*UPDATE*

I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.

I am no longer an Amazon Associate. I am currently working on updating my posts with links to various locations to buy books. One of the links I am including is to RJ Julia - this is my favorite local independent book store. You can shop their store online and have access to pretty much anything you are looking for. I do not have any affiliation with any of these sites - just looking to support my local indie book store.

Anyone looking for a new feed reader? My recommendation is Bloglovin'. I made the switch and love the layout, plus there is now an app for my phone. If you use Bloglovin' or have made the switch to another feed reader, please make sure you are following me on it so you miss none of the content here!

Here is a quick sticky link to my Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge and Read-a-Thon.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Read Your Own Books Challenge Complete

2009 Read Your Own Books Challenge Logo I have completed my first real challenge this year! This challenge is hosted by MizB over at ReadingWise. The rules for this challenge (which is still ongoing until the end of the year) are to set a goal for how many of your OWN books you want to read by the end of the year. I set my goal for 10 books, which I thought was going to be a challenge to reach, when I first started this blog. I have come to realize that by simply having this blog and wanting to contribute to it all the time I read books more efficiently. So thank you blogger for my reaching the 10 books!

Here is my list with links to my reviews.

1. Plain Jane by Laurien Gardner - Review Here
2. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran - Review Here3. Madame Serpent by Jean Plaidy - Review Here
4. A Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox - Review Here
5. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir- Review Here
6. Jane Eyre (Audio Book) - Charlotte Bronte - Review Here
7. The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn - Robin Maxwell - Review Here
8. 1st to Die (Audio Book)- James Patterson - Review Here
9. Eve - Elissa Elliott - Review Here
10. The Heretic Queen - Michelle Moran - Review Here

Challenge completed July 31, 2009.




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just a Short Little Update

Hello everyone, happy Thursday! Usually Thursday's aren't all that special, but I get to finally go home tomorrow - after my 2 1/2 week stay in Pittsburgh for job training. It actually hasn't been that bad, but I miss my family.

I am thinking that I should have a review of The Heretic Queen up on Saturday (hopefully). I am just racing through the pages and I can't believe that I am almost finished (after starting on Sunday and not being a really fast reader)! It's so engrossing! I also have a plane ride tomorrow - so I should be able to finish.

I also think that I will be posting a giveaway sometime in the next week. I just have to make a decision as to what it will be. I will make that decision after I get home and see what I actually have. And hopefully I will have something for Mailbox Monday this week - as some things should have come while I was gone.

Hopefully everyone has a great rest of Thursday and a great Friday - and the next time I post I will be back home again. Yay!




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Humane Award!!!

Humane AwardI am so excited to get my newest award! This was quite a surprise to me because I haven't seen this award around the blogosphere - maybe I have just been missing it. I have to thank Jenny at Jenny Loves to Read for this Humane Award. This is an awesome blog and if you haven't been there, you really should!

This award is designed to honor bloggers who regularly take part in my blog and always have something good to say. These are people who I love to read their comments on my blog as well as visit their blogs too. Without them, my blog would be much less interesting and exciting.

I would like to pass this award on to:


Thanks so much for to everyone for making my blog special. I am always excited to sign on and see what people have posted on their blogs and what people have said on mine. In just 2 months this blog has become more than I thought it would in a year!





Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, July 27, 2009

Abu Simbel and Nefertari's Burial Chamber (QV66)

I thought today it would be kind of cool to take a look at some of the most beautiful sights in Egypt. Ever since I first heard about Nefertari I was taken by her story and the beauty of her monuments. The paintings in her tomb are some of the most well preserved Ancient Egyptian works of art.

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is the monument erected by Pharaoh Ramesses II to commemorate himself and his queen Nefertari. The small temple is dedicated to Nefertari and the goddess Hathor. The most interesting fact is that the statues of Ramesses and Nefertari are shown to be the same height - something that almost never happened. This temple fell into disuse and was almost completely covered with sand until its rediscovery in 1817. The temple was relocated between 1964-1968 to a higher cliff to avoid being flooded by the waters from the Aswan Dam. Here is a little, funny video showing a tour of the temple.









QV66

QV66 is the funerary temple for Nefertari. Her tomb is located at the bottom of the North Side of the Valley of the Queens. The paintings in this tomb are some of the most beautiful of all Egyptian art. The scenes represent chapters from the Book of the Dead as well as Nefertari's life and death. Poetry was written on the walls by Ramesses himself. Her tomb was rediscovered in 1904 but the tomb had already been raided and the body was missing - only pieces were found. For many years the tomb was closed to visitors because of the damage to the artwork, but they have underwent a major restoration effort and are now again open to the public. You can take a tour of her tomb at this site.






Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Little Bit of Egyptian Trivia

In honor of my reading The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran I have an interesting piece of Egyptian trivia for you all.

In 1974 the mummy of Ramesses II was transported to Paris for preservation measures. He was issued an Egyptian passport with his occupation listed as King (deceased). Upon his arrival in Paris he was given military honors as any King would.

How cool is that?




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Review: Eve by Elissa Elliott

Book Cover Eve by Elissa Elliott
Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott
Hardcover, 432 pages
Delacorte Press
January 27, 2009
★★★★★

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection
"In this mesmerizing debut novel, Elissa Elliott blends biblical tradition with recorded history to put a powerful new twist on the story of creation’s first family. Here is Eve brought to life as a wife, mother, and woman in a way religion and myth have never allowed. With stunning intimacy, Elliott boldly reimagines Eve’s journey before and after the banishment from Eden, her complex marriage to Adam, her troubled relationship with her daughters, and the tragedy that would overcome her sons Cain and Abel. From a woman’s first awakening to a mother’s innermost hopes and fears, from moments of exquisite tenderness to a climax of shocking violence, Eve explores the very essence of love, womanhood, faith, and humanity."
Many people know the story the Bible tells of Adam and Eve: Adam was the first man, Eve was created from his rib, they were expelled from Eden for eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they had 2 sons (Cain & Abel) and Cain killed Abel. That is about where the Bible’s version of this story ends. Elissa Elliott picks up where the story leaves off and creates a very detailed back story for these first people. She uses the story from the Bible as the backbone for her story about Eve.

This book is told from the viewpoints of Eve and her three daughters, Naava, Aya, and Dara (something never mentioned in the Bible). Each of their perspectives gives a unique look at the world around them. Naava is the eldest daughter who does everything to improve her own place in the world, sometimes creating problems for her family at the same time. Aya is the second oldest daughter and she has a deformity to her foot. Despite this condition she is a necessity to the family as she is the cook and the healer. Dara is the youngest, part of a set of twins, and she is used by the family as a go-between for the family and the newcomers. Eve is questioning if God exists because he hasn’t come to them since they were expelled from Eden. These females tell the stories of the men in their lives as well. Cain, the eldest, has a temper and is questioning the presence of God. Abel, the second oldest, does anything to help his family and believes that he can hear the voice of God, which really upsets his older brother. Jacan, Dara’s twin, follows Abel’s lead and is learning the ways of tending to the herds and listening to God. Finally there is Adam. He is the strong, quiet presence – always believing in the presence of God.

This book takes place at three different periods of time. Most of the story takes place in the months leading up to the death of Abel at the hands of Cain. During this time they meet the newcomers to the area and their presence and influence severely disrupts the pattern of the family. Through Eve’s retellings we learn of their life within the Garden of Eden, what led up to their expulsion from that Garden, and their travels to the place where they eventually settle down. The third period of time is very late in life right before Eve’s death. Naava has come back to see Eve before she dies.

I was very interested in reading this book because the early Bible stories are very interesting and create a great backbone for a novel. Elliott does an amazing job of weaving what is written in the Bible with her own story of the family. Her characters are very real and all of them have a distinct personality. As the story was coming to an end I realized that I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to know more about this family and what would happen after Abel’s death. I found that during reading this book I would look things up in the Bible to get an idea of what the back story was. I learned a lot during this process. I now can’t wait to read other books from this genre and can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next.

You can visit Elissa Elliott's website or blog for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?  And if you are part of a book club, or just want to prolong your reading experience, Elliott has posts a list of recipes to try that go along with the themes of the book!

Other reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

 




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, July 24, 2009

Biblical Spotlight: Adam

Alright everyone, time for my last Biblical Spotlight until my next encounter with a Biblical Fiction book. This one focuses on Adam.
According to the Bible:
  • Adam was created by God in his likeness from the Earth
  • Eve, his wife, was created from Adam's rib to keep him company
  • He was to live in the Garden of Eden and care for all the plants and animals
  • The only rule was to not eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
  • He and his wife were expelled from the Garden for doing what he was told not to
  • He lived to be 930 years old!
In the novel by Elissa Elliott she talks a lot about how Adam was deaf in one ear after an encounter with a bear. I'm not sure if this event is mentioned anywhere or if his deafness is mentioned and she just created a back story for it. Does anyone know?

I have to say that I have learned a lot from this series of spotlights - I was never really up on my Biblical events. Until tomorrow - when my review will be posted




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

I have been reading all of these awesome answers people have been posting to this weekly meme for a long time and I finally am getting involved. Booking Through Thursday is hosted by Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

• Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? – Something Serious
• Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? – Paperbacks all the way!• Fiction? Or Nonfiction? – Ummm, Fiction if I have to choose.• Poetry? Or Prose? – Definitely Prose – I can’t understand Poetry
• Biographies? Or Autobiographies? – Mostly biographies• History? Or Historical Fiction? – Historical Fiction• Series? Or Stand-alones? – Lately stand-alones
• Classics? Or best-sellers? – Best sellers – anyone who has read this blog knows that reading Jane Eyre last month was the first Classic I have read in recent memory
• Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? – A mix of both
• Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? – Plots! I can’t pay attention to stream of consciousness
Long books? Or Short? – I would rather read a shorter book, but somehow those longer ones draw me to them the most ;)
• Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? – A little illustrated break is always nice from time to time• Borrowed? Or Owned? – Owned – I have this thing about wanting to keep all my books around me – I have the hardest time getting rid of them.• New? Or Used? – New mostly – Something about knowing I am the first one reading them. But I don’t mind used if they are in nice condition.




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Expand Your Vocabulary

I think it's safe for me to say that those of us who read, historical fiction especially, come across words we don't know very often. That is just one of those hazards of reading these sorts of books ;). I regularly keep track of words that I don't know as I read and I thought it would be a good idea to post them here after I finish a book. That way I can help expand your vocabularies too! Otherwise, it's just a way for me to keep track for myself. Feel free to comment with your own words as well if you like.

Ok, so I just finished Eve by Elissa Elliott. I only came across 3 words that I didn't know this time, but they were used over and over and over. So here they are.
  • Cistern - a reservoir, tank, or container for storing or holding water or other liquid (n).
  • Flummoxed - to bewilder; confound; confuse (v).
  • Fecundity - The quality or power of producing abundantly; fruitfulness or fertility (n).
Hope everyone is having a good week so far. The weekend is within our sights!




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Biblical Spotlight: Cain & Abel

To continue my Biblical Spotlight edition of this blog, my next segment will be on Cain and Abel - the sons of Adam and Eve.

Let's start with the basics:
  • Cain was the first child of Adam and Eve, while Abel was the second.
  • Cain tended to the fields and had a "green thumb", while Abel tended to the flocks
  • Cain & Abel both offered up the best of their products and Abel's offering was shown to have more impact than Cain's.
  • Cain killed Abel out of anger
The Bible sums up this well-known story in 1 chapter - at the opposite extreme, Ms. Elliott takes the period from the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden until the death of Abel and wraps it up in 400ish pages.
Look for one more Biblical Spotlight this week as well as my review of the book this weekend. Understanding the back story of these characters makes a more fulfilling experience with the book.





Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Belief is not always easy. Even when you have seen and heard the thing you are supposed to believe in."
~Eve by Elissa Elliott, pg. 1




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Well Rounded Challenge

A Well Rounded Challenge LogoSo I am starting another new challenge but this one doesn't require me to do anything additional, so it's ok!

This challenge is like a clean up challenge for all my other challenges. It is hosted by Teddy Rose at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time. Here are the rules:
1.) Read a total of 5 books: 1 book for each challenge
2.) Books can be in paper form, eBook, or audio book
3.) This challenge runs through the end of 2009
Here are the challenges that I plan on using for this challenge:
  • 2009 Audio Book Challenge - 2nd Chance by James Patterson
  • Jean Plaidy Challenge - The Merry Monarch's Wife by Jean Plaidy
  • Four Month Challenge - The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
  • 2009 Read & Review Challenge - Rage: The Story of A Sibling Murder by Jerry Langton
  • Read Your Own Books Challenge - Eve by Elissa Elliott
I will update this post as I go with the books that I read for each challenge.





Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Attention to all you fellow book bloggers!

From September 14-18 2009 there will be the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week. This week is designed to celebrate all of us who work so hard to tell each other about the things that we love the most...BOOKS!

During that week there will be giveaways, special posts and blogging themes. You can check out the website and more info here. Don't forget to hit the register button while you are there to have your blog listed and be entered into a contest.

You can also nominate blog for several different categories - I haven't checked that part out yet.

So definitely check this out, I think it will be lots of fun!




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Julie Lessman Contest

Hey Guys,

I received an email yesterday from author Julie Lessman about a contest that she is having and I thought it would be a good idea to share this with all of you in case you were interested.

I don't know if you are all familiar with her books, I have just gotten into them myself - I haven't had the chance to read any of them yet. Her books are set in Boston during World War I focusing on the O'Connor family. Each book focuses on one member of the family. She has three books out right now: A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Check out her website here for more information on her books.

She is currently preparing to write book 2 in the second part of this series. Her contest is to have a character named after you in that book. To be entered into this contest you need to write a review of A Passion Denied and post it on Amazon.com, christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com or borders.com (links are included to the book). For each review posted you will get 1 point. Those with the most points will be entered into the final drawing!

The contest ends at the end of 2009, so get your entries in!




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 Audiobook Challenge


Here is another challenge that I decided to join. I expect to finish the Read Your Own Books Challenge before the end of the month so I thought I could take on another one. The 2009 Audiobook Challege is offered over at J.Kaye's Book Blog. The rules are as follows:

Read 12 audiobooks in 2009.

Here is what I have so far:

1.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
2.) 1st to Die by James Patterson
3.) 2nd Chance by James Patterson
4.) Five Days in Paris by Danielle Steel
5.) The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
6.) Tara Road by Maeve Binchey
7.) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
8.) The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
9.) Smitten by Janet Evanovich
10.) Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
11.) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
12.) Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire





Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Author Interview with Robin Maxwell

Reading The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn was like stepping back in time and being able to take a look at Anne from a completely different perspective. Robin Maxwell is the fantastic writer who was able to bring all of the emotion and stories about Anne Boleyn together into this work. I had the great pleasure of getting to speak with Ms. Maxwell and to ask her some questions. She had some great responses and a sneak peak too. So without further adieu…


I noticed that you graduated with a degree in Occupational Therapy and had many other jobs before becoming a full time writer. How did you get started with writing? What made you change your focus in life?



If you would have asked my mother about that, she'd have told you I was a writer from the age of eight. At least, that's when she started collecting everything I wrote, from poems on birthday cards, to my first love story about Bernie the Bagel and Lottie Lox. I had tried my hand at acting in New York City in the mid-`70s, but by the time I moved to L.A. in `76, ideas were starting to flit in and out of my mind. I can date the moment I became a writer to the day I didn't let the odd idea flit OUT of my mind, and instead wrote it down on a scrap of paper. Then I found a manila folder, titled it "ideas" and put my scrap of paper in there. Soon it was full of ideas, some just a title, some a paragraph. It was when I realized that my ideas, fragmentary as they might be, were VALUABLE, deserving of being kept, that I can say that I became a writer.

The first thing I tried was the story of young woman with breast cancer who falls in love with her surgeon, a man named Dr. Finger. I never finished that. I went on to co-write a comedy sketch with a friend who'd worked on the second season of the Robin Williams sitcom "Mork and Mindy." It was called "Jewish Mother" and was about a 30-year-old Jesus living at home with his parents when the three "Wiseguys" who've been lost in the desert for quite some time, finally show up at "Mrs. of Nazareth's" door. I remember there was a joke about what she was cooking - "stuffed hump." I segued into writing comedy screenplays with a girlfriend, Billie Morton, and together we got our first studio deal in 1981 with a movie script for two legendary producers. It was called "Trouble in Toyland," and we're still trying to sell it as of last week. We worked for 15 years writing comedy for all the studios, though nothing of ours was ever produced. Funnily enough, Billie and I are still writing partners, though she now lives in Australia. One of our comedies written 20 years ago this year looks like it's finally going to be produced. And we are just now embarking on our first novel together. Meanwhile in 1985 one of my scripts was made into a Movie of the Week for CBS, called "Passions," and starred Joanne Woodward.

In 1995 I started writing SECRET DIARY OF ANNE BOLEYN (now in its 22nd printing!). This was based on a long, passionate fascination with the woman, whom I believed from my research was deeply misunderstood and horribly vilified. To this day, SECRET DIARY is the most sympathetic portrait of Anne in both literature and film. The rest, as they say, is history.

Do you have a routine when you write? A specific place or time of day?

No, I don't have a routine. Because I have to do so much research for my historical novels, I have to read, read, read - histories and biographies - and surf the web for material. I do that any old time of night or day. I do prefer to write in the morning, after I've eaten a good protein-laden breakfast (which switches my brain on). But I can write morning, noon or night. If the Muse wakes me in the middle of the night I drag myself out of bed and attend her. Once I'm awake I consider these very blessed moments of creativity. I also seem to get my best, most original ideas in that weird time of the morning just before I wake up and the moments just AFTER I wake up. Sometimes I'll only write for a few hours, but most times it's a full 8-hour day. And once in a while, if I'm on a roll, I'll go 12-14 hours.

You have written several books about Tudor England (Mademoiselle Boleyn, Virgin, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Wild Irish, To the Tower Born, and Queen’s Bastard). What about this time period drew you to it?



The simple answer is Anne Boleyn. But once I started writing about her (and doing the necessary research for SECRET DIARY) I was drawn into the characters of Henry VIII, his other wives and his children, especially Elizabeth I. It was just the most outrageous, colorful, passionate, absurd and bloody period in history. And it was in a language I knew. I sort of created an archaic form of English for Anne to write her first-person diary entries in. For the sections on Elizabeth, which were in third-person, it was much more classical in form. When it was time to write my second book, I became fascinated with the rumors (many of them) that Elizabeth and her lover, Robin Dudley, had had an illegitimate son, Arthur Dudley. I really had to scour the libraries (this was before the internet) to find out the facts of Arthur Dudley's life. The result, of course, was THE QUEEN'S BASTARD. Then I wanted to explore Elizabeth's youthful indiscretions with her step-father, Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour - VIRGIN. When I learned about Elizabeth's rival in the later part of her life and reign, the Irish pirate and "Mother of the Irish Rebellion" Grace O'Malley, I just had to write THE WILD IRISH. This is one of my favorite book, and perhaps the closest to being produced as a major motion picture. I adapted my own novel to a screenplay. So keep your fingers crossed!

I got fascinated with the earliest Tudor ancestors for TO THE TOWER BORN, my very original take on the mystery of the lost little princes in the Tower. And to round everything out nicely, three years ago I wrote about Anne Boleyn again, about her and her sister being brought up in the wild and rather lewd French court - MADEMOISELLE BOLEYN. Don't read this one if you're a prude.

Your most recently published book, Signora di Vinci takes place in Renaissance Italy. What about the Renaissance inspired you to move from Tudor England to this period of time and these characters?

I must say, I was nervous about leaving Tudor England, because it had been so rich and colorful. I couldn't imagine a time or place or characters that could top it. But I was so intrigued by the mind of Leonardo da Vinci that when I started researching him and his mother, Caterina (it's her voice and eyes through which readers explore the period) I found that Italy in the 15th century was every bit as fascinating as Tudor England, if not MORE, because this was where the Renaissance was born. In fact, the grandfather of one of my characters in SIGNORA DA VINCI, Lorenzo "The Magnificent" de' Medici's grandfather, Cosimo de' Medici, was the actual man without whom the Renaissance wouldn't have happened AT ALL. He was the one who spent his florins on sending scouts out all over the world to discover the lost manuscripts of ancient Greece and Rome and have them translated. Then he formed a society to study them -- The Platonic Academy. So the movers and shakers of Florence began reading the classics (which became the basis of Renaissance thought). They were toying with some very heretical material as far as the Christian church was concerned -- pagan stuff, Egyptian magic -- all burnable offenses. Put that together with Leonardo and his cross-dressing mother and the Shroud of Turin hoax, and you've got one helluva story. If you want to read some tidbits about these subjects, go to my website http://robinmaxwell.com (the SIGNORA DA VINCI page) and you'll find "Bonus Passport to the 15th Century" pages and you'll get a taste. I've also printed a fabulous recipe on the website that Caterina makes several times in the book -- "grape and olive compote."

Your new book, O, Juliet, comes out next year. What can you tell us about this book? Have you finished writing it yet?



It's finished, and it'll be published in February of 2010. It's the first time an historical fiction novel has ever been written about the Romeo and Juliet story -- the greatest love story ever told. I adored writing it, and because I decided to make both of my protagonists not only Dante freaks, but amateur poets themselves, I was forced to write poetry in both of their voices. Aaaiiigghh!

Here is the cover (it's actually a cover in two parts -- pull back the first flowery one, and you see the lovers. I'd be interested to know if your readers like the cover.

Their love was the stuff of legend. But the legend is only half the story...

Before Juliet Capelletti lie two futures: a traditionally loveless marriage to her father’s business partner, or the fulfillment of her poetic dreams, inspired by the great Dante. Unlike her beloved friend Lucrezia, who looks forward to her arranged marriage into the great Medici dynasty, Juliet has a wild, romantic imagination that takes flight in the privacy of her bedchamber and on her garden balcony.

Her life and destiny are forever changed when Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, a soulful young man seeking peace between their warring families. A dreamer himself, Romeo is unstoppable, once he determines to capture the heart of the remarkable woman foretold in his stars.

Thank-you Ms. Maxwell for that delightfully detailed interview. What do you all think of the cover for O, Juliet? I think the flowers are beautiful and appropriate. Hope you all enjoyed it.


Robin Maxwell grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Tufts University School of Occupational Therapy, and practiced in that field for several years before moving to Hollywood to become a parrot tamer, casting director and finally a screenwriter. Working for the major studios and networks she wrote comedy, drama and even feature animation for Disney. Her credits include "Passions," a CBS movie of the week, starring Joanne Woodward.

But somewhere along the line, the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and women "ahead of their time," became Maxwell's private obsession.

You can visit her at her website for more information at her works.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday #6 & Blog Update

Mailbox Monday LogoHello everyone, how are you doing on this fine Monday?

I am excited today because I actually have a couple things that arrived in my mailbox this week!

This week I received:
1.) A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman (Purchased from UK Book Depository)
2.) A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman (a signed book won at http://www.prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com/).

Both of these books are a part of the Daughter's of Boston series. I am looking forward to reading this series.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ok now for the update...

First, I will be out of the state for the next 2 1/2 weeks (starting this Wednesday) because I have to go away to training for my job. I will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I will still be around but I might not be posting quite as often.

Second, I should have my Robin Maxwell interview up in the next few days - you will enjoy it!

Have a great day!




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Book Review: 1st to Die by James Patterson

Book Cover 1st to Die by James Patterson
1st to Die by James Patterson
Women's Murder Club Series
 
Unabridged, 9 hrs.
Time-Warner Audio
Suzanne Toren (Narrator)
March 1, 2001
★★★★½☆

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Series

Source: Personal Collection

1st to Die is a dazzlingly powerful new thriller by master suspense novelist, James Patterson, the #1 bestselling author of Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.

Four women-four friends-share a determination to stop a killer who has been stalking newlyweds in San Francisco. Each one holds a piece of the puzzle: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhardt is an assistant D.A., and Cindy Thomas just started working the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle.

But the usual procedures aren't bringing them any closer to stopping the killings. So these women form a Women's Murder Club to collaborate outside the box and pursue the case by sidestepping their bosses and giving one another a hand.

The four women develop intense bonds as they pursue a killer whose crimes have stunned an entire city. Working together, they track down the most terrifying and unexpected killer they have ever encountered-before a shocking conclusion in which everything they knew turns out to be devastatingly wrong. Full of the breathtaking drama and unforgettable emotions for which James Patterson is famous, 1st to Die is the start of a blazingly fast-paced and sensationally entertaining new series of crime thrillers.

I have read a few of James Patterson’s books before from his Alex Cross series but this is my first from the Women’s Murder Club series. I really enjoyed the way he gave each of the 4 women a distinct personality. Time was spent on character development as well as the development of the mystery.

The main character of this book is Lindsay; she is a police inspector with the San Francisco Police Department. She begins investigating a murder of a newly married bride and groom; appearing to be a standard double homicide. This spree escalates as another double homicide turns up with the same situation. Lindsay begins working with her 3 friends, off the record, to try to solve these crimes in conjunction with the official investigation. These women represent all sides of the investigation process: Claire the Medical Examiner, Cindy the Crime Reporter, Jill the Assistant District Attorney, and Lindsay the Police Inspector.

This story takes many twists and turns along the way. Just when you think you know who Bride and Groom Killer is, new evidence comes up and it sends you a completely the opposite way. I was so sure of who it was twice, and fell into the trap they wanted me to fall into. You will never see the ending coming. As soon as the book ended I wanted to begin the next one; unfortunately for me I have to wait until it arrives and I get back from my trip.


★★★★½☆


I really enjoyed listening to this story. The narrator is Suzanne Toren, a prolific audio book narrator. She did an amazing job of creating a different feel for each of the four women in the story.

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).
 
 


Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mr. Darcy's Dream Winner

Book Cover Mr. Darcy's Dream by Elizabeth AstonAnd the winner of Mr. Darcy's Dream is....


Belinda M!!!
I will be sending you an email for your mailing address.

Thanks so much to everyone that entered and to Random.org for selecting my winner.





Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Upcoming Author Interview with Robin Maxwell!!!

Hey everyone - I just wanted to announce that sometime soon (I don't know what day yet) I will be posting an author interview with Robin Maxwell (the author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn). I am so excited as this will be my first one. Stay tuned for the announcement and please stop by to read it.




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Biblical Spotlight: Eve

I find it pertinant that Eve should be the first character that I consider for Biblical Spotlights because she is the title character of the book, Eve by Elissa Elliott.

According to Biblical tradition Eve was created from Adam's rib to be a companion for him. She was named by Adam and her name means "to breathe". After what is likely a short period of time (as they had not yet conceived any children) Eve succumed to the temptation of the Serpent and ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and also shared that fruit with Adam.

After being expelled from the Garden, Eve bore many children. The only three that are named in the Bible (as far as I can find online) are Cain, Abel, and Seth (I will hopefully address Cain & Abel in a future post as they are quite important in this book). They also had many other sons and daughters, although no names are provided.

There is no indication of how long Eve lived provided. Adam lived for 930 years (or right about there) so it is possible to ascertain she probably had a long life too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Interestingly, in the book, Cain and Abel are mentioned but there are names given to her 3 living daughters (Naava, Aya, and Dara) as well as names for 3 children she miscarried. This is likely creative license by the author, but I thought it was interesting.

This book also gives a lot of back details as to what happened in the Garden - from her first sexual experience to her first perception of God and the understanding of the world. It also provides emotional responses to the events that happened to her. I think Eve is the most important character to understand for this purpose.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday LogoFor this week's teaser I have selected a passage from Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott. I am finding this book to be vastly interesting, despite only being a short way through it.

"Eden is a distant memory, yet it persists, under the skin, like a mosquito bite. It has been so long ago now that Adam and I lived in the Gardern that, often, I wonder if it was just a passing dream or a figment of my imagination" pg. 31.

For this book - instead of doing historical spotlights - I will be doing some Biblical spotlights on the characters. I am not very religious, and therefore am not very familiar with these characters. I thought it would be interesting and helpful to me to explore them, so keep an eye out for it.




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mailbox Monday...well, kinda...

Mailbox Monday LogoSo, this week, sadly, I didn't receive anything in my mailbox...although I am waiting for about 5 things.

I did make a trip to the bookstore this week tho. What else are you supposed to do when you have free money to the bookstore?

I picked up Eve by Elissa Elliott a work of Biblical fiction describing the life of Eve. Here is the synopsis.

"Elliott reimagines the story of Adam and Eve in a debut novel that richly evokes earliest biblical times. The story is told from the points of view of Eve and her daughters: Naava, the beautiful weaver; Aya, the quick-witted, club-footed cook; and Dara, the compassionate observant twin. Eve recounts the fall and how she and Adam wander until settling down to grow crops, raise livestock and start a garden of their own. Elliott offers readers vivid details about the first childbirth, the first intercourse, the first recriminations, the first environmental calamity and the first hunt, but the novel really comes alive when it departs from lushly imagined retelling and thrusts the family into unfamiliar territory when the brood encounters a city and city people. Elliott is at her imaginative and linguistic best describing city life, customs and architecture, building tension as Naava falls for a prince, fueling Cain's wrath. Elliott makes biblical fiction her own with a female perspective that emphasizes emotional turmoil, sensual experience and an impressive range of imagery that brings to life daily life in the beginning."

Hopefully next week will be better news for my mailbox. How was your week?




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

Book Cover The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
Paperback, 281 pages
Touchstone
May 28, 1998
★★★★½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection
One was queen for a thousand days; one for over forty years. Both were passionate, headstrong women, loved and hated by Henry VIII. Yet until the discovery of the secret diary, Anne Boleyn and her daughter, Elizabeth I, had never really met.

Anne was the second of Henry's six wives, doomed to be beloved, betrayed and beheaded. When Henry fell madly in love with her upon her return from an education at the lascivious French court, he was already a married man. While his passion for Anne was great enough to rock the foundation of England and of all Christendom, in the end he forsook her for another love, schemed against her, and ultimately had her sentenced to death. But unbeknownst to the king, Anne had kept a diary.

At the beginning of Elizabeth 's reign, it is pressed into her hands. In reading it, the young queen discovers a great deal about her much-maligned mother: Anne's fierce determination, her hard-won knowledge about being a woman in a world ruled by despotic men, and her deep-seated love for the infant daughter taken from her shortly after her birth.
In journal's pages, Elizabeth finds an echo of her own dramatic life as a passionate young woman at the center of England 's powerful male establishment, and with the knowledge gained from them, makes a resolution that will change the course of history.
There have been many books written about Anne Boleyn but I don’t think one has been written in this manner. The present time in this book is the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth I – she is 25, in love, and newly come to the throne. One day an old woman comes to her presence chamber with a diary for her – the diary of her mother, Anne Boleyn. In this diary, Anne wrote of her life from before her ascendency to the throne right up to just before her execution. As Elizabeth reads through this diary she learns a lot about the mother she doesn’t remember and learns many valuable lessons that she will apply during her reign as Queen of England.

I thought that this was an amazingly well written book. I enjoyed how the story bounced back and forth between the present time with Elizabeth and the time while Anne was alive, in the diary. As Elizabeth learned things from her mother she would then apply them to how she ruled her kingdom. It would be neat to think that this was actually the case. It’s a unique way to look at such a sad story.

The character of Anne Boleyn was written in a sympathetic manner. She is not depicted as a cunning, power hungry woman. Instead, she is written as a woman who didn’t really want what happened to her and absolutely loved her daughter. There are several touching scenes between mother and daughter that happen through this diary. Elizabeth learns about her mother first-hand, as opposed to what she has always been taught about her mother being a whore, traitor, and a witch. Elizabeth understands more of whom she is and where she came from and that forms the way she will carry herself from that point on.

I really enjoyed this book, mostly for the connection between mother and daughter and for the depiction of Anne as wholly human. I look forward to reading more of her books, I have Signora da Vinci on my shelf.

Robin Maxwell has written several novels including: Madamoiselle Boleyn, Wild Irish, The Queen's Bastard, To the Tower Born, Virgin, Signora da Vinci, and O, Juliet.  You can visit Maxwell's website for additional information about the books.

Other books I have reviewed by this author:

Other reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).
 
 




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

GIVEAWAY - Mr. Darcy's Dream

Book Cover Mr Darcy's Dream by Elizabeth AstonGood Morning Everyone!

I am excited to be hosting another giveaway. I have seen posted on many of your blogs about the new Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie at Stephanie’s Written Word. While I am not choosing to participate (I enjoy Austen but right now do not think that I can fit another thing in my life!) I thought it would still be cool to contribute in some way. So what better way than a giveaway! I am giving away 1 unread paperback copy of Mr. Darcy’s Dream by Elizabeth Aston. Good-luck everyone who is competing in this challenge.

Now on to the rules…
1. Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on this post.
2. Earn 1 additional entry for becoming a follower to this blog (if you are already a follower you will get the entry.)
3. Earn a 2nd additional entry for posting about this giveaway at your blog (please leave the link so that I can confirm)
4. Earn a 3rd additional entry by letting me know that you are competing in the Everything Austen Challenge at Stephanie’s Written Word (You do not have to be entered to participate in the giveaway, just to get the extra entry)

Also, please leave your email address so that I can get in contact with you if you win.

This giveaway is open to the US and Canada only! I’m sorry but unfortunately right now my funds are a little low but I will offer international giveaways later on.

The deadline for entry is Friday July 10, 2009. I'm keeping it short so that if you are competing in the challenge you have time to get the book and read it. The winner will be drawn and announced on July 11 on this blog and by email.

This giveaway is closed and not further entries are being accepted.




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Miscellaneous Tudor Musings

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a great weekend. I just spent the nice sunny day poolside with my boyfriend's family to celebrate the 4th of July. I also finished reading The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell this evening on the ride home. My review will likely be posted tomorrow. I'm a little too tired for that tonight. But in the meantime I thought I would post some random thoughts that have come to me from reading this book as well as others about the Tudor period.

Nan Bullen
I have seen Anne Boleyn called this in several places. Sometimes I have seen it used by commoners but I have also seen King Henry call her this. So far I have found 2 possible explanations for this. The first, relating to the commoners, is that this was a name used for her because they did not like her. This was used as well as "the Great Whore". I have also heard that Bullen was the actual family name until an ancestor changed it to Boleyn to actually sound better and more regal. What is your opinion?

Execution Fee
I have also read that people had to pay the executioner for their execution. It sounds very ironic to me that the person who has been sentenced to death by beheading would have to pay the executioners fee. Talk about really rubbing it in your face!

Anne Boleyn's Execution
There are 2 things here that I want to address. First of all she asked if she could be beheaded by sword as opposed to an ax. It might just be me not knowing too much about swords and axes, but I would think that an ax would have more leverage and be sharper... but apparently I am wrong. The French were talented in beheading with swords and there were less horror stories of these long drawn out executions. As Anne was kneeling with her blindfold on the executioner supposedly yelled out "Where is my sword" or something similar and then struck her so that she would think that she still had a few moments and not expect it. I'm not sure how true this is.

Also, the night before the execution, Anne and Henry's marriage was annulled and declared void - as if it never happened. Following this theory she shouldn't have been executed, because if the marriage never existed, then she couldn't have committed adultery, therefore not having committed treason. But we all know Henry really didn't care for those fine points.

Well that is all I have for now, be sure to stay tuned for my review tomorrow! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court