Showing posts from January, 2013

Review: Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir

Title: Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings
Author: Alison Weir
Publisher: Ballantine Books (Hardcover was published 2011)
Genre: Non-Fiction
Labels: Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn, Boleyn Family, Tudor History, Kings and Queens of England, Royalty, Henry VIII, Katherine of Aragon, 15th Century, 16th Century, England, France, History, Biography
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 416 total, but this includes several family lineage charts, a preface, two appendix, a bibliography, notes and reference, index, reader's guide. Main part of the book ends on page 252.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Mary Boleyn was the eldest of three children that survived to adulthood. Her younger siblings were Anne and George. Their father owned several estates, was closely tied to both Henry VII and Henry VIII. They were a Norfolk family, and a knightly class. Mary was overshadowed by her sister Anne. Mary was considered a beautiful girl; but her sister Anne was intelligent, charming, talented, calculating, a…

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2013


Review: Winter King by Thomas Penn

Title: Winter King, Henry VII and The Dawn of Tudor England
Author: Thomas Penn
Publisher: Simon & Schuster March 2012
Genre: Non-Fiction
Labels: British History, Kings and Queens of England, Tudor, York, Lancaster, War of the Roses, Great Britain
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 480 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Henry VII was considered a usurper, an illegitimate King, and he spent his years as King of England in anxiety over the "right" to be lawful King. His political maneuverer in marrying Elizabeth from the House of York helped, and their children strengthened his security. Henry VII was born in Pembroke Castle, Wales 28 January 1547. His mother was Lady Margaret Beaufort. She would become a young widow, she would not have any more children. Henry was the figurative jewel in her crown, although he would wear the English crown. He believed that he was an heir to the English throne through John of Gaunt the son of Edward III from the House of Lancaster. Yet, the …

Review: Great Tales From English History by Robert Lacey

Title: Great Tales From English History, A Treasury of True Stories About The Extraordinary People-Knights and Knaves, Rebels and Heroes, Queens and Commoners-Who Made Britain Great
Author: Robert Lacey
Publisher: Black Bay Books-Little, Brown and Company-a trademark of Hachette Book Group, Inc 2007
Genre: Non-Fiction
Labels: British History, Great Britain, Kings and Queens of England, History,
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult, but suitable for young adult
Pages: 544
Rating: 5 Stars

Beginning with the Cheddar man of 7150 BC, and through the conquest of Rome, to the invaders of Viking's-Angles-Saxons-Norman's, to the witty Geoffrey Chaucer, Joan of Arc, to the years of Richard III and the Tudor years, Pocahontas, Captain Cook, the madness of King George III, author Fanny Burney's barbaric mastectomy, World War I, Dunkirk, the King who abdicated for love, and finishing with a story from 1953 about DNA. These are examples of some of the stories.
The reader is given a …

Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Title: The Winter Sea
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Sourcebooks December 1, 2010---Originally published 2008
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Historical Fiction, Scotland, Scottish History, 18th Century, Jacobite, James Stewart
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 544
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary: Carolyn McClelland, age 31, is a historical fiction author who's made a trip to Scotland to do research for her next book. While in Cruden Bay, Scotland she experiences dreams and visions that help create her book; but they also feel "real", as if she were living her heroines life in 18th century Scotland. Carolyn knew her ancestry had its beginnings in Scotland, but as The Winter Sea progresses she discovers factual data to her fiction book.

Positive Points:
The descriptions of the coastline, winter season, ocean, treacherous cliffs, and wild beauty of Scotland are all described in vivid detail. I could almost hear the wind howling and the waves of the ocean breaking against th…

An Interview with Terry Breverton Author of The Welsh, The Biography

1. Has Welsh history been a life-long passion for you? Or, when did it begin?
Although I studied history in school, it was an English version of our history - it was all about the English and the Germanic races' right to win wars. At university I was marked down for stating that the Korean War was not started by the North Koreans - it was then that I realised that there are several versions of history, usually biased in favour of the nationality writing it down. 2. Do you feel you have taken on a responsibility to promote Welsh history, culture, language? After a long career in international business and consultancy, when I returned to Wales I could not find anything to tell my children why I was so proud to be Welsh. There was nothing in the bookshops. While working, I researched the first Welsh encyclopedia, An A-Z of Wales and the Welsh, and realised what was missing. It took 3 years to get published in an expurgated edition, and then I began publishing mine and o…

Review: The Welsh, The Biography by Terry Breverton

Title: The Welsh, The Biography
Author: Terry Breverton
Publisher: Amberley November 2012, Available in US January 2013
Genre: Non-Fiction
Labels: Wales, Biography, History, History of British from the known beginning until 21st Century
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 400, including 52 color photographs
Rating: 5 Stars

This is the second book that I've reviewed for Amberley Publishing. While reading through the books available on their website I was anxious to read Mr. Breverton's book on Welsh history.
The Welsh,The Biography has been eye-opening, educational, and thought provoking.

Terry Breverton describes his book, "unashamedly pro-Welsh." It is with these direct and honest words that I was introduced to a complete and compelling biography of Wales.
Breverton begins with the known historical and archaeological beginnings of Welsh history, and takes the reader up until the present 21st century. 
From the early part of the 1st century and extending …

Review: Redemption On The River by Loren DeShon

Title: Redemption on the River
Author: Loren DeShon
Publisher: Self Published book in July 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Labels: 19th Century, American History, Mississippi River, Underground Railroad, Historical Fiction, Riverboat, Gambling, Poker
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 390
Rating: 4 Stars

Silas Jacobson is a young man living with his father and younger sister and brother on a farm in western Missouri. The time period is 1848. The mother and a younger sister Sally died previously to the beginning of Redemption On The River. Silas and his brother work alongside their father toiling the farm, laboring to earn a living. Their father is a stoic and quiet man, his life has lost its joy and meaning after his wife died. A turning point came when the father suggests to his sons they go duck hunting. During this hunt the father is accidentally killed. What should have been a turning point in the relationship with his sons, becomes a turning point in the life of his fa…

Review: Charlotte's Cases by Valerie Walland

Title: Charlotte's Cases
Author: Valerie Walland
Publisher: Pen Press
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Mystery, Historical Fiction, 19th Century, England
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult, but suitable for young adult
Pages: 366
Rating: 4 Stars

London, England 1886.
Charlotte Worledge dedicated most of her adult life to caring for her ill mother. After her mother's death, Charlotte at age 31 becomes independently wealthy. Charlotte ponders her life, realizing that for the first time she has the ability to decide her future. She begins by updating and decorating her home. Next, she wonders what she will do with her new freedom. Her deceased father had been a solicitor, often working cases that required investigative work. Charlotte quickly becomes involved in working a case for Sarah a housemaid. Sarah's friend George has been accused of stealing at his job. Charlotte is a patient, intelligent, precise, and savvy young woman. These character traits help to make her a great det…

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the novel Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen.
For this challenge my goal is Neophyte: 1 – 4 selections.

I plan to read in 2013, The Annotated Pride and Prejudice in paperback, Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Continued   (free on Kindle), and Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice ($3.99 on Kindle).

Link to join:

On Looking Back at 2012

I'd intended to write this post a few days ago, I've been busy with signing up for challenges, organizing calendars, organizing my desk and office, sorting through and organizing scheduled future reviews. I'm heavily booked with reviews through March. I've also sorted my books into stacks (soon to topple over) so I'll have them handy when I'm ready to read them. Book reviewing (I have 2 blogs) is not as easy or simple as some may think. I keep both a dry-eraser board and large calendar to write in when book reviews are due. I keep files on those I review for, I must keep up with give-aways and if the book reached its destination to the winner. I have to look back over emails to see if I've forgotten to read a book, or failed to answer an email request to read a book for review. Reading and reviewing is not just a hobby, it is a career for me. I don't punch a time clock, but I take reviewing seriously......not to mention passionately.
In looking back at …

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2013

I must choose from one of the following categories/reading levels for this reading challenge, and all types of historical fiction are okay.
20th century reader - 2 books
Victorian reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History -25+ books

The link to join in this challenge:

Their are several hosts for this challenge, the blogs button will suffice for all of them:

My goal is the Medieval-15books.

European Reading Challenge 2013

The European Reading Challenge is the creation of Rose City Reader.
The link for sign-up is @:
This challenge runs from January 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014.
The challenge is to read books from this list of countries:
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.
Each book I choose to read must be from a different author and a different country. Emphasis on touring through Europe.
Book genres can be anything, both fiction and …

Back To The Classics Challenge 2013

Link for sign-up post.

1. A 19th Century Classic.
2. A 20th Century Classic.
3. A pre-18th or 18th Century Classic.
4. A Classic that relates to the African American Experience.
5. A Classic Adventure.
6. A Classic that prominently features an animal.

Other options
A. Re-read a Classic.
B. A Russian Classic
C. A Classic Non-Fiction Title.
D. A Classic Children/Young Adult Title.
E. Classic Short Story.

The first book I'll be reading in January for this challenge is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This book will be for a 19th Century Classic---see number 1 above under required.

Thank you Sarah for being the host!

Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013

Dive Into Poetry Challenge is a creation of Serena @ Savvy Verse and Wit.

Link for sign-up post:

Rules for the Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013:
1. Create a post on your blog stating your intention to read poetry in 2013 and sign up in Mr. Linky. If you don’t have a blog, simply leave a comment about reading poetry in 2013.
2. Choose one of the following options to complete the challenge:

Read and review up to 2 books of poetry throughout 2013 and leave the full link to each review in Mr. Linky.Participate in at least 3 Virtual Poetry Circles throughout the year.Sign up to feature poetry on your blog for April’s National Poetry Month as part of Savvy Verse & Wit’s Blog Tour.Feature one poet per month on your own blog.Or some combination of the above.3. Complete your goals between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013.

Thank you Serena! 

War Through The Generations Challenge 2013,

War Through The Generations Challenge in a creation of Anna and Serena.
In 2009 the challenge was to read books on World War II/Holocaust.
In 2010 the challenge was to read books on Vietnam.
In 2011 the challenge was to read books on the Civil War.
In 2012 the challenge was to read books on World War I.
For 2013 the challenge is to read books on the American Revolution.
The American Revolution began in 1763. The original 13 colonies rejected Great Britain's authority over them. They felt misrepresented as true Englishmen in the British Parliament. Skirmishes and battles began, including the famous tea party revolt of 1773.
I'm embarrassed at what I do not know about the American Revolution.
I have been apart of the War Through The Generations Challenge since the beginning in 2009. Since then I've been anticipating a year study of reading on the American Revolution.
My challenge for 2013 is to read 4-10 books (called Wading). But, I may read more!

Link to join this chal…

Chunkster Book Challenge 2013

I'm committing to reading a total of 6 chunkster books for 2013.
"Do These Books Make My Butt Look Big?" ( yes this is the name of this particular goal)
The goal is 2 books that have 450-550 words, 2 books that have 551-750 words, and 2 books that have greater than 750 words.
These books I will not choose ahead of time but will decide on as time goes by in 2013.
I read many books with greater than 450 words, so this will not be difficult. Greater than 750 words will require more planning.
These books maybe fiction or non-fiction, but will be adult books.

Link for the sign-up and for more information: