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11/22/63
11/22/63
Author: Stephen King
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 272
Review Date: 5/8/2013


Schoolteacher Jake Epping is about to learn to most stunning secret ever. After being summoned to Al Diner he is told of a portal aka the rabbit hole that will take him back to 1958. Als lifetime obsession is to prevent that assassination of John F. Kennedy and he has compiled a book full of Lee Harvey Oswalds movements up but he is missing the keydid he act alone or not. Now cancer has taken the opportunity for Al to find out and he must confide in one man who is young enough, smart enough and doesnt have many ties to go back thru the portal and hang around until 1963 to find out and possibly stop Oswald from committing the assassination. Als time is short and he needs Jake to believe him so he sends him thru to test the waters. Jake does have one thing he would like to change about what happened to one of his adult students, coincidentally, in 1958, and decides to test the rabbit hole. Even after somewhat successfully achieving his goal and coming back, Jake is hesitant but Al does something to force his hand and Jake has no choice but to head back under his fake identity that Al created for him, George.

Having to wait around until 1963, Jake/George starts to become bored and wants to teach again and begins to form attachments to some very interesting characters all of which he was warned not to do. Each new character ends up playing an intricate part in what he came to do. 11/22/63 wouldnt be the novel it is without all the trials that Jake/George endures during his time in the past. The reader becomes deeply invested and wish for a happy outcome even though fate has another idea on what is to become of those that meddle with the future. History does not like change and even though Al warned Jake/George about this, it still takes all of us by surprise.

I loved every page of this 842 page novel. King had me quickly flipping pages to find out what happens next and then he left me raw and broken at the end. The time travel aspect is real basic. The portal takes the person to the same day every time and each time you enter it will reset all that was changed that last time someone went through. Though you may be gone for months or years, in your future time you are only gone 2 minutes. The blending of fact and fiction is one of Kings strengths and it is showcased brilliantly in this remarkable read. If you enjoyed Under to Dome you will love what King has in store for you in 11/22/63.


11/22/63 : A Novel (Slipcase for US Signed, Trade or Limited)
11/22/63 : A Novel (Slipcase for US Signed, Trade or Limited)
Author: Stephen King
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 5/5/2013


Schoolteacher Jake Epping is about to learn to most stunning secret ever. After being summoned to Al Diner he is told of a portal aka the rabbit hole that will take him back to 1958. Als lifetime obsession is to prevent that assassination of John F. Kennedy and he has compiled a book full of Lee Harvey Oswalds movements up but he is missing the keydid he act alone or not. Now cancer has taken the opportunity for Al to find out and he must confide in one man who is young enough, smart enough and doesnt have many ties to go back thru the portal and hang around until 1963 to find out and possibly stop Oswald from committing the assassination. Als time is short and he needs Jake to believe him so he sends him thru to test the waters. Jake does have one thing he would like to change about what happened to one of his adult students, coincidentally, in 1958, and decides to test the rabbit hole. Even after somewhat successfully achieving his goal and coming back, Jake is hesitant but Al does something to force his hand and Jake has no choice but to head back under his fake identity that Al created for him, George.

Having to wait around until 1963, Jake/George starts to become bored and wants to teach again and begins to form attachments to some very interesting characters all of which he was warned not to do. Each new character ends up playing an intricate part in what he came to do. 11/22/63 wouldnt be the novel it is without all the trials that Jake/George endures during his time in the past. The reader becomes deeply invested and wish for a happy outcome even though fate has another idea on what is to become of those that meddle with the future. History does not like change and even though Al warned Jake/George about this, it still takes all of us by surprise.

I loved every page of this 842 page novel. King had me quickly flipping pages to find out what happens next and then he left me raw and broken at the end. The time travel aspect is real basic. The portal takes the person to the same day every time and each time you enter it will reset all that was changed that last time someone went through. Though you may be gone for months or years, in your future time you are only gone 2 minutes. The blending of fact and fiction is one of Kings strengths and it is showcased brilliantly in this remarkable read. If you enjoyed Under to Dome you will love what King has in store for you in 11/22/63.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Large Print)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Large Print)
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/12/2011


When I first heard of this book, I wasn't too sure of it. I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth and wasn't impressed by it. I knew this book could either be really good or really bad. I have to say, it was really good! I was surprised how wrapped I became in it. At times I could actually hear Abraham Lincoln talking...:)

Seth has taken Lincoln's history and incorporated in vampires. He does it so flawlessly that at times you actually could believe that it was possible. We are taken from the the death of his mother (by vampires) and his oath to avenge her to the day he meets Henry Sturges (a vampire) who trains him to be the best vampire hunter. He meets Edgar Allen Poe and finds his fascination with vampires a bit morbid. Lincoln didn't want to free the slaves because he believed in it, he wanted to free them because he learned they were the food source for the vampires. He figures, get ride of slavery you will get rid of the vampires. We learn that Jefferson Davis is on the side of vampires and Henry has been training Lincoln to fight this battle against him (which turns into the Civil War).

I loved it and urge people to give it a chance, it isn't as cheesy as it looks...:)


American Vampire
American Vampire
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 48
Review Date: 2/21/2011


Graf McDonald...is he a good vampire or a bad vampire...I don't know but I'm in love! He has stumbled upon a town called Penance that has been trapped and terrorized for the last five years by "It". No one can get in and no one can get out...until now. Graf has also stumbled upon a fiery independent woman named Jessa. She is the town outcast and has been labeled a man hungry spinster. Jessa has lost everything she has known and loved. When Graf comes into her life, she is cautious for many reasons. One reason, why was he able to get in when no one else has. Also, there is something off about him and she is going to find out what. After Graf realizes what is happening, he is starting to get a little worried. If he can't get out, he is going to have to start snacking on the citizens of Penance...and his first choice is Jessa.

This is definitely an original vampire story. I love that you have the small town mentality of "burn the witch" theme throughout the book, keeps you on the edge of your seat!


Angelfire (Angelfire, Bk 1)
Angelfire (Angelfire, Bk 1)
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 2/7/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Ellie Monroe will be turning 17 soon. She is planning a huge party and is even getting a car from her parents. Everything is going perfect, until she meets Will. Now she is thrust into this unbelievable life of angels and reapers and other inhuman beings. Her nightmares that have plagued her entire life are not nightmares but actual memories. Ellie, who has the ability to wield the angelire, and other angelic reapers are the ones that have been chosen to prevent Lucifer's Second War, the Apocalypse. Will is Ellie's guardian sent to serve and protect her. Together they must find the Enshi, the true soul reaper, and destroy it before Bastian, the powerful vir (humanlike reaper), finds it.

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I liked it but at times it seemed slow moving. Ellie has a tough time accepting the fact that she has been reincarnated many times and is the secret weapon of the angels (trust me, I think I would too). It was confusing at times with all the different types of reapers and angels. There are lengthy explanations throughout the book giving the background of how the reapers were born and the various wars between them and the angels. Since this is the first book, I understand the need for them, but I still at times thought it tedious. The conclusion of the book was a surprise and I will be on the lookout for the second book.


The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 8/24/2011
Helpful Score: 7


She may have been born normal size (tipping the scales at 6 lbs!), Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump, aka Vinnie, quite growing after her first year. She matured in all ways but in height but she more than made up for that by living larger than life and never letting her size keep her from seeing the world. The only thing she didnt allow herself was love. Even though she married Mr. Tom Thumb it was a marriage of convenience and she never let herself fall in love with him or let him know her as a husband should. Heart-warming and heart-wrenching all folded into one this story will take you on a journey of the soul and heart.

I was swept up in Vinnies adventures and tribulations. From her early years as a schoolteacher to her harrowing escape from the squirmy Colonel Wood all the way to her time with the P.T. Barnum we become invested in Vinnies life. She was always reaching for the next big thing. Her overprotective manner to her sister Minnie comes out of fear of what Vinnie herself wont allow herself to experience and when Minnie sets out on her own we see the vulnerability that hasnt before been allowed to surface in Vinnie. In the end P.T. Barnum said it well with this:

And Minnie-shes different than you, no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. She isnt you, because shes happy. And youre not.pg.~333

I would recommend this book for all historical fiction lovers. The contents of this book will have you flipping pages to see what Minnie will do next. It will also bring you joy and tears (yes..the tears flowed freely). I will definitely be reading other books by Melanie.


Bag of Bones
Bag of Bones
Author: Stephen King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 7/6/2011


Four years after the tragic death of his wife, Mike Noonan has returned his lakeside home, Sara Laughs. He doesnt know why he feels that he needs to be here but he knows that he is supposed to be here. Sara Laughs is haunted by several spirits, some good, and some evil. Mike has also discovered that his wife, Johanna, had been making secret visits to Sara Laughs. These visits had illicit some harsh feelings among the locals who want their secrets dead and buried. When Mike enters the life of Mattie and her daughter Kyra, he realizes why he has been brought here and the truth of his past could bring destruction to Kyra who is the granddaughter of Max Devore, a ruthless evil man who will not stop until he has what he wants.

King is truly masterful when it comes to crafting his villains. He can make them so creepy that it is discomforting to read at times. Bag of Bones millionaire Max Devore and is evil daughter are a prime example of this. The scene where they are bullying Mike made me fear for his life and I was urging Mike to swim faster, get away from them!! For a book to incite those kind of reactions in me is a great read in my opinion. Another favorite attribute of King is the storytelling. His descriptions are vivid enough that it is like a movie reeling through my mind.

The beginning of the book was a little slow for me but when we move to four years after the death of Mikes wife and his return to Sara Laughs the story flows effortlessly all the ways to the dramatic conclusion. Definitely recommended for fans of Stephen King and the horror genre.


Beloved of the Fallen
Beloved of the Fallen
Author: Savannah Kline
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/6/2011


Beloved of the Fallen grabbed me from the first paragraph:

"The angel was afraid. He knew now how much he had sinned. Yet he flew toward heaven faster than he had ever flown before."

Valentin must redeem himself for his past mistakes. He is denied entrance into heaven and must join the ranks of Lucifer and the other fallen until he figures out how to appease his Lord. Lucifer wants Armageddon to begin and to do that the Destined must bring it about themselves and without any outside force telling them to. But, they can be influenced.

Today the Destined is smart and savvy Kira Castlemaine who has just stepped into her deceased fathers political seat. This is a dream come true for her but there is so much going on that she doesnt understand. She feels that something more sinister is in the works with her Uncle Phil and his connection to secret society The Light House. Her only salvation is her new lover and political consultant, Valentin, who seems to be the only good in her life. This time Valentin is going to get it right. He will guide Kira without getting entangled and falling in love. As they say, history does repeat itself and now it is a race to stop the end of the world.

The whole good versus evil wages war throughout the pages of Beloved of the Fallen. The reader is swept into this battle and we nervously anticipate the climax. Savannah Klines debut novel is captivating. Valentin is a complex character who must fight his inner demons to be accepted back into heaven and Kira must learn to stand on her own feet and voice her opinions and not let outside people dictate her life. Together they learn from each other and fulfill what they are truly destined to become.


Blast from the Past (Mac Faraday, Bk 4)
Blast from the Past (Mac Faraday, Bk 4)
Author: Lauren Carr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/1/2013


Mac Faraday returns with the usual trouble just around the corner. Lauren Carr takes this new mystery into the past life of Archie Monday, formally known as Kendra Douglas, who witnessed a mob murder when she was young and has been in witness protection since. Now the mob has found her and they arent going to leave her alive for a second time. Eventually there are three murders to solve and the trouble comes trying to link the common thread or are they unrelated. Never fear though, Mac and his half-brother, David OCallaghan, are on the job along with Archie and Gnarly, the German Shepard. Archie doesnt want to relocate so she ends up just moving in with Mac (they were eventually going to do that anyway). David is already living in the mansion and when Marshall Randi Finnegan ends up there also to help protect Archie sparks fly between them. Even though there is many different plot lines running around I didnt feel like it was confusing, just had me constantly wondering who did it.

The thing with Carrs mysteries is she always injects some good humor. I have grown to absolutely love Gnarly. He is a stand out character and should have his own book. Another great aspect of her mysteries is that fact that you will always be kept guessing. You have all the clues but there are a few wrenches thrown in that keep you from tying them together until Carr is ready for you to. I recommend any of the Mac Faraday novels for all mystery lovers.

(I received this book from the author at no charge and in no way influenced my review)


Blaze
Blaze
Author: Stephen King (Writing as Richard Bachman)
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 232
Review Date: 5/25/2011


Blaze is the last novel from Bachmans period of greatest productivity from 1966-1973. As Stephen King put it, he was two men during this time. King was wrote and sold horror stories to raunchy skim-mags and Bachman wrote novels that didnt sell to anybody. The facts that I just wrote I learned from Kings Full Disclosure at the beginning of Blaze and I also learned many other interesting facts.

I didnt find Blaze a horrible read, just tedious at times. There isnt much in action but just a steady build up to the end. It was worth reading till the end though. Before I even knew it I was sympathizing with Clayton Blaisdell, Jr. aka Blaze and really hoping that he would turn his life around. Unfortunately, the cards are just stacked against him.

Blazes life started with his father throwing him down the stairs causing him brain damage. He then is shipped off to a home for boys where he really starts his life of crime. He does have one chance at having normal life when a family adopts him, but because he defends himself against an attacking dog and kills it, he is sent packing back to the boys home. This truly begins his downward spiral I believe. After meeting up with George he is shown all new cons and is in awe of George. George and he decided to take on the biggest payoff of all, kidnapping a baby. Before this goes down, George is killed. Blaze knows that he must continue with the plan, because that is what George wants and George is still around and telling him what to do. So with Georges help Blaze sets into motion a series of events that lead to the final showdown.

The ending is tragic and heartbreaking. Blaze really is a good guy, he just makes really bad decisions.


Blessed By a Demon's Mark (Kat Redding, Bk 3)
Blessed By a Demon's Mark (Kat Redding, Bk 3)
Author: E. S. Moore
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 1.6/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 9/10/2013


In Moores third installment of his Kat Redding series, we find Kat hiding in Delai. She hopes by being here that she will overcome her compulsion to feed. Kat still does not like what she is or her kind. Unfortuneatly her demons mark that she wears is pulling her back into the real world. She must answer for the favor she asked of the crazy demon Beligral.

Back in the real world Kat is faced with a lot of people looking for her. The vampire Countess Baset and the hunky werewolf Adrian in particular. She also comes home to a new roommate and her old roommates new affiliation with the Luna Cult. One thing she discovers is that Delai is not what she thought it was. There is strange magic and she needs to break all ties as soon as possible. Kat wants to but there is a little girl there that needs saving. So even though she fulfills her first demons mark she decides to take on another one to save the little girl.

Kat has her major issues that havent been resolved or looking to be resolved anytime soon. Storylines go every which way and the reader finds that Kat has a lot on her plate and it is no wonder she doesnt know which way to go. At times I didnt like how Kat treated but I guess you can be a bit of b*tch if you have all these things being thrown at you at once.

I still love this series even thought this installment let me down a bit. Definitely recommend reading from the first book, To Walk the Night.


Blood Between Queens
Blood Between Queens
Author: Barbara Kyle
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/15/2013


Justine Grenville, the ward of Richard Thornleigh, is tasked with a very important mission on behalf of Elizabeth I. She must befriend Elizabeths cousin Mary, Queen of Scots and report back any suspicious behavior. To do this will win her great favor with her betrothed, Will Thornleigh. She must prove that she is a loyal Protestant and deny her Catholic upbringing. After someone from her past makes an appearance, her faith is put to the test.

Though the characters are engaging, the plot line was a bit predictable. It did however have everything that I love about a good Tudor novel, schemes and betrayal. Each page brought the reader further into the intrigue but also at times got a bit complicated with the abundance of characters that come in and out and obviously have a back story but this being the fifth novel the reader is unaware exactly what it is.

Even with the few downsides to Blood Between Queens, I would still recommend this to all Tudor era readers. The blend of historical facts and Barbara Kyles imagination flows seamlessly and at times you can picture yourself standing in the halls alongside Elizabeth I.


A Blood Seduction (Vamp City, Bk 1)
A Blood Seduction (Vamp City, Bk 1)
Author: Pamela Palmer
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 5/30/2012
Helpful Score: 2


Quinn Lennox has no idea why her unusual ability, after being dormant for quite some time, has now become unmanageable. She has started to notice pockets that are forming in the universe and that there is something strange when you look into them. While hunting for her brothers love interest they stumble thru one of these pockets and Quinns life is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Quinn and her brother become separated in Vamp City. Vamp City is an alternate world where vamps rule and humans are just food and slaves. Quinn is lucky enough to land in the hands of the dangerous and sexy Arturo Mazza who the reader will love to hate. Their chemistry can practically be tasted and the reader craves more.

In Quinns favor, her unusual talent has landed her in the role of a sorceress who has been foretold to be the savior of Vamp City but first she must survive Arturos masters treacherous games. Knowing she must escape she must find her brother before he is placed in the gladiator games and to do this she must also play Arturos games. Oh yes, these vamps do love their games.

Action-packed and steamy this vampire horror will have you longing the next installment. You will be shocked at the devious nature of these vamps because there is no holding back when the world is a demented vampires play land. I personally loved that these vampires were bad to the bone yet you know that something is simmering underneath Arturos tough facade. Definitely catered for adult readers only.


Bloodfever (Fever, Bk 2)
Bloodfever (Fever, Bk 2)
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 505
Review Date: 7/21/2011
Helpful Score: 3


Bloodfever is the second installment of the Fever series. I have not included any spoilers but there might be a few from the first installment, Darkfever.

The Lord Master is freeing the darkest enemies imaginable. He is letting them roam free among humanity. MacKayla can see these creatures and with Jericho Barrons help they must discover how to close the portal. Since the first installment of the Fever series, MacKayla has grown and matured a lot. She is still coping with the death of her sister but that only fuels her passion for stopping the Lord Master. We still see a glimpse of the old MacKayla with her dreams of having a normal life with lots of pretty rainbows but now she has some harsher edges which helps her in the end.

Jericho and MacKayla are still hunting for Fae artifacts. She has started to get use to Jerichos way of working but at times she still is very frustrated. The pull between the two of them is very palpable and we are always on the edge wondering if they will take the next step with each other. MacKayla comes upon others that are like her and now she sees that she has other options then Jericho. Seeds of doubt are placed in her mind from both sides leaving her conflicted. Should she continue her allegiance to Jericho or set out on a new path to learn more of what powers she possesses.

Another blow against MacKayla, she has learned that her sisters ex-boyfriend and murderer, Malluce, is still alive (or as alive as one could be in his state). He is out for revenge and he is not going to hold back. And if that isnt enough, Vlane the Fae prince is still coming to her in all is sexual glory.

Once again Moning has created a fast-paced gripping read. The reader is wrapped up in MacKaylas life and near death and when Bloodfever ends our fingers tingle to pick up the next installment, Faefever, with feverish anticipation.


Bones of the Lost (Temperance Brennan, Bk 16)
Bones of the Lost (Temperance Brennan, Bk 16)
Author: Kathy Reichs
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 39
Review Date: 11/10/2013


Temperance Brennan is tasked with discovering the identity of a female body that was found on a stretch of highway and might very well have a connection to John-Henry Story, who died in a fire months before. Most of the police have written this body off as an illegal immigrant and dont want to waste their resources on her. Tempe must also look into a bundle of Peruvian dog mummies that were confiscated. And to top it all off she is also asked to head to Afghanistan to exhume some bodies and figure out how they were shot. With this much going on in her life, Tempe has her plate full.

Her personal life is extremely complicated also. Her daughter has decided to join the military and has been sent to Afghanistan (which is why when Brennan gets the chance to go, she does) and her soon to be ex-husband, Pete, is pushing for her to finalize the divorce because he is ready to remarry. Her on-again off-again lover, Ryan, isnt returning her calls.

With all the different plot lines running it was a lot to keep straight considering it has been awhile since I have gotten to enjoy a Brennan novel. I felt that Reichs was using this novel to bring to light the horrors of human trafficking. Though a very good topic to bring up, at times it felt too heavy with all the explanations and I was noticing that I would skim though some of it. Even with that being said, it was still an enjoyable mystery to read. There was non-stop action and the typical bluntness that I love in Brennan.

The audio format that I listen to featured Linda Emond who did an amazing job considering how much medical jargon is infused into Reichs novels. She is known for her roles as Dr. Emily Sopher on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and currently as Dr. Candace Reed from Elementary. I wouldnt be opposed to listening to another audio by her.


By a Thread (Elemental Assassin, Bk 6)
By a Thread (Elemental Assassin, Bk 6)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 74
Review Date: 3/4/2012
Helpful Score: 2


Estep is back with her sixth installment of her amazing Elemental Assassin series. Having wet my appetite in her e-novella, Thread of Death, I was highly anticipating seeing where Estep was going to take us devoted Spider fans. I was not let down!

We all know that Gin is not the vacation sort of girl. But now that everyone knows (or assumes) she is the assassin, the Spider, all eyes are on her and every assassin is gunning for her. A vacation doesnt sound so bad. So together with her sister, Bria, they pack their bags and head to Blue Marsh. Blue Marsh is where Bria grew up and she is pretty excited to see her best friend, Callie, who was like a sister to her. Gin hopes that this vacation will help her and Brias relationship but the jealousy that Gin feels for Callies closeness to Bria is hard to overcome.

Of course, the boys arent too far behind. Finn and Owen join the girls. Just in time too because someone is after Callies restaurant and there are bodies showing up. With the reintroduction of Donovan Caine (BOO!) the reader is torn as is Gin. Donovan still is the same, absolutely nothing has changed and that is all that I am saying (GRR)! The scenes with Donovan and Gin are intense and will have you wanting to claw Donovans eyes out. I dont want to give anything away but the last scene with Donovan and Gin had me jumping up and down cheering!

Estep had me again. I felt it all during this installment; anger, jealousy, sadness and happiness. There are some old wounds that heal and some that reopen leaving the reader satisfied but anticipating what will happen next.

(ARC was provided by author for an honest review)


By Fire, By Water
By Fire, By Water
Author: Mitchell Kaplan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 7/29/2010
Helpful Score: 2


Kaplan's purpose in this book was to tell the story about a society destroying itself due to intolerance, prior to the discovery of a New World. To bring this point across, Kaplan uses Luis de Santangel, a converso and royal chancellor of Aragon and Judith Midgal, aunt of Columbus' official translator Luis de Torres. Santangel witnesses first hand the destruction that the Inquisition brings with the death of his brother. Unfortunately he becomes a suspect in the murder of the Chief Inquisitor of Zaragoza. With the King's help he is freed. Judith loses her brother and his wife. Because of this she must learn to support herself and her nephew which is extremely hard for a Jew, especially a woman. During the rise of the Spanish Inquisition, Christopher Columbus continues to petition the crown to fund his exploration of the New World. Santangel is key in this because of his relationship with the King. Kaplan uses these characters to show the strength, perseverance and courage needed to survive such turbulent times.

To accurately depict this time in history, Kaplan studied paintings, medieval books, manuscripts and spoke with specialists. He traveled to Spain and all over Europe. This dedicated research is shown throughout the book. The descriptions of places and people are vivid and real. You feel the love, hate, fear, paranoia, and sadness. It was like an emotional roller coaster that I couldn't get off!!

This book has really opened my eyes to the persecution of Jews during the 15th century in Spain. I did not know much about the Inquisition before but now I am eager to learn more. The story moves quickly and you get caught up in it! The devastation that the Inquisition brought to these families is just unbelievable and the methods of torture used is just horrifying! This book is incredibly well written and I cannot wait to see what Kaplan will be publishing next!


By His Majesty's Grace (Three Graces, Bk 1)
By His Majesty's Grace (Three Graces, Bk 1)
Author: Jennifer Blake
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 7/27/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Isabel Milton has met her match in Sir Randall Braesford. The curse of The Three Graces of Graydon is not going to save her this time. Even though the previous five attempts on marrying her off has failed with disease, accident or warfare, Braesford fears nothing. On the day of their nuptials, unfortunately, Braesfords half-brother William McConnell shows up to arrest him on the charge of murder of Juliette dAmboises, Henry VIIs mistress, baby girl. Braesford knows that the charges are false and most likely a set-up on behalf of his half-brother who is jealous of him and upset that Henry VIII awarded his lands to Braesford.

After returning to London, Henry VIII still insists that the marriage happen. Isabel has no choice and is wedded and bedded before she knows it. At first she is opposed to all of it but as time goes on she finds that she does love this big brute. Now she needs to clear his name for her sake and his head because now the charges have changed to not only the death of the child but also the deather of Juliette. Isabels main suspects are her step-brother, Earl of Graydon, and Braesfords half-brother, William McConnell. But to prove it she will have to be brave and try to get in the good graces of Margaret Beaufort, King Henry VIIs mother.

Blake does a wonderful job with making us feel like we are right there in the action but at times it was too much. I found myself skimming over a lot of the descriptions trying to get the heart of the story. All in all a good romance read but not one that I would say is a must read.


By the King's Design
By the King's Design
Author: Christine Trent
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 3/15/2012


Annabelle Stirling, a young craftswoman, finds herself marching towards London in hopes of finding aid from the Prince Regent after her draper shop is destroyed by the Luddites who had help from her now ex-fiancé Clive and her weak-minded brother, Wesley. With no help offered she is befriended by the architect, John Nash and encouraged to open up shop in London. Her brother slinks back into her life and because he is family, she allows him to work in her shop again.

Liking her spunk, the Prince Regent (King George IV) engages her services in decorating his Pavilion. Along the way she meets Putman Boyce, a cabinetmaker who holds promise in thawing Belles frozen heart. But due her brothers inability to think for himself (probably due to his opium addiction) he has now embroiled them in a treasonous plot against the future King that ends him up in jail and Belle an outcast.

Trent throws us right into the riots caused by machines taking over jobs that were done by hand. The Luddites laid siege across the countryside destroying mills and shops that had these machines in them. On top of this there are families starving because they are out of work. Trent does not shy away from describing this misery and in fact makes it hit home for Belle when she stumbles upon her childhood friend and ex-fiancé (now married to each other) in starved condition. We also read about some very interested historical characters that Trent throws in, including Jane Austen who becomes an acquaintance with Belle.

Another piece that is thrown in is the Prince Regents tumultuous marriage and his quest for a divorce. He has many mistresses that are all vying for attention. We see the greed and vanity that often comes with being a member of the royal family. My impression on the prince is that he was very spoiled and weak.

Love all the intrigue and I did find it an engaging read. Heavy on historical and light on romance leads this Regency story to contain a lot of information that at times could be overwhelming to follow. But as the story reaches its climax, the reader is fully vested and will not be able to stop reading.

(ARC was provided by publisher for an honest review)


Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Author: Alison Weir
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 2/23/2011


This novel covers the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was a very head strong queen. Her first marriage to King Louis VII of France ended in a divorce leaving Louis very bitter (which is very clear throughout the story). Eleanor did have various affairs during this marriage, one of which was a man named Gregory, her future father-in-law. Gregory's son, Henry of Anjou (Henry II) is destined to be the next King of England. Eleanor falls immediately in lust and him likewise. Their love affair is full of passion and leads to many children. But like many marriages, it starts to unravel due to greed, paranoia and adultery. Eleanor believe their marriage was going to be a partnership in all ways including in the ruling of England. Henry has other ideas and is very power hungry. He even plays games with his children causing them to fight amongst themselves and against him. During her marriage to Henry, Eleanor never thought about having an affair and thought Henry was just as faithful (and if you know anything about this time period, you know he wasn't). When she is confronted with Henry's fair Rosamond, Eleanor is absolutely devastated. It really was heartbreaking to read. It is amazing how back then a man could have many affairs and not be blamed but if a women is even suspected of it, it is treason and the punishment is usually death.

All in all this was a wonderful read. One criticism that I have is once the story got to Eleanor's long imprisonment I thought the book started to read very much like a history book. It seemed to jump from one scene to another with not much story weaved in between.


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