Since The Tudors series on Showtime aired my love for all things Tudor era has known no bounds. In fact, I mostly hated reading non-fiction books, espSince The Tudors series on Showtime aired my love for all things Tudor era has known no bounds. In fact, I mostly hated reading non-fiction books, especially history books, until I began to want to know more of the facts about Tudor history after watching the TV show (which I still love, historical inaccuracies and all).
Alison Weir's "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" became the first history book I can remember voluntarily reading, not for a school related assignment, in my entire life. It was an introduction which gave me a much stronger interest in reading history books, especially Tudor related works. I'm not as much of a stranger to historical fiction, having loved reading young adult books set in places like Salem, Massachusetts during the famed witch trials as a teenager, for example. When it recently came time to finally settle on a new book to read, and the Tudor bug was biting me again, this novel seemed like the perfect one to pick up. Written by an author whose historical works I already knew I enjoyed, and written about a period I can't get enough of. Perfect!
It was a bit disheartening to me when I began this book and, well, kind of disliked it. Weir used frequent point of view narrative changes, which I found pretty annoying. The story felt like it skipped around too much between characters, some of whom seemed like ridiculous caricatures instead of actual people, and all of whom seemed to have almost the same voice despite their disparate social conditions. I was really surprised by how ridiculous the people seemed, given the fact Weir comes across as a well researched historian. Surely she wouldn't write ridiculously off-base portraits of historical figures on whom she'd done research for non-fiction works, right?
However, being the absolute Tudor addict that I am, the fascination of watching the story of Lady Jane Grey unfold kept me reading. Setting aside some of my objections to how Weir had people think and behave, I was able to get wrapped up in thinking about the lives of the people involved, which is the part I enjoy most about historical fiction works. About three quarters of the way through this book I actually started to do some fact checking on the main players. I was unsurprised but a bit sad to read that, largely, Weir's character representations seem to be the dramatized, likely based on rumor, and prejudice versions of people that have floated around since the actual Tudor era, rather than a more temperate and factually based representation. The worst of this character assassination was of Frances Brandon, Jane's mother. Especially the earliest parts of this book, it felt like Weir was making Frances over the top cruel with no basis in reality, and it was really hard to believe any of it was accurate to how the woman would have actually acted. Then I reminded myself this is historical fiction book, and if I wanted a thoroughly researched account with multiple citations to sources I needed to read a non-fiction work on the people from this story. Which I probably will now!
After moving on from some of the more unbelievable and clearly fictionalized early portions of this book I found the portions detailing the rise and fall of Lady Jane incredibly interesting. Weir's perspective on how figures like Mary Tudor may have behaved privately during this time saved the book for me. I teetered on the edge of rating this between 2 to 3 stars on GoodRead's system, but the ending portion of the book, as Lady Jane faced the music for all that had been done to her, put this book over the edge from just ok to my liking it.
I would recommend "Innocent Traitor" to Tudor historical fiction lovers, if only as an introduction to the period of Tudor history that starts after King Henry VIII dies. I'm excited now to start branching out to both non-fiction and historical fiction pieces dealing with the periods before and after Henry VIII's reign, though it may give me pause on this book again to learn how much more of it was fiction than I thought....more
When this book was first released I was in a very different place in my life than I am now. I've just re-read this for the I don't know how many timesWhen this book was first released I was in a very different place in my life than I am now. I've just re-read this for the I don't know how many times. I remember when I originally read Deathly Hallows I had quite a few complaints about the pacing and large amount of narrative exposition that went on.
Now, as a mother and wife, I actually had to put this book down and not read sections as I normally do at my desk at work or out on the go. I knew I'd be in tears and emotional. This re-read of Deathly Hallows really highlighted for me that you get out of a story what you bring to it.
For those who grew up in Harry's world and whose lives were brightened and changed during formative years, I'm not sure any book could ever really be the perfect ending to this series. Part of me still waits to hear that Rowling will be releasing another story in Harry's journey, though another part of me knows that hope is very unlikely to be fulfilled.
Deathly Hallows is the culmination of years of life changing reading, and I see now that any review I write will just be changed and updated as I read and re-read this series over and over during various points in my life. For a series, and a book, that I don't want to stop reading, I think a 5 star rating is appropriate....more
There are few things I enjoy as much as being immersed in a Tudor historical fiction book, show or movie. This saga, which this three books in one ediThere are few things I enjoy as much as being immersed in a Tudor historical fiction book, show or movie. This saga, which this three books in one edition doorstopper truly is, fully delivers. Plaidy tells the story of Katherine of Aragon's childhood, arrival in England, and all the travails that ensued as a pawn in royalty game of Tudor era England, until her fall from favor and end of her life. Plaidy weaves in varied alternative points of view to enrich the goings on at the court and around the world, which influenced Katherine's life.
One downfall to shoving what once was three separate books into one edition was that certain portions of each book wound up feeling repetitive. Several times within what would have been the first and second books I wound up highlighting portions as extreme examples of this, where things such as Wolsey's hatred for his enemies were described in almost exactly the same way within several pages of each other. Over and over. Putting those issues aside, these were exactly what I look for in Tudor historical fiction romps. The historical accuracy felt real and the fictionalized portions were consistent with the period and believable. The biggest recommendation I can give is that after finishing this I immediately wanted to pick up the next volume in this series. ...more
For a while I have been feeling like I’d lost my ability to read lengthy novels. Now, I’ve realized I haven’t lost that ability. I just needed materiaFor a while I have been feeling like I’d lost my ability to read lengthy novels. Now, I’ve realized I haven’t lost that ability. I just needed material I wanted to keep reading. And thus, another edition of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga, finished!
A Feast for Crows narrowed the scope of the series to only a portion of the characters found in previous books. Notably absent were some of the characters I love most (Tyrion, where for art thou?!). This has been lamented ad nauseum in a majority of reviews I read for this book. I refrained from reading reviews, mostly to avoid spoilers, until after finishing this. Wow. The anger! The sheer distress and hatred! I had to pause before writing this to think “Did I miss something? Was this book really so bad?” And to myself I answer . . . Nope. In an attempt to relate to my fellow reviewers I should say, I can see the anger when you’ve had to wait ages for this book, or had to wait ages for the next one. I have been spoiled when reading this series because so many of the books were available at the time I started. For a portion of reading AFFC I had moments of wanting to skip through certain point of views (Samwell, why can’t I like you? Stop the simpering and man up already!!). My reading experience fell in line with previous installments of this series where I found that the last quarter or so of the book really picked up. I had no issues plowing through to the end and then immediately purchased A Dance with Dragons. I didn’t want to leave the world for very long. Sorry 634 other books I’ve picked up and haven’t finished yet!
Part of the real gravity of this book didn’t hit me until I was reflecting on it now to write this. A lot of the story felt like characters were just shuffling around for most of the book. Upon further reflection it wasn’t just shuffling. Martin set up so much conflict to explode (hopefully) for the next book. Some people are going to get theirs (they better or I will HUNT YOU DOWN MARTIN - I think I’m required to say something like that, in all caps, in this review . . .). There were some events near the end that had me wanting to run to friends who have read the books and say “OH EM GEE!!” I can only give AFFC 3 stars though. I liked the book. But I didn't love it. There were enough times I found myself rolling my eyes at yet another repeat of phrasing or descriptions that I just cannot give this book a higher rating.
I typically don’t read fantasy. I have had a hard time making it through long novels lately. But Martin has kept me connected and interested for four books now, and onto the fifth. ...more
This installment of the series was everything I was promised it would be, and more. Halfway through I was getting anxious and angry at the goings on.This installment of the series was everything I was promised it would be, and more. Halfway through I was getting anxious and angry at the goings on. But the second half of Martin's massive story was amazing. Jaw dropping. I gasped. I squeed. I kept telling my husband how much I wanted to talk to him about it, but didn't want to spoil it for him (as he has only been watching the T.V. show, and doesn't want next season's shockers spoiled). I've honestly never been so desperate to find a friend to talk to about a book. Although most of the conversation would probably have gone "Can you believe . . . I KNOW! . . . And then . . . WOW!! . . . I never imagined . . . HA! Oh em gee! WOO! Argh!! Okay I need the next book now." Thank you Amazon and Kindle, for I was able to pick up A Feast for Crows immediately after finishing this. And I definitely wanted to. No doubt in my mind I needed to keep reading the next book, which is a huge endorsement for a series.
Where I found prior installments of this series a bit slow, and mostly character shuffling, A Storm of Swords does shuffle characters, but quickly and interestingly and in a way you have to know what happens next. The cliff hanger endings of a lot of the chapters were great. Made it hard to put down at night! Reflecting on the book now, I'm not sure I got as much of an emotional feeling about certain narrators in this book. I've found myself either really liking or disliking narrators in previous books of this series. Maybe my emotions are already tied to people enough that I just didn't switch around much. Martin also has new and different narrators in both this and the next book. This definitely adds to the enjoyment and desire to keep going.
If you're having trouble slogging through the previous book(s), get to this one. Get through it. You'll definitely be hooked in!...more
I didn't have the boredom issues with this book that others report. However, I also had Season 3 of the TVHurray! Book two is done - onto book three!
I didn't have the boredom issues with this book that others report. However, I also had Season 3 of the TV show to let me know "better things are coming". I found most of A Clash of Kings to be character development. I only got a bit bored during Dany (GASP!) and Davos chapters. The other characters I enjoyed getting to their chapters and seeing what would unfold. I do think the knowledge from the TV show helped augment my enjoyment of this book. Some of the more potentially boring chapters became "Oohhh, so THAT is how this got started/what is going on" background building. It helps too that I got hints from a few people that A Storm of Swords is amazing in comparision.
The combination of this book and the TV show has definitely spurred me on to continuing my A Song of Ice and Fire series reading. Usually I get bored of series and like to just read one book at a time and come back to them, but this one has definitely captured my attention and I don't want to stop....more
For me, re-reading Harry Potter is like that first night after coming home from a long vacation and getting to sleep on freshly cleaned sheets in yourFor me, re-reading Harry Potter is like that first night after coming home from a long vacation and getting to sleep on freshly cleaned sheets in your own bed. Goblet of Fire has long been my favorite of the series. I've always felt like this book began *real* character development, and having finished the series now I can see where Rowling dropped hints about what was to come, which added new depth to the book.
It's hard to resist continuing on with the re-reads, but I need to finish other books I started ages ago first. Once those are done I'm sure the next HP will sneak into my currently reading list!...more
Having had a large gap between reads of this book, I was a bit surprised to find that I enjoyed the way the movie version of this handled some of theHaving had a large gap between reads of this book, I was a bit surprised to find that I enjoyed the way the movie version of this handled some of the scenes near the end. Still, I adore all things HP and am quite happy to have spent time re-reading this. Jumping right into Goblet of Fire re-read next!...more
My intro to Discworld was The Color of Magic. I became absolutely smitten with the characters and could not wait to read more of the series.
Of courseMy intro to Discworld was The Color of Magic. I became absolutely smitten with the characters and could not wait to read more of the series.
Of course I got distracted by other books, so it had been quite a while when I finally picked up The Light Fantastic. I think this book would have been better had I read it immediately following Color of Magic. While still dripping with Discworld magic and charm I found myself not quite as immersed in The Light Fantastic. It felt more like a transition novel than a stand alone piece. By the end I was still quite sad to be parting ways once again with Rincewind, Twoflower, and of course, the Luggage. The Light Fantastic is definitely worth reading, though I don't see myself wanting to come back to this one to re-read anytime soon. I will be picking up the next Discworld book I plan to read much sooner this time!...more
Reading this book felt very timely to me. I have always been one of those types of people who does better emotionally when I'm releasing my creative iReading this book felt very timely to me. I have always been one of those types of people who does better emotionally when I'm releasing my creative impulses somehow. Piano, singing, doodling, whatever it might be. But the past few years, mostly due to time constraints, I've felt pretty much in a rut and stifled. I was excited to read Imagine in the hopes it might spark some personal creativity, or at least make me feel more optimistic that at some point my rut will end.
Various aspects of this book are definitely inspiring. I highly enjoyed the stories about how others have gotten creative and come up with new ideas, new products, enhanced their creative en devours, etc. Not surprising was the fact that a lot of the stories seemed to involve luck. Being creative and having an idea that is innovative and fresh involves a lot of tiny factors that mesh into one, and if you're lucky, you have that "a ha!" moment thanks to them. But the information about how hard work, dedication, various forms of collaboration, taking care of (or not) your body to enhance your mind, while not necessarily world shatteringly new, was definitely a large part of why this book is inspiring. The biggest take away idea found in Imagine is that even if you haven't been a creative person your entire life, if you put yourself into the right situation, at the right time, or keep trying until you do, work with the right people, and work hard enough, you can be creative.
Imagine is disappointingly short though. The book felt more like a broad overview. I would have enjoyed more of a focus on certain aspects of creativity - though maybe a part of the problem is the lack of in-depth research to then write in-depthly about. I also would have enjoyed reading a lot more of the creative anecdotes, but that's because I'm a learn by example type and hearing stories like that is immensely inspiring to me. Certain sections of the book were definitely geared toward corporate creativity. For those of us peons in a boring 9 to 5, with little to no control over our corporate destiny, those sections could wind up leaving you feeling frustrated. After mulling it over though I actually feel it may have inspired me to find a place, corporate or otherwise, more in tune with being creative - as opposed to just being "productive". The business focused sections were more of a commentary on how typical corporate structures don't work due to their stifling of creativity. However, they still felt a bit misplaced in this book. I picked up Imagine wanting to learn more about how myself, as an individual, can hone and develop my creativity. How the human creative process on an individual level works. Reading how Pixar has improved its bottom line by having bathrooms in the middle of the office, while interesting, didn't really aid in what I considered the ultimate goal of the book.
The brain science of how humans are creative seems to be in its infancy. I would be curious to see how this book might get updated in 5, 10, or 20 years, as the technology to map out the human brain improves....more
I began this book unawares that it was the final of the series. I once again must curse you, Ms. Carriger, for writing such an addictive book that leaI began this book unawares that it was the final of the series. I once again must curse you, Ms. Carriger, for writing such an addictive book that leaves me wanting more. And now, instead of knowing the next in the series shall arrive at some point, I am left utterly devoid of solace!
Timeless picks up several years after the adventures of Heartless. We are quickly brought up to speed and sent off on the next adventure. This time, secrets are revealed! Relationships torn apart and put back together again! New loves found! Death and destruction occur! There were some moments I was quite upset, thinking I had guessed where the book was going, only to be proven quite wrong later on.
Timeless is a fitting ending to a wonderful series. At some point, when my to-read list isn't quite so long (HA *snort*), I fully intend to read through the whole series again, back to back. I greatly enjoyed the characters, plot, the mesh of multiple genres, and the style of writing in each and every book. I tell friends to read these all the time - and even here at the end, I still think they all should!...more