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Showing posts from April, 2015

Wolf Hall (The Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #1) by Hilary Mantel - Review

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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel traces Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in Henry VIII's court. Cromwell was essentially a nobody - a son of a blacksmith - who becomes Cardinal Wolsey's aide and a well-known lawyer, and eventually King Henry VIII's most trusted advisor. The story is primarily set between 1527 and 1535 as Cromwell, a proponent of the English Reformation, is working on Henry VIII's divorce from his first wife and union with Anne Boleyn.

This novel is an excellent work of historical fiction, to the point where you can almost forget it's a fictional account. It's thought-provoking, atmospheric, and commands your full attention. The cast of characters is broad, and well known to those knowledgeable on the Tudor court, but she has really succeeded in making Cromwell, often portrayed as a villain, her own and a sympathetic character at that.

Unfortunately, sometimes this novel is a little difficult to follow with the use constant use of "…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Which Feature Characters Who Time Travel

Tuesday is here again and this week the theme for Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Books Which Feature Characters Who ______.  I decided to choose time travel - partly because I've recently rewatched the Back to the Future trilogy for the umpteenth time and I've been on a bit of a Doctor Who kick lately.  Honestly, though, I've always been intrigued by the concept.  Below are some of my favorite books with characters who time travel, in alphabetical order.





11/22/63 by Stephen King


All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling


Kindred by Octavia E. Butler


Landline by Rainbow Rowell


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs


The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer


The Time Machine by H.G. Wells


The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle



So, what do you think of my list?  Are there any you love or is there a time t…

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer - Review

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Think you know Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer? Think again! Fairest, a prequel of sorts, tells the story leading up to her glamourous rise to power. We get an in-depth look at her life growing up with Channery, her skill and determination when it comes to glamour and manipulation, and how she becomes the twisted villain we know.

I can't express how excited I was to finally pick this up from the library. This series offers such great retellings of classic fairy tales, and this prequel is no exception. I loved getting to see Levana's development. From her family relationships to forced romance, it's easy to follow her trajectory into the villain she becomes. The Levana we're introduced to is a lonely little girl who just wants to be loved, but we see her sociopathic tendencies really start to come out as she learns to get what she wants by creating glamours. I can appreciate her determination, but what she does by trying to forc…

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal - Review

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Maggie Hope graduated at the top of her Wellesley College class and planned to continue her studies in mathematics at M.I.T., but due to a change of events needed to travel to London to sell her grandmother's old house. Maggie knows she has the skills to make a name for herself in British Intelligence, but her gender only lets her rank as the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street rather than as one of the Prime Minister's private secretaries. She knows it's not right, but what can she do aside from her best. It turns out that working where she does gets her a lot of access and she quickly finds herself wrapped up in an assassination plot that could potential take down the country at the height of the war.

I started this novel hoping it would be something like the tv shows The Bletchley Circle crossed with Agent Carter, but it just didn't have what made those shows so compelling. A good deal of the story could be cut down and the character's would benefit…

Sunday Funday - Bloglovin'

Everyone can now officially Follow my blog with Bloglovin - yay!  Please, follow to your heart's content via email, GFC, or Bloglovin'. If you so desire, you can also find me on Goodreads, Twitter, and even Pinterest.  If you don't want to, though, that's perfectly alright, but you do have the options if you feel so inclined.

I haven't done one of my weekly updates in a while, so I figure it's time to post another one since I have the chance.

The highlight of my week: I went to my first ever Library Conference!  It was fantastic.  I made some new acquaintances, saw some old friends, and came away with so many refreshing ideas.  I even won a prize - how cool is that?

The lowlight: I've been quite sick with a bad cough for the past couple of days.  I'd managed to go more than a whole year without getting sick, but I guess my streak's been broken.  You know when you're so congested you feel like you're swimming?  That's been me.  Anyway, I&…

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab - Review

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Kell is one of two Antari, a magician who can travel to parallel worlds. He is the adopted Prince of the royals of Red London, a city where magic is respected and flourishes. He officially acts as courier by taking monthly messages to the rulers of the other Londons. These other London's include Grey London, boring and without magic, which is ruled by mad King George III and White London, a place where magic is to be controlled and is draining the city and people, which is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the top. There used to be a place called Black London, but no one speaks of it anymore. Unofficially, he smuggles goods to the highest bidder desperate enough to see a piece of a world they will never be able to visit - a potentially treasonous act. It's not a matter of if he gets caught, but when. When he does get caught and runs to Grey London, he crosses paths with Lila Bard, a thief with dreams of freedom, who robs him, saves him from an enemy, a…

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James - Review



Six years after Pride and Prejudice ends is where we pick back up with Elizabeth, Darcy, and their two young boys. Their world seems perfect at Pemberley, Darcy's estate. Jane and Bingley live close and her father comes over often, and Georgiana may have marriage prospects. Preparations are even underway for their annual ball, but the night before it's to take place Lydia hysterically arrives at their home, screaming that her husband, Wickham, has been murdered. Just like that the idyllic calm has been shattered putting Pemberley at the center of a shocking murder mystery.

I was really looking forward to this - a sequel by P.D. James and a murder mystery at that - I mean, it sounds great. Unfortunately, Death Comes to Pemberley just didn't have the charm of Austen's classic at all. It doesn't really hold up as a homage, let alone a sequel. What got me most was the thin characterization of the cast I love. In this novel they come across as so flat (and wo…

The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn - Review

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John Lago is an assassin disguised as an intern. His employer is HR, Inc. a firm that places interns, in reality assassins, with high level companies to bump off executives for their contractors. Why interns? Because interns are invisible and unmemorable which is exactly how HR, Inc. likes it. John is about to retire at age 25 but first he has one last mission. Why 25? Because people working for free over the age of 25 is suspicious. Here he presents his last mission in handbook format for up-and-coming HR, Inc. assassins to give them insider knowledge from a seasoned killer.

John's last mission is one of his most difficult to date and it's a pretty good mix of crazy and awesome. I liked John's dark sense of humor and his taste in movies is pretty great. Let's just say he's not exactly a likable character, but he is a lot of fun to read about. I also liked Alice's character. She seems to be a such a good match for him, even though she is an…

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman - Review

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In this short story anthology, Neil Gaiman does what he does best and tells engaging fantastical stories. If you enjoy his work, you won't want to miss out on this collection of previously published work plus an entirely new short. My favorites include "The Thing About Cassandra", "Orange", "A Calendar of Tales", "The Case of Death and Honey" (Sherlock Holmes!), "Click-Clack the Rattlebag", "Nothing O'Clock" (Doctor Who!), "The Sleeper and the Spindle" (Sleeping Beauty retelling), and "Black Dog" (the new story featuring Shadow from American Gods.  Definitely a must-read for Gaiman fans!


I read this short story collection on April 24, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie - Review

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You know the classic fairy-tales and you've seen the animated movies about princesses being kind and gentle and in the end get their happily ever afters. The short stories featured in this non-fiction book talk about real princesses who broke the mold and didn't live up to those expectations in various ways. Maybe they fought on the battlefield, maybe they schemed their way to the top, or maybe they were flat out lunatics on their quests to power. Regardless, McRobbie's Princesses Behaving Badly is a fascinating read for those looking for the parts of history, and the people involved, that are usually left out of the history books or overlooked for some reason or another.

Most of these tales are from the distant past where everyone involved is long dead and the stories take on a near legendary status, but there are a handful here that are much more recent to be within living memory. The author's decision to take a look at the more colorful members of roya…

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.
These are the rules: 1. Grab a book, any book. 2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. 3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 4. Post it. 5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.
This Friday I'm spotlighting my current read, Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman.  Neil Gaiman is one of my favorites, so I was super excited when this finally came in for me at the library.  I'm not too far along yet, but I think these excerpts are really interesting.  


Book Beginning:

There are things that upset us.  That's not quite what we…

Disney Princess Tag

This tag looks like a lot of fun, so I've tagged myself from Brin's Book Blog.  Without further ado on to the tag:

My Disney Princess Facts:

1. My favorite Disney Princess is Mulan (although she's usually not considered part of the traditional pantheon) in part because it's not a traditional fairy tale or love story and because she's such an awesome character.

2. My favorite Disney movie growing up was The Little Mermaid - I even used to watch the animated tv series.  I mean, who wouldn't want to be a mermaid?

3. I grew up on Disney so I've watched them all (or most of the animated films) multiple times over.  I'm really looking forward to watching Big Hero 6.

The Main Event:

1. Snow White - Name your favorite Classic.



There are so many to choose from that I adore, but I think I'm going to go with a series of novels and short stories that have been adapted over and over - The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.  I love going back and rerea…