Showing posts from October, 2015

(Review) The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Publication Date: 2010.
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Fiction, Abandoned children, mystery.
Pages: 549.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.


In 1913, a four year old girl is left abandoned at a shipping dock in Australia. The little girl is brought home to live with the O'Connor family. They name her Nell. At age 21, her father, Hugh O'Connor, shares the circumstances of how she came to live with them. In 1975, Nell travels to England to investigate her true parentage and reason for abandonment. Nell's granddaughter Cassandra has a strong voice in The Forgotten Garden. Cassandra's story will uncover mysteries thought hidden.

My Thoughts:
I loved this story! It has several gems that bring about a treasure of a book.

Travel. Mystery.Romance.Danger.Story-telling inside the main story.A hidden garden.Starting over from the old life.Complex characters.Twists.Engaging plot.Hidden meanings.  The story travels back and forth through …

(Review) Legacy: The Acclaimed Novel Of Elizabeth, England's Most Passionate Queen-And The Three Men Who Loved Her by Susan Kay

Publication Date: July 1, 2010.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 2010.
Genre: Historical fiction, Elizabeth I.
Pages: 649.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

Legacy is a historical fiction account of the life of Elizabeth I. From the beginnings of her parents relationship and her mother's execution, to Elizabeth's dismal childhood, and to her coronation and reign as Elizabeth I.
Legacy's intention is to portray a dimensional Elizabeth. A strong-willed and defiant personality, a passionate person, a desire to love and be loved, shrewd and resilient, savvy and intelligent.
Elizabeth's relationships are a heavy element in Legacy. The work is historical fiction, and the fictional account of her love life is it's strongest point.

My Thoughts:
From the start, I was drawn into the first scene with Elizabeth and an enormous large rat. They are both housed in the Tower during Mary Tudor's reign. I believe the scene was symbolic for Elizabeth…

(Review) The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song

Publication Date: September 1, 2015.
Publisher: Watson-Guptill, Crown Publishing.
Genre: Coloring book.
Age range: 10 and up.
Pages: 80.
Source: Free copy from Blogging for Books, Watson-Guptill, and Crown Publishing.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

For more information visit the publisher: Crown Publishing. 
And a free goody for you, the ability to download and print color pages: Read it Forward.

Barnes and Noble

If you've visited Barnes and Nobles, Sam's Club, Walmart, or Target you've noticed "grown-up" inspired coloring books.
These new coloring books all have unique stand-out differences from the old style children's coloring books:

Thick pages.Detailed drawings. Complex and intricate drawings inside the main drawing on each page. Theme inspired books.A large assortment of choices, from nature themes, to magical kingdoms, to human anatomy.More pages per book. A work-out for the brain, yet it feels like play and relaxation. 
The Time Garden is the firs…

(Review) The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Publication Date: 2004.
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks.
Genre: Fiction, artist, Renaissance, Italy.
Pages: 403.
Source: Gift.
Rating: 2 stars for okay.

Alessandra Cecchi is age fourteen. She is the precocious young daughter of a family in Florence, Italy. Her older sister marries and has a child. Alessandra has a brother named Tomaso. Alessandra and Tomaso's conflicts continue throughout the story and is one of the strong elements of conflict. Their father brings an eccentric Flemish painter to their home to paint the altar frescoes. As soon as Alessandra is considered marriageable, she is married to an older man. Their "arrangement" gives Alessandra more freedom than most married women are given.
The book begins with the end of a woman's life, then picks up with the story of Alessandra. The ending is a conclusion of the prologue.

My Thoughts:
I found The Birth of Venus to be "over-the-top," with a far-fetched story and vulgar body descr…

(Review) Eragon, The Inheritance Cycle Book 1 by Christopher Paolini

Publication Date: April 2005. First published 2002.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf.
Genre: Fantasy fiction, dragons.
Age Range: 12 and up.
Pages: 528.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.


Further books in the series:
Book 2, Eldest
Book 3, Brisingr
Book 4, The Inheritance

Fifteen year old Eragon works a farm with his uncle Garrow and Roran. They live in the land of Alagaesia. Eragon finds an unusual blue stone while hunting. His first thought is to sell the stone. At this point in the story, the object is thought to be a brilliant blue veined stone. One night the stone cracks and a dragon emerges. Eragon seeks the advice of Brom, a man with stories of dragons and dragon riders.

My Thoughts:
I'm a newby to fantasy fiction and I'm a little giddy about the genre.
Who doesn't love a good dragon story?
From the first page, there is an expectation Eragon is a special young man. His past is mysterious, and in book one nothing in detail is revealed about …

(Review) The Solitary House, Charles Maddox Book 2 by Lynn Shepherd

Publication Date: 2013. First published 2012.
Publisher: Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks.
Genre: Victorian England, Mystery, Detective Novel.
Pages: 368.
Source: Gift.
Rating: 3 to 4 stars, good to very good.


Other books in this series:
Book 1, Murder At Mansfield Park
Book 3, A Fatal Likeness

London, England, early winter, 1850.
Charles Maddox hunts criminals. He had been a police officer, but was ousted after a misconduct. Maddox is a young man in his mid twenties. He shares a rented room with his cat Thunder. Early in the book, the decaying remains of babies are found. Maddox is summoned to the crime scene by Inspector Field.
The Solitary House is a murder mystery, detective story. with a sinister Victorian era atmosphere.

My Thoughts:
Reviews have been mixed on The Solitary House. Sometimes this is the case with books, the reaction is either one extreme or the other. I enjoyed reading The Solitary House, not a 5 star enjoy, but somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. It is a s…

(Review) Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson

Publication Date: April 1, 2010. First published in 2009.
Publisher: John Murray, Hachette UK Company.
Genre: Nonfiction, Country House Servants, England.
Pages: 384.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.


Up and Down Stairs is a history of the country house servant. All servants working in the great houses of England are explored and described. From the butler and housemaid, to the cooks in the kitchen, to those who worked in the gardens and the coachmen. The time period for the book begins with medieval history. The majority of the servants explored are from the late 1800s to the early 20th century. Personal stories are included.

My Thoughts:
I am making great progress in my TBR pile of books. I've had Up and Down Stairs for a few years waiting on me to read it.
Several elements led me to enjoy this book.

The book begins with known facts about servants from medieval times, Tudor history, and progressing to the Victorian time and 20th century. Detaile…

(Review) The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Lord Of The Rings Book One by J.R.R. Tolkien

Publication Date: September 18, 2012. First published 1954.
Publisher: Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Genre: Fantasy fiction.
Pages: 398.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

Way back in high school some of the English classes read The Hobbit. I've slept since then and don't remember if I read The Hobbit, or blinked out with other interests. I was not a good student in high school, but had matured by the time I went to college.
I've seen The Lord Of The Ring films. I've seen The Hobbit film.
This is the first time I've read a Tolkien story.

"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for the Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In The Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

Bilbo …

(Review) Wings Of Fire by Charles Todd

Publication Date: 1998.
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks.
Genre: Mystery, detective.
Pages: 306.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.

Wings Of Fire is book two in the Charles Todd series about Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard. Rutledge is a World War I veteran. The time period is 1919. Rutledge has PTSD.
Wings of Fire begins with the discovery of the dead bodies of brother and sister, Nicholas and Olivia. Their deaths are thought to be a double suicide. A third body is found and thought to be an accidental death. Rutledge is sent to Cornwall to investigate the three deaths.
Olivia is known in the poetry world as O.A. Manning. She was a poet and had written a series of love poems in a book titled Wings of Fire. These poems became popular during World War I.

My Thoughts:
I love the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. I've read the following books in this series.
Book One- A Test of Wills
Book Two- Wings Of Fire
Book Three- Search The Dark
Book Fourteen-…