Book Review ~ Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser

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synopsis

“She was the quintessential queen: statuesque, regal, dazzlingly beautiful. Her royal birth gave her claim to the thrones of two nations; her marriage to the young French dauphin promised to place a third glorious crown on her noble head.

Instead, Mary Stuart became the victim of her own impulsive heart, scandalizing her world with a foolish passion that would lead to abduction, rape and even murder. Betrayed by those she most trusted, she would be lured into a deadly game of power, only to lose to her envious and unforgiving cousin, Elizabeth I. 

Here is her story, a queen who lost a throne for love, a monarch pampered and adored even as she was led to her beheading, the unforgettable woman who became a legend for all time”.

review

To say that I couldn’t put this book down, would be an understatement. All I wanted to do was find out more on Mary and the people around her.

It was a bit slow to begin with, I think it was mainly due to the fact that I wanted to only hear about Mary and no one else, but I began to start appreciating Antonia Fraser setting the scene.

We don’t just learn about Mary, but what it was like during that time period. Why she needed, at such a young age, to escape her homeland of Scotland for France.

I think what shocked me, which shouldn’t because I knew the TV show Reign got it completely wrong, was Francis II. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, because I really think you should read this book if you want the truth on Mary, Queen of Scots.

Even when she returned to Scotland, there were a lot of things that made me angry, mainly John Knox, but it is this notion of people giving false information that ruins her character for the future. This smear on her name is mainly due with the “Casket Letters” and her involvement in the death of her second husband. Not only are we affected by it today, but her son was brought up thinking his mother was an evil murderer.

I won’t go too much into it, because the temptation (if possible) to travel back in time and give a good smack behind the head to these people is tempting.

The only problem I have with this book, and I believe it has been brought up by a few people, is the translation in the book… There isn’t any.

There are a few lines that are in either French or sometimes in another language, and instead of having the translation as a footnote, it’s nowhere to be found. Which means I have to stop reading and search the translation up online.

Not a big deal, but it was annoying at times.

I cannot recommend this book enough. If it’s possible, I would make everyone read about this incredible woman, give them a new and correct way of looking at Mary, Queen of Scots. Antonia Fraser did a magnificent job on describing characters, settings, feelings and everything else in between. I will definitely be picking up more of her books.

EN MA FIN EST MON COMMENCEMENT

(In my end is my beginning)

My star rating is:

5

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ William the Conqueror by Hourly History

william the conqueror by hourly history

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synopsis

“William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, permanently changing the landscape of the English countryside and the course of English history. No one debates his importance; whether the influence was good or bad is a much more involved conversation. To understand English history over time, it is important to understand the transition from Anglo-Saxon history of the country to the Anglo-Norman control that existed until approximately the fifteenth century”.

review

This is a great book, and even though I don’t like saying this, it’s a book for dummies. As insulting as that sounds, it’s kind of true. It’s easy to read, giving you basic information on William the Conqueror and this time period.

I really enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, a few of them making me laugh. It’s very true, we only know William from 1066 onwards. I didn’t know he was a bastard for starters. It might just be basic facts, but they are facts that are crucial to William’s story.

What I like about this series is they talk about someone life from beginning to end

I don’t have anything else to say on this, because I do think you should read it for yourself if you want to learn about William, or even anyone else. They have a wide collection of “A Life From Beginning to End”.  I have a few of them, so be prepared for more reviews.

Bonus, most, if not all, are free on amazon. Definitely worth a check out.

My star rating is:

3

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince

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synopsis

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

review

Throughout reading the book I have been on the fence on liking it or disliking it. There are a few things that have confused me, like why Jude is still in fairy land with a man who brutally murdered her parents and fairies “at school” who despise her.

Also, even though she mentions her parents murder, nothing is really done. The man is training you to be a killer and you don’t use that against him?

Besides that confusion I have with the plot, I loved it. I could not put the book down wanting to know what will happen next. Not wanting to brag, but I guessed a lot of what was going to happen, which surprisingly didn’t spoil the book at all.

I should give credit to Holly Black. This is the first book I’ve read from her and I love her style of writing. It’s simple and I didn’t want it to end.

Her world building is amazing even if her characters can be odd at times. I’m looking at you Jude. Even though you did things that have confused me, I still think you are a badass character. You think things through and plan them out.

Cannot wait to pick up book two, The Wicked King. I need to know more, and maybe have a few of my questions answered.

 

 

My star review is:

4

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

prince of thorns

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synopsis

When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king.

It’s time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar’s men slaughter his mother and young brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage.

Life and death are no more than a game to him and he has nothing left to lose. But treachery awaits him in his father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

review

Rick Riordan put it perfectly;

“I’ve heard of dark fantasy and anti-heroes, but this is the darkest fantasy with the anti-est anti-hero I’ve ever encountered.”

Prince Jorg is such a strange character, especially as the main character. From page one he is perceived as evil, self absolved, and down right scary. Did I mention he is only 14…

I think that’s why I love the book, it’s not about good versus evil, it’s evil versus evil. I do see where his anger comes from, if that happened to me I would be beyond furious. Saying that though, I don’t think I would be as evil as Jorg. Then again, I wasn’t raised like he was.

This is such a strange book to review because the main character isn’t likable, or perceived as a hero. It’s just like reading from the point of view of the villain, but I liked it because it was different. You can like the villain without agreeing with him. Does that make sense? What I’m trying to say is, Mark Lawrence can create amazing and strange characters.

Cannot wait to see where the story goes next.

My star review is:

4

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts

dance upon the air

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synopsis

“When Nell Channing arrives on Three Sisters Island, she believes that she’s finally found refuge from the terrifying life she fled so desperately eight months ago. But even in this quiet, peaceful place, Nell never feels entirely at ease.

Careful to conceal her true identity, she takes a job as a cook at the local bookstore cafe – and begins to explore her feelings for the island sheriff, Zack Todd. Just as Nell starts to wonder if she’ll ever be able to break free of her fear, she realises that the island suffers under a terrible curse – one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled the island back in 1692.

And now, with the help of two other strong, gifted women – and with the nightmares of the past haunting her every step – she must find the power to save her home, her love and herself …

review

I was going through my Nora Roberts collection on my shelf and came across Dance Upon the Air. I only had book one and book three of the Three Sisters Island trilogy, I don’t know what I’m more annoyed at; not having book two or having them on my bookshelf for so long and I haven’t even picked it up.

 And now that I have finally read it, I’m kicking myself that I haven’t read it sooner, but it will definitely be reread over and over again.

Honestly, I’m not surprised on how good it is, it is a Nora Roberts story after all.

Usually in the first book of a Nora Roberts trilogy the main character isn’t my favourite. I like her but I tend to love book two, sometimes book three, lead characters. However, I was instantly in love with Nell. Not just what she went through to get where she is, but her determination and dedication.

She is a character who went through hell and became stronger.

Also Zack… 😍

I also loved the magic aspect of the story. I don’t know how, but Nora makes it feel like it’s normal to have this magical element and it’s always been there, people are just added on top.

Does that make sense? What I’m trying to say, it doesn’t feel like a paranormal book. It’s like magic really exists, we just need to start believing.

Okay, enough chit chat, I cannot wait to start the next book in the series. Or better yet, finally get book two.

My star review is:

5

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ Blood Roses by Kathryn Warner

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synopsis

“In 1453, Richard, Duke of York, claimed the throne of England from his Lancastrian kinsman Henry VI, and set off a series of conflicts between rival branches of the English royal family, better known as the Wars of the Roses.

Blood Roses traces the origins of this bitter rivalry all the way back to 1245 with the birth of the first Earl of Lancaster, Henry III’s younger son, Edmund. Thomas, the second Earl, was the first cousin and most dangerous enemy of King Edward II, and ended up being executed after a decade and half of rivalry and conflict.

Thomas’s nephew Henry, the first Duke of Lancaster, was one of the great figures of the fourteenth century and was the father-in-law of Edward III’s third son John of Gaunt, probably the most famous member of the House of Lancaster.

Edward III’s fourth son Edmund of Langley founded the House of York in 1385; his son Edward was killed at Agincourt in 1415 and was the uncle of Richard, duke of York. Blood Roses takes the reader through 170 years of bloody warfare and political intrigue, and sets the scene for one of the most famous conflicts in English history.

review

I really enjoyed Blood Roses by Kathryn Warner. There was so much information about events and people leading up to the Wars of the Roses.

Every time I start researching a subject, I want to look further back before I dive into it. Usually to understand what is going on, you need to look back.

I did have a couple of issues, so I’ll get that out the way.

It’s not smooth with giving details of events, it does seems choppy. Kathryn Warner will be explaining about something, then add in little tidy bits that were throwing me off. I think this would’ve been better if it was in some sort of date order. Things happening in a sequence of events

I also found it annoying when, not a paragraph later, a character details are repeated. I know who you’re talking about, you just mentioned them.

For example it would say; “Edward, Edmund’s older brother”, then a paragraph later, “Edmund, Edwards brother”.

In the grand scheme of it all, it is minor, it just frustrated me because I want to continue with what is going on and it happens frequently.

I also wished the author would not just give out facts, but add in her own thoughts. She did that a few times here and there, and I really enjoyed those parts.

I also appreciate that there were family tree diagrams and a section where it explained who was who. I know how complicated it is trying to figure out who is related to who, it’s like one complicated spider web. I also took so many notes while reading this, and when I write future blog posts, I’ll be coming back to this book over and over again.

I don’t usually annotate my books, but this one needed it.

Highly recommend if you love history and want to learn more about what happened before Wars of the Roses.

 

My star review is:

4

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ Key of Valour by Nora Roberts

key of valour

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synopsis

What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help?

That’s what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior’s Peak.

Light and knowledge have succeeded in their quest, and two of the keys have been found. Both Malory and Dana had taken their turns. The final, and last, test goes to Zoe McCourt – valor.

Now it was her burden, her risk. Her chance. She had to be brave enough, smart enough, strong enough, or everything they’d done before her would be for nothing.

Zoe has the courage to raise her young son alone, and to face all the adversity life has thrown at them. But will she have the courage to face a foe determined to do anything to stop the third key from being found – even destroying everything – and everyone – she loves?

review

At the start, even though I knew where she was coming from, I did find it annoying how Zoe treated Brad without even knowing him. Just because he comes from a wealthy family, doesn’t mean he is a dickhead. However, the more you read about Zoe’s story, you can see where she is coming from.

Thank goodness for this book because I needed to finally get into Zoe’s head and what she is thinking. I love the relationship she has with her son; how strong she is raising him on her own. And Brad *heart eyes* coming into the picture not because she needs the help, but to be there for her and love her.

I don’t think that’s spoiling it, he has been going on and on about how much he admires and adores her, this book just finally does something about it.

I want to wrap up the whole series here by saying how much I love these books. Actually, all books from Nora Roberts I can read over and over again and still fall madly in love with her characters. Comfort reading is what Nora is to me.

 

My star review is:

5

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

key of knowledge

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synopsis

You are the Key. The lock awaits.

What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help? That’s what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior’s Peak.

To librarian Dana Steele, books and the knowledge they hold are the key to contentment. But now that search for knowledge must include the second key needed to release three souls held captive by an evil god. In each generation three are chosen who have the power to release them – if they dare accept a challenge that could promise them great riches but also grave danger…

And now it is Dana’s turn.

She won’t be alone, for she’s formed fast friendships with two very different women. But she can’t allow herself to be distracted by the return of the man who broke her heart so long ago, for a danger beyond anyone’s imagination is determined to keep her from completing her quest.

review

I love Dana, and I knew I would love her when her book came around.
Even after reading this trilogy multiple times, Dana will always be someone I can read over and over again.
I mean, what’s not to like about a woman who loves to read as much as Dana. I saw so much of myself in her than any of the other characters.
I could relate to Zoe, as we are both mothers’, but Dana speaks to me on a book need level.

Unlike Malory and Flynn, I felt Dana and Jordan’s romance to be more heart felt and gut wrenching. I either wanted her to hit him or kiss him.

These characters Nora Roberts write will be with me forever.

 

My star review is:

5

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ Key of Light by Nora Roberts

key of light

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synopsis

The pleasure of your company is desired for cocktails and conversation. 8 pm, 4th September. Warrior’s Peak.

When Malory Price is issued with the above invitation she is naturally suspicious, especially as Warrior’s Peak is a local mansion straight out of a Hollywood movie. But with her overdraft at crisis limit and on the verge of losing her job at a local art gallery, she has little to lose by attending the event.

Only Malory is about to get more than she bargained for. At Warrior’s Peak she finds that she and two other women are the only guests of their mysterious hosts. They are told an amazing story of magic, gods and goddesses; and of three demi-goddesses who have been cast into an eternal sleep, their mortal souls placed under lock and key. And in every generation, three women are born who alone have the power to free them – if they are prepared to accept the challenge.

Three women. Three keys to find. If one fails, they all lose. If they succeed – money, power and a new destiny awaits. It will take more than intellect, more than determination. They will have to open their hearts, their minds, and believe that everything is possible.

review

Every time around this time of year I go on Nora Roberts readathon. I don’t know what it is, it could be that I’m on holidays and more time for me to binge read.

Probably for the hundredth time I’m rereading the Key trilogy.
I know what is going to happen, what people say and whatnot, but I’m still unable to put it down.

I’ve seen people comment about insta-love and how it’s “implausible”, yet when someone (multiple people actually) say they met their now husband and knew instantly, they can’t respond to that, can’t acknowledge.
If it’s written well (like this), it’s believable.

I love all these characters, and reading Malory and Flynn’s love story was a treat, and always will be.

 

My star review is:

5

 

 

 

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Book Review ~ Year One by Nora Roberts

year one

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synopsis

“With one drop of blood, the old world is gone for ever. And in its place, something extraordinary begins. . .

They call it The Doom – a deadly pandemic that starts on a cold New Year’s Eve in the Scottish countryside. There’s something mysterious about the virus and the way it spreads. As billions fall sick and die, some survivors find themselves invested with strange, unexpected abilities.

Lana, a New York chef, has the power to move things and people with her will. Fred can summon light in the darkness. Jonah, a paramedic, sees snatches of the future in those he touches. Katie gives birth to twins, and suspects that she has brought fresh magic into the world, along with new life.

But The Doom affects people differently. Along with the light, a dark and terrifying magic will also rise. As the remaining authorities round up the immune and the ‘Uncannies’ for testing, Lana, Katie and others flee New York in search of a safe haven.

The old world is over, and Year One has begun

review

I have been a Nora Roberts fan for over ten years now, and read and reread a lot of her books. But none come close to how amazing Year One is.
It’s so unlike her other works, yet still has that Nora Roberts touch. She knows how to write romance, family, friendship and suspense.

Year One made me think about us as a community. Would we stand together as the world basically ends, or would we be like the “raiders” in this story, and cause more harm?

I loved every character, well except the “bad guys”, even though they were perfectly written. It’s scary to think that the world could be like this if we didn’t have order.

This is my second time reading Year One, just to refresh my memory for book two. It shows, not only my obsession with Nora Roberts, but her writing skill that I was again unable to put the book down and at the edge of my seat. I knew what was going to happen, but I still felt the suspense.

Even though I can’t wait to read what happens next, I’m also scared for my favourite characters. No more death please.

Also, I find it amazing that a character has the same birthday as me. June 2nd.

My star review is:

5

 

 

 

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