Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review - Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir

Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her WorldTitle: Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World
Author: Alison Weir
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 572
Published: December 3rd 2013 by Ballantine Books 
ISBN: 9780345521361
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: 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.   Her birth was greeted with as much pomp and ceremony as that of a male heir. The first child of King Edward IV, Elizabeth enjoyed all the glittering trappings of royalty. But after the death of her father; the disappearance and probable murder of her brothers—the Princes in the Tower; and the usurpation of the throne by her calculating uncle Richard III, Elizabeth found her world turned upside-down: She and her siblings were declared bastards.  As Richard’s wife, Anne Neville, was dying, there were murmurs that the king sought to marry his niece Elizabeth, knowing that most people believed her to be England’s rightful queen. Weir addresses Elizabeth’s possible role in this and her covert support for Henry Tudor, the exiled pretender who defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth and was crowned Henry VII, first sovereign of the House of Tudor. Elizabeth’s subsequent marriage to Henry united the houses of York and Lancaster and signaled the end of the Wars of the Roses. For centuries historians have asserted that, as queen, she was kept under Henry’s firm grasp, but Weir shows that Elizabeth proved to be a model consort—pious and generous—who enjoyed the confidence of her husband, exerted a tangible and beneficial influence, and was revered by her son, the future King Henry VIII.   Drawing from a rich trove of historical records, Weir gives a long overdue and much-deserved look at this unforgettable princess whose line descends to today’s British monarch—a woman who overcame tragedy and danger to become one of England’s most beloved consorts.

First Line: Elizabeth of York's role in history was crucial, although in a less chauvinistic age it would, by right, have been more so.  

I Give This ...

  Honestly, it's really hard for me to give this an accurate rating.  I think I saw this book, the topic, and the author and said yes....without really reading the description.   Why does this matter?  I'm not big into nonfiction.  I love this time period, but a book presented in this manner just doesn't hold the same appeal.

However, I fought my way through this.  It honestly was work for me, but I did it!   There's a lot of information here.  It seems a lot of it comes from speculation as there is very little documented information out there to accurately portray how Elizabeth might have felt about anything.  We know the events and the politics and we know that Elizabeth was at the basis of a lot of things.  But, we will never truly know how she reacted to any of it.

When you put it all in this format, I found Elizabeth's life to be breathtaking.  She endured some much over life span.  From her fathers death, her uncle taking over the crown, the high likelihood of her brothers being murdered, the death of a child, and her own illness, you would think one person could not overcomes so much in one lifetime.  

I'll be the first to admit this was struggle but I'm glad I finished it!

Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:
A Study in Ashes (The Baskerville Affair, #3)All That Glows
  • A Study in Ashed by Emma Jane Holloway
  • All That Glows by Ryan Graudin  
Currently Reading: 
And We Stay
  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Up This Week: 

The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3)Perfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)
  • The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen 
  • Perfect Lies by Kiersten White


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review:  

The Shadow Prince (Into the Dark, #1)The Boleyn Bride
  • The Shadow Princes by Bree Despain
  • The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy


Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

B & K's Reading Daze

I have two girls who love to read as much as I do.  They are 8 and 5.  My oldest has grown in  leaps and bounds in the reading department and is beginning to love easy chapter books.  My youngest has most of her sight words and is beginning to start blending.  I'm so excited that this love of mine seems to be passing on to them.  So B & K's Reading Daze highlights some of the books they have enjoyed over the past month.  

We've been kind of in a reading frenzy in this house lately, but I've been perpetually behind on the blog that I haven't done this feature in awhile.

My youngest has particularly enjoyed the Barbie I Can be book lately.  These include 

I Can Be a Pet Vet (Barbie)I Can Be a Horse Rider (Barbie)I Can Be a Ballerina (Barbie) (Step into Reading)

I Can Be A Pet Vet
I Can Be A Horse Rider
I Can Be A Ballerina
My oldest had been reading the Junie B Jones series for quite some time, but has finally moved on.  She had a major book report due this week and choose something that was a little higher than her normal reading range.  She ended up really enjoying the book and is already ready for the next books in the series.

Pet Hotel #1: Calling All Pets!Title: Calling All Pets 
Author: Kate Finch

Twins Meg and Charlie are moving into their great-great-aunt's hotel, and they're in for some surprises! The run-down hotel is full of cool old rooms, a rooftop garden, even an elevator. There's also one big problem -- it doesn't have any guests.  But when Meg and Charlie volunteer to look after a neighbor's golden retriever puppy, the fuzzy little furball gives them a great idea. They're going to transform their new home into an amazing hotel . . . for pets!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review - Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

Manor of SecretsTitle: Manor of Secrets
Author: Katherine Longshore
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 320
Published: January 28th 2014 by Point 
ISBN: 9780545567589
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance. Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions. Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

First Line: Charlotte Edmonds stood on the patio and looked out across the wide expanse of lawn. 

I Give This ...
For the most part I like my historical fiction to be accurate and true to details.  But, occasionally I like one that may be a little bit more modern.  I want the intrigue and setting, but I want it to be fun.  That's what this was.

I always love it when a Victoria young lady wants to buck the normal.  I think it's because I imagine that I would do the same.   So Lady Charlotte really struck a cord with me.  She doesn't want to be sold away to the highest bidder in a lackluster marriage.  She wants to see the world and embrace all it has to offer.  It's not wonder that she latches on to her wayward aunt (one who seems to be wrapped in some sort of scandal), when she suddenly comes to visit.  She also seems to not care about position and rank, something I imagine is very hard to overcome.

I wasn't as fond of Janie, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing.   I just didn't connect with her as much.  I found it interesting that I found her more cynical and condescending than Charlotte.  I'm sure her circumstances have lead to her attitude, but I think her eyes were really opened when Charlotte decided to enlist her help.

As for the manor secrets...really they're pretty obvious.  I don't think the author was really trying to hide them.  If you've read this type of story at all, you probably have idea of what's coming.  I found the way the author presented the events to fit the story.

I enjoy Katherine Longshore's work so far.  I need to catch up on her other series!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review - Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson

DefyTitle: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: 1st
Pages: 336
Published: January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press 
ISBN: 9780545597586
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.  The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect? 

I Give This ...

This book held so much potential.  And the story really could have been very interesting had it been done correctly.  But sadly, the characters fall very short of their mark for me.

I was excited about the idea of a kick-ass girl hiding in plain sight as a boy.  Who would ever believe who she really was?  And I completely understood her reasoning behind wanting to do so.  The problem is that she's not very convincing to the reader.  If she's not fooling me, who is she fooling?  Oh wait....no one.  And that's a huge part of this story that bugged the crap out of me.  Turns out everybody important in the story has basically known all along that she's a girl.  What was the point then?   I also disliked how indecisive she was when it comes to Rylan and Damien.  She's had this crush on Rylan forever, but all of a sudden Damien shows a slight interest in her and she's all over that.

Our two male leads are slightly better.  Rylan has known for quite some time that Alexa is not a boy but has gone above and beyond to protect the secret.  It does make me wonder if that allure is part of the attraction.  Damien has known since the moment he meet her because he's got a secret of his own.   He only reveals the truth when it benefits him which really makes me question his true motives and the depths of he feelings.

It's sad that the characters overshadow the storyline because there is a lot here that could have been great.  A power hungry king that is abusing his nation, sorcerers, rebels, and everything in between.  I may read the next one because it seems everything is out in the open now, but I'm not sure. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading:

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week: 
Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World
  • Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir
 Currently Reading:

  • A Study in Ashed by Emma Jane Holloway
Up This Week: 
All That Glows
  • All That Glows by Ryan Graudin

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review: 

The Captive MaidenWhere Silence Gathers (Some Quiet Place, #2)
India Black and the Gentleman Thief (Madame of Espionage, #4)
  • The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson
  • Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton
  • India Black and the Gentleman Thief by Carol K Carr  


The Fairest Beauty
  • The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

    Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Catch a Falling Star
Title: Catch A Falling Star
Author: Kim Culbertson
Publication Date: April 29th 2014 by Scholastic Press 
Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life? 
I've read a couple of this author's books and enjoyed them a lot.  They just have that feel good contemporary feel to them.  I'm looking forward to this one!

Review - Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)Title: Into The Still Blue
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: 3rd (Under The Never Sky, Through The Ever Night)
Pages: 400
Published: January 28th 2014 by HarperCollins 
ISBN: 9780062072092
Source: Netgalley via Edelweiss

Description: Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world. The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.  Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.  Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most. 

 First Line: Aria lurched upright, the echo of gunshots ringing in her ears.

I Give This ...

 There's be a number of book series that have ended recently, and it seem quite a number of them have leaned to the disappointing side.  I haven't read all of them, but it seriously lead to some trepidations on my part.  

Perry and Aria have been through so much at this point that I kind felt like they didn't have much of a plan to save all the people depending on them.  But, at least the recognize this fact.  It really was a game of chance and a lot was riding on Soren.  Who, we can all honestly say, we have no idea might decide to switch sides in the middle of the battle.   But, I loved the fact that Aria especially never gives up.  Even when it seems like all hope is lost, Aria will keep fighting.  I admired that she never took the easy way out and gave in to whatever twisted thing Sable might want.

There are some pretty gruesome scenes that are carried out in this edition.  We get to see how evil Sable really is.  He has everything planned out to the littlest detail and knows what to do to keep everyone under his thumb.  He's not above physical threats and killing those who might get in his way.  It's very evident that human life is only another means to be the ultimate ruler.  The only one he can't seem to control is Aria and I never could figure out how much that bothered him.

There are some loss of characters that don't carry the impact that you would expect.   One of them was not surprising, but it really seemed one minute this character was there and then they weren't. But, it was because of this I wasn't ever really sure they were truly gone.  

There are some great relationship development throughout this novel.  Rossi really fleshes these charcters out to the fullest point.  Perri and Aria become a real couple, and one that has way more substance based on mutual respect and love and not infatuation.  I also really enjoyed Soren by the end.  He's come full circle for the character we meet in book one.  

I was completely satisfied with how this trilogy ended.  I hope Veronica Rossi has great things in store for us next. 



Monday, February 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week: 
Defy (Defy, #1)Manor of Secrets
  • Defy by Sara B Larson 
  • Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

Currently Reading:
Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her WorldA Study in Ashes (The Baskerville Affair, #3)
  • Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir  
  •  A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway
Up This Week:
All That Glows
  • All That Glows by Ryan Graudin 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review: 

Sunrise (Ashfall, #3)Torn (Torn, #1)
  • Sunrise by Mike Mullin
  • Torn by K.A. Robinson


Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)
  • Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Review - The Offering (The Pledge #3) by Kimberly Derting

The Offering (The Pledge, #3)Title: The Offering
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: 3rd (The Pledge, The Essence)
Pages: 336
Published: December 31st 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books 
ISBN: 9781442445628 
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy.  Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks. When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom. But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

First Line: Unflinching, the executioner stood on the bloodstained floor facing the prison cells as he wielded an axe with a razor-sharp blade.

I Give This ...

I realized part way through this book that my issue with the second book (and part of this one) was the story ended up being about something different than I had hoped.  The aspects of the story that I really enjoyed in the first book are not longer important.  Once I tabled that, I was able to enjoy this book a whole lot more.

Charlie makes an interesting Queen.  She tends to think with her heart more than with her head.  Not entirely a bad characteristic, but it makes her make decisions in the heat of the moment.  I'm not sure what she hoped to accomplish by sneaking off in the middle of the night and walking into enemy territory.  She should know that enemies rarely hold up their end of the bargain.  But, I admired her for trying.  She never gives up.

I liked that she's turned into more the Queen I had hoped she would be.  She has more training under her belt and can old her own in situations that test her limits.  But, she's also recognizing who she is and what she needs to do. Even in the end, when she thought Sabara was going to win, she was willing to give up herself if it might change the tides.

I liked how the cast of characters rounded this book out.  All of them were willing to go the distance for Queen Charlie.  I know it's their duty, but there were a number of times that it was evident that they believed in what she was trying to do.  They would all die in attempt to save their kingdom.

It was a satisfying ending to a trilogy that ended up being about something entirely different that I expected.  But, that was ok.  I'm looking forward to Kimberly Derting's next work!  And I still need to read the last book in her previous series!

Review - Neverwas (The Amber House Trilogy #2) by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, & Larkin Reed

Neverwas  (Amber House, #2)Title: Neverwas
Author: Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed
Series: 2nd (Amber House)
Pages: 320
Published: January 7th 2014 by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Press 
ISBN: 9780545434188
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Things are very different--better--for Sarah and her family: her Aunt Maggie grew up; her parents are happily married; her grandmother died after a long, productive and respected life. But other things are different too, and not for the better.  After growing up in the free country of the Pacific Northwest, Sarah Parsons has settled in at Amber House, the stately Maryland home that's been in her family for generations. But the world surrounding the House feels deeply wrong to Sarah. It's a place where the colonists lost the 1776 Insurrection, where the American Confederation of States still struggles with segregation, and where Sarah is haunted by echoes of a better world that she knows never existed.  Her friend Jackson shares these visions of a different world--and together, they manage both to remember the way things ought to be, and to plan a daring mission that will reset the universe once again. Sarah must figure out what has changed, and why, and how she can fix it--how she can find her way to another otherwhen.

First Line: A spider the color of amber spun a web before me.

I Give This ...

I was actually really excited for this one.  I enjoyed Amber House quite a bit and was pleased to learn there was a sequel.  Sadly, I have no idea what happened here.

I really gave it my best go, even attempting past my usual 25%.  I kept thinking to myself that there had to be some part of the story that I wasn't getting.  If I kept reading, something would click for me, and I would want to continue.  That honestly never happened.  I vaguely understood that somehow time had been altered.  But, none of it made sense.  

I think a different approach would have worked better here.  Or perhaps, it's just me.  I have thoughts of trying to return to this book at a later date.  But, right now I have no desire too.  It's hard to commit to that when I have so many other books to enjoy.  


Related Posts with Thumbnails