Monday, October 24, 2011

New Moon

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

  Stephenie Meyer has done it again!  New Moon is the second book in the Twilight Series.  Again this book hooks you in and keeps you reading until the last page and leaves you wanting more.  You can not get enough of Bella and Edward and what they have in store for them.

  Back in Forks, Bella and Edward get ready to celebrate Bella's 18th Birthday.  Bella not wanting to be any older than Edward and not wanting to make a big deal about her birthday, has asked that there be no presents and no parties.  That would never stop Alice, Edward's Sister, from throwing one!

  Everything is going great and Bella is having a good time, until she gives herself a paper cut while opening a gift.  Bella's blood smells good and the new "vegitarian" vampire Jasper, can not control his blood thirst.  He tries to attack Bella and Bella gets injured while Edward tries to get her out of the way.  Bella gets stitched up and goes home.  Edward of course blames himself for putting her in danger, yet again.

  Edward and his family decide to leave.  Edwards thinking is that if he leaves, Bella will be safe and can live a normal life.   But leaving had done a lot of damage to Bella.  She pretty much shuts herself off from everyone and goes catatonic.  After her father threatens to send her back to her mother, Bella tries to pick up the pieces and fit back into the world.  Not wanting to leave Forks because of Edward.

  While trying to be normal she finds that a sense of Danger and adrenaline can make her hear Edward's voice.  Bella finds two motorcycles and gets Jacob, her best friend, to help fix them up.  Jacob and Bella spend a lot of time together and become very close.  Being around Jacob helps Bella to feel whole again and takes away the pain of not having Edward around.

   Evil Victoria finds her way back to Forks to seek revenge on Bella for the death of James, Victoria's mate.   Jacob's tribe is a bunch of werewolves and he needs to let Bella in on his new found secret in a way that isn't coming right out in saying it.  Werewolves are the natural enemy of Vampires and Jacob's tribe is trying to rid Forks of Victoria.  Jacob isn't able to spend as much time with Bella while he is hunting Victoria, which leave Bella feeling the pain of Edward being gone once again.  So with wanting Edward and wanting to hear his voice, she cliff jumps into the ocean at La Push, and with being Bella, another life saving moment needs to happen.  Jacob rescues her from the water.

   Later that night Alice comes back, because she thought Bella was dead.  It turns out that Alice cant see past the pack of werewolves.  Edward then believes that Bella is dead and finds away to end his life as well.  Now Alice and Bella must fly to Italy to save Edward.

  Another fast read that keeps you wanting more with every page you turn.  What is going to happen next with this young couple.  Bella always being in life threatening situations and her undying love for Edward.  Two worlds that do not seem to belong together and meshing in a way that seems to have no way out.  Bella is determined to be with Edward wether it's good for them or not.  Once you start this Saga you are hooked until the end!


Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

   Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is probably one of my favorite books right now!  I really did not think that I was going to like this series and was greatly surprised by how much I loved this book.  I think that Stephenie Meyer really wrote about what most of us can relate to with out it being a true boring story.

   This book takes place in Forks, Washington, where it rains all the time.  Bella Swan, our main character in the story, decides to move to Forks to live with her father.  She hasn't been to Forks in years due to the fact that it rains all the time and it's always cloudy.  She loves the warmth and the sun.  She is happy to move to Forks only to give her mother some time to travel with her new husband.
  Being the new girl in town is a little uncomfortable for her, but in time she makes new friends and learns her way around town.  On the first day of school she come to learn about the Cullens.  A family of children adopted by Dr. and Mrs Cullen.  She finds out through her friends that the Cullens are paired up in couple statuses, except for one.  Edward is a handsome, pale boy, who keeps to himself and shows no intrest in any of the girls at the school.

   Her first contact with Edward is an odd one.  He seems to be repulsed by her.  She plans on finding out what his problem is with her but, he suddenly goes missing for a few days.  When he comes back, he tries to learn more about her and be friends with her, all while trying to warn her to stay away from him.  This back and forth being friends goes on for a little while, but Edward can not stay away and Bella finds herself in need of his saving a few times.

  After a few near death experiences it seems that they are meant to be.  Some attraction beyond belief seems to exist for this young couple

  This was a quick read that sucks you in and keeps you going until the very last page.  I didn't want to get into another saga after Harry Potter, but I gave into the Twilight phenomenon.  I was hooked and had to go out and buy New Moon right away.  I love, love loved this book!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The King's Grace

The King's Grace  by Anne Easter Smith

   The King's Grace is a great book by Anne Easter Smith about the illegitimate daughter of King Edward IV, Grace Plantagenet.  She is a woman who is barely recorded in English history.  This left lots of room for Anne Easter Smith to tell Grace's story and to link her with Perkin Warbeck, a young man who claims to be one of the boys in the tower.  The boys in the tower are the sons of King Edward IV.  They were put in the tower by their uncle Richard, when he became King of England.  The boys were never seen again and no one knows what happened to them, no one claimed to kill them and their bodies were never found.  To this day, what happened to them remains a mystery.

   Grace Plantagenet is the illegitimate daughter of King Edward IV, she was raised in a convent by nuns and eventually taken in by King Edward IVs widow, Elizabeth Woodville.  After King Edward IVs death, Elizabeth goes into sanctuary and takes in Grace.  Grace stays in the care of Elizabeth for many years, learning about the family and trying to stay in power.  Grace forms a bond with Elizabeth and her daughters and feels that she needs to solve the mystery of her half brothers.
    Grace had never been recognized as a princess like her sisters, because she is illegitimate.  She will never hold the importance they have and will probably never have a great marriage like they will.  When Elizabeth's daughter marries, Henry Tudor, things start to look up for Elizabeth Woodville and her young ward.  Things quickly turn and Elizabeth Woodville is force out of court and sent to an Abbey.  They are living like peasants with little belongings, poor clothing and no contact with the court.   Grace hopes for the day when she can get out of the Abbey.

    The fight for the York's has not ended at this point.  There are people claiming that one of Edward IVs boys is alive and has been spotted throughout Europe.  The woman behind this story and these sightings is Grace's Aunt Margaret of York, the sister of King Edward IV.   Grace travels to Burgundy to meet her Aunt and to find out what she can for Elizabeth Woodville.  Grace learns that this man, Richard, is her half brother.  She has this feeling that he is who he says he is.  Being that Grace has no knowledge of him at all, except for what people have told her she has no choice but to believe his story.

    With finding out about Richard, who many call Perkin Warbeck, she is back at the Tudor court and with her sisters.  She end up marring a young man whom she knew when she was a young girl.  He tries to keep an eye on  her and also tries to keep her from upsetting the King and his mother.  In and out of the Tudor court she goes, all while trying to help this young boy she believes to be her half brother.

    As the story grows it is more about Perkin than anyone else, except for Grace's involvement and her trips to Burgundy to see Margaret.  Being the great problem solver that Grace is, she does piece together to story of Richard and finds the truth of who he really is.

   The King's Grace is such a great story about the princes in the tower and Grace.   Grace has this determination to be a part of this family and to solve the mystery.  Anne Easter Smith puts this story together really well.  I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudors and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower!


The Constant Princess

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory


    The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory is another great read!  This is the story of Catherine of Aragon also known as Catalina, Infanta of Spain and the Princess of Wales.  She has know this title her whole life and always knew she would become Queen of England.

     At a very young age Catalina, Infanta of Spain, knew she was going to be Queen of England.  She had seen war and known that woman can fight on the battle field and win wars.  Catalina, Infanta of Spain, was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales.  She knew that one day she would have to leave her family and travel to England to become the Princess of Wales and eventually become the Queen of England.

    When she leaves her home to move to England she is out of place in a strange land with a strange language.  Arthur, Prince of Wales is not what she had expected and their relationship is off to a rocky start.  After some troubles and a fight for power between the young couple the fall madly in love with each other.  They are inseparable, yet no one knows this.  Arthur's Grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, ran the Tudor court and told the young couple when they could be together.   This did not stop the young couple from being together and planing their future and the future kingdom.

   Arthur is stricken with an illness that ultimately takes his life, leaving Catalina alone in a strange land with nowhere to go and a deathbed promise to keep to her husband.  She must tell the ultimate lie and stick to it.  The battle over who gets to keep Catalina becomes quite petty.  King Henry VII does not want to send her back to Spain, due to her dowry not being paid in full and her parents seem to not want her home.  This little battle over where Catalina will end up is both a blessing and a curse for the young Princess.

   Catalina is forced to live in poverty by the King.  She sits in a little home with a small amount of ladies to care for her.  In this time she is trying to work out her plan to keep her promise to her late husband.  She was born to be the Queen of England and she is going to die trying, nothing will stop her from doing God's will.

    King Henry VII is left a widow and needs to take a new wife, when he comes up with a plan to keep the dowry owed by the Spanish and Catalina.  He plans to take her for his new wife, but this will not work for the young Princess.  She wants to be Queen of England, she was born to be Queen of England.  After some more time waiting in poverty, her chance finally comes.

   King Henry VII passes away and leave his second son, Henry, Prince of Wales, the throne.  King Henry VIII honors his betrothal to his brother's widow.  He marries Catalina, Infanta of Spain, making her the new Queen of England.

    Queen Katherine has a long road ahead of her, she must keep her young husband in line and she must produce a son.  Not only does she have these tasks ahead of her, she must also fight to make the England that she and Arthur had dreamed of.

   This was a fantastic read about Katherine, Queen of England, first wife of Henry VIII.  Many know how this history ends, Philippa Gregory gives us a little more on Katherine, Queen of England.  Katherine of Aragon was a strong woman, she was even stronger than we thought.  A must read for anyone interested in the Tudors.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

   The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a must read.  This book is filled with strength, courage and the power to move people.  This book is powerful and will last for generations, this book will be a classic just like To Kill A Mockingbird.

   The three main women in this story tell the story and form the core.  Skeeter is an idealist white woman who has just come home from college.  She finds that her black maid, Constantine no longer employed at her house.  Skeeter is looking to find the truth about what happened to her.  Her best friend Hilly is the town socialite, who wants everyone to follow in her footsteps.

   Aibileen a loving black maid who works for one of Skeeter's friends.  Aibileen has a great big heart and loves the white child, Mae Mobley, she cares for.  The only thing that Aibileen wants more than anything is to teach love and have things be better for the children growing up.

   Minny is a black maid who used to work for Hilly's mother.  She is a smart mouth, back talking woman who would like to take on the world.  Minny loses her job, thanks to Hilly, she comes to work for Cecilia, a woman who apparently does not see the racial divide.

   Together these three women team up and write a book about what it is like for the help to work for white women.  Skeeter is the main person behind this project and it brings these three women together in a way that you could not imagine in Jackson, Mississippi in the 60's.   They also have some help writing the book from several other black maids who decide to tell their stories, both good and bad.  Risking their lives they write this book and form a unique bond.  Letting the secrets of the town come out for all the country to know.

  The Help is a must read for everyone.  It's funny, heart warming, and empowering.  I could read this book again and again.  Plus you might want to know about the "Minny Pie".

Daughter of York

Daughter of York by Anne Easter Smith

   Daughter of York is another amazing story by Anne Easter Smith.  Anne Easter Smith does a wonderful job of telling the story of another of England's strong and intelligent women.  Daughter of York is the story of Margaret, the daughter of York and who becomes the Duchess of Burgundy.

   Margaret's story begins after her father was killed in battle, she wakes from a nightmare with her mother by her side.  That's where the nightmare of her life is about to begin as well.  She must learn to become the woman of the house and take on more responsibilities.  Her mother Cecily, from Queen by Right, guides her into the great women she will become. 

   Margaret's brother Edward becomes King of England and now holds Margaret's fate in his hands.  He promises to find her a wonderful husband but at the same time he has to do whats best for England.  After the first few years on the throne he decides to wed Margaret to the Duke of Burgundy.  Margaret must leave her family and leave England to sail to France.  Heartbroken and lost she finds herself far from home and friends.  She takes comfort in the few ladies sent with her to tend to her.  Her most beloved lady by her side.  

  Margret's life is full of strength and courage and the patience to guide those around her as well as her brother across the sea.  She faces love, heartache and disappointment along the way, yet stays strong.  Anne Easter Smith has done it again.  This book was another amazing read and again kept me reading to the very last page.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Queen By Right

      Queen By Right  by Anne Easter Smith

   Queen By Right is a really great read by Anne Easter Smith.  I have just finished  this book and loved every bit of it, prompting me to read another book by Anne Easter Smith called Daughter of York. I love English history and can not get enough historical fiction, Queen By Right filled that need.

  Queen By Right by Anne Easter Smith is about Cecily Neville, one of England's most courageous and intelligent woman.  She stood by her husband and put her own fears aside as he fought for the crown.  Cecily was to be Queen of England if her husband Richard, Duke of York had lived to defeat King Henry VI.  Cecily may not have been Queen of England but she was the mother of two Kings of England.

                                      Cecily was named Rose of Raby for her beauty and fair hair and she was also named proud Cis for her loyalty and courage during difficult times in her life.  Cecily was deeply in love with her husband, Richard, Duke of York.  Most times a girl was married off to a boy or man that she did not know, but in Cecily's case she knew her husband to be.  Richard and Cecily had met when they were young and Richard was left in the care of Cecily's father.  During this time Richard and Cecily got to know each other  and fall in love.   Because of this love Cecily chose to move around the country with her husband rather than stay at home and tend to the house and the children.  Cecily often packed up her family to follow Richard.  At times this was hard for Cecily to do, there were often times when she was with child or there were battles that put them in danger and her family was quite large.

   Cecily had stayed loyal to her husband through the ups and downs.  Staying true to being a good wife and supporting her husband, regardless of what though.  She was wise and loving, guiding her husband to do the right thing.  Fighting for the crown against a King that was ill and his wife who was ruthless.  Through the heartache and pain Cecily encountered along the way she was able to see her son Edward with the Crown and the people of England.

   This was such a great book!  Filled with love, family, courage, heartache, and triumph.  Cecily Neville had the strength and wisdom I admire.  I can not even begin to imagine how hard it must have been to be a woman in Cecily Neville's time.  I encourage you to read this book, you will not be let down!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

A little Update

  I posted two reviews this evening, one was for The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory and the second one was for Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I admire both writers and loved both books!  I can't wait to get more reviews up.  I'm still trying to get the feel for what I want my reviews to be like and how I want to blog to run.

  Now that the school year is winding down for my girls, my days are a little hectic right now.  My youngest has five days left of pre-school.  I can not believe how fast the time has gone by already.  In the fall she will be in kindergarten!

  My oldest has a few weeks left of school and then off to second grade in the fall!  So I have end of the year activities going on right now, which means that I am not reading as much as I usually do.  Soon the girls will be home and we will be spending a lot of time outside and at the beach, meaning that I will be reading quite a bit.

   I am going to be posting a few more reviews over the next few days!  I also went to the library with the girls to day and have a few new books to read, so as soon as I am done with those I will be posting reviews for them as well.  So when the day is done and the girls are in bed, I will be listening to the iPod and typing away.

  I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and I hope you all enjoy your Memorial day weekend.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Water For Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

   Sara Gruen is very talented writer.  Water for Elephants was the first of her books I have read, and it did not disappoint me at all.   I was hooked from the very beginning!  This book is about the Circus...I know what you must be thinking, Oh Great Clowns!  But that is not the case in this book.

   Water for Elephants is about a young man named Jacob Jankowski, who is about to graduate from Cornell University as a Veterinarian.  Tragically his parents are killed in an automobile accident  which leaves him with nothing in the 1930's.  The time of the depression.  With nowhere to live and nowhere to go, Jacob starts walking and walking until he ends up by the train tracks.   As a train comes his way, his life changes.  Jacob, with nothing left for him in his small town, starts running after the train and hops on.  Much to his surprise, it's a circus train...the Benzini Brothers Circus.

   This is where he will be pushed to the limit and where he will fall in love.  He works hard and ends up staying with the circus as their veterinarian.  Living through the day seems to be the biggest challenge for young Jacob as his boss, August, has a severe mood swings and is married to one of Jacobs love interests named Marlena.

  In the time of the depression it was hard to get work and it was hard for the Circus' to stay running.  If you were one of the fortunate Circus' to stay afloat,  you did so by gaining circus acts from a fallen circus.  The Benzini Brothers acquire an elephant named Rosie, Jacobs second love in this book.

   Jacobs job is to take care of the animals and to be the man in charge of the elephant Rosie.  Rosie is going to be the saving grace of the circus as the main act with Marlena.  Working with Rosie and Marlena, Jacob forms great bonds with both.  Torn between the right thing to do and the way things must go are a great displeasure to Jacob.

  August is abusive to everyone around him, especially Rosie and Marlena.  August had many problems with the Rosie, due to the language barrier between them.  Rosie finds herself in a few troublesome situations that are funny and light in nature, and in turn suffers severe punishments at the hands of August.

   Also suffering from the hands of August, is his wife Marlena.  Although Marlena is not a troublesome Elephant she also finds herself in some trouble.   August is paranoid and takes things the wrong way and with doing that, becomes abusive to Marlena.  Jacob does not like this at all and tries to do everything he can to save both Marlena and Rosie.  The two loves of his life.

   A very moving book about circus life and how hard it must have been in the 1930's.  I recommend this book with great praises.  Entertaining and captivating to the very end.  I almost want to run away to the circus!

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

   Another fantastic book from Philippa Gregory. Having read The White Queen, I had to read The Red Queen. The Red Queen is the second book in the Cousins' War series.  This is the story of Margaret Beaufort and her quest to make her son, Henry Tudor, King.

  In The White Queen we are introduced to Margaret Beaufort and her son Henry.  The White Queen by Philippa Gregory tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the commoner who won the heart of Edward and became Queen.  Margaret Beaufort was on the other side of this war for the throne.

   Margaret Beaufort is a strong willed women, who sets aside her own desires to put her son on the Throne of England.  Margaret wanted to be a holy women or another Joan of Arc.  Unfortunately Margaret lives in a time when a women does not choose her own life.  Married off at a very young age and a mother not long after, she chooses the only option left for put her son on the throne.  This side of the War of the Roses is more focused on a women's belief in god and his plan for her family.

   This Red Queen is the story of the house of Lancaster fighting for the throne with secret plans and deception.  Another story of a strong women who has the will to fight to the very end, only she may have God on her side as well as the ultimate goal in the end....the Throne.

   I love Philippa Gregory's books.  She has an amazing ability to grab your attention and keep you reading to the very end.  I could not put this book down.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Some things to look forward to!

   So, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this.  I posted my first book review!  The review of The White Queen by Philippa Gregory is up.  I hope my review sparks an interest for you.  I loved The White Queen and look forward to reading some more of Philippa Gregory's books.

   I should have another review up soon.  This review will be about The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory.  The Red Queen is the second of the Cousin's war series and another great read.  The Red Queen tells the story of the Cousin's from the opposite side of Elizabeth Woodville. 

   I'm also working on a review for The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent.  So far it seems to be a good book.  I can't wait to finish it so that I can share it with you.

   I look forward to working hard on this blog and really get it up and running so that I can give you more and more books to consider reading.  I read through books pretty quickly considering the fact that I run around being a mom, taking my two girls to their activities.  One of our favorite weekly activities is going to the local Library.  We go every week and look forward to the books we pick out a bring home. Usually we bring home about 20-25 books a week.  This may seem like a lot but my girls are 7 years old and 4 years old, so we read through theirs pretty quickly and I usually have about 2-3 books for the week.  Speaking of the youngsters, please let me know if you would like book reviews for children's books.  We read a lot in this house.

  I'm really excited about this blog and hope that you all like it.  Talk to you soon!  :)


The White Queen by Philippa Gregory Book Review

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

   I was so excited to read The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.  I love the history that she pours into her writing.  Philippa Gregory has an amazing story telling ability and her research is amazing.  The White Queen is Philippa Gregory's first book in the Cousin's War Series. This book takes place before the Tudors during the time of the War of the Roses.
   The White Queen begins with Elizabeth Woodville, from the house of Lancaster.  Elizabeth Woodville is a widow who lost her husband in a battle.  She and her two sons live with her parents and siblings.  Elizabeth's mother, Jacquetta helps her to gain the attention of King Edward IV from the house of York,  with the assistance of witchcraft.  Elizabeth Woodville marries Edward IV in secret with her mother and a servant as the only witnesses.  When Edward IV, from the family of the white roses, takes the throne he must bring Elizabeth in as the new Queen of England. 
    This creates some problems for the new King.  People in England do not like the power that Elizabeth's family have now risen to.  This being in the time of the Cousin's War, Edward has to work a little harder to keep himself on the throne and peace in England.  Brothers turn against brothers in this long battle for the throne as the rightful King.
   King Edward and Elizabeth fight to keep their family in power and peace in England.  Despite Edwards reputation for being a playboy, he adores Elizabeth.  Elizabeth Woodville is a beauty like no other and is the most beautiful Queen that England has seen.  Elizabeth and Edward IV not only have to fight against the people wanting claim to the throne, they must also fight the very people along side them, starting with his mother.  Edward's mother is not happy with the fact that Edward IV married Elizabeth instead of a princess.  Not only is Edward's mother a hurdle they must deal with, Edward's brothers also pose a threat.  
   Elizabeth  produces two little Princes for Edward IV, gaining more claim to the throne of England, as well as many Princesses.  During this time, England becomes divided as others vow to claim the throne of England.  Edward IV goes away to battle and Elizabeth must go into hiding in the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey.  This is where she gives birth to her first son Edward, the future King of England.  After peace is restored and the Royal Family is back at the castle there are more problems to deal with.  Edward's brother George is rallying against him and need to be dealt with.  Against the pleas of his mother Edward IV has his brother George put to death for treason.
   Time goes by and things are looking good for the House of York, until Edward IV becomes ill and passes away.  On his death bed he leaves the care of his young son, Edward,in the care of his brother Richard.  This is not to the liking of Elizabeth.  Knowing that something is wrong, she goes into hiding again, with her daughters and her youngest boy.
  In a time when you can not trust anyone Elizabeth must make some surprising allies, to fight for the throne that rightfully belongs to her son Edward.  During this time of hiding she relies on her witchcraft and least likely allies.  In order to save an heir to the throne she switches her youngest son for a pageboy. Sending the pageboy to the Tower of London to join her son Edward, who is already prisoner.  Many rumors are told about the boys in the tower.  Some say that they were killed and buried, others say that one escaped.  To this day no one knows what happened to the boys in the Tower.
  This is such an amazing book of the struggle for power and what people will do for it, whether it be forming unlikely alliances or switching children.  The goal is always to survive.  Philippa Gregory has an amazing ability to fill in the gaps in history with her own personal idea of what happened.  The White Queen is full of backstabbing, family loyalty and the struggle to survive and rise to the top.  The White Queen is a great book about the time of the War of the Roses and will leave you wondering what England has been wondering for centuries....what happened to the Boys in the Tower?