I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I really like to read about periods in history that I'm unfamiliar with and this book really piqued my interest.
To Be I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I really like to read about periods in history that I'm unfamiliar with and this book really piqued my interest.
To Be a Queen has so many good characters. It's hard to choose a favorite! Teasel, as Aethelflaed is called, is a fantastic main character. I was so impressed with her intelligence, poise and inner strength. She made the best of her arranged marriage and she and Ethelred build a relationship based on mutual respect and eventually love. Theirs was an unexpected but beautiful love story. Besides Teasel, I loved Frith. His faithfulness to Teasel was so endearing. I also liked how, despite the fact that he was more of a secondary character, he was still very well-developed.
It was fascinating to read about the battles, politics and customs of the Saxons and Mercians and to see just how devastating the Viking raids were. The author provides a great deal of historical detail and does a really good job of weaving it into the story. As I said above, I know nothing about this period and hadn't even heard of Mercia until reading this book. It was a really interesting period to read about and I have added it to my growing list of things to research more.
The only complaint I had is that the book was a little slow to start but once I got into the story, I was hooked. I would highly recommend To Be A Queen to any fan of historical fiction. 4 stars....more
I've always enjoyed Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun's paintings so when the opportunity arose to review this book, I jumped at it. Becoming Lisette was a such I've always enjoyed Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun's paintings so when the opportunity arose to review this book, I jumped at it. Becoming Lisette was a such a wonderful surprise: Ms. Glenn has given us a well-written portrayal of this talented artist.
Becoming Lisette is an early look at Vigee LeBrun's life, before she has reached the fame and notoriety of her later life. I loved reading about Lisette's passion for art and painting; the descriptions of the colors she used and the way she painted were amazing. I felt like I could almost visualize the paintings as she was working on them.
I also really enjoyed reading about life in Paris during that late 17th century. Lisette's family wasn't very well off while her father was alive so it was interesting to see lower-middle class life and then the jump to upper-middle class life. There was such a huge shift in the way Lisette and her mother lived their every day lives and it was fascinating to see how differently people of various classes lived. I will say that I loved reading about the meals that Lisette and her mother prepared and served. They were so intricate and there was such a controlled structure to how they were served and in what order. It made me want to research French food!
I was a little disappointed with how abruptly this story ended but when I realized that there will be second book, it made more sense (can't wait to read the next one!). Overall, I found Becoming Lisette to be a great book. 4 stars....more
Bone Box is a great thriller with a unique historical twist. I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. While the story was slow to start,Bone Box is a great thriller with a unique historical twist. I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. While the story was slow to start, once things got moving I was hooked. The story contains a wide array of characters; some interesting and others strange but all playing an integral role in a story with more twists and turns than I ever could have expected.
I was completely intrigued by the idea of archaeologists finding the bones of Jesus as well as new writings by him and his followers. It was fascinating to think of how the world would react if such things did exist and I think the author did a great job of portraying the pandemonium that might ensue. I also loved the descriptions of the archaeological digs and the caves at Cappadocia. I'm not familiar with a lot of the history of Turkey so I really liked learning more about it.
As I said above, I really liked all of the twists and turns of the story but at times I was a little confused by what was going on. The story was busy and there were a ton of characters and a lot going on. I usually could figure things out but there were a few times I had to go back and re-read things to get a better grasp on what was happening. I also felt like the ending left me with a lot of unanswered questions.
Overall, I found Bone Box to be an enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it! 3 stars....more
The Lady Bornekova is a delightfully entertaining read. It has a great plot, interesting characters and the just the right touch of romance as well asThe Lady Bornekova is a delightfully entertaining read. It has a great plot, interesting characters and the just the right touch of romance as well as a unique historical backdrop. I had never heard of the Hussite Wars prior to this book and after finishing it, had to resort to Google and Wikipedia to learn more. I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book set in a country you don't normally see in historical fiction and set in an era that is new to me. It's so refreshing (and exciting) to read such a good story that is so 'out of the box' in comparison to other works of historical fiction.
Lady Karin Bornekova is the main character of the novel and she was such an intelligent and likable character. In a time when women weren't allowed to have opinions, she had strong convictions that were outside the mainstream and she was willing to sacrifice everything for those convictions. I definitely admired her strength and tenacity as she stood up to her father and other people in her life who tried to prevent her thinking and believing the way that she did.
The story had a bit of a mystery to it and while I could easily see who the perpetrator was, I still enjoyed the strange occurrences that seemed to plague Karin. Even when everything was revealed, I was still a bit shocked by the cause and impetus for all that she had to endure. Also, there was, what in my mind seemed like, a cliffhanger ending to this story. It seemed to me like the author might have more to say about Karin's life during the Hussite Wars and I'm very hopeful that she does. 3 stars.
I can't believe the series is over! As sad I am that it has come to an end, I cannot think of a better way to end the series. We get to see Alex and I can't believe the series is over! As sad I am that it has come to an end, I cannot think of a better way to end the series. We get to see Alex and Matthew grow old together with their grown children and friends and I kind of felt like they got a 'happily ever after'. I will miss them but Ms. Belfrage gave us the perfect ending to their story.
Have I mentioned that I love these books? Because I do...so much. I thought it was perfect that Matthew got to return to Scotland; I don't think he would have ever been truly happy in America if he hadn't been able to go back and realize where his true home was. Even though leaving wasn't his choice, I think it was important for him to see that, in the end, it was the right choice.
Speaking of Matthew, I liked that he and Luke came to terms with each other (kind of). Luke is still a rat bastard (excuse the language, I'm only speaking the truth) but he and Matthew at least could function in each others presence in this book. Even though I hate Luke, I didn't hate him as much in this book as I did in the past; I felt like I could finally see where he was coming from, even though I still don't agree with his bad behavior.
This book was mostly Alex and Matthew's story but I loved that we got to see Isaac again. I've been wondering about him for several books. His storyline wasn't what I expected at all but I'm glad that he made an appearance for the last book. We also got to see Father Carlos again which was fun for me since he's one of my favorite side characters.
One of the things I love most about these books, is how well Ms. Belfrage is able to evoke emotion from the reader and make the reader truly care about the characters. There was a scene where Alex visited a loved ones' grave and the way the scene was set just broke my heart and left me in tears. I couldn't help but feel for Alex and all of the losses she endured.
Okay, I think I've babbled on long enough about this book. Needless to say, I loved it and while I'm sad to say goodbye, I'm excited to see what Ms. Belfrage has in store for us in the future. 4 stars....more
Inspector of the Dead is a fantastic sequel to Murder as a Fine Art. David Morrell has out done himself again. I felt like this book was a double wha Inspector of the Dead is a fantastic sequel to Murder as a Fine Art. David Morrell has out done himself again. I felt like this book was a double whammy combining an awesome mystery with a look at Queen Victoria and her reign. I will definitely be reading more about Victoria in the near future.
Thomas De Quincey is back in all his eccentric glory in this book. However, I do think that several of the side characters from the last book, became more prominent in this book. Mr. Morrell did a great job of letting the reader see more of the other characters while not stealing De Quincey's limelight. I especially enjoyed getting to know Emily more in this book and seeing her strength and intelligence highlighted.
I must say that Mr. Morrell comes up with some awesome villains and does an amazing job of hiding them in plain sight. I never saw it coming! And despite how perfectly evil he was, I kind of felt sorry for him. As the reader finds out all of the awful things that led to the villain becoming a murderer, it's hard not to sympathize with his plight. I really struggled with wanting to hate him while also feeling guilty that the system failed him so miserably.
Morrell's descriptions of Victorian London are once again wonderful. I also thought that he did an excellent job of putting a ton of information about Queen Victoria and the political climate into the story in such a way that it flowed nicely with the murder mystery. Overall, this is a great book and I'm really hoping that Mr. Morrell writes another De Quincey book soon! 4 stars....more
The Witch Hunter's Tale is the third book in Sam Thomas' Midwife Mystery series and so far it is my favorite. I could not stop reading it! They just kThe Witch Hunter's Tale is the third book in Sam Thomas' Midwife Mystery series and so far it is my favorite. I could not stop reading it! They just keep getting better and I think he outdid himself with this one!
I am really interested in 'witch hunts' of the past so I found this to be a really compelling story. Mr. Thomas did a good job of showing how the fear of witches and the unexplainable could permeate society and do great damage to a community. You could almost feel the fear throughout the story. I liked how Lady Bridget even believed in witches even though she thought the women accused were innocent. I think it made the story more authentic to have the main character believing as most of her contemporaries would have. It was a little shocking at first but overall I did like that.
The story had a lot of twists and turns and one amazing villain. I thought Rebecca Hooke was bad but Joseph was the worst. For a so-called 'man of God' he was pure evil and I just couldn't believe the lengths he went to in order to get more power for himself. I was very surprised with the way things turned out; I would never have expected it but I think it worked. That being said, the end was so sad (for me) and I was left with so many questions. I'm hoping there will be another book after this because I really want some resolution after the events of this one.
Overall, an excellent historical mystery! 4 stars....more
The Towers of Tuscany is a fascinating read. I am not familiar with Italian history at all but I was enthralled by the descriptions of life in medievaThe Towers of Tuscany is a fascinating read. I am not familiar with Italian history at all but I was enthralled by the descriptions of life in medieval Italy and work of artists living there.
I really enjoyed reading about the process of creating a painting and all the work involved. I knew it was a complicated process but I had no idea how much work an artist put into creating one painted panel. I loved the vivid descriptions of the paintings themselves; the way the figures looked, the colors, the symbolism, etc. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Siena and the town of San Gimignano. The way she described the towers and the different buildings as well as all the twists and turns in the city of Siena just made me want to visit Italy now.
Sofia was an interesting character. She was strong-willed woman who was determined to follow her dreams no matter what. I liked her as a character but at times she seemed very full of herself and that got a little irritating. She was very unlucky in love and I felt kind of bad for her in that regard. There were a lot of great characters in this book but I think Francesco and Marcello were my favorites. They were both so kind and devoted to helping Sofia and yet there was so much more to them. They both had this quiet depth to them that made me want to know them more.
I was a little disappointed in the ending. It felt very rushed and I had a lot of questions left unanswered. Also, I wasn't quite sure of the Epilogue; I read it twice but I may have to go back and read it again because it just felt like it didn't go with the story. Despite the way it ended, I did enjoy this book and am very interested in learning more about painting in Italy during this era. 3 stars....more
A Grave Inheritance is the lively, action-packed sequel to Goddess Born. From page one, I was sucked into an awesome roller coaster ride of magic, ro A Grave Inheritance is the lively, action-packed sequel to Goddess Born. From page one, I was sucked into an awesome roller coaster ride of magic, royalty and intrigue in late 18th century London.
I went into this book thinking that Selah was the only character with a huge secret but boy, was I wrong. They're were all kinds of secrets revealed; some were surprising and others were not but it made for a very exciting story. Nothing was what it seemed and I loved every twist, turn and new revelation.
There are a ton of new characters in this book who add so much to the story as a whole. Some were really neat and lovable and some were really shady (I'm looking at you, Julian). It seemed like the characters and story expanded as the the setting did; London is a huge city so it makes sense that there would be more people surrounding Selah and affecting her life. There were also old characters who surprised me...in a good way. I'm looking forward to seeing those characters in the next book.
I loved A Grave Inheritance and am so excited to read the next book. The story is engaging, the characters are unique and there is never a dull moment. 4 stars. ...more
Even after seven books, Anna Belfrage does not disappoint! Whither Thou Goest is the latest book in the Graham Saga and follows Alex and Matthew on n Even after seven books, Anna Belfrage does not disappoint! Whither Thou Goest is the latest book in the Graham Saga and follows Alex and Matthew on new adventures.
It's hard to believe that Alex and Matthew are getting older because they still seem as energetic as they did from day one. Belfrage does a wonderful job of showing how much they still love each other and has created this ideal couple out of Alex and Matthew. I love how they still face every hurdle head on and together and that no matter where they go, mischief seems to find them.
There was a lot going on in this book but the story definitely had a slower pace to it. I appreciated that this book wasn't super action packed because after the last book, I think the characters (and the reader) needed a break! Don't get me wrong, there was action in this book but it was just on a much smaller scale. The reader got to know some of Graham children better; Sarah and David both moved to the forefront of this story and it was fun to watch them develop as characters.
Oh boy, can Belfrage write some villains. Angel Munoz was about as evil as they come and Sassafras Brown was super creepy. They aren't the Burleys, but they were both pretty bad. I'm curious about the Angel past/future connection and look forward to seeing if there is more about that in the next book. In fact, I really look forward to the next book in general. This book did a great job of getting things ready for the last book; I'm so excited to see how things turn out and can't wait to see if all of my questions will be answered.
Overall, Whither Thou Goest is another hit. Like I always say in these reviews, if you haven't read the series, go do it! I can't stress enough how much I love everything about it. 4 stars....more
The Loyalist's Luck is a wonderful sequel! It's one of the best I've read in a long time. It picks up right where The Loyalist's Wife left off and takThe Loyalist's Luck is a wonderful sequel! It's one of the best I've read in a long time. It picks up right where The Loyalist's Wife left off and takes the reader to Canada with a group of loyalists escaping the American Revolution.
Lucy continues to be an amazing character. She is hit with even more hard times in this book and still manages to be the picture of grace under pressure. She dealt with a lot of good times and a lot of bad times but she still managed to keep it together. I just love her! We saw her husband John a lot more in this book but I felt like he played second fiddle to Lucy. He was missing from chunks of the story again and it didn't seem like the reader ever really got to know him. There was a point where I was almost hoping he wouldn't come back so that Lucy could get on with her life. It's not that I didn't like him; it just seemed like I didn't know enough about him early on to care much about him. I will say that I did really like Sergeant Crawford and I felt so bad for him. He was such a kind person but he never got to have a chance to be happy (I'm not going to go into detail here for fear of spoiling things!).
The Loyalist's Luck portrays a life of constant struggle. I liked that Ms. Cougler didn't sugar-coat the events that affected her characters' lives. It was a very difficult time for people on both sides of the war and I liked that The Loyalist's Luck was an honest portrayal of what was really happening during the American Revolution. I also love seeing the Revolution from the losing side. These books are actually my first encounter with what was going on with the other side and I definitely want to read more about it.
At its heart, The Loyalist's Luck is the story of a family sticking together through good times and bad. It is a well-written, engaging story and I really look forward to its sequel. 4 stars.
Bitter Greens is one of the most impressive books I have read in a while. I hate to use the word unique to describe it because I don't think it gets Bitter Greens is one of the most impressive books I have read in a while. I hate to use the word unique to describe it because I don't think it gets at how incredibly awesome and different the story is from anything I've read. Bitter Greens is beautifully written and the author does a wonderful job of weaving together the different stories to create one cohesive and magical tale.
I had never heard of Charlotte-Rose de la Force before reading this book but she is one neat woman. I loved that she does her own thing even if it is unconventional for the time. She is over-flowing with self-confidence but at the same time has a vulnerable side that is very charming. I was rooting for her throughout the whole story. I did feel bad for her in that all of her attempts to marry were thwarted and she wasn't able to have the life she wanted because she was not from a wealthy family.
The re-telling of the Rapunzel tell was stunning. The descriptions of Selena's life in Venice and Margherita's life in the Pieta and then the tower were gorgeous. I know that Selena was kind of the villain but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. I really liked her even though I didn't want to. Margherita was the picture of grace under pressure. She seemed to always be able to keep calm no matter what she was forced to endure. Oh and her hair...it was a little creepy at first but the way Ms. Forsyth described it, the reader could almost see how beautiful it was.
I'm going to stop now because I'm starting to sound like a fan girl but I will say that Bitter Greens is an excellent read and I highly recommend it. 4 stars.
Goddess Born is a unique mix of historical fiction and paranormal set in the early years of the American colonies. It gives the reader a nice introdu Goddess Born is a unique mix of historical fiction and paranormal set in the early years of the American colonies. It gives the reader a nice introduction into Quaker life and Celtic mythology.
Likes: I enjoyed the premise that the descendants of the goddess, Brigid, settled in America and tried to fit in with a Quaker community. There were a lot of historical details in the story that made for a fascinating read. The descriptions of every day life, including the role of the indentured servant, were some of my favorite parts. I also really liked the descriptions of Selah's work as a healer (whether using her powers or not). It was interesting to read about the different herbs she used and the different types of injuries she dealt with. I was also intrigued by the threat of witchcraft in the story and what that meant for the the main character; an accusation of witchcraft could ruin someone's life and it seemed like an accusation that anyone could make without any real basis in fact.
Characters: Selah is a really fun character. She's very different than the typical 18th century woman would have been and I found that really endearing. Her intelligence and work as a healer makes her a very unusual character (for that period) and I enjoyed watching her interact with the other characters. Nathan Crowley was a hot mess. I wanted to feel bad for him, I really did, but he was such a creep. One of the things that made this story a real page turner was that it always felt like there was a villain lurking around every corner and you never quite knew who it was. The author did a great job of not making it obvious who the real villain was and I really liked that it was a big shock at the end.
Dislikes: I wish there had been more about Selah's family's past as well as more about the otherworld and Brigid. That aspect of the story didn't really take center stage and while I understand why it didn't, I would have liked to know more. Maybe the author will go into more detail in a future book (this is the first in a trilogy). I also thought some of the things that happened at the end of the book seemed a little far-fetched but it will be interesting to see what happens in the next book.
Overall, Goddess Born is a great read that you will have trouble putting down. If all books set in the American colonies were like this one, I would read about that era a lot more often! 4 stars....more