Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Author: Philippa Gregory
Publish Date: 2010
Website: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9987.Philippa_Gregory
ISBN: 9781416563723
List Price: $13.33 (paperback)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:
The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses.

The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England.

Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

My Comments:
The next book in the series of the "Cousins War" after the "The White Queen". Determination is an understatement in this book. Her possessed spirit about being led by the inspiration of Joan of Arc was almost a little much. Considering anyone that was as driven and possessed by her ambition would be considered a loony today. Throughout the book she seemed too naive and ignorant to really accomplish the goal to make her son king. It was her perceived place in society and knowing how to use that place to her advantage to create any opportunity for her son that even helped to remotely achieve their goal. The book doesn't really show that she is really a mindful plotter nor all that smart about it. To me, she seems to have been used by the men around her to support their own selfish goals which, in the end, achieves Margaret's goal to put her son on the thrown. However fragile the whole plan was and that it eventually unfolded to her ultimate goal is beyond me. I think it was all just luck in the end because plot after plot fails and hardly without trying does the plan work.They knew it was their last chance before they were banished forever. They being Henry Tudor and his Uncle Jasper.

Since this is my first introduction to Margaret Beaufort, I won't discount her too much for being naive and ignorant. I plan on reading more material on her to better understand what kind of person she was and if this book portrays an appropriate likeness of the real person. Just as in the "White Queen" and the Melusina references, the constant "vision" or need to have a "vision" is a little daunting. Was she really that consumed by her need to be a "visionary?"

This one sentence shows Margaret's constant attitude throughout her life. "If I could live in a nunnery in this time of imprisonment, at least I would have lived with holy women and not this collection of fools."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Undead and Unreturnable by MaryJanice Davidson

Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Publish Date: May 30, 2006
Website: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1429808.MaryJanice_Davidson
ISBN: 9780425210819
List Price: $7.99 (Paperback)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:
As if she needed yet another reason to shop, Queen of the Vampires Betsy Taylor is in the middle of planning the perfect wedding to drop-dead gorgeous vamp Eric Sinclair. And she’s not about to let little things like death and blood-drinking get in her way.

But all is not bouquets and bridal showers—Betsy is plagued by ghosts who demand her help in rectifying their past mistakes, and a serial killer is on the loose. With his victims all being tall, blond women, Betsy fits the profile exactly...

My Comments:
I love Betsy! She is one of the most down-to-earth, hilarious characters you will ever find as the Queen of the Vampires. She has not yet fully accepted her queenly presence so she still goes about her normal life like when she was alive, but her brood at home is slowly growing to not only include her best alive-human friend, her vampire king/consort, his vampire body guard Tina, her half sister who is the daughter of the devil, a retired vampire slayer, a vampire fiend, and now a ghost... what next zombies... oh yes, zombies! Betsy helps you find the humor in any situation... I love her take on life or death...which ever way you look at it.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Title: The Time Traveler's Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Publish Date: 7/5/2004
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/498072.Audrey_Niffenegger
ISBN: 9780965818674
List Price: $11.17 (Paperback)
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Jacket Synopsis:

A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.

My Comments:

I thought this was a great time traveler's love story. A really great concept to entwine time travel and love. There are so many books out there with the same premise, but this love story was unique in that they didn't use their knowledge of the future for personal gain. They fought for each other through good and bad times. It was a heart wrenching, but heart warming story all the same. The book has a different ending than the movie and found it just as loving and great. I really liked the layout of the book where you switch time and see each of Henry's and Clare's viewpoint. Each one is first person view. It took a little to get used to but once I understood the pattern it became a great read. This was another book I couldn't put down. I could not wait to share with friends! I love Niffenegger's writing style and I am eager to read her new book A Fearful Symmetry.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Undead and Unappreciated (Betsy Taylor Series #3) by MaryJanice Davidson

Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Publish Date: July 5, 2005
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1429808.MaryJanice_Davidson
ISBN: 9780425204337
List Price: $7.99 (Paperback)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:
Fans can't get enough of author MaryJanice Davidson and her topsy-turvy world of the undead with its newly-crowned queen, Betsy Taylor. Now, Betsy continues her reluctant reign while being bedeviled by family secrets...

Most women would love to live as royalty, but Betsy has found that being vampire queen has more problems than perks, except for always being awake for Midnight Madness sales. It may be easy to find blood (yuck) in the dark of night, but try finding a strawberry smoothie. And employees at her nightclub Scratch have been giving her nothing but grief since she killed their former boss. Some people...

But Betsy's "life" takes an interesting turn at a shower for her wicked stepmother, who lets it slip that Betsy has a long-lost half sister. Now twenty years old, this woman just so happens to be the devil's daughter - and destined to rule the world...

My Comments:
Another hilarious adventure of Queen Betsy of the Vampires... I love this series... This is the book she finds out about her long lost (half) sister, who happens to be the daughter of the Devil, but finds that her sister is the #1 Goody-Goody to rebel against her Mother from Hell (lol). She also learns that her step mother is pregnant with a (half) brother and causes her to think of all the human things she is missing out on like being a Mom. However, soon enough more vampire crises emerge and beckon her to save the world again, with help!! Love it!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Author: Philippa Gregory
Publish Date: January 1, 2008
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9987.Philippa_Gregory
ISBN: 9781476735481
List Price: $10.57 (Paperback)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:
Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.

With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.

My Comments:
Let me first state that I very much enjoy Philippa Gregory's writing style. It is smooth, vivid, and logically laid out. This book is from the perspective of Elizabeth Woodville, her story of the White Queen of York during the time of the War of the Roses and ends with the inevitable Lancaster resurgence by the Tudor's. This story is mostly non-fiction where historical records are available to lay out the story, where there is no record or required personal insight, the author does a good job of piecing in fictional bridges to fill the holes in the historical records. She does propose several logical outcomes to certain situations that were not recorded to let the reader pause to question what they think may have happened, but in those parts of the book the author tries not to give a definitive answer where there are no facts.

Elizabeth's Mother was always a source of advice and comfort. Her initial advice to Elizabeth is "...give your husband a son and heir, protect the poor and innocent, and further the hopes of your family. Any ninny with a honest heart, a scheming family, and an open purse can do that." In this portrayal of Elizabeth, she appears to want to be an honest and fair queen. References like these show how strong women could be during a time when women could not rule and perceived to not maintain any form of power.

Page 183 - Anthony's response, a foreshadowing of future events? "All the York Family are a bloodthirsty lot, born and raised on the battlefield. Let us hope that when we finally have peace, they don't kill each other out of sheer habit."

Page 340 - "I am alone in a world of master conspirators." A statement made by Elizabeth as she tries to protect her sons from what she perceives as their York uncle Richard's attempt to steal the throne for himself. However, the book and the miniseries, leave question as to Richard's true goal for the throne. Whether it was to truly crown the Prince Edward to begin with, but with Elizabeth's defensive moves, did they cause Richard to doubt the intentions of the Rivers family. So much attention is given the the notion of witchcraft, it leaves much to the imagination of the reader.

The book does well overall to identify the major characters to these historical events and outline the many plots that were devised to gain advantage in every situation by every family who could remotely vie for the throne. An amazing historical time, but a brutal & horrible time to live, I am sure. This is 1 of 4 in the series of books called the "Cousin's War".

I am off to read the Red Queen, from the perspective of Margaret Beaufort, the last Lancaster family to have strong contention for the thrown with her son Henry Tudor...to be Henry the VII?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Undead and Unemployed (Betsy Taylor Series #2) by MaryJanice Davidson

Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Publish Date: August 3, 2004
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1429808.MaryJanice_Davidson
ISBN: 9780425197486
List Price: $7.99 (Paperback)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:
Nothing can make Betsy Taylor give up her shoe fetish - even dying and rising as the new Queen of the Vampires. Being royally undead isn't all it's cracked up to be - there are still bills to be paid. And Betsy is determined to live as normally as possible, even if it means getting a job. A "feet" she accomplishes with panache, landing her dream job selling designer shoes at Macy's.

Things couldn't be better - except for her new friends, who keep pestering her while she's on the clock. As if she has time to socialize when there are deliciously sinful shoes to try on - and buy at a discount. It seems that vampires are being murdered in St. Paul, and they're all clamoring for Betsy to do something about it. The worse part is she's going to have to enlist the help of the one vamp who makes her blood boil: the oh-so-sexy Sinclair. Now, she's really treading on dangerous ground - high heels and all...

My Comments:
I totally love this series. Betsy has got to be the most sassy and hilarious character I have read in a long time. She knows she isn't the smartest, but her quips and come-backs are to die for hilarious! In this book, Betsy is now queen of the vampires and has a hard time adjusting to her new "dead life". She sees to it that she maintains a normal life like she would have if she were living. She is desperate to have a job, but unfortunately it is difficult to find a good night job when you are a vampire. So... she stumbles upon a shoe clerks job at Macy's, which by the way is her dream job. She is so into designer shoes like we are into breathing. In the midst of all this she is being stalked by a vampire killer... someone who wants to usurp the thrown?? Hmmm... As Eric and her new entourage of vamps seek to worship her...she wants no part. She just wants to be normal. Sorry Betsy, normal is no more. She is no drama queen and won't put up with it either. However, she continues to encounter some unnatural situations, ie. ghosts, vamp hierarchies! This series is too good to pass up. If you like a strong main character, comedy, romance, and disaster... this series is for you!! On to book 3...

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson

Author: Carolly Erickson
Publish Date: 9/14/2010
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6597.Carolly_Erickson
ISBN: 9780312652739
List Price: $11.90
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:
Queen of Scotland at six days of age, married as a young girl to the invalid young king of France, Mary took the reins of the unruly kingdom of Scotland as a young widow and fought to keep her throne. A second marriage to her handsome but dissolute cousin Lord Darnley ended in murder and scandal, while a third to the dashing Lord Bothwell, the love of her life, gave her joy but widened the scandal and surrounded her with enduring ill repute.
Unable to rise above the violence and disorder that swirled around her, Mary escaped to Englandonly to find herself a prisoner of her ruthless, merciless cousin Queen Elizabeth.
Here, in a riveting first-person account, is the enchanting woman whose name still evokes excitement and compassionand whose death under the headsman’s axe still draws forth our sorrow.

My Comments:
I thought this was a great historical read from the perspective that Mary, Queen of Scots, is always portrayed as a conniving and plotting evil Queen of the North and that her only ambition is to take over the English throne. This book paints a completely different picture of a girl to a woman who is always fighting for her right to survive and to take her noble right of royal blood the throne of Scotland. She only wants the throne of England to solidify her childrens's future. The secret birth of her daughter and continued secrecy to protect her life is quite a different take on the picture that is always painted about Mary. I really like Carolly Erickson's writing style. The rhythm and meeter make the reading easily absorbed and an exciting read!

Undead and Unwed (Betsy Taylor Series #1) by MaryJanice Davidson

Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Publish Date: 3/2/2004
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1429808.MaryJanice_Davidson
ISBN: 9780425194850
List Price: $7.99 (Paperback)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:
First Betsy Taylor loses her job, then she's killed in a car accident.  But what really bites is that she can't seem to stay dead.  And now her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious power-hungry vampire in five centuries.

My Comments:
This is the most hilarious, edgy, and entertaining book. I had picked up book #6 by accident not knowing it was part of a series and thought it was one of the most hilarious characters I have encountered. I had to start at book #1. Here we are... Betsy is a character unlike I have ever read. She is smart, sassy, comedic, and so sarcastic. I love her quips and sassiness. One of my favorites being that she refers to most morons as "asshats!" She can't seem to grasp her importance now that she is dead being the Queen of the Vampires when she was so insignificant (in her mind) when she was alive. Her journey through this book is nothing but exciting, funny, and sexy! You will fall in love with Betsy and her band of characters! I love the way MaryJanice writes. It is smooth and completely fun!! On to book #2!! If you like the Sookie Stackhouse series, you will love these just as much, if not more!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11) by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publish Date: 3/27/2012
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17061.Charlaine_Harris
ISBN: 9781937007355
List Price: $7.99 Paperback
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jacket Synopsis:

With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie Stackhouse witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover, Eric Northman, and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot—which is much more complicated than she knows.

Caught up once again in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human—and that there is a new queen on the board….

My Comments:

It has been hard for me give this a 2 star review. I really enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse series until this point. I really felt like their was no plot in this addition to the series. I felt like the story was all over the place and never keeping the reader engaged nor directed to a plot for this story. I really struggled to complete this read and unfortunately after this read I did not want to pursue books #12 and #13 of the series.

Not to mention the HBO series took too many liberties with Charlaine's story to really make even the show interesting after season 2.

Lemniscate by Jennifer Murgia

Title: Lemniscate
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Future Publish Date: March 21, 2011
Website: http://www.jennifermurgia.com
ISBN: 9780982500583
List Price: $9.48

Jacket Synopsis:
For Teagan, these last few months have been heaven on earth—especially now that Garreth, her boyfriend and guardian angel, is earthbound. But perhaps Garreth is becoming a little more “human” than either of them expected.

Now, Teagan must realize that her world is once again about to shift, as she questions the faith she held in others against those once considered enemies.

In this continuation of Angel Star, Lemniscate will draw you even deeper into the world of dark and light as Teagan realizes the angel who could possibly save them all is the one angel she feared the most.

My Comments: 
Jennifer Murgia's Lemniscate is the sequel to Angel Star. Angel Star asked us what if you met your guardian angel? What would happen if you fell in love with him? Then left us wondering what happens when we find out that we have two guardian angels, one light and one dark.

I am looking forward to a third installment (hopefully) to continue Teagan's journey.

I could not put this book down. It was fast paced, action packed, with a brilliantly woven love story… This book is one of my new favorite-must-keep books and I am eagerly looking forward to the sequel. I look forward to reading more of Jennifer's books in the future. She has a fantastic and imaginative writing style, which paints the most detailed scenic pictures. I could picture the stone chapel in the woods and every scene Teagan experienced.

A fantastic continuation of the series, Jennifer! Congratulations on realizing a dream. I truly look forward to many more books from you...

Elizabeth: Virgin Queen by Philippa Jones

Title: Elizabeth: Virgin Queen
Author: Philippa Jones
Publish Date: 12/30/2011
Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2865193.Philippa_Jones
ISBN:  9781847735157
List Price: $1.99
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Jacket Synopsis:
“Gloriana,” “Faerie Queen,” “Queen Bess” are just some of the names given to Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. But the name for which she is perhaps most remembered, and which best explains why Elizabeth was the last of the Tudor monarchs, was the “Virgin Queen.”

But how appropriate is that image? Were Elizabeth’s suitors and favorites really just innocent intrigues? Or were they much more than that?

And, are the rumors of Elizabeth’s illegitimate children true?

My Comments:

I love the historical genre. As a fan of Philippa Gregory and Jean Plaidy, I picked this book up at a real bargain and thought it would be a nice read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a fast read but very thought provoking. I thought it was a well researched account of Queen Elizabeth's life, her consorts, her favorites, and a great analysis of the hypothetical notion that she had an illegitimate child or children.

I think that author's writing flows logically and smooth writing style. As I read, I could envision Elizabeth in her Privy room with her consorts and courtiers, feel her trials and tribulations, as well as, her struggle to be the Master of her Rule, but desiring and seek the friendship, love, and compassion that every person wants. This was a great addition in knowledge and insight to my experiences with the Philippa Gregory and Jean Plaidy books. Happy Reading!

I'm Back!!

My apologies for being away so long. We welcomed our little one into the world early 2012 and I have been having a blast being a mom and experiencing a wonderful family life with my hubby and daughter. Now I am back and ready to read, write, and review!!