Sunday, January 31, 2010

Atonement: Book vs. Movie

So I just finished watching the movie version of "Atonement". It stayed pretty true to the book. Keira Knightly gives an award worthy performance as Cecilia Tallis and really does exemplify her book persona. Both girls that play Briony a far more endearing than her book version. And James McAvoy as Robbie is simply heart-wrenching. This movie unlike the book actually brought a tear to my eye. Also, as I predicted in my review the movie helped speed along the events that unfold in the book. And I like that the war scenes are in a little more depth than the book portrays them. I really enjoyed the directors view on the book (he even added a bit more life to the novel). All in all I have to say the movie takes this one! You can check out the trailor here if your interested. And let me know your opinion!

LOL= Lots Of Love

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Contest for Robin Maxwell's "O, Juliet"

Alright I am sooooo excited about this contest ( obviously I've been obsessed over her books all this last month). The Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table is giving away one copy of "O, Juliet" to one lucky winner. This is Robin Maxwell's newest release and is not even available in some stores ( I know I tried to purchase it @ Barnes and Noble yesterday ). If your interested you can enter to win at any of The Round Tables Members blog sites located here:

Check out their blogs if your interested in Historical Fiction. And be sure to enter this contest. And remember contest ends on February 5th on some sites and the 12th on others. Wishing everyone Luck!

LOL=Lots Of Love

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Title: Atonement
Author: Ian McEwan
Reading level: All
Paperback: 480
ISBN #: 038572179X
Received From: I bought it @ The Book Rack
Publisher: Random House Inc.
Group Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction
Cover: A-
Overall: C

"On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a
moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the
son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp
of adult motives–together with her precocious literary gifts–brings about a
crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions
through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century."

To preface : I really wanted to like this book! Unfortunately I wasn't as thrilled as the reviews put it in the jacket.

The story is told primarily through the eyes of three people Briony, her sister Cecilia, and Robbie Turner (their fathers ward/gardener). And the novel is broken up into three parts before the crime, the war, and the return home. Basically Briony catches a lovers tryst between her sister and Robbie. With her wild childish imagination she creates a crime and a monster (in Robbie) so unspeakable. The she relates this to the parents who promptly separate the too through some drastic manners. The story goes on to show how each live their lives separated by a child's mischievous lie. And how they are to reunite if only the truth will be revealed.

Like I said I really wanted to like this book. However; the first chapter is soooo long-winded. It is very hard to get through and I had to put the book down a couple of times because I couldn't keep reading. Briony comes off as a selfish attention-seeking brat which is kind of annoying at the beginning. And you feel so sad for Cecilia and Robbie, you just wish the lies had never happened. But the book finally picks up during part two. The war kind of "kicks the author in the butt" and hurries things along. Also the authors writing style can be confusing from time to time. He jumps from places and time quite quickly (although he drags on in between). And at some points I didn't know which characters mind I was in. For instance I read an entire page until Brionys name finally appeared ( I thought Cecilia was recounting her day oops).

But I loved the plot and really wished the author had put as much effort into the first part as he did the last two. I'm thinking the movie version might actually be better (I know, I know scandalous to say). But it might help speed up events in the first half and keep the reader/watchers interest. I'm actually going to rent the movie tomorrow night so I'll put up a post about my thoughts on book vs. movie probably later tomorrow.

LOL=Lots Of Love

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Queen's Bastard

Title: The Queen's Bastard
Author: Robin Maxwell
Reading level: All
Paperback: 432
ISBN #: 1559708484
Received From: I bought it @ Thrift Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Group Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover: B-
Overall: B+

"Historians have long whispered that Elizabeth "the Virgin Queen's" passionate,
lifelong affair with Robin Dudley, Earl of Leicester, may have led to the birth
of a son, Arthur Dudley. In this exquisite sequel to The Secret Diary of Anne
Boleyn, Robin Maxwell fashions a stunning fictional account of the child
switched at birth by a lady-in-waiting who foresaw the deleterious political
consequences of a royal bastard.Set against the sweeping, meticulously rendered
backdrop of court intrigues, international scandals, and England's battle
against the Spanish Armada, The Queen's Bastard deftly juxtaposes Elizabeth and
Leicester's tumultuous relationship with the memoirs of the adventurous son lost
to them -- yet ultimately discovered."

What an imaginative novel. Once again Maxwell astounds me; so far I loved all her books I've read by her and can't wait to get to the next in my pile of "to be read". History comes alive in this woman's pen! However; I have to say the first two books I've reviewed by her were a little more interesting to me.

The Queen's Bastard is the story of runaway love. Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley her Horse master have long been linked in history. (Her advisers even tried to assassinate him for his influence over the Queen.) But this story is the what if? What if the Queen and Dudley had an illegitimate son? And his story was told in this novel? See life through the eyes of Arthur Dudley. See how he grows unknowing of his true family and what happens when he discovers the truth!

A compelling piece of historical fiction. Although it is true that there was a man named Arthur Dudley there not much record of him throughout history. And this is the reason I rated this novel thus so. I love the what-if but at some points I thought it a little to far-fetched. I don't know how a Queen would react to the scandal as Elizabeth did in the novel. However; it is beautifully written and a delightful read none-the-less. If your a hit/fic fan check out Robin Maxwell's books she really has a knack for putting you into history.

LOL=Lots of Love

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. This week I'm reading "Atonement" by Ian McEwan. I haven't seen the movie yet and won't till the books finished ( as I usually think the books are better than the movies!). So here's my Teaser Tuesday:

"If she had she would not have committed her crime. So much would not have
happened, nothing would have happened, and the smoothing hand of time would have made the evening barely memorable: the night the twins ran away."

~pg 207 Atonement by Ian McEwan

What did Briony do? And why did the twins run away? I'll be finishing the book soon so look for my review and maybe some answers!

LOL= Lots Of Love

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Virgin: Prelude to the Throne

Title:Virgin:Prelude to the Throne
Author: Robin Maxwell
Reading level: All
Paperback: 235
Received From: I bought it @ Thrift Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Group Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover: C+
Overall: A-

"England, 1547: King Henry is dead. Elizabeth's half-brother, nine-year-old Edward, is king in name only. Thomas Seymour, brother to the ambitious duke who has seized power in this time of crisis, calculatingly works his way into
Elizabeth's home in genteel Chelsea House. He marries Henry's widow, Catherine
Parr, and uses his venerable charms and sexual magnetism to indulge his
infatuation for young Elizabeth. Caught hopelessly under Thomas Seymour's spell,
surrounded by kind friends and hidden enemies, Elizabeth can only follow her
heart to ensure survival."

Virgin is a wickedly imagined piece for author Robin Maxwell. I like the way she captivates the readers imagination with her storytelling. She takes historical fact and intricately winds it through her novels.

Elizabeth is compelling in this novel a castoff, an innocent child, a pawn, and a whore. She plays so many roles but with each you still want to stand up for her. And that's the allure people had for her during her time. This is what her court was about and how she began to build support. Her scandal, and downfalls are what make her a queen and such an interesting character.Also I love the way the author writes about her characters younger years (as in same with the case of Mademoiselle Boleyn). This is a topic not to stretched upon; and I love her embellishments to the story (although most are historical fact ).

All in all, I have to say this book was beautifully written. It's a short, complex novel of Elizabeth before she became queen. The scandals caused by her and Thomas Seymour will tug at your heartstrings because we all know how we felt about our first loves (or lusts). Another brilliant novel by Robin Maxwell, soon I hope to have read them all. And I think I may have found my first author of the month.

LOL=Lots Of Love

Friday, January 22, 2010

Contest Over at "The Book Wars"

Rachel over at "The Book Wars" is holding a kick @$$ contest. And get this it's your choice of book. One winner will receive a 15 dollar credit to the Book Depository, but that's not it.... when she gets to 250 followers she's gonna add another winner who will receive a 10 dollar credit to the Book Depository. The contest will end January 31 (and she will reveal the winner(s) on February 1st. I've been a follower (she got me started blogging) for awhile but anyone who isn't might want to check out her contest and her blog. And Good Luck Rocks on getting 250 followers! To find out all the details on the contest click here!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

To Shield The Queen

Title: To Shield The Queen
Author: Fiona Buckley
Reading level: All
Paperback: 324 pages
Received From: I bought it @ The Book Rack
Publisher: Pocket Books
Group Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Cover: D
Overall: A

"Rumor has linked Queen Elizabeth I to her Master of Horse, Robin Dudley.
And what rumors, at that: but for his ailing wife, Amy, Dudley would wed her
majesty, the gossip mongers are whispering. To quell idle tongues, Elizabeth
dispatches Ursula Blanchard to tend to the sick woman's needs. But not even
Ursula can prevent the "accident" that takes Amy's life. Did she fall or was she
pushed? Was Ursula a pawn of Dudley and the Queen? Suddenly Ursula finds herself at the center of the scandal, trying to protect Elizabeth as she loses her heart to a Frenchman who may be flirting with sedition against her Queen. She can trust no one, neither her lover nor her monarch, as she sets out to find the truth in a glittering court that conceals a wellspring of blood and lies."

This was an awesome book. A note to readers before I begin : This book does start out really slow but definitely picks up fast. The way Buckley infuses the turmoil of Queen Elizabeth's early reign and a fictitious mystery is seamless. The drama unfolds in every turn of the page. This was one of my Tuesday Teaser books and the intrigue did not let me down.
Ursula Blanchard the main character is a strong, witty female heroine who is trying to find justice amidst gossip, murder, and betrayal. You feel her pain as she's a recent widower (in a time where women were just an accompaniment to their men) trying to make her way in a torn apart kingdom and support her daughter. She finds herself doing very dangerous jobs, sometimes risking her own person for those she's sworn loyalty to. A very relatable figure, Ursula has many depths to her character and her loyalty, persistence, and sense of self-perseverance endear Ursula to the reader.
Like I said before the novel starts off very slow. I actually thought at first I wouldn't like this book, however; when I did my Teaser Tuesday I was soo intrigued I decided to read on. And I'm sooooo glad I did. Buckley's suspenseful writing makes me want to run out and purchase the next book in this series. I NEED to know what happens next in the twisted web Ursula has woven. If your looking for a Elizabethan suspense novel I suggest you pick this one up since its the first in this series. Just make sure your ready to get through the first 5 chapters (each chapter is not that long) which are slow.

The Romanov Prophecy

Title: The Romanov Prophecy
Author: Steve Barry
Reading level: All
Paperback: 384 pages
Received From: I bought it
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Group Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Cover: C
Overall: A-
"Moscow: Present Day. Atlanta lawyer Miles Lord, fluent in Russian and well versed in the country's history, is thrilled to be in Moscow on the eve of such a momentous event. After the fall of Communism and a succession of weak governments, the Russian people have voted to bring back the monarchy. The new tsar will be chosen from the distant relatives of Nicholas II by a specially appointed commission, and Miles' job is to perform a background check on the Tsarist candidate favored by a powerful group of Western businessmen. But research quickly becomes the least of Miles' concerns when he is nearly killed by gunmen on a city plaza. Suddenly Miles is racing across continents, shadowed by nefarious henchmen. At first, his only question is why people are pursuing him. But after a strange conversation with a mysterious Russian, who steers Miles toward the writings of Rasputin, he becomes desperate to know more-most important, what really happened to the family of Russia's last tsar?His only companion is Akilina Petrov, a Russian circus performer sympathetic to his struggle, and his only guide is a cryptic message from Rasputin that implies that the bloody night of so long ago is not the last chapter in the Romanovs' story . . . and that someone might even have survived the massacre. The prophecy's implications are earth-shattering-not only for the future of the tsar and mother Russia, but also for Miles himself."

Extremely exciting and suspenseful, Barry takes the reader on a wild ride through post-communist Russia. You feel as if your in the action (almost like watching an action move in surround sound on a big screen in HD) avoiding bullets looking for the long lost tsar. This is a truly tantalizing twist on the classic story of the fall of the Tsar's.

It's fun trying to put the mystery together along with Miles and Akilina. Subtle clues are expertly placed throughout the book to keep the reader constantly guessing, a truly engrossing puzzle. Also the way the book reads is not all action and suspense you begin to feel for these characters. When they hit a dead end (or sometimes just the dead) you want to let them know that they'll make it through, they will find the answers.

The other interesting aspect of the book is that the characters are living out Rasputins' prophecy word for word. For example The Raven (Miles) and the Eagle (Akilina) are the only ones who can find and save Russia. The author does bring it to attention a few times. However; if your a history junkie like myself you'll see the prophecy being played out before its later reiterated for you. I love the real historical events that are twisted through this plot.

I would really recommend this book to my fellow historical-fiction fanatics. I'm actually waiting to receive more of Steve Barrys' collection of historical/mystery novels including two that just came out in stores. Yay, I love when I find a new series or collection I enjoy don't you?

Contest at "All Things Urban Fantasy"

Hey Ladies and Gents just got a hold of a new contest going on over at "All Things Urban Fantasy". All 4 Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs are up for grabs (+ all 3 Alpha & Omega books by Patricia Briggs if she passes 400 followers before the giveaway ends). This is a series I've heard about and would loooooove to own. If you haven't heard about em' Abigail has reviewed the books and you can access them even on her contest page. Definetly go check out her contest and her blog here. Oh and contest ends February 28th.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

So here we go my first teaser tuesday. I'm so excited! I hope you enjoy my li' bit of the book as much as I do. (p.s. This just makes me want to read faster to find out what is going on in pg. 146)

"She was there at the foot of the staircase, a sad, huddled heap. She did not look as though she had been thrown down the stairs, for her clothing
was perfectly tidy, white headress neatly in place, the russet taffeta skirts on
her Sunday gown decently disposed."

~pg.146 "To Shield the Queen"

by Fiona Buckley

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!!!

To celebrate this year I decided to read my favorite genre of book (historical fiction) that has a African American protagonist. The book is called "The Romanov Prophecy" by Steve Barry. It follows Miles Lord an African-American Lawyer through good ol' Mother Russia after the fall of communism. Miles thinks he's there to promote a new Tsar but he may have just stumbled upon the greatest historical cover-up: the survival of the Romanovs and Rasputin. I'm not quite finished yet. But I wanted to give a shout out to my African American bloggers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Fanged & Fabulous

Title: Fanged & Fabulous
Author: Michelle Rowen
Reading level: All
Paperback: 331 pages
Received From: I bought it
Publisher: Warner Books Inc.
Group Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Cover: C
"Just stake me now.
My name is Sarah Dearly, and I've got major problems. Last month, I was turned into a vampire by the world's worst blind date. Then I may have, totally by accident, started a war between the mostly peaceful bloodsuckers and a bunch of sociopathic vamp hunters who have nicknamed me the Slayer of Slayers.
Now I'm being used as bait to draw out the hunters' bad-ass leader, while my gorgeous 600-year-old boyfriend Thierry seems to be blowing me off, and my sizzle-hot, fanged friend Quinn is trying to turn my self-defence lessons into make-out sessions. So you know what? I'm done. I've had it. There comes a time when a vamp has to just suck it up and go after what she wants. And as soon as I figure out what that is, that's exactly what I'll do..."
Michelle Rowen sure can juggle! This book is laugh out loud funny combined with irresistible suspense, and romance. Oh, and of course vampires. She truly shows a present day woman's ( okay vampires) survival guide so to speak.
The main character Sarah Dearly is enthralling with her sarcastic wit, and material girl ways. It honestly reminds me of if the characters in "Clueless" were vampires. Sarah just can't get it right she yearns for a normal life yet craves excitement and passion. Although; throughout the book she sometimes gets a little whiny she definitely pulls through in the end.
I really liked the mystery and suspense that was encased inside this lil' Canadian vampire romance. It was like finally getting to the center of a tootsie pop, you know it's there but it's not what you'd expect it's better!
The only reason I didn't give this book an A was it wasn't a book that you can't put down. ( Even though Charlaine Harris was a big fan)I did enjoy the book as a quick read though. It was and excellent lazy-day-off-work read. And I suggest anyone looking to have a few laughs over a hopeless romantic vampire definitely pick up one of Michelle Rowens books.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

100+ Reading Challenge

ALL RIGHT!!! It's 2010 and I am up for a challenge. Thankx so much to for hosting such an awesome challenge. I'm looking forward to reading some new books, and I'm gonna start right now. I'll let you keep up on my progress by listing the books here in the order I read them and complete them. All books with reviews will receive a link to their review on my blog in case you're interested in finding out more. So for now let the reading begin!!!!
1. Fanged and Fabulous by Michelle Rowen completed on 1/16 ( yay starting now)
4. Virgin: Prelude to the Throne completed on 1/21
6. Atonement by Ian McEwan completed on 1/28
11. Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell completed on 2/9
12. The Amber Room by Steve Barry completed on 2/11
13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen completed on 2/18
14. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Sharon Lathan completed on 2/20
15. Loving Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan completed on 2/24
16. O' Shaughnessey by Jeremy McGuire completed on 2/25
17. All Acts of Love and Pleasure Are Her Rituals by Rachel Adair completed on 2/26
18. My Dearest Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan completed on 3/1
19. Alice In Wondrland And Philosophy by William Irwin completed on 3/4
20. P&P&Z: Dawn Of The Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith completed on 3/10
21. The Secret Diary Of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell completed on 3/12
22. The Alexandrian Link by Steve Berry completed on 3/15
23. The Boleyn Wife by Brandy Purdy completed on 3/20
24.The Third Secret by Steve Berry completed on 3/23
25. ( a quarter through) The Queens Ransom by Fiona Buckley completed on 3/24
26. To Ruin A Queen by Fiona Buckley completed on 3/27
27.The Merchants Partner by Michael Jecks completed on 3/29
28.The Chase by Clive Cussler completed on 3/31
29.Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast completed on 4/1
30.Chosen by P.C. &Kristin Cast completed on 4/2
31.Betrayed by P.C. & Kritin Cast completed on 4/2
32.Untamed by P.C. & Kristion Cast completed on 4/3
33.Hunted by P.C. & Kristin Cast completed on 4/4
34.Tempted by P.C. & Kristin Cast completed on 4/6
35.Queen Victoria Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat completed on 4/8
36. Countess Of Scandal by Laurel McKee completed on 4/12
37. Elphame's Choice by P.C. Cast completed on 4/14
38. The Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell completed on 4/20
39. Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker completed on 4/23
40. Brighid's Quest by P.C. Cast completed on 5/1
41. O' Juliet by Robin Maxwell completed on 5/2
42. Burned by P.C. Cast completed on 5/4
43. Flirting With Forever by Gwynn Cready completed on 5/6
44. Dead In The Family by Charlaine Harris completed on 5/8
45. Between Two Kingdoms by Joe Boyd completed on 5/20
46. Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas completed on 5/27
47. Divine By Mistake by P.C. Cast completed on 6/1
48. The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick completed on 6/3
49. Virginia by Susan Hughes completed on 6/5
50. (halfway done yay me!!!) Goddess Of The Sea by P.C. Cast
51. Goddess Of Spring by P.C. Cast
99. (almost there)
100. (hallelujah)

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Contest

Nikki over at A Haunt of Ancient Peace is having a "New Books for a New Year contest" and giving away some amazing books make sure you check out her site n become a follower.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (Has slightly pink top from a drink spill, but in great condition)
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince Charming? by Melissa Kantor
The Christopher Killer (Signed) by Alane Ferguson
Garden of the Purple Dragon by Carole Wilkinson
Walk of the Spirits by Richie Tankersley Cusick
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins

Enter here and remember contest ends on February 26

The Soul Of A Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection

Title: The Soul Of A Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection
Author: Michael Ruhlman
Reading level: All
Paperback: 370 pages
Received From: Christmas gift from my sister Sammy
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Non-Fiction/Cooking
Cover: C
Overall: A
"In his second in-depth foray into the world of professional cooking, Michael Ruhlman journeys into the heart of the profession. Observing the rigorous Certified Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America, the most influential cooking school in the country, Ruhlman enters the lives and kitchens of rising star Michael Symon and renowned Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. This fascinating book will satisfy any reader's hunger for knowledge about cooking and food, the secrets of successful chefs, at what point cooking becomes an art form, and more. Like Ruhlman's The Making of a Chef, this is an instant classic in food writing-one of the fastest growing and most popular subjects today."
As a chef in the industry today I completely related to the strive towards perfection. Although; we never completely reach it because if we did the what would we do?
Ruhlmans journey into the CMC exams ( the most complicated test that measures culinary excellence) shows how the CIA and ACF view the measure of a perfect chef. Even though I don't believe a test proves the worth of a chef I'm glad he shows the struggle to acheive a title ( something I am working towards right now).
Next he visits Lola Michael Symon's restaurant. This is how most of the great cooks and chefs out there work; in a lively and frenzied kitchen. Believe me, kitchens on TV have nothing on kitchens in real life. And for the first time Ruhlman nails my life in a nutshell with Lola.
Finally he reaches most chefs perception of perfection Thomas Kellers' The French Laundry. This man the father of new American cuisine has finally gotten it right. He has a fun kitchen but instills the strive for perfection in each and every employee. Thus, he has created an ideal work environment with perfection on every ones mind making amazing food.
To peer inside this world through the eyes of Ruhlman has inspired me. Not only do I want to cook better but I want to inspire others to cook better. Thus the strive for Perfection continues....


Title: Nefertiti
Author: Michelle Moran
Reading level: Historical Fiction
Paperback: 460 pages
ReceivedFrom: I Bought it
Publisher: Crown Publishing Grp.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover: B-
Overall: A-
"The sweeping story of a powerful Egyptian family, Nefertiti: A Novel tells the tale of two sisters, the first of whom is destined to rule as one of history’s most fascinating queens.
Beautiful Nefertiti and her sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised far from the court of their aunt, the Queen of Egypt. But when the Pharaoh of Egypt dies, their father’s power play makes Nefertiti wife to the new and impetuous king. It is hoped she will temper King Amunhotep’s desire to overturn Egypt’s religion, but the ambitious Nefertiti encourages Amunhotep’s outrageous plans instead, winning the adoration of the people while making powerful enemies at court. Younger yet more prudent, Mutnodjmet is her sister’s sole confidant, and only she knows to what lengths Nefertiti will go for a child to replace the son of Amunhotep’s first wife.
As King Amunhotep’s commands become more extravagant, he and Nefertiti ostracize the army, clergy, and Egypt’s most powerful allies. Then, when Mutnodjmet begins a dangerous affair with a general, she sees how tenuous her situation is at her own sister’s court. An epic story that resurrects ancient Egypt in vivid detail."
Michelle Moran breathes new life into the world of ancient Egypt. Although the title may read Nefertiti the book captures her sisters point of view which makes the book more engrossing from an outsiders pespective.
I love the ability to put yourself into the court of Amunhotep and to see that he is nothing more than an early King Henry VIII. His childlike ambitions to step out of the shadows have his wives ( yes there are more than one) competing to win him over. Its a turbulent story of religion, love, deception, and betrayal.
I have not seen a book to capture the real Nefertiti in a long time. She is not just portrayed as a cruel, backstabbing beotch, but as a sister fighting for her throne. ( Not unlike "The Other Boleyn" by Phillipa Gregory) You feel her sisters pain as she is put into situations that compromise her ethic but uphold her pharaoh sister. You really begin to root for Mutnodjmet; wanting her to find a place to escape her sister but not forsake her family.
The only thing I wished to see improved on this book was the ending. It was composed beautifully until the end when everything seemed so rushed to be finished. SPOILER ALERT:I didn't want to read about Nefertiti being killed off I wanted to be put in the situation to feel the families pain. But no; sadly, it came to a close too fast. I can only hope the "Heretic Queen" picks up where this one abruptly halted.
However; if you love Egyptology like I do definitely try this book. You may even learn some new words my little Miw-Sher!

The House Of Night Series

Series: The House Of Night Series
Author: P.C. and Kristin Cast
Books Included: Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted and Tempted
Reading level: Young Adult
Received From: A Christmas Present from my sister Rachel
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Genre: Fantasy/Horror/YA/Mystery
Cover: A+++
Overall: A+++++
"HOUSE OF NIGHT is a thrilling, New York Times bestselling book series that follows 16-year-old Zoey Redbird as she is “Marked” by a vampyre tracker and begins to undergo the “Change” into an actual vampyre. She has to leave her family in Broken Arrow, OK, and move into the House of Night, a boarding school for other fledgling vampyres like her.It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. Although Zoey has awesome new powers, it’s hard to fit in when everyone knows you’re “special.” As Zoey tries to make new friends and maybe find a hot boyfriend (or two), she comes up against all kinds of evil, from the perfect-looking, super-popular girl with not-so-faultless plans, to the mysterious deaths happening at the House of Night and all over Tulsa. Things at the House of Night are not always what they seem. Can Zoey find the courage deep within herself to find the truth and embrace her destiny? "
Thrilling, Amazing these words can't even begin to describe the house of night series. I loved these books!!! The main character Zoey is totally relatable and shes in high school and I'm almost 23 ha ha. The author has used her own voice but also borrowed teenage input from her daughter to tell a breathtaking journey with tons of unexpected twists and turns.
It's a pleasant mixture of Harry Potter's Hogwarts meets Twilights' vampire love stories. I know it sounds cliche that Zoey is a conflicted teen who rises to the top only to fall from good graces; but there is so much more to the plot in each book. You begin to associate with all the characters (even snooty Aphrodite), and the suspense might just kill you. Like good food I enjoyed the simplicity these books portrayed but after one bite you'll see there is so many different layers.
I literally read these books (yes all 6) in less than a week. I am on pins and needles waiting for the next installment. (Kudos to Rachel for turning me on to this series!!!) And I have a sneaky suspicion that very soon we'll be seeing a movie version of these books. ( I would be one of the first in line for tickets.)
But if you haven't read these books yet (what r u waiting for), go buy them show the authors some love, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Other Queen

Title: The Other Queen
Author: Phillipa Gregory
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 433 pages
ReceivedFrom: I Bought it
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover: A
Overall: B-

"Two women competing for a man’s heart…Two queens fighting to the death for dominance…
The untold story of Mary, Queen of Scots. Fleeing rebels in
Scotland on Queen Elizabeth’s false promise of sanctuary, Mary, Queen of
Scots, finds herself imprisoned as the “guest” of George Talbot, Earl of
Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick. Soon the newly
married couple’s home becomes the center of intrigue and rebellion against
Elizabeth, and their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into
question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of treason, or
if the great spymaster William Cecil links them to the growing conspiracy to
free Mary from her illegal imprisonment, they will all face the headsman.
Using new research and her passion for historical accuracy, Gregory places the
doomed queen into a completely new tale of suspense, passion, and political

I really wish I could say I enjoyed this book as much as previous novels by Phillipa Gregory. To be honest though I think there are far better books on Mary Queen of Scots out there. ( Try Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George)

The novel was still intriguing and I loved the views of Bess and George (her captors). They were probably the most interesting part of the book, as you almost never here from the British people who were burdened by keeping a Queen hostage.

Yet I really believe the novel was one sided portraying the Scots Queen as a flaky, evil, lazy, and pretentious conspirator. She was so much more to so many people including myself who has scots blood. I understand the author is trying to show the lesser seen side of the Queen of Scots; but I think the book would've been much better had the author included more than just her captivity in England.

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