There was a strong smell of smoke, and new fear fueled me.
In the late 1700s, Lavinia, a young Irish immigrant whose parents died during the voyage is...moreThere was a strong smell of smoke, and new fear fueled me.
In the late 1700s, Lavinia, a young Irish immigrant whose parents died during the voyage is indentured on a Virginia plantation. Over the next few years, she becomes attached to the slaves on the plantation, including the master's illegitimate daughter, Belle. The slaves are the only family Lavinia knows, but as time goes on the differences between the two worlds begin to tear them apart.
This book had an interesting premise. I have read books about whites having strong relationships with slaves, but it was very different seeing one of them in the same situation. It was a unique perspective that I have not come across in a book before. The characters really drove the story, and though some of them were a bit flat the main characters were rich and varied. I really wanted to get to know them. The book was heartbreaking at times, but uplifting at others. It was a moving story and I am glad I read it.
I found the plot slow-going at times. The book covers about 20 years and sometimes it would be one page for 5 years and 20 pages for 1 day. It would have been made better if the chapters had started with the year (some of them did) but at other times it was difficult to tell how much time had passed. I also think Belle's part of the narrative was too short. I liked seeing things from her perspective and felt that she was under-utilized.
I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, especially those interested in the underside of the Antebellum South. It would probably be a good book club read. (less)
Charlotte was the only legitimate royal child of all of King George III's children when she was born in 1796 to the Prince of Wales, as such she was t...moreCharlotte was the only legitimate royal child of all of King George III's children when she was born in 1796 to the Prince of Wales, as such she was the heir presumptive to the throne of England, which made her beloved by the English people and highly marriageable. A whirlwind romance with a Russian officer and prince of Saxe-Coburg, Leopold, led to her untimely death in childbirth at the age of 21. In this book, James Chambers tells the story of the rebellious and ignored child who grew into a beautiful and beloved princess.
I was highly interested in this book as it is a time in British royal history I know little about. I found the book very entertaining. It definitely read like a novel and did not become repetitive like some biographies do (clocking in at around 280 pages helps). I loved learning about the British royal family during the Regency years. Charlotte was an intriguing character and the book makes you wonder how things would have turned out if she had become Queen of England. I like how the book made connections with both past royals and future royals. It showed how this part of history fit in with the rest of it.
One of the annoying things I found about the book is that the author expected a lot of knowledge of the reader. Charlotte's father is only referred to as Charlotte's father for nearly the entire first chapter and then just as the Prince of Wales or the Prince Regent from then on. Also, Charlotte's uncles were only referred to by their titles. It made the reading a bit confusing. I think a family tree was sorely needed.
I would recommend this book to those interested in the royal history of England, especially in the House of Hanover. (less)
"That's going to leave a nasty scar," said the doctor without looking up.
Emerald Green picks up immediately after Sapphire Blue. Gwen is broken-hearted over her relationship with Gideon, which she now believes was a lie. The guardians will still tell her nothing about her destiny or anything about the Order or what they are trying to achieve. To top it all off, her gargoyle friend Xemerius adds colorful commentary to everything and her cousin Charlotte is no longer speaking to her at all. It's hard being a time traveler.
I was initially disappointed in the book because the first part felt like a sickening teen romance with Gwen having a meltdown everytime she thought of Gideon and Gideon being all brooding. It just seemed to go on forever. It got better though and by the end I was hooked like I have been with every other book in the series. So if you start reading it, just know that its not all woe is me.
Sapphire Blue ended with quite the revelation with Gideon and Paul. I was looking forward to what those papers said. Many answers were had in this installment and many surprises. (view spoiler)[Although, I'm not so sure how I feel about the whole immortality thing, but I guess if you have the DNA of two time travelers inside of you it doesn't seem that impossible. (hide spoiler)] I have to say Xemerius is my favorite character. He has the most colorful dialogue and commentary and adds comedy to many serious scenes. Even though the main focus of the book is to wrap up the various loose ends left after Sapphire Blue, there are various other plots that find their way into the book. I give the author credit for even wrapping up things that I had totally forgotten like Gwenyth's first episode of time travel where she saw herself and Gideon's injury he blamed Gwen for. It really makes it seem like the author had a plan all along and that's a good thing with a series.
I do feel that the series could have been paced better. It seemed like the ending was rushed in this book because Sapphire Blue was a bit slow on action. I would have also liked more of an epilogue for Gwen and Gideon (view spoiler)[especially in regards to how the whole immortality thing worked out for the two of them and life after the Guardians (hide spoiler)].
I highly recommend this series to lovers of YA fantasy and sci-fi. Sometimes the premises are a bit far-fetched, but if you can suspend your disbelief it is a really enjoyable series.
Reading Outside of the Box Challenge: Lost in Translation read a book that was first written in another language then translated. Paranormal scavenger hunt: gargoyle Scavenger Hunt: Hidden passage/door["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The opening weeks of the year 1665 were particularly cold, and the sub-zero temperatures had discourages the King of England, Charles II, from writin...moreThe opening weeks of the year 1665 were particularly cold, and the sub-zero temperatures had discourages the King of England, Charles II, from writing to his sister Henrietta in France.
Queen Anne is one of the lesser known queens of England. When people think of English Queens Elizabeth I, Victoria, Bloody Mary, and Queen Elizabeth II spring to mind over Queen Anne. But Queen Anne deserves her due, having kept the monarchy in Protestant hands after her father converted to Catholicism, leading the country through a war on the continent, and uniting the countries of England and Scotland. All while suffering through 17 pregnancies with tragic endings and health problems resulting from what is now thought to be lupus. In this biography, Anne Somerset attempts to introduce the reader to this fascinating queen.
I have not read very much about the Stuart monarchs of England and Scotland, since I am usually focusing on the Tudors, so I thought it was time to give them a try and where better to start than with the last of the Stuarts. I knew very little about Queen Anne before reading this book beyond the role she played in deposing her father, which brought about nearly 40 years of Jacobite intrigue and near rebellions. She was quite a fascinating and passionate woman. Alternatively loved and hated by her people, she tried to do what was right for her nation. Somerset does a good job of showing all sides of Anne. Yes, Anne was a very competent monarch for a woman who was never trained to rule, but she also allowed her personal feelings for people to get in the way of governance. As a result, the biography is very balanced. The author does a good job of giving context to Anne's life by showing what was going on around Europe and in England and Scotland at the time.
My big complaint about the book is that especially towards the end it seemed to be less about Anne and more about the men that surrounded her. Yes, the politics of the time were important, but it did seem like the book got bogged down in the details of Parliament. This book is a 600+ page epic for what amounted to a 12 year reign. It was difficult to slog through the last few chapters.
I would recommend this book to those interested in the Stuart monarchy or just the history of British royals. The book is a fascinating look at one of the most turbulent eras in British history.
"Young people, this is a church! No kissing allowed here!"
As can be gathered from the first sentence of the book, Sapphire Blue picks up the minute Ruby Red ended. Gideon and Gwen have just escaped the trap laid by Lucy and Paul and are on their way back to the Temple to tell all. This book holds in store action, romance, and secrets, including one secret that may threaten Gideon and Gwen's tenuous relationship.
There is so much going on in this book it is hard to sum up in a short paragraph, suffice it to say that if you liked Ruby Red you will love Sapphire Blue. There is more time travel, more kissing, and more paranormal entities. The book is incredibly entertaining and will have you hooked from page one. Unlike other middle books in trilogies, this one does not seem to drag at all, although you do still leave with more questions than answers, but at least you feel like you are getting somewhere. The book ended in such a way that I immediately put Emerald Green on hold at my library when I finished it.
My only complaint about the book was that I was hoping for more answers about Lucy and Paul, but there were hints in the book and I do feel all will be revealed in the next book. (less)
This was a pretty weak North Carolina ghost story book. Most books have a storytelling aspect, this one is very flat...moreNorth Carolina is a storied land.
This was a pretty weak North Carolina ghost story book. Most books have a storytelling aspect, this one is very flat. Most of the stories found here can be found in better books. If you are looking for a North Carolina ghost story book try Fred Morgan or Nancy Roberts over this book. (less)
Proceed with caution if you have not read any of the other books in Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette series or if you do not know anything about Marie A...moreProceed with caution if you have not read any of the other books in Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette series or if you do not know anything about Marie Antoinette's life.
"We will take the queen dead or alive!"
This book picks up immediately from where Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow: A Novel of Marie Antoinette left off. France is in the middle of revolution and the royal family is besieged by a mob of angry fishwives. Marie Antoinette will stop at nothing to keep her family safe from a country gone mad, even if it kills her.
I have to say I liked this book more than the other two in the series, probably because there is a lot more action and less card-playing, lamentation of the fact that the king won't sleep with her, and discussion of clothing. This book is much more fast-paced. It also gives more detail of the royal family's captivity than I have read in any other book about Marie Antoinette. For example, I did not know the family was together for so long. I always thought that they were all split up almost immediately. Once again, I must point out how I enjoy the historically accurate portrayals and the fact that every character is based on real people of the period. The author's notes at the end of these books are always extremely well-written. The switching from first-person and third-person in the narrative is another thing I have enjoyed about this series, as it gives you a better view of the world than a straight first-person novel would. The use of Marie Antoinette's actual letter to her sister-in-law was a nice touch.
The only thing I wish would have been included in the book would have been a bit about what happened to Louison, the sculptress, afterward. I realize that the book needed to end at a certain point (view spoiler)[ and that point needed to be when Marie Antoinette lost her head (hide spoiler)] but I would have liked a bit more information about her. I also missed the glossary of French terms that the second book had.
This book was very good and I recommend it and the entire series to those who are looking for a historically accurate historical novel about Marie Antoinette's life. This series includes quite a bit of details that are lacking in other novels and the author knows her history. They are excellent books for those interested in royal history.
First sentence: "Warning: If you don't have the guts for gore, do not read this book."
History books tell you the basics of famous people's lives: whe...moreFirst sentence: "Warning: If you don't have the guts for gore, do not read this book."
History books tell you the basics of famous people's lives: when they were born, where they lived, what they did, and when they died. But they never give you the nitty, gritty details of how they died. This book gives you all that and more, including facts you never knew about people such as Charles Darwin, Marie Antoinette, and Albert Einstein.
This is a hilarious and disgusting book about how the famous and infamous of history met their ends. I really wish books like this had been around when I was a kid. I always felt that history books left some of the juicy details out. Do heed the book's warning though, this is not for the squeamish. I am hardly what one would consider squeamish, but even I found myself cringing through parts of the book. The narrator really makes this audiobook though. He was amazing and knew just when to deadpan. It is definitely worth a listen.
My only complaint about the book is that some of the stories were not so much about how the people died but more about what happened to their bodies after death, which, while fascinating, was not really what I was looking for from the book.
First sentence: "Here is where it all began: the Exchange Place PATH station in Jersey City, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan."...moreFirst sentence: "Here is where it all began: the Exchange Place PATH station in Jersey City, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan."
In this book, Andrew Carroll tells the story of his journey to find the hidden historical landmarks of the United States and shares the anecdotes of these little known sites. You will journey from the cave where the oldest human DNA has been found on the North American continent to the train station where Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth) once saved Robert Lincoln (son of the President) from being hit by a train less than a year before President Lincoln was assassinated. From the prison where the M-1 was invented to the hotel where the Alamo was saved from being destroyed to make way for a strip mall. Do not be surprised if the book has you planning a road trip after finishing it.
I highly enjoyed this book and getting to know things about history that I had never known before. The author really did his research on each of these sites and writes their history down in a highly readable format. It is sad to know how many of these stories have been lost to most history books, either because they are viewed as being unimportant or, more sinisterly, have been hidden because telling the stories would show the government in a bad light (such as the story of the massacre on a Mormon town or the story of certain government experiments). Some of the stories will make you laugh, others will leave you cringing or tearful. They are all important stories to read and know about and I hope that through this book some of the historical sites are restored for posterity.
The only reason I did not give this book 5 stars is that in the last part of the book, many of the "forgotten history" anecdotes were just used as segues to tell stories that are very well known. The book also got a little repetitive near the end.
This is quite an impressive book and I highly recommend it to all American history buffs. Even if you don't like history, flipping through it and reading one short story at a time is definitely worthwhile.
First sentence: "Nineteen people executed, one man pressed to death during interrogation, and four others perished in gaol."
Most Americans like to pr...moreFirst sentence: "Nineteen people executed, one man pressed to death during interrogation, and four others perished in gaol."
Most Americans like to pretend that the persecution of witches and belief in witchcraft magically disappeared when the Salem Witch trials ended. We like to think that after that we were much more civilized than our European counterparts and moved past the belief of a silly fantasy like witchcraft. Nothing could be more wrong. In this book, Owen Davies tells the story of witchcraft across America. It was not limited to the Puritan colonies in the North or the uneducated, backwoods, Bible thumpers of the South. So-called "witches" were persecuted and killed as far north as Alaska and as far south as New Mexico. All American ethnic groups found themselves inundated with witchcraft believers at some point in history. And not just ancient history either. A woman was tried for witchcraft in the State of Delaware in the 1950s. This book tells the fascinating tale of witchcraft in America.
I found this book to be a highly researched, but readable and enjoyable story. I was a little concerned when I first took this book from the library that it would be some sort of religious tract, either a Evangelical take on how witchcraft is still destroying America or a Wiccan story of how all those persecuted as witches were really just followers of an ancient pagan religion. Thankfully, this book is an objective take on why people believed in witches, why certain people were persecuted as witches, and how legal, medical, and religious institutions tried to handle both the belief in witchcraft and the persecution of those believed to be witches. The book includes many anecdotes from all across the United States which are used to illustrate the author's points and give the reader an idea of the context of witch persecution (it was very interesting for me to read the stories from my own backyard). The book is not a quick read by any means, but it is very well put together and very informative.
This book could have received 4 or 5 stars in my book but for one glaring issue. You would think a book put out by Oxford University Press would be pretty well edited and grammatically correct wouldn't you? Well you would be wrong. There were way too many instances of "their" being used for "there" and "of" instead of "off." The author would refer to a person by one name and in the next paragraph as another name and then back to the first name again. For example, Parnell would become Purnell and then back to Parnell. I can forgive an author one or two slips, but more than that and it just becomes ridiculous. This book was written and published in England for crying out loud, where the grammar rules were born. The Queen would not approve of this abuse of the Queen's English.
This is a good book for someone wanting a scholarly history of witchcraft in the United States. (less)
It wasn't chance. There wasn't any part of it that happened just by chance.
Carrie McClelland is an author working on her latest historical novel abou...more It wasn't chance. There wasn't any part of it that happened just by chance.
Carrie McClelland is an author working on her latest historical novel about the Jacobite invasion of Scotland in 1708, when a chance drive by a castle awakens a new protagonist for her story, a young woman named Sophia after one of Carrie's ancestors. As she works on the novel, her inspirations for the story begin to feel more and more real and she discovers she is not really writing fiction at all.
I was interested in this book because of the genetic memory aspect, which I had not come across in a book before. I liked how it was handled. The contemporary and historical stories complimented each other well and I did not feel that one overwhelmed the other or that the transitions between the two were jarring. I found both Sophia and Carrie to be interesting characters and wanted to continue to read about them. The romances on both sides are tantalizing without being sexually explicit. The historical details fitted seamlessly into the story without feeling like the author was shoving history down your throat. The ending was a bit predictable, but it was a good read regardless. It was a very readable, historically accurate, and sweet novel.
I highly recommend this to those who like a little romance in their historical novels. It is definitely a good read for fans of Outlander since it is set in the same time period and has stories from two different eras represented with delicious leading men on both sides. (less)
First sentence: "As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park."
Gwen has never believed she was special. She is just y...moreFirst sentence: "As she fell to her knees and burst into tears, he looked all around the park."
Gwen has never believed she was special. She is just your run-of-the-mill schoolgirl. She likes watching cheesy rom-coms with her best friend Lesly, gossiping about boys, schoolwork is mostly a chore, and she worries about her looks. Sure, she can see ghosts and some of her family members travel through time but she feels perfectly ordinary, especially in comparison to Charlotte, her beautiful cousin whose genes have destined her to become the family's next time traveler. All that changes, when Gwen starts experiencing dizzy spells, fainting, and random bouts of time travel.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but when one of my Goodreads groups decided to read it for the month of February I decided now was my chance to give it a read. The book was pretty amazing in my opinion and so hard to put down. Gwen is your average girl and so easy to relate to. The writing is descriptive but fast-paced. The author does a good job of revealing Gwen's story and her family's backstory a little at a time to keep the reader interested. The story is well-thought-out, there never seems to be a scene that doesn't directly relate to something that happens later. The romance with Gideon seems realistic, no love at first sight or anything like that (I am interested in what happens when certain things about their family histories are revealed). I enjoyed the book immensely and cannot wait to see what Sapphire Blue has in store.
The book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger and leaves some questions unanswered, but this does not bother me because most of the story is self-contained. Like any time travel book too, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit to get through the story because time-travel is one of those subject that don't lend themselves well to logic. I would have liked a bit more history in the book, but I imagine that will be coming in the next book.
This is a fun adventure story that I think many girls would like. It is humorous at times and touching at other times. The portrait of London at different time periods is quite interesting as well as the stories of secret societies and family drama. It is a quick and fascinating read.
First Sentence: "With the crimson, emerald and purple plumes of their hats streaming out behind them, four young men rode at speed into the village of...moreFirst Sentence: "With the crimson, emerald and purple plumes of their hats streaming out behind them, four young men rode at speed into the village of Versailles one May morning in 1664, scattering squawking geese in their path."
To Dance with Kings follows 5 generations of women in France. Jeanne is a peasant woman whose chance meeting with 4 musketeers in the village of Versailles on the day of her daughter's birth makes her dream for an aristocratic life for her daughter she would have never thought possible before. Marguerite, Jeanne's daughter, becomes caught up in the Sun King's court at Versailles and begins a passionate love affair which changing political tides cut short. Jasmin, Marguerite's daughter, leads a charmed life until she catches the eye of Louis XV and is banished from court. Violette, Jasmin's daughter, has a rebellious streak that leads her to the dark underworld of Versailles. Finally, Rose, Violette's daughter, as Marie Antoinette's lady-in-waiting finds herself caught up in the violence and terror of the French Revolution.
This book was the kind of historical epic that I very much enjoy. There are many real-life main characters, including: the kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI, their consorts, mistresses, and enemies. The Palace of Versailles plays a large role in the book almost as a main character itself. The book follows it beginning with it's transformation from a rarely used hunting chateau to the premier royal residence in Europe to its downfall in the revolution. The rooms are described with such vivid detail that you almost feel you are there. Then there are the women themselves which are who the book focuses on. They are very well-drawn and it is very easy to get swept away with their stories. You feel their tragedies and triumphs, their great romances and great losses. I did not really have a favorite among them, I loved reading about all. They were all quite fascinating.
The big thing I disliked about this book was that Violette got no attention at all in the book. It was like she was just there to bridge a gap. I think her story would have been just as fascinating as the other women yet you only see her at birth and young adulthood. The other women are followed from the beginning of life to the end. You only get hints of what Violette was up to during her absences from the story, the whole story would have been nicer. It's not a huge detraction from the book, but it did leave me a bit disappointed. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes big historical epics, especially if they are interested in French royalty or the Palace of Versailles.
Royalty Reading Challenge: Read a book where a castle/palace figures prominently.(less)
First sentence: "They say the fearsome thing doesn't always work well."
What if Marie Antoinette left a hidden diary in her cell as she left for her d...moreFirst sentence: "They say the fearsome thing doesn't always work well."
What if Marie Antoinette left a hidden diary in her cell as she left for her date with the guillotine? A diary that detailed her thoughts and feelings for 20 odd years of her life, from a teenager in Austria to the new dauphine (and later queen) of France to Citizeness Capet, despised by a France in revolution.
I was not impressed with this book, which makes me sad because I did like the author's biography of Elizabeth I. Anyone wanting a novelization of Marie Antoinette's life would be better served by reading Juliet Grey's Becoming Marie Antoinette. Erickson calls her book "historical entertainment" not a historical novel, which I guess gives her free rein to make stuff up. (view spoiler)[ In the book, Marie and Axel von Fersen go on a romantic getaway to Sweden where they stay out in the country by themselves for months. There is also a scene where Marie Antoinette's jailers let her go away with him for her health. (hide spoiler)] I did not like the diary format at all. Months and sometimes years would go by between entries. The book is supposed to span Marie Antoinette's life from the time she is a teenager to right before her execution. The tone never changes and the character doesn't seem to grow at all over the course of the book. Some important and historical events that happened to Marie Antoinette are completely left out. The book was entertaining though and a quick and easy read, so Erickson did accomplish that much. Not the best novelization of Marie Antoinette's life. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Very rarely have I watched a movie based on a true story is the true story more exciting than the movie is, but this is the case with Catherine the Gr...moreVery rarely have I watched a movie based on a true story is the true story more exciting than the movie is, but this is the case with Catherine the Great. I watched the Catherine Zeta-Jones "Catherine the Great" a few weeks ago and wanted to read the biography. Catherine the Great was quite the interesting lady. She was a series of contradictions: one of the greatest rulers Russia had without a drop of Russian blood, had a self-professed "republican heart" who was the autocratic ruler of a country where most of the population was practically enslaved and she was violently opposed to the revolutions happening in other countries. Catherine the Great started life as a minor German princess. She married the heir to the throne of Russia at the age of 15 and threw herself into becoming Russian. When her husband inherited the throne she staged a coup and took the throne for herself without bothering with the pretense of being regent for her son. For the next 34 years she set about making Russia into a European country and vastly increasing territory. All while going through a long succession of young lovers.
I found this book quite interesting. I hadn't read anything about Catherine the Great before really, just the small blurb she got in Terrible Tsarinas: Five Russian Women in Power by the same author. I love Henri Troyat's familiar style of writing. I like it though I know some people don't, it makes biographies read more like a novel than as a long list of facts. It was a fascinating read about a fascinating lady.
There was one big problem I had with this book and that was the organization. The book went more or less in a linear, chronological order which is ok but the chapter titles would hint at something that was going to the focus of the chapter, when in reality it would barely get a mention because of the author's insistence on sticking to a chronological order when it would make more sense to jump around a bit. Also the chapter breaks seemed sort of random. It was a small problem and I still loved the book.
Genre Bingo: Your Choice Paranormal Scavenger Hunt: Queen Royalty Reading Challenge: Read a Royalty related book that takes place in Europe.(less)
After watching the "Duchess" movie starring Kiera Knightley, I wanted to read about the real Georgiana. I found that this book was actually sitting on...moreAfter watching the "Duchess" movie starring Kiera Knightley, I wanted to read about the real Georgiana. I found that this book was actually sitting on my bookshelf at the time, thanks to some random library book sale raiding I am sure. So, of course, I waited two weeks to read it.
This was a very good biography. I found it very interesting. Amanda Foreman does a great job interspersing letters and other sources into the text in a way that makes sense (many biographers fall into the trap of putting too many contemporary sources into the text that they lose sight of making the book into a coherent and cogent story). Georgiana herself was a very fascinating person (much more so than the movie gives her credit for). She was a celebrity in our modern sense of the term, influencing fashion and society. She also was very involved in politics at a time when female suffrage, and even universal male suffrage, was many, many decades from coming to pass. She campaigned for her candidates and was very influential in forming inter-party coalitions during very troubled times in English politics. She wrote plays and poems and was THE hostess for the ton. Her private life was also fascinating. She had at least one affair that resulted in a child. She not only accepted that her husband had a mistress, but was best friends with that mistress and had her live in their house for decades. All in all, a very worthwhile read about a very fascinating lady.
My only problem with the book was all the French phrases that either did not get a translation or were translated in the notes in the back of the book instead of in text or in footnotes. It always irritates me when I have to go look up what people are saying in a book.
First Sentence: "I was the only one nearby who wasn't running around."
This book is the story of Josie, a 16-year old girl...more****Reread April 22, 2012****
First Sentence: "I was the only one nearby who wasn't running around."
This book is the story of Josie, a 16-year old girl living in Revolutionary War era North Carolina. After killing her abusive stepfather, she ends up having many adventures in the Carolina backcountry as the assistant of a circuit minister and a fighter in the patriot militia.
This is a wonderfully told human story. The characters all seem very real. I love that the story is told from both Josie and John's perspectives. I did have a few issues with the book though. The author uses "I said" and "He/She Said" way too often. There are so many other verbs that one could use to convey the idea that someone was communicating something: yelled, whispered, stated, snapped, added, commented, protested, etc. They make things called thesauruses for a reason. It was pretty irritating. The author also repeated himself a lot. It was seriously like he copy and pasted entire paragraphs over and over again.
It is a worthwhile read and I enjoy reading about places I have been and near where I live. Its a very easy read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the Revolutionary era. (less)
No spoilers for Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow but proceed with caution if you have not read Becoming Marie Antoinette or know nothing about her st...more No spoilers for Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow but proceed with caution if you have not read Becoming Marie Antoinette or know nothing about her story.
On this day the sun casts the longest shadows of the year.
This second book in Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette series picks up right where the first one left off. Marie and Louis have become the rulers of France, beloved by their countrymen after the excesses and immorality of Louis XV's court. The lack of a royal heir and Marie's spending habits and frivolity soon change the French's warm feelings towards the couple. Will the two teenage monarchs pull it together to keep their country from war?
The story of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI's tenuous first few years on the throne is told in such a manner in this book that you cannot help but feel for the teenaged couple. Ruling a country was quite a large burden to put on the backs of two 17-year-olds. There are definitely moments where you want to slap them silly over the decisions that they made, but then there are times when they truly try to win the people over. I like that the book does not try to excuse what they did, but the story does make certain things more understandable. The way the relationship with Axel von Fersen was presented was much more believable than other books have portrayed it (I'm looking at you The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette). I found her relationship with Louis to also have been handled in a realistic way. Though some have complained that the book makes Marie Antoinette into nothing but a spoiled teenager, I did not get that vibe at all. Yes she was portrayed as a young woman who was a bit wrapped up in herself to begin with, but there did seem to be a great deal of growth of the character over the course of the book.
I did find a few things annoying about the book. The book was quite repetitive at times (probably because it covered so much time). Also, though I liked how the relationship with Axel was portrayed for the most part, certain things did not make sense. (view spoiler)[ Such as how Marie was against any adultery on one page and then it was perfectly fine on the next page with no real explanation offered. (hide spoiler)]
The book was pretty good and I will be reading the third book shortly. I recommend it to those who enjoy royal fiction and looking for fiction about Marie Antoinette that doesn't go too far off the fantastical fiction cliff (i.e. The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette).
I had heard really good things about this book from many people on goodreads and thought I would give it a try. Though the book is good, it is really...moreI had heard really good things about this book from many people on goodreads and thought I would give it a try. Though the book is good, it is really nothing to write home about. I guess when it comes down to it Marie Antoinette she's been the subject of so many books and movies that its hard to tell a new story about her.
This story covers Marie Antoinette's life from a preteen archduchess of Austria to the teenage bride of the French dauphin to her ascension to the throne of France at the age of 18. Through the book you get to see the thoughts and feelings of Marie Antoinette, how she reacts to her engagement to Louis Auguste and her feeling of duty to her family. She very much understands that her marriage is for the forming of an alliance between Austria and France and not for love. Her struggles to fit in at the French court are also detailed. The reader really learns to feel for the young girl.
The book was good. I enjoyed learning more about the French court in the years prior to the revolution and felt the author did a good job portraying that accurately. The writing was very simple though, for the most part it felt like a recounting of events instead of a cohesive story. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting look into the teenage Marie Antoinette's life and I am glad to have read it. (less)
In this book Henri Troyat explores the lives of 5 women who ruled Russia in the 37 years between Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. It explores...moreIn this book Henri Troyat explores the lives of 5 women who ruled Russia in the 37 years between Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. It explores the well-known tsarinas such as Catherine I and Catherine II the Great, but also the less well-known Elizabeth I and Anna. Not knowing a lot about Russian royalty past the last tsar Nicholas II and his family, this was a very eye-opening book. I enjoyed the anecdotes about each woman from the tragic to the triumphant to the disturbing. The book is short so you don't get too bogged down into minutiae. You don't need a background on Russian history either to enjoy this book because lots of background history is worked in. My only problem with this book (and this may have been an issue with whoever translated the book into English) is that the writing style seemed to vacillate between scholarly writing and slang-infused casual writing. Neither style I object to but the jumping around made it hard to feel that the book was a cohesive piece of work. Other than that I found the book very interesting and would recommend it to anyone interested in Russian history.
Reading Scavenger Hunt: Will (legal document)(less)
This book tells the story of a teenaged Jane Austen and her cousin and best friend Jenny (or Jane) Cooper during the spring of 1791. It is written in...more This book tells the story of a teenaged Jane Austen and her cousin and best friend Jenny (or Jane) Cooper during the spring of 1791. It is written in diary format from the perspective of Jenny. The book was very fascinating. The author did well bringing the characters to life (all of whom were based on real people) and they were quite easy to relate to. The book was well-paced and none of it dragged. The only problem I had with the book is that I found the character of Jane to be a bit contrived. It seems the author tried very hard to make her a rebel against the times she was living in from the beginning. The book was a very fun read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Austen's novels. (less)
First sentence: "Saturday, August 3, 1793. The sun came up, as it had every day since the end of May, bright, hot, and unrelenting."
This book tells t...moreFirst sentence: "Saturday, August 3, 1793. The sun came up, as it had every day since the end of May, bright, hot, and unrelenting."
This book tells the true story of the yellow fever epidemic that hit Philadelphia in 1793. It provides good information about not only the history of the epidemic, but also the science behind yellow fever. I found it very interesting the part the African-American community played in the nursing of yellow fever victims. I have read other books about the epidemic before, but had never heard that side of the story before. Also, I had never thought about the fact that Philadelphia at the time was the capital of the United States. It was fascinating to read about how the government was affected by the epidemic, especially the back and forth about whether President Washington had the right to call Congress in somewhere other than the nation's capital (this eventually led to a constitutional amendment that allows Congress to meet in other places as long as they have met in the capital first). Great read with many good facts spread throughout.
Honestly though, I found the book to be a bit boring and repetitive at times. I do not know if this was due to the material itself or the audiobook narrator, whom I found to be very dull. Everything was delivered in a monotone.
I recommend the book to those who are interested in history, especially in regards to epidemics. I would probably not recommend the audiobook, but the book itself had some very good information and some fascinating facts.
First of all, let me say that I think Jennifer Donnelly really did her homework on the time of the French Revolution before writing this book. The bib...moreFirst of all, let me say that I think Jennifer Donnelly really did her homework on the time of the French Revolution before writing this book. The bibliography at the end was very comprehensive and the scenes set during that time period seemed very true to life. Jennifer Donnelly also proved that she can easily handle two points of view in the book without them getting confused by keeping both characters distinct. The book was well-paced as well. These are the only good things about this book.
My first complaint is that I found neither of the characters likable or relatable. Yes, Andi has problems and yes I can feel for her, but I get tired of her constant woe is me attitude. Maybe its just because the angsty, pill-popping, suicidal character is becoming a mainstay in so many novels and TV shows that I am tired of it, but I was really just frustrated with Andi by the middle of the book. Alix I didn't find believable at all. Since when does an 11 or 12 year old have such political ambition. If Donnelly had made her older then maybe I would not have had so much trouble with her. (view spoiler)[ Then of course we figure out why the author did not make her any older because then "the twist" would not have worked. (hide spoiler)]
The author's writing style also bothered me a bit. Her constant dropping of band names got annoying after awhile. I know that Andi's love of music is central to the story but I think Donnelly went a bit overboard with name dropping and it got a bit distracting especially for someone like me who has to google every unfamiliar name I come across in historical novels just to see if they are real or not. (view spoiler)[ In fact, I spent an hour trying to figure out if Amade Malherbeau was real. Much to my disappointment, he was not. (hide spoiler)] Another issue I had with the writing of the book was the author's overuse of the word farting. I have no objections to the word normally but after the 25th time I'm reading it in the book it got a little much. Everything that splutters, spits, and pops is said to be farting. There are so many other verbs out there that could describe the same thing.
The "twist" didn't bother me that much. It did not fit with the rest of the book, but I don't think it ruined the book. (view spoiler)[ The only thing I found annoying about the time-traveling twist was that Andi and Alix resembled each other so much, that they could be mistaken for one another. I have no explanation as to why this bothers me more than the time-traveling itself, but there you have it. (hide spoiler)] I think the twist might have been better responded to if it had happened earlier in the book instead of being tacked on nearly at the end. This book had an original premise and Donnelly could have done so much more with it.
First sentence: "North Carolina boasts a history that spans thousands of years."
This book in the More than Petticoats follows remarkable women from N...moreFirst sentence: "North Carolina boasts a history that spans thousands of years."
This book in the More than Petticoats follows remarkable women from North Carolina. It spans history from the late 1700s to the middle of the 20th century. The women contained in the book come from all walks of life and different parts of the state as well as different times in history. There are some well known women such as Harriet Jacobs, but most of them are women that history has overlooked. They all left marks on their communities and sometimes the entire state or even the country.
This book was pretty good and very interesting. There were only 2 women I had read about before: Harriet Jacobs and Charlotte Hawkins Brown. The others were all new to me. They were all inspiring especially with the things they achieved in the eras before women's rights. The first female state legislator in NC was elected to office before women even had the right to vote. It was great NC women's history.
I did have a couple of problems with this book. First of all, no women born after 1900 are included. I think this keeps the book from being as good as it could be. Second, the editing in the book isn't the greatest. The author contradicts herself several times. These are small problems and I still liked the book. It is a definite read for any one interested in women's history, especially North Carolina Women's History.
Genre Bingo: Your State (North Carolina) Paranormal Scavenger Hunt: Talking Animal(less)