Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Author: Ian McEwan
Reading level: All
ISBN #: 038572179X
Received From: I bought it @ The Book Rack
Publisher: Random House Inc.
Group Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction
"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
ISBN #: 1559708484
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
"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
"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."
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Author: Robin Maxwell
Reading level: All
Group Genre: Historical Fiction
"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.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Paperback: 324 pages
Received From: I bought it @ The Book Rack
Publisher: Pocket Books
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.
"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."
Author: Steve Barry
Reading level: All
Group Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
"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?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
"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."
Sunday, January 17, 2010
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.
Paperback: 331 pages
Received From: I bought it
Publisher: Warner Books Inc.
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..."
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
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
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
Reading level: All
Reading level: Historical Fiction
Paperback: 460 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
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."
Author: P.C. and Kristin Cast
Received From: A Christmas Present from my sister Rachel
Saturday, January 2, 2010
ReceivedFrom: I Bought it
"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
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.