  The Study of Murder pits Scottish sleuth Muirteach MacPhee against a mysterious adversary in the medieval town of Oxford in 1374.At the command of the Lord of the Isles, Muirteach and his wife Mariota accompany Donald, the lord's surly thirteen-year-old son, to Oxford where Donald is to enroll in university. Shortly after their arrival a winsome tavern maid disappears. At his charge's insistence, Muirteach attempts to help Undersheriff Grymbaud with the investigation, as well as keep Donald at his studies and out of the taverns. He has little success with either venture, although the discovery of some bizarre and suggestive drawings on old parchments piques the curiosity of Donald and his peers. Meanwhile, Mariota thirsts to attend medical lectures at the schools, which are closed to women, and seeks a way to gain admittance to them. When an Oxford master is found brutally bludgeoned to death, Grymbaud asks Muirteach to investigate the slaying. The ev