Showing posts from January, 2014

[Review] The Kings and Queens of England The Biography by David Loades

Title: The Kings and Queens of England The Biography
Author: David Loades
Publisher: Amberley Publishing August 20, 2013
Genre: Non-fiction, Kings and Queens of England, Royalty, British History, British History Reading Challenge 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 544, 166 illustrations
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Amberley Publishing for the purpose of review.

Link for more information at Amberley Publishing.

Website for David Loades.

The Kings and Queens of England is an encyclopedic biography. Beginning in 925 AD with Athelstan's reign in Mercia and followed by his reign in England 927 AD; through to our current era of Elizabeth II and her family. David Loades, mentions three times in the introduction, this book is not a "political narrative." "This is not a constitutional history, but essentially a narrative of the lives of men and women, because until comparatively recent times England was a personal monarchy." The introduction in brief, shares info…

My Morning Ritual


[Review] Longbourn by Jo Baker

Title: Longbourn
Author: Jo Baker
Publisher: Knopf October 8, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Servant Class, Pride and Prejudice Spin-off
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  352
Rating: 2
Source: Self-purchased

The time period is the early 1800s, England. Sarah, a young woman is a housemaid employed by the Bennet family. The Bennet daughters are: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, Lydia. The Bennet family was the creation of Jane Austen, in the novel Pride and Prejudice. In Longbourn, the readers see behind the scenes and through the eyes of Sarah. Mrs. Hill, is in charge of the kitchen and housemaids, she was employed by Mr. Bennet before he married. Sarah daydreams while performing domestic chores; imagining life outside the constraint of Longbourn. A thin, haggard, young man begins working with the horses at Longbourn. Sarah is intrigued by him; however, she does not think he will fulfill her fanciful notion of love.

1. Narrative of the servants life. When Longbourn begins Sarah and another maid are …

[Review] Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd

Title: Hunting Shadows
Author: Charles Todd
Publisher: William Morrow January 21, 2014
Genre: Fiction, English Mystery, Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery, Post World War I
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Free copy from William Morrow in exchange for a review. 

Link for book at William Morrow. 
Link for authors Charles Todd, a mother and son writing team.

Sixteen books have been written thus far in the Ian Rutledge Mysteries.
Five books have been written in the Bess Crawford Mysteries
I discovered the mother/son writing team two years ago, and have been reading my way through their books. There are two other fiction stand alone books: The Murder Stone and The Walnut Tree. I reviewed The Walnut Tree last November.
Further reviews of the Charles Todd books:
An Impartial Witness, Bess Crawford Mystery
Search The Dark, Ian Rutledge Mystery 
A Test of Wills, Ian Rutledge Mystery
The Confessions, Ian Rutledge Mystery
A Bitter Truth, Bess Crawford Mystery
A Duty to the Dea…

[Review] The Oracles of Troy by Glyn Iliffe

Title: The Oracles of Troy: The Adventures of Odysseus
Author: Glyn Iliffe
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services October 25, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Mythology, Greek/Trogan War,
Format: eBook, Kindle
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Free copy from the author for the purpose of review
The epic poem of the Greek and Trojan war is written in the Iliad by Homer.
Homer's next book depicting Odysseus's long journey home is written in the Odyssey. Both works were written in 8th century BC by Homer.
Odysseus (Greek name) also known as Ulysses (Roman name) is a Greek prince, who has rallied behind King Agamemnon of Mycenae and his brother King Menelaus of Sparta, in order to seek revenge and destroy the city of Troy. King Priam of Troy has a son named Paris who fell in love with and had an affair with Helen, she is the wife of Menelaus. They have battled for ten long years and both sides are eager for an end.  
The Oracles of Troy depicts a fictional account of the ending history of the Greek and Tr…

An Excerpt from The Execution by Dick Wolf

PROLOGUE January 9 Upstate New York Half a mile from the Canadian border, somewhere west of Lake Champlain

The explosive noise of the guns had set off a chain reaction, sheets of wet snow dropping from the limbs of the pine trees surrounding Jeremy Fisk. Even after the gunfire stopped, Fisk could hear limbs snapping, snow thudding to earth, a circular cataract expanding, fading away from him like ripples in a frigid pond.
And then the endless forest . . . went silent.
My God, thought Fisk. They’re all dead.

Ten minutes earlier
The Swedes were late. Maybe they weren’t even coming.
Detective Jeremy Fisk of the NYPD Intelligence Division hated upstate New York. Hated the whole idea of it. Even though he had lived all over the world during his childhood, he had spent most of his adult life in New York City and had the passion of the convert for his adopted home. And as a confirmed New Yorker, he despised upstate on principle. Upstate was hillbillies and trailer parks and suicidal deer that p…

The Execution by Dick Wolf, A New Novel From HarperCollinsPublisher

Last year Law & Order creator Dick Wolf burst onto the literary scene with his bestselling debut thriller, The Intercept. The Associated Press declared, “…tight prose, great characters and the intense twists are all signs of a master at work,” and the Washington Post exclaimed, “[The Intercept] should rank with the best of this year’s thrillers.”
Now Wolf delivers his follow-up, THE EXECUTION (William Morrow; On-Sale: January 7, 2014; One Day Laydown; ISBN: 9780062064851; Price: $27.99/ $33.99 Can.), in which Jeremy Fisk—detective with the NYPD’s Intelligence Division of the Joint Terrorism Task Force—is out to stop an assassin let loose in New York City by a shadowy business cartel.
Ten days after the Mexican presidential election, twenty-three bodies are discovered beheaded on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Leading the investigation for the Mexican intelligence agency is 35-year-old Cecilia Garza, a raven-haired beauty who’s notorious for her intensity and take-no-priso…

[Review] Sebastian's Way, The Pathfinder: The Sebastian Chronicles Book One by George Steger

Title: Sebastian's Way: The Pathfinder (The Sebastian Chronicles Book One)
Author: George Steger
Publisher: iUniverse LLC October 3, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction, Frankish-Saxon Wars, Saxon, King Charlemagne, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Format: Paperback
Pages: 370
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from George Steger and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the purpose of review.

Last year I began reading books on the Middle Ages and Anglo-Saxon history, pertaining to its affect in England, Scotland, Wales. I wanted to read Sebastian's Way to learn about the Germanic Franks. Charlemagne has been a historical figure I've wanted to read about for a long time. Even though Sebastian's Way is historical fiction, this book helped give me an in-depth look at the time period and people.

When the story begins~
The year is 768 AD.
The setting is Fortress Adalgray, in the Germanic region, east of the Rhine river and south of the river Lahn.
Sebastian is a you…

[Review] Morte d'Arthur by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Morte d'Arthur is a poem in The Best Poems of the English Language From Chaucer to Frost Selected and with commentary by Harold Bloom.

Poem available in its entirety at The Poetry Foundation.
And The Literature Network.  
And at Bartleby.I don't care for the advertisements at this link. 
And Poem Hunter. 

Written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

"Idylls of the King, was published between 1859 and 1885. It is a collection of twelve narrative poems," telling the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Morte d'Arthur is the last poem. On audio I'm listening to all of the Idylls of the King, and will review all of it in a later post. When I review Idylls of the King, I will not count it twice as it holds this story and don't think it would be fair to count it a second time. 
Above quote from Wikipedia.

Morte d'Arthur is a beautiful poem; it is nostalgic, haunting, magical; it is the end of a romantic and chivalrous era of King Arthu…

[Review] The Harlot's Tale by Sam Thomas

Title: The Harlot's Tale
Author: Sam Thomas
Publisher: Minotaur Books January 7, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Puritan York, Midwifery, England, 1600s, 17th Century
Format: NetGalley eBook
Pages: The hardcover has 320 pages
Rating: 3 Stars for good.
Source: Free copy from Sam Thomas, Minotaur Books, NetGalley, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the purpose of review.

Sam Thomas's first book in this series was reviewed by me February 1, 2013 @ this link
The Midwife's Tale.

The Harlot's Tale is the second book in the series of a midwife named Bridget Hogsdon. Bridget lives in York, England during the mid 1600s. Bridget is widowed, no children, in her thirties. Bridget's housekeeper is Hannah. Her midwife assistant is Martha. A nephew named Will rounds out the main cast of characters.
A pair of gruesome murders begin the mysterious crimes in York. Bridget is enlisted to help find the perpetrators. Her midwife assistan…

[Review] Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare

I read Troilus and Cressida out of Volume II The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, The Programmed Classics. I'm not able to find the book online in order to post it's photo, nor to give you the link for the book. This book was bought by me several years ago at an estate sale.

Title: Troilus and Cressida
Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Fiction, Drama, Play, Tragedy, The Classics Club, Shakespeare Reading Challenge 2014
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Source: Self-purchased.
Troilus and Cressida is the second tragedy read this year for the Shakespeare Reading Challenge.
Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy, drama, play, written by William Shakespeare in about 1603.
King Priam of Troy had six sons: Hector, Troilus, Paris, Deiphobus, Helenus, Margarelon (illegitimate).
King Priam had a prophetess daughter named Cassandra.
The story takes place during the Greek/Trojan war. Maybe you remember Paris and Helen, Menelaus's wife, they had an affair and Paris brought her ba…

[Review] Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
Publisher: W.W. Norton January 17, 1999, First Edition
Genre: Fiction, Victorian Literature, Classic, Coming of Age Novel
Format: Paperback
Pages: 748
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

I was a teenage girl the first time I read a Charles Dickens book, the story was A Christmas Carol. Since then I've read A Christmas Carol several times. Over the past decade other Dickens books have been read: David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities.Great Expectations is now added to the list. My favorite is still David Copperfield, number one over-all in all the books I've read. I enjoyed reading Great Expectations. The more I think about the story, the more I realize Pip's life is similar to my own; an awakening to who he is and where he's been and further where he's going. Pip develops as a character; both in age and in emotional maturity. I find it interesting that Pip is not always a likable charac…

[Review] Othello by William Shakespeare

Title: Othello
Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Daniel Vitkus
Series Editor: David Scott Kastan
Publisher: Barnes and Noble, Inc. 2007
Genre: Fiction, Tragedy, Drama
Format: Paperback
Pages: 408
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Self-purchase
Othello is the story of a Moorish Venetian general named Othello. Othello being a Moor is dark-skinned. His Venetian light-skinned wife is Desdemona. Othello's ensign is Iago and his lieutenant is Cassio. Iago creates a plan to turn Othello away from Desdemona and Cassio, and trust himself. He uses Othello's own insecurities and personality traits against him.
Othello has themes of insecurity, distrust, jealously, prejudice, bi-racial marriage, murder, views of men and women.
According to the editor of the Barnes and Nobles Classic Othello is a play of "realism and symbolism."
The name Moor was given to any dark-skinned person. Dark-skinned was considered "evil."

"At the time that Shakespeare wrote, there was still some…

Currently Reading

The flu bug has arrived at our house. My husband has been sick almost a week, younger son is sick, and I'm not feeling well today. All of us got a flu shot, so either we have a light case, or some other respiratory type virus.
Currently I'm reading and nearly finished with: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Othello by William Shakespeare,Sebastian's Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger, and The Oracles of Troy (The Adventures of Odysseus) by Glyn Lliffe.
The Harlot's Tale by Samuel Thomas will be reviewed on the 14th for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
Sebastian's Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger will be reviewed on the 15th for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge 2014

Link for challenge:

My goal for 2014 is Wade-in, to read 4-6 books of poetry in 2014.

War Through The Generations: 2014 Reading Challenge With a Twist

War Through the Generations 2014 Reading Challenge is a bit different this year. In the past one full year was devoted to one war. This year multiple wars are divided up, two-months for each war, total of six wars.

Link for rules, more information:

Reading schedule for 2014:
Jan./Feb.:Gulf Wars (Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm and Iraq War/Operation Iraqi Freedom)March/April:French and Indian WarMay/June:Korean WarJuly/August:WWI (100th Anniversary)Sept./Oct.:WWIINov./Dec.:Vietnam War Participation levels:

Level of Participation:
Dip Your Toes: Read 1 book for any war
Novice: Read 1 book per war throughout the year for a total of 6 books on 6 different warsIntermediate: Read 2+ books for 1 war, and 1 book for each of the others for a total of 7 booksExpert: Read 2+ books for each war for a total of 12 books
I'm committing to Dip Your Toes. Some of the wars I don't want to read. My eldest son was in the …