Reading Update

Hey everyone! It’s been awhile since my last post so I thought I would just check in now that things are starting to die down again in my personal life.  We moved out of our townhouse and officially listed it for sale a week ago today.  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks but I finally started having time to read again this week.  I was so happy to receive an ARC of Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor in the mail last week from The Novl! I jumped up and down with joy.  So I’m currently reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone to prepare to read it.  After I finish DoSaB, I will move on to Days of Blood and Starlight.  When that is finished I will pick up the ARC.  I’ve flipped through it and the illustrations that made it into the ARC are fantastic!  I’ve already preordered my finished copy so I can’t wait to see the rest of the illustrations.

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I am also still continuing my re-read of the Outlander series.  I had to put it down for a couple weeks but started reading it again last night.  I’ve missed these characters and story so much.  It’s been almost three years since I first fell in love with this series.  Going back and reading it again reminds me of all of the differences between the book and the tv adaptation.  Not bad differences though… I love the adaptation as well.

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I am also currently listening to an audiobook of a non-fiction history book that I read years ago.  It is called The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir.  I love Tudor history, especially about Henry VIII and his wives.  Alison Weir is probably my favorite non-fiction author who writes about Tudor history.  The narrator has a very soothing voice similar to Jim Dale who is one of my favorite narrators.

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What have you been reading lately?

Tour My Bookshelves – Part 2

Tour My BookshelvesToday is week 2 of the Tour My Bookshelves series.  If you missed my first post, check it out here.  Basically each week I am going to take you on a tour of my bookshelves, room by room all throughout the month of August.

This week I will be showing you the bookshelves in my bedroom  I have a tall 5 shelf bookshelf, a short 2 shelf and my blog cart holds some of my ARCs.  I actually turned my 5 shelf into a 6 shelf.  I went to Menards and the finished shelves they have don’t fit any of the shelves in my house so I had to make do with something else.  Luckily there was the perfect board in the bargain wood section.  It was a little too long but the depth was perfect.  I got it for less than $2.  My dad has a table saw so I just brought it over to his house to shorten the length.    For now it will not match the rest of the shelf because it is just plain wood.  It’s been too humid here to for paint to dry properly.

Bedroom Tall Shelf FullThere is the bookshelf in all it’s glory.  I keep my TBR jars on this bookshelf.  And even though I made them months ago, I have yet to use them.    The top three shelves and the bottom shelf are organized specifically and the middle three aren’t organized any special way.

Bedroom Tall Shelf 1Shelf 1 holds my Nicholas Sparks collection and part of my Tudors collection.

Bedroom Tall Shelf 2Shelf 2 holds my Philippa Gregory collection and other Tudor novels.

Bedroom Tall Shelf 3Shelf 3 holds my Tudor non-fictions and my Ireland collection, both fiction and non.

Bedroom Tall Shelf 4Shelf 4 has a random selection of books.  In the middle I do have all of my Tracy Chevalier books together.

Bedroom Tall Shelf 5Shelf 5 starts off with The Chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables and then moves into a random assortment of books.

Bedroom Tall Shelf 6Shelf 6 holds all of my Dear America and Royal Diaries books.  I had a little bit of extra space so for now I have A Lifetime of Secrets there until I can collect more Dear Americas and/or Royal Diaries.

I have a smaller bookshelf that also holds our TV.  Now that I have added a shelf plus the bookshelf from last week’s tour, I was able to clear out space for other items I needed to store.

Bedroom Small Shelf FullOn the top shelf I have my Wii and Wii Fit Balance Board along with my 70th anniversary GWTW dvd set.

Bedroom Small Shelf 2Shelf 2 holds my photo boxes and some of my husband’s books.

Bedroom Small Shelf 3Shelf 3 holds more of my books.  No real order to this shelf.

And the final book spot in my bedroom is the ARC shelf on my blog cart.

Bedroom ARC ShelfIt is full now, with my more recent ARCs on the new shelf in our office.  My blogiversary is coming up next month so I plan on doing a giveaway to pass some of these on.

Stay tuned next Monday to see more of my bookshelves!

Prisoner of the Queen by E. Knight

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I received this ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Prisoner of the Queen by E. Knight

Expected publication: August 11th 2015 by Lake Union Publishing (first published July 19th 2014) – This is a revised edition with editorial changes.

335 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Kindhearted Katherine Grey knows well the peril of being born with royal blood. As Henry VIII’s grandniece and one of the heirs to the English throne, her noble birth has doomed her to live among the schemers and seducers of the king’s court—barring her from the peaceful life that she truly desires.

After her sister fails to keep the throne, and a new queen rises to power, Katherine finds herself surrounded by adversaries. Since Queen Elizabeth sees her as a threat, and court conspirators see her as an ally, Katherine is forced to play a game she knows she cannot win. And when she reunites with the man she truly loves, Katherine has even more at stake. With treachery at every turn and the life she dreams of within reach, Katherine must make an impossible choice: Will she submit to the queen’s authority, or will she pursue love no matter the cost?

Review: I am a huge fan of novels about the Tudor court so when I found this book I knew I had to read it.  Most of the novels about the Tudor court are revolve around the usual suspects: Henry VIII, one of his six wives, or one of his children.  This novel is about Lady Katherine Grey, sister to Lady Jane Grey who served as queen for only 9 days between the reigns of Henry VIII’s children, Edward and Mary.  The novel starts out when Katherine and Jane are young girls who have to quickly grow up as their parents maneuver their lives through the court game.  The majority of the novel takes place during Elizabeth’s reign (who was queen after Mary).  Lady Katherine was one of several women who Elizabeth sought to punish for choosing to be with the man they loved without Elizabeth’s permission.  Elizabeth herself was never able to be with the one she loved so she often took it out on those around her.  This novel made it very easy to connect with Lady Katherine and to feel her pain as she is imprisoned in the tower for marrying the man she loves.  One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was that the author wrote it using the language and phrases of the time period.  So often lately I’ve started reading historical fiction where the author did not write the dialogue any different than the way we speak today.  That ruins the whole effect of reading historical fiction for me so I was very happy that this author used the language and phrases to really immerse the reader into the 16th century.  Overall I thought this was a really enjoyable book and recommend it to historical fiction readers and fans of the Tudor court.

4/5 Stars

Book Review: Elizabeth I & Her Circle by Susan Doran

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I received this eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Elizabeth I & Her Circle by Susan Doran

Pages: 416

Expected Publication: May 26, 2015 by Oxford University Press, USA

Summary: The inside scoop on Elizabeth I’s inner circle: her family, friends, and the other people close to her throughout her life.  The author uses a wide range of original sources including private letters, portraits, and state papers.  Doran puts forth a deeper insight into Elizabeth’s emotional and political conduct which challenges many popular myths surrounding her life.  She delves into different relationships to get to the truth of their nature, including her relationships with her father, Henry VIII, her step-mothers, and her half siblings, Mary and Edward VI.  Almost as important, she provides insight into the relationships with her courtiers and councilors.  What really went on during Elizabeth I’s reign?

Review: I have always had a fascination with the Tudors so I was very eager to read this new account of Elizabeth I’s life.  So many times these books can be dull and lackluster but Susan Doran’s writing brought history to life in this new book.  There were so many new things I learned.  One of the things that interested me the most in her account was Elizabeth’s relationship with Henry VIII.  In most accounts, Elizabeth is always shown to greatly admire and love her father in a way that makes it seem as if they were very close, even after sentencing her mother to die.  Contrary to those beliefs, Doran points out why this was not necessarily the case.  Royal children generally do not spend much time with their parents, often seeing them only a few times per year.  And even when they do meet, it is not the type of quality time that modern parents share with their children.  I thought that this book was incredibly fascinating and would recommend it 100% to any lover of history or of Elizabeth and the Tudor family.

4/5 stars

Book Review: The Marriage Game

I received The Marriage Game by Alison Weir through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Publication Date: February 10, 2015

I am a huge fan of Alison Weir.  I own several of her historical non-fiction accounts of the Tudors so I was really excited to see this on NetGalley.  Most of my reading about the Tudors has been concentrated on Henry VIII and his wives.  This historical fiction is about Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

It begins as Mary Tudor dies and Elizabeth takes the crown to become Queen of England.  Most of the book is about the constant games Elizabeth plays between different realms in the search for a husband, thus the title The Marriage Game.  Elizabeth has absolutely no intentions of marrying so all of these proceedings are meant to string along her suitors in the hopes of keeping alliances and friendships.  This continues for many, many years.

I have an ebook copy of this for my Kindle and there are no page numbers but this quote from around 51% at location 3217 of 6259 sums up pretty much how I felt about the situation.

They were all watching her; Cecil, impatient after years of what he was pleased to call dithering; Norfolk, fearful lest she throw herself away-as he would see it-on Robert; Sussex and others, weary of these constant debates about this marriage and that, and impatient to see the matter settled; and Robert himself, willing her-badgering her, in fact-to declare her intention of having him.

This book made me dislike Elizabeth.  To me she seemed very manipulative and narcissistic.  Which I guess is inevitable when it comes to royalty but this just made me not like her at all.

Even with my dislike of Elizabeth, I did like this book.  I thought it was an interesting subject and liked the way that Weir structured the book.  Rather than chapters, it was divided by years.  It was very interesting to see how Elizabeth aged, which did not seem to be very well, and that even though she was manipulative with her counselors and suitors, she held the love of her people for a very long time.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading historical fiction or has a particular interest in the Tudors of Elizabeth herself.

I give this book a score of 4 out of 5.