*UPDATE*

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!

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Mailbox Monday #10

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marica at The Printed Page.

This week I have received one book for review, one from a giveaway, and three that I purchased from the UK Book Depository. I was excited today when I opened my mailbox and there were 2 packages inside. My thought was "Score!", until I realized that it was for my boyfriend from paperbackswap.com, sigh. I find it funny that I was the one who signed up for it first, yet he gets his book first. I have to give my thanks to Marie from The Burton Review for mentioning that site so many times that I felt compelled to check it out and discover the gold!

Ok, now onto what actually came in the mailbox:

Review Copy from author Eva Etzioni-Halevy
  • The Triumph of Deborah
Won from The Burton Review
  • The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - it is a beautiful book - I absolutely love how the front and back covers are opposite each other!
Purchased from UK Book Depository (yes I know there is a US version now, but they don't have the same books I want (mostly Plaidy) with the beautiful covers!)
  • The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
  • The Other Tudors by Philippa Jones
  • The Revolt of the Eaglets by Jean Plaidy


(PS to fill up the carousel widget I needed 6 items - so I threw in what my boyfriend got today, haha - Odd Hours by Dean Koontz!)

What came in your mailbox this week?




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Period Drama Challenge

Man am I racking up the challenges lately - but I'm planning into next year when all the ones I'm doing right now end - so really I'm being responsible (just keep telling yourself that Heather!).

The Period Drama Challenge is hosted by Lights, Camera, History and it is a movie challenge!!! This is totally going to help me shorten Mt. TBV (To Be Viewed)! For this challenge you can choose you level of how many you want to view and what types of movies to view.

I am choosing the Clearly Addicted level (8 movies) and the two themes Kings and Queens (plot centered around royalty) and Victorian Mist (set during the Victorian Era).

I will update this post as I go with the titles and a short description of what I think.

1. The Duchess (2008) - Victorian Mist - 9/13/09 - I very much enjoyed this movie. I thought it was terribly sad/unfair what her husband did to her and how he controlled her life. He was such a hypocrite. I LOVED the dresses, costumes, and setting - that is usually my favorite thing about these movies. Another good Kiera Knightly movie!

2. Cleopatra (1963) - Kings and Queens - 9/26/09 - This was a super long movie - it took me 4 sittings to watch the whole thing. I think Elizabeth Taylor was very convincing as Cleopatra - and looked a lot like what I expected of her. I also like Rex Harrison as Caesar. I just couldn't accept Richard Burton as Marc Antony and Roddy McDowall as Octavian. I felt like they were both whiners and Marc Antony had no spine. Which is unlike how I picture Antony. That being said, I really liked the first half - basically up until Marc Antony became Cleopatra's lover. I loved the scene where Cleopatra came into Rome - there was so much fanfare and it was so beautiful. After Antony became a major player I found myself becoming disinterested. Overall though a good movie.

3. Fingersmith (2005) - Victorian Mist - 10/4/09 - This movie is really a two part mini series from the BBC. I think that it was fantastically done, very true to the book. This movie is about a girl, Sue, who goes in on a plot to swindle money from the heiress, Maud. She pretends to be her maid while trying to help her fall into the plot. When it is time to put Maud into the mad house - things get turned upside down and the plot radically changes. The first half of the mini series is seen from Sue's perspective and the second half is from Maud's perspective. I have come to expect good works from the BBC and this one didn't disappoint.

4. Mad Love (2001) - Kings and Queens - 10/15/09 - I really enjoyed this film. It had been on my TBV list for a long time and kept getting pushed off because it was a foreign film and not being at all fluent in Spanish I would have to actually sit and watch it. The actress who portrayed Juana, Pilar Lopez de Ayala, did a fabulous job at being totally in love with Philip and acting out in jealous, "crazy" rages. I felt for her as she did everything she could to keep the man she was totally in love with all to herself, when even the court was pushing for her to be put aside. This was my first foray into seeing the life of "Juana la Loca" and it has made me eager to learn more about her. The Last Queen by C. W. Gortner is definitely an upcoming read.

5. Lady Jane (1986) - Kings and Queens - 11/8/09 - Even though I had read some negative reviews about this movie, I really enjoyed it. True, there are some factual problems, but when I watch a movie it is for sheer enjoyment. I really enjoyed seeing the love, passion, and compassion between Jane and Guilford. It was a sweet love story played out. I also found the part where Queen Mary decides to have Jane executed so that she can marry Philip of Spain to be thought provoking. I keep thinking maybe if she knew how terrible her marriage to Philip would be she wouldn't have been pushed into executing Jane. All in all I thought it was an enjoyable movie, if you put the historical inaccuracies aside.

6. Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) - Kings and Queens - 12/20/09 - I find this portrayal of Anne and Henry more believable than that of The Tudors. At least in this portrayal they are more of the appropriate age. I liked Richard Burton in this film better than in Cleopatra - he seemed to exude Henry from every pore - he was fully committed to this role. I LOVED Genevieve Bujold as Anne - she was beautiful and fiery, I would say she is my favorite Anne yet. There were some things that bothered me, like historical inaccuracy. Near the beginning - when Anne was interested in Henry Percy - they alluded to the fact that both the Boleyn's and the Percy's approved of the marriage. Also, when Katherine lay dying, her daughter Mary was right by her side. Both of these things are no where near true. But liberties are taken in all things movie, as well as historical fiction, so I can forgive that. Overall a decent movie.

7. Sherlock Holmes (2009) - Victorian Mist - 1/3/10 - This is the first movie for this challenge that I was able to actually see in the theatre. I first have to say that I really loved the chemistry between Holmes and Watson (Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law were great). They really played off of each other well. And while I never really imagined my Sherlock and Watson as all that physical, these boys were tough. Now the plot on the other hand, had me a little disappointed. I could have done without the paranormal aspect - although it was resolved at the end, it felt a little far fetched for the genre it is supposed to be. I would definitely recommend buying this movie - but maybe save your cash and see something else in theatres.

8. The Young Victoria (2009) - Kings and Queens - 1/9/10 - I was so excited to see this movie. It was shown at a small artsy theatre which made it feel like I was walking back in time upon entering the theatre. I think that they picked the perfect actor and actress for Albert and Victoria. The settings were gorgeous, I loved when they went into Buckingham palace for the first time - it was so breathtaking! Although the scene where Albert takes a bullet for Victoria never happened, I actually really liked that scene. My other favorite scene was the chess game between Victoria and Albert early in their friendship. I cannot wait until this comes out on DVD and I can see it again.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Good Morning Everyone! I have been racking my mind trying to figure out what I can post about The Time Traveler's Wife this week, like I do with all my other books (by the way, I'm absolutely enjoying it!). It just doesn't quite fit into the same mold - I mean, I could write about time travel, but that wouldn't really come out well. So I figured I could give you a little taste of her new novel that comes out September 29, 2009 - Her Fearful Symmetry.

Here is a video clip from her website of her talking about writing Her Fearful Symmetry.



I am also excited because Audrey Niffenegger will be appearing at a signing at my favorite indy book seller - RJ Julia in Madison, CT on October 2. I am totally going - but I'm going to have to find someone else to go with - because my built in buddy (aka boyfriend) will be working that night, :(. Any thing you want me to ask her?

Also, there is a blogger promotion going on at her website for anyone who has posted about The Time Traveler's Wife - it ends September 29. You can get an ARC of the new book. Here is the link.

Hope you enjoy!




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Women's Murder Club Reading Challenge

I am so excited to be taking part in the Women's Murder Club Reading Challenge - hosted by Yvonne at Socrates' Book Reviews. This is the perfect challege for me right now. As you may know I read 1st to Die and 2nd Chance earlier this summer after having them on my TBR pile forever. Also having started my job and having an hour commute each way I have taken up an interest in audiobooks. So I will probably be listening to these on audiobook.

Here are the rules...

1. All books need to be read between August 15, 2009 and August 15, 2010. That's a year to complete whatever books you haven't read in this series. Books read prior to August 15th don't count for this challenge.

2. If you want to participate, just post about it on your blog with a link back to Socrates' Book Reviews. Make sure you list the books you need to read.

3. Audio and Ebooks are acceptable. You can also use these books for other challenges.

Here are the books I have left to read:

3rd Degree - Complete 11/10/09
4th of July - Complete 11/17/09
5th Horseman - Complete 8/3/10
6th Target - Complete 8/6/10
7th Heaven - Complete 8/13/10
8th Confession
9th Judgement

As I read them I will update this blog.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Book Review: The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory


The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
Paperback, 393 pages
Touchstone
August 28, 2006
★★★★½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

"I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known...and I will be Queen of England."

Thus, bestselling author Philippa Gregory introduces one of her most unforgettable heroines: Katherine of Aragon. Known to history as the Queen who was pushed off her throne by Anne Boleyn, here is a Katherine the world has forgotten: the enchanting princess that all England loved. First married to Henry VIII's older brother, Arthur, Katherine's passion turns their arranged marriage into a love match; but when Arthur dies, the merciless English court and her ambitious parents -- the crusading King and Queen of Spain -- have to find a new role for the widow. Ultimately, it is Katherine herself who takes control of her own life by telling the most audacious lie in English history, leading her to the very pinnacle of power in England.”

The woman that we have all come to know as Queen Katherine of Aragon began as the Infanta Catalina of Spain. As is expected of any princess, a marriage is arranged for her; she is to marry Prince Arthur – England’s King Henry VII’s eldest son. Upon reaching England, Catalina finds that this marriage is not what she expects it to be, and neither is the boy she married. As fate would have it, Arthur’s life is extinguished during The Sweat that swept England soon after their marriage. King Henry, not wanting to lose the valuable asset he just brought to England, soon marries her to his other son, who would later become Henry VIII…

This was my first Philippa Gregory book that I read and I was NOT disappointed. There is an amazing love story that really pulled on my heart strings. I instantly connected with Catalina (I continued to think of her as that throughout the whole book) and very strongly felt what she felt. Gregory’s writing style instantly pulls you in and never lets go until the end. I enjoyed getting to know Catalina from her early days, something that is not really focused on in other novels.

Gregory DOES change many events in the book from what is known to have really happened. The good thing about this though, is that this is Historical Fiction and that is what I expect. If you are looking for true facts, check out a non-fiction book, but for a good story, try this on for size.

Author Philippa Gregory also has written many other books – those among the Tudor Court series include: The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Queen’s Fool, The Virgin’s Lover, and The Other Queen.  You can visit Philippa’s website for additional information about the book.

My reviews of other books by this author:

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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Book Review: Tara Road by Maeve Binchy


Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
Unabridged Audio Cassette, 18 hr. 28 min.
Random House Audio
Katherine Borowitz (narrator)
September 2, 1999
★★★☆☆

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Audiobook

Source: Borrowed Audiobook from Library

“New York Times bestselling author Maeve Binchy has captured the hearts of millions with her unforgettable novels. Binchy's graceful storytelling and wise compassion have earned her the devotion of fans worldwide--and made her one of the most beloved authors of our time. Now she dazzles us once again with a new novel filled with her signature warmth, humor, and tender insight. A provocative tale of family heartbreak, friendship, and revelation,Tara Road explores every woman's fantasy: escape, into another place, another life. "What if..." Binchy asks, and answers in her most astonishing novel to date.”

This was my first Maeve Binchy book and I moderately enjoyed it. The setting was Dublin, Ireland, which was beautifully described. Ria and her husband fall in love with the house of their dreams. Miraculously they are able to find the way to afford it, move in, and start a family. Just as Ria thinks everything is coming together, her husband drops a bomb shell on her; he is leaving her. In response to this, Ria decides to take up the suggestion by a woman in America to trade homes for the summer. What will this trade do for the lives of these two women?

I enjoyed the description of the country of Ireland and the careful details of the house on Tara Road. Although this is a romance, it is really about the breakdown of a romance.

While I initially enjoyed the story, I had several problems with it. I feel that only some of the characters were well developed while others were sort of left as incomplete shadows. I had a deep understanding of Ria and really connected with her – although I have had none of her experiences. At the opposite extreme, I could not connect at all with the woman that she trades houses with. I felt that all of a sudden this woman was thrust on the reader without any background story and she was expected to be a large part of the story. Upon the house switching storyline (about halfway through) I lost interest in the book.

I don’t seem to be having much luck in the romance genre, I’m not sure if I will read another one any time soon.

★★★½☆☆

The audiobook version was narrated by a woman with a convincing Irish accent which added to the realistic setting and feel to the story. I would recommend the audiobook to anyone wanting to read this as I think I would have lost interest much quicker if it was a printed copy.

Author Maeve Binchy also has written many other books.  You can find a complete list here. You can visit author’s website 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?

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman


Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Paperback, 162 pages
HarperCollins
August 5, 2003
★★★★½☆

Genre: Young Adult

Source: My Boyfriend's Personal Collection
 
“Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.”
I should first say right up front that I read this book as part of The Four Month Challenge. One of the parts of the challenge was to read a book that was made into a movie. I had seen the film version of this about a week before I read the book, so accordingly this review will mention the film as well.

Every child has an imagination. Every child dreams of a world where everything is exactly how they want it to be, their parents never tell them “no”, and there is always their favorite foods to eat at dinner. Coraline Jones finds this perfect world on the other side of the door with her Other Mother and Other Father. But even though everything seems perfect, she quickly learns that all good things come to an end and do not come without consequences. One brave little girl goes on a mission to save her parents and some stray souls in her quest to get back home.

Reading this book was a short, pleasant break from my much longer historical fiction that I have been reading. There were fantastic characters and a fun, imaginative story line. The movie was very, very similar to the book (I think that was a good thing in this case as the book was so strong). In the movie there was a young boy character added that was not present in the book – I’m not sure that he was necessary. Other than that, there were not many differences between the two. I very much enjoyed both versions of this story. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, light read or to any imaginative children out there.
Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).
 





Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Keep Coming Back for More and More and More

I received this amazing award from Marie at The Burton Review! It is so cool to receive this award from her because her blog is one that I can't stay away from either! Here is what this award means:

"The I Keep Coming Back for More! Award is for a blog you just can't stay away from. If you've been busy and your Google reader is over 1,000 unread posts, these are the blogs that you single out to read. These are the ones that are never victims to the dreaded Mark All As Read. There may be many different reasons why you can't stay away: a taste in books that mirrors your own, the same sense of humor, always knowing the latest in the book world... for whatever the reason, these blogs are flat out addictive and you have no wish to be cured!Since I am a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. method, the rules are rather simple:
Enjoy the award. If you don't want to put it on your blog, don't. Just get the warm, fuzzy feeling that I'm sending your way!
You don't have to reveal any deep, dark secrets about yourself or answer any sort of questions. You've already earned it!
You don't have to link back to me.
You don't have to give it to anyone else."


Even though it says I don't have to, I would like to pass it on to one amazing blog that I can't stay away from...Passages to the Past hosted by Amy! I am always going back to learn about what new books will be coming out! Stop by and check out her blog, you won't be sorry!



Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Book Review: The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard


The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
Unabridged, 8 hr. 14 min.
HarperAudio
Arliss Howard (Narrator)
May 10, 2005
★★★★★

Genre: Western, Crime

Source: Borrowed Audiobook from Library

“In The Hot Kid, Elmore "Dutch" Leonard breaks new ground with a fast-paced, multifaceted tale of Prohibition-era crime, told from multiple perspectives that reflect the unexpected shifts of allegiance in this turbulent time. Set against a backdrop of speakeasys and shootouts, fast cars and even faster women, this stirring tale recounts a time when life was cheap on both sides of the law. The story unfolds in Oklahoma, featuring the exploits of four "hot kids" -- young lawman Carl Webster, bad-seed oilman's son Jack Belmont, glamorous gun moll Louly Brown, and true-crime journalist Tony Antonelli.”

Start with an equal measure of Prohibition, rum-running, shoot-outs, outlaws and bank robberies. Throw in some heaping spoonfuls of witty, period appropriate language and love stories. Top with the traditional good guy versus bad guy angle and you get the totally engrossing story, The Hot Kid.

The two central characters of this book are Jack Belmont, a wannabe bank robber, and Carl Webster, US Deputy Marshal. These men encounter each other over and over and every time there is a shoot out, but the men come out unscathed. Eventually one of them will have to come out on top.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good old American Western!

★★★★★

The narrator of this book was phenomenal! He had different voices for every character, he could even pull off a half convincing woman. He also had a Western accent that made his portrayal very believable. I picked this audio book off the shelf on a whim, knowing nothing about it but the title, and could not have picked a better book to whisk me away to another time.

Author Elmore Leonard also has written many other novels, but among those in the Carl Webster series are Up in Honey’s Room and Comfort to the Enemy and Other Carl Webster Stories. You can visit the author’s website 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?

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book Review: Five Days in Paris by Danielle Steel

 


Five Days in Paris by Danielle Steel
Unabridged, 8 hr.
Random House Audio
Victor Garber (Narrator)
September 28, 2004
★★★½☆☆

Genre: Romance, Audiobook

Source: Borrowed from the Library
 

‘”As president of a major pharmaceutical empire, Peter Haskell has everything: power, position, and a family that means everything to him. Compromise has been key in Peter Haskell’s life, and integrity is the base on which he lives. Olivia Thatcher is the wife of a famous senator. She has given to her husband’s ambition and career until her soul is bone-dry. She is trapped in a web of duty and obligation, married to a man she once loved and no longer even knows.

Accidentally, they meet in Paris. Their totally different lives converge for one magical moment in the Place Vendôme, as Olivia carefully, silently, steps out of her life and walks away. Peter follows her, and in a café in Montmartre, their hearts are laid bare. Peter, once so certain of his path, is suddenly faced with a professional future in jeopardy. Olivia is no longer sure of anything except that she can’t go on anymore.

Five days in Paris is all they have. They go back to their separate lives, but nothing is the same. Everything they believe is put on the line, until they each realize they must stand fast against compromise and face life’s challenges head-on.”

The course of life can be changed in just a few short days. This is exactly what happens in Five Days in Paris. Peter is a well to do businessman in the pharmaceutical world. While on a trip to Paris for testing of their new drug Peter meets a woman, Olivia, whom he finds very intriguing. Peter is married and has a great family (or so he thinks); his father-in-law owns the company that he works for. Olivia is the wife of a high-reaching politician. Both of them are vastly unhappy. In the five days that Peter is in Paris he comes to some shocking revelations about his life, with the help of Olivia. How will his life change…or remain the same…when he returns home?

This was another one of my audio book endeavors. The exposition of the book was very, very long. I felt like it dragged on describing Peter’s background and early life experiences. There really was no action that occurred. This description would end up being important to the main plot of the story but I almost turned it off because it was quite boring. Once the main part of the story was reached, I enjoyed the story of Peter and Olivia. It is not your typical romance, quite unconventional. I could see the ending coming a mile away but thought that it was very well played out.

I’m not sure that this author is my cup-of-tea but my first experience was ok.


★★★★★

I have to say, I absolutely love Victor Garber, so you can only imagine how excited I was to find out that he was narrating this book. He has an amazing voice to begin with and he made the listening experience enjoyable, even if I didn't love the story he was telling.  I could pretty much find the telephone book an enthralling read if Garber was reading it!

Author Danielle Steel also has written many other books – you can find a complete list here.  You can visit her website 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?

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






Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

Mailbox Monday #9

It's time again for everyone's favorite...Mailbox Monday!!! Well, I know it is one of my favorite things at least! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

So this week I received 2 books in the mail and several offers for reviews (so coming up soon I may have a great mailbox).

Both of this week's books were purchased by me for the UK Book Depository.

Louis the Well-Beloved by Jean Plaidy
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I have already started reading The Time Traveler's Wife in hopes that I can finish it before I go see the movie. It is probable that I will get it done in time.

Anything good in your mailbox?




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Time to Expand Your Vocabulary Again

Hey Everyone, it's time for your regularly scheduled dose of vocabulary! This time the words are courtesy of Jean Plaidy and The Merry Monarch's Wife. I knew ahead of time that Plaidy uses a lot of old fashioned words, and boy does she ever. I had to keep a running list as I went. So here they are, hopefully they are new to you too.

Augury – (n) the art, ability, or practice of divination

Alacrity - (n) cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness

Temerity – (n) reckless boldness

Felicitous – (adj) well-suited for the occasion, as an action, manner, or expression

Halcyon – (adj) happy, joyful, carefree

Saturnine – (adj) sluggish in temperament, gloomy

Tessellated – (adj) arranged in or having the appearance of a mosaic

Sylvan – (adj) of, pertaining to, or inhabiting the woods

Piquant – (adj) agreeably stimulating, interesting, or attractive

Chalybeate – (adj) containing or impregnated with salts of iron, as a mineral spring or medicine

Calash – (n) a light vehicle pulled by one or two horses, seating two to four passengers, and having two or four wheels, a seat for a driver on a splashboard, and sometimes a folding top

Abstemious – (adj) sparing or moderate in eating and drinking; temperate in diet

Calumny – (n) a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something

Macula – (n) a spot or blotch, esp. on one’s skin

Insouciance – (n) lack of care or concern; indifferent

Seraglio – (n) the part of a house or palace in which the wives and concubines are secluded; harem

Curate – (n) a member of the clergy employed to assist a rector or vicar

Whew, that was a long one!




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Index of Author Interviews/Author Guest Posts

Here is a list of the author interviews and author guest posts that I have posted on my blog over time with links to them!

Kristin Bair-O'Keeffe - Thirsty - 1/20/10

Nicole BarkerDancing with Ana – 8/17/09

Leslie Carroll - Guest post "Eleanor of Acquitaine's Notorious Royal Divorce" for her release Notorious Royal Marriages - 1/9/10

Guest Post "Crazy for Love - or Just Crazy" for her release Royal Pains - 3/4/11

Elizabeth Chadwick - Guest Post "Why I Write About William Marshall and Medieval Period" for release of The Scarlet Lion - 3/21/10

Paula Marantz Cohen - What Alice Knew - 9/10/10

Laurel Corona - Penelope's Daughter - 10/13/10

Jennifer Donnelly - Guest Post "Why I Write YA Fiction" for YA Hist-Fic Week - 1/24/11

Kristina Emmons - Roeing Oaks - 3/31/10

Karen Essex - Dracula in Love - 8/26/10 - Part two hosted at The Maiden's Court
Part one hosted at Lions and Men 8/25/10

Eva Etzioni-Halevy - The Triumph of Deborah - 9/26/09

Angie Fox - A Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers Interview - 2/2/10

A Tale of Two Demon Slayers Guest Post - 2/2/10

Esther Friesner - Guest Post "A Few Ideas About...Ideas" for YA Hist-Fic Week - 1/26/11

Mitchell James Kaplan - Guest Post "Researching & Writing" for his release By Fire, By Water- 5/24/10

Susan Fraser King - Guest Post "Two Queens: Lady Macbeth and Margaret of Scotland" for her release Queen Hereafter - 12/22/10

Lisa Klein - Guest Post "Why I Write YA Fiction" for YA Hist-Fic Week - 1/28/11

Jeannie Lin - Guest Post "Walk the Line" for her release Butterfly Swords

M. L. Malcolm - Guest Post About Her Life for her release Heart of Lies - 8/12/10

Robin MaxwellThe Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn/All of her Books – 7/14/09

Michelle Moran - Cleopatra's Daughter - 10/9/09

Barbara Quick - A Golden Web & Vivaldi's Virgins - 5/20/10

Cinsearae S - Boleyn Tudor Vampire - 6/30/10

Susan Holloway Scott - Guest Post "The Fine Art of Poetical Slander" for her release Countess and the King - 9/5/10

Christine Trent - The Queen's Dollmaker - 1/11/10
Guest Post "Top Five: Madame Tussaud's Edition" for her release A Royal Likeness - 12/8/10

Kathryn Wagner - Dancing for Degas - 7/29/10

Persia Woolley - Guest post about the writing of Child of the Northern Spring - 11/9/10

Sandra Worth - Guest post "Behind the Legend of Perkin Warbeck" - 2/3/11




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Index of Challenges

Here is a listing of all of the challenges I am/have taken part in with links to them. They will be updated as the challenges are completed

2009

Jean Plaidy Challenge

2009 Read and Review Challenge

Read Your Own Books Challenge

The Four Month Challenge

2009 Audiobook Challenge

A Well Rounded Challenge

August Reading Challenge

2010

Women's Murder Club Challenge

Period Drama Challenge

French Revolution Mini Challenge

Four Month Challenge Part Two

2010 Read Your Own Books Challenge

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2010 Audio Book Challenge

ARC Reading Challenge 2010

2010 Royal Mistress Challenge

Jean Plaidy Challenge 2010

French Historicals Oh-La-La! Challenge

Blog Improvement Project

Four Month Challenge Part 3

The Stephanie Plum Reading Challenge

Art History Reading Challenge

Four Month Challenge Part 4

2011

Four Month Challenge Part 5

2011 Support Your Local Library

Historical Tour De Genre Reading Challenge

What's In A Name? 4 Challenge

Strong Women Challenge

2011 ARC Reading Challenge

Whisper Stories in My Ear Audiobook Challenge

Chivalrous Deeds Challenge

Shakespeare Reading Challenge

Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book Review: The Merry Monarch's Wife by Jean Plaidy


The Merry Monarch’s Wife by Jean Plaidy
AKA: The Pleasures of Love
Queens of England Series
 
Paperback, 336 pages
Three Rivers Press
January 22, 2008
★★★★½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection
 

“Charles II is restored to the English throne, and his court is lively and even scandalous. The country is eager for succession to be clear and certain: The next king will be the son of Charles II and his queen, Catherine of Braganza. Yet Catherine, daughter of the king of Portugal and a Catholic, has never been popular with the English people. She is also having great difficulty conceiving an heir, even as many of Charles’s well-known mistresses are bearing his children with ease. Catherine is aware that courtiers close to Charles are asking him to divorce her and take another wife—yet she is determined to hold her title in the face of all odds.”


Catherine of Braganza is a quiet, reserved, and innocent young lady when she comes to marry the Merry Monarch at the licentious court of Charles II. Her eyes are rather quickly opened when she is introduced to her new husband’s mistress, Barbara Palmer. Catherine would have to figure out how to handle her husband’s many mistresses: Barbara Palmer, Louise de Kerouaille, Nell Gwyn and many others. Catherine also has to handle the many plots that implicated her in attempts on the King’s life, hatred toward her for her Catholic religion, and failure to conceive an heir.

Plaidy does a great job at describing the many mistresses that Charles II has. We get to see not only how the court and countrymen reacted to these many women but also have an insight into what Catherine might have felt about them. She is a character that you can find much sympathy for, especially as another woman. I can imagine that it would be hard enough to handle one mistress, never mind several at once.

Prior to reading this book I had no experience with the court of Charles II. Charles is quite the interesting person. He was always lively and jovial and quick to brush off personal problems. It is amazing how carefree his life seems to be. While he cares about how his dalliances with other women affect his wife, he also expects her to handle them with decorum and not pay any attention to it (the nerve!).

Of the few Plaidy novels that I have read so far this is one of my favorites. The characters are very well developed and I could really feel for Catherine. Enough background information is given for a solid understanding of these people without having to look anything up to feel comfortable in that time period.

Plaidy is definitely becoming one of my favorite authors!

Author Jean Plaidy has written scores of novel.  This book is a part of the Queens of England Series, which include: Myself, My Enemy, Queen of this Realm, Victoria Victorious, Lady in the Tower, The Courts of Love, In the Shadow of the Crown, The Queen’s Secret, The Reluctant Queen, William’s Wife, and The Rose Without a Thorn. 

My reviews of other books by this author:

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

Book Review Index

Here is an alphabetized listing by author of all the reviews I have posted on this blog (with links!). You can find my movie reviews at the bottom of the page as well.



A

B

Bair-O'Keeffe, Kristin - Thirsty - Historical Fiction, United States, 19th c

Barnes, Margaret Campbell - The Passionate Brood - Historical Fiction, Plantagenet, 12th c

Barnes, Margaret Campbell - Within the Hollow Crown - Historical Fiction, Plantagenet, 14th c

Barker, Nicole – Dancing with Ana – Young Adult

Binchy, Maeve - Tara Road - Romance, Audio Book

Blake, Sarah - The Postmistress - Historical Fiction, WWII, Audio Book

Borghese, Prince Lorenzo - Princess of Nowhere - Historical Fiction, France, Italy, 19th c

Borman, Tracy - Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen - Tudor Non Fiction, 17th c

Bray, Libba - Going Bovine - Young Adult, Fantasy

Bray, Libba – A Great and Terrible Beauty – Young Adult, Series

Brightwell, Gerri - The Dark Lantern - Victorian Historical Fiction

Bronte, Charlotte – Jane Eyre – Classic, Audio Book

Brown, Patrick - Industrial Pioneers - Non-Fiction, United States

Burton, Gabrielle - Impatient with Desire - Historical Fiction, United States

C

Carroll, Leslie - Notorious Royal Marriages - Non Fiction

Chadwick, Elizabeth - For the King's Favor - Historical Fiction, 12 c.

Chadwick, Elizabeth - The Greatest Knight - Historical Fiction, 12 c.

Chadwick, Elizabeth - The Scarlet Lion - Historical Fiction, 12 c.

Chevalier, Tracy - Girl With A Pearl Earring - Art Historical Fiction, 17th c

Chevalier, Tracy - The Lady and the Unicorn - Art Historical Fiction, 15th c

Cornwell, Bernard - Agincourt - Historical Fiction, France, 15th c

Corona, Laurel - Penelope's Daughter - Historical Fiction, Ancient Greece

Cowell, Stephanie - Claude & Camille - Art Historical Fiction, France, 19th c,

Cullen, Lynn - The Creation of Eve - Art Historical Fiction, Spain, Italy, 17th c

D

Delors, Catherine - For the King - Historical Fiction, France, 19th c

De Rosnay, Tatiana - Sarah's Key - Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, France, 20th c

Dunant, Sarah - Sacred Hearts - Historical Fiction, Italy, Convent

E

Elliott, Elissa – Eve – Biblical Fiction

Emmons, Kristina - Roeing Oaks - Victorian Historical Fiction

Erickson, Carolly - The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots - YA Historical Fiction, France, Scotland, England, 16th c

Essex, Karen - Dracula in Love - Victorian Historical Fiction

Etzioni-Halevy, Eva - The Triumph of Deborah - Biblical Fiction

Evanovich, Janet - Smitten - Romance, Audio Book

F

Fox, Angie - The Accidental Demon Slayer - Paranormal Romance, Series

Fox, Angie – The Dangerous Book For Demon Slayers – Paranormal Romance, Series

G

Gaiman, Neil - Coraline - Young Adult

Gardner, Laurien – Plain Jane – Tudor Historical Fiction

Gortner, C. W. - Confessions of Catherine de Medici - French Historical Fiction

Gortner, C. W. - The Tudor Secret - Historical Fiction - Thriller, English, 16th c

Gregory, Philippa - The Boleyn Inheritance - Tudor Historical Fiction

Gregory, Philippa - The Constant Princess - Tudor Historical Fiction

Gregory, Philippa - The Other Boleyn Girl - Tudor Historical Fiction

Gregory, Philippa - The Queen's Fool - Tudor Historical Fiction

Gruen, Sara - Water for Elephants - Historical Fiction, Audiobook, United States

H

Hart, Marjorie - Summer at Tiffany - Memoir, 1940's, United States

Higginbotham, Susan - The Queen of Last Hopes - Historical Fiction, 15th c, England, Wars of the Roses

Holland, Cecelia - Great Maria - Historical Fiction, Italy, 11th c

Hollick, Helen - The Forever Queen - Historical Fiction, England, 11th c

Howe, Katherine - The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - Historical Fiction, United States

I

J

K

Kaplan, Mitchell James - By Fire, By Water - Historical Fiction, Spain

King, Susan Fraser - Queen Hereafter - Historical Fiction, Scotland, 11th C

Koen, Karleen - Dark Angels - Historical Fiction/Romance, Series, England, Charles II

L

Laker, Rosalind - The Golden Tulip - Art Historical Fiction, Romance

Langton, Jerry – Rage – True Crime

Leonard, Elmore - The Hot Kid - Western, Thriller, Audio Book

M

Maguire, Gregory - Son of a Witch - Fantasy, Fiction, Audio Book

Malcolm, M. L. - Heart of Lies - Historical Fiction, Europe & China

Martin, George, R. R. - A Game of Thrones - Historical Fantasy, Series, Book 1

Martin, George, R. R. - A Clash of Kings - Historical Fantasy, Series, Book 2

Maxwell, Robin - O, Juliet - Historical Fiction, Italy

Maxwell, Robin – The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn – Tudor Historical Fiction, England

Miller, Joel, L - The Revolutionary Paul Revere - Non Fiction, United States

Moran, Michelle - Cleopatra's Daughter - Egyptian/Roman Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Moran, Michelle – The Heretic Queen – Egyptian Historical Fiction

Moran, Michelle – Nefertiti – Egyptian Historical Fiction

Morin, Donna Russo - The Secret of the Glass - Italian Historical Fiction

Mottley, Peter - The Harlot's Progress: Yorkshire Molly - Victorian Historical Fiction

N

Niffenegger, Audrey - Her Fearful Symmetry - Contemporary Fiction, England

Niffenegger, Audrey - The Time Traveler's Wife - Contemporary Fiction, United States

O

P

Patterson, James – 1st to Die – Mystery, Audio Book, Women's Murder Club

Patterson, James – 2nd Chance – Mystery, Audio Book, Women's Murder Club

Patterson, James - 3rd Degree - Mystery, Audio Book, Women's Murder Club

Patterson, James - 4th of July - Mystery, Audio Book, Women's Murder Club

Pattillo, Beth - Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart - Fiction, England

Picoult, Jodi - Salem Falls - Contemporary Fiction, Audio Book, New England

Plaidy, Jean – Madame Serpent – French Historical Fiction, Series

Plaidy, Jean - The Merry Monarch's Wife - English Historical Fiction

Plaidy, Jean - The Rose Without A Thorn - Tudor Historical Fiction

Plaidy, Jean - The Shadow of the Pomegranate - Tudor Historical Fiction, Audio Book

Q

R

Rinaldi, Ann - The Fifth of March - Historical Fiction, American Revolution, 17th c, YA, Audio

S

Sankaran, Vanitha - Watermark - Historical Fiction, Inquisition, France, 14th c

Scott, Susan Holloway - Royal Harlot - Historical Fiction, Charles II, England, 17th c

Scott, Susan Holloway - The Countess and the King - Historical Fiction, Charles II, James II, England, 17th c.

Sebold, Alice - The Lovely Bones - Contemporary Fiction, Audio Book

Shakespeare, William - Hamlet - Classic, Audio Book

Smith, Alexander McCall - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Mystery, Series, Audio Book

Smith, Anne Easter - Daughter of York - Historical Fiction, Plantagenet, Audio Book

Steel, Danielle - Five Days in Paris - Romance, Audio Book

T

Trent, Christine - A Royal Likeness - Historical Fiction, England/Scotland

Trent, Christine - The Queen's Dollmaker - Historical Fiction, France/England

U

V

W

Wagner, Kathryn - Dancing for Degas - Art Historical Fiction, France

Wahlder, Michele - Alphatudes - Non-Fiction, Inspirational

Waldherr, Kris - Doomed Queens - Non-Fiction

Waters, Sarah - Fingersmith - Victorian Historical Fiction

Weir, Alison – Innocent Traitor – Tudor Historical Fiction

Woolley, Persia - Child of the Northern Spring - Arthurian Historical Fiction, England

Worth, Sandra - Pale Rose of England - Tudor Historical Fiction, England, 15th c

X

Y

Z

Movie Reviews

The Young Victoria

Sherlock Holmes

Dolley Madison: America's First Lady

Earth Days: Seeds of a Revolution

Fingersmith

God in America

The Lovely Bones

The Time Traveler's Wife

Robin Hood - Season 1

Robin Hood - Season 2

Robin Hood (2010)

Tudors - Season 1




Triangle Fire




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Blog Update

Happy Saturday everyone! I'm working on some changes to my blog over the next week, so please bear with me if there is a mess or things don't work right away, haha. You will notice three new buttons on the righthand sidebar - Reviews, Author Interviews, and Challenges. These buttons will eventually be linked to indicies of the above named categories. This should make it easier to find these as you want to see them.

This week will also be a review catch up week. I have several reviews to write and post - so that will be this weeks theme. The following reviews will {hopefully} be posted:

Five Days in Paris by Danielle Steel
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

Tonight I will be posting the review of The Merry Monarch's Wife by Jean Plaidy.
Thanks everyone for making the past week a great success!




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

New Award - HF Lovely Ladies

I first have to give a huge thanks to LizzyJ at Historically Obsessed for this one! It was so exciting to just get an award but then when I looked at who else got this award too it made me feel so good to be considered with these wonderful ladies. All of them are people whose blogs I follow and love to talk to. They all make my blogging experience a wonderful thing I look forward to every day!

Here is what it means to get this award:

“What is the criteria to be a H.F. Lovely Ladies Award you ask? You obviously have to be a woman to get this one. Specializing in Historical Fiction, be it novels, historical events, or fine art. These special ladies are the type who go above and beyond the call of duty daily and enjoy it! Since like me they are obsessed with HF theses ladies are a constant support with a flowing wealth of knowledge in the blogging community. They also play an active role in the blogger community hosting events and letting us all know events that they are not hosting. Being super blogger's who constantly are viewing and commenting on other sites with positive feedback. Their blogs have unique qualities like being beautiful and having excellent content. What is amazing is they do all this on the daily and still manage to run a household in their own physical domain. The "super women" blogger's of historical fiction.” Eloquently put by LizzyJ!

I would love to pass this award on to a couple special ladies who fit this description:

  • Susie at All Things Royal – She has followed my blog since it started – on of my first followers. She always has wonderful posts about historical figures and amazing giveaways. She is a wonderful lady!
  • Virginie Barbeau at Virginie Says – Another one of my early blogging friends – and has stuck with me through this experience. I absolutely love the challenge that she is hosting right now (and there will be another this winter!) and she always has some new books that I add to my TBR pile!

If you haven’t checked out these blogs you really should. They are amazing. Thank you so much LizzyJ for including me in this elite list of ladies.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, August 21, 2009

Women of Charles II - Nell Gwyn

This is the last woman who loved Charles II that we are going to explore this week. After this one, I think I have hit all of the most important ones. There will still be a book review and vocab posts this week on this subject.

Nell Gwyn was very different from the women Charles’ typically had dalliances with. She was an actress and grew up in the streets – she wasn’t at all refined like the other ladies we saw this week. Nell started off her theatre career at a young age as a vendor of oranges during the productions at the King’s Theatre. She started out acting at age 14. She was able to move up the ranks and become one of the first well known actresses at the time.

Nell met King Charles while watching a show with a date. They seem to have began their relationship shortly thereafter in April of 1668. Nell found her way as mistress relatively unblocked at the time as Barbara Palmer was basically no real competition at the time. Louise de Keroualle would eventually become her rival a few years into their relationship. Nell had 2 sons by Charles: Charles Beauclerk (in 1670) and James Beauclerk (in 1671 – he died at age 6). This would give him 8 sons – and none of these were from his wife!

Her relationship with Charles lasted until his death. He is said to have made the famous statement on his deathbed to his brother James, “And let not poor Nelly starve”. James followed his brother’s request – her debts were paid off, she was given a pension, and her mortgage was paid. Two years after Charles death Nell suffered 2 strokes, one that paralyzed one side and the other that left her bedridden. She died a few months later at the age of 37.

If you would like to read more about Nell try these books:

The King’s Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II by Susan Holloway Scott

Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King by Charles Beauclerk (a descendant of Charles and Nell)

Nell Gwyn by Derek Parker




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Women of Charles II - Louise de Keroualle

This third woman who was one of Charles II’s many mistresses is Louise de Keroualle. This was actually one woman that I knew a little about before reading The Merry Monarch’s Wife but didn’t realize it was the same person I thought it was (I read Dark Angels by Karleen Koen but she goes by Renee not Louise).

Louise began her royal advancing in the French Court of Louis XIV. It is believed that she was placed there to become the mistress to the French King (well at least she became mistress to one king!). She was placed in the household of Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans – King Charles II’s sister. During a trip to England, visiting the court of Charles, the Duchess of Orleans suddenly died. This caused Louise to have nowhere to turn and Charles made her a lady in his wife, Catherine’s, household (first he places Barbara in her household, then Louise. I’m seeing a pattern here…).

There were many rumors that Louise had be specifically sent to England as a spy to be placed in Charles’ court. Maybe…maybe not, I don’t know. Louise became mistress to Charles around 1670. The people of England did not like Louise because she was French and Catholic, just as they really didn’t like their Queen because they were Catholic. Louise had one child with Charles II – Charles Lennox in 1672. She was given the title of Duchess of Portsmouth in 1673.

Louise was able to maintain her position as Charles’ mistress until his death. She then rather quickly fell from favor and moved back to France. She lived to be 85.

If you are interested in other reading about Louise try:

The French Mistress by Susan Holloway Scott or

Dark Angels by Karleen Koen




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Women of Charles II - Barbara Palmer - Duchess of Cleveland

Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Castlemaine, For our second woman in the life of Charles II we have Barbara Palmer, the 1st Duchess of Cleveland. This one is a mistress, probably his most well known. I find it interesting that I had heard of his many mistresses before, but not his wife!

Barbara Palmer was married to Roger Palmer, but they were mostly separated after the birth of her first child. She was a well-known courtesan in England.

She met Charles II in about 1660 while he was still abroad in the Hague. At court, Barbara held much more power than Queen Catherine of Braganza. The two were constantly butting heads. Charles appointed Barbara as Lady of the Bedchamber to his Queen, something Catherine was not too happy about (can you blame her?)

Barbara had many children during him time with Charles and he acknowledged 5 of them:
Lady Anne Palmer (Fitzroy)
Charles Palmer (Fitzroy)
Henry Fitzroy
Charlotte Fitzroy
George Fitzroy

(Another interesting note: I didn't know until recently that Fitzroy means "son of the king" and was usually a last name given to the illegitimate children of kings).

Around the mid 1670's Barbara's power over the king began to wane and he passed her aside for his new mistress, Louise de Keroualle (tomorrow's topic). She eventually died of dropsy (oedema).

If you would like to read more about Barbara Palmer try:

Royal Harlot: A Novel of the Countess Castlemaine and King Charles II by Susan Holloway Scott






Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court