*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, November 30, 2009

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2010

I am going to dive right into this challenge with everything I have. Almost all of the books that I read are historical fiction, and I didn't start blogging until after the 2009 challenge ended, so I'm very excited about this one.

This challenge is hosted by the wonderful ladies at Royal Reviews. The challenge runs from January 1, 2010 until December 31, 2010. I am going to choose the highest level - Obsessed, read 20 HF books.

Here are the rules:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

2. There are four levels:

-- Curious – Read 3 Historical Fiction novels.

-- Fascinated – Read 6 Historical Fiction novels.

-- Addicted – Read 12 Historical Fiction novels.

-- Obsessed – Read 20 Historical Fiction novels.

3. Any book format counts.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

I will update my post below as I read!

1. The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent
2. The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin
3. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
4. The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick
5. Roeing Oaks by Kristina Emmons
6. Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell
7. Within the Hollow Crown by Margaret Campbell Barnes
8. Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C. W. Gortner
9. Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
10. Royal Harlot by Susan Holloway Scott
11. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
12. By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan
13. For The King by Catherine Delors
14. Dancing for Degas by Kathryn Wagner
15. Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell
16. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
17. The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen
18. Industrial Pioneers by Patrick Brown
19. Heart of Lies by M. L. Malcolm
20. The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book Review: 4th of July by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro


4th of July by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Women's Murder Club Series
 
Unabridged, 8 hr.
Hachette Audio
Carolyn McCormick (Narrator)
February 5, 2005
★★★★☆

Genre: Mystery/Thriiller

Source: Borrowed from Library

"In a deadly late-night showdown, San Francisco police lieutenant Lindsay Boxer fires her weapon and sets off a dramatic chain of events that leaves a police force disgraced, a family destroyed, and Lindsay herself at the mercy of twelve jurors. During a break in the trial, she retreats to a picturesque town that is reeling from a string of grisly murders-crimes that bear a link to a haunting, unsolved case from her rookie years.Now, with her friends in the Women's Murder Club, Lindsay must battle for her life on two fronts: in a trial rushing to a climax, and against an unknown adversary willing to do anything to hide the truth about the homicides-including kill again?"

Detective Lindsay Boxer is in for the fight of her life. A seemingly routine police chase ends up with her and her partner shot and two kids critically injured. She now must face the trial and hope that her actions don’t come back to haunt her. While waiting for her trial, Lindsay goes to visit her sister and gets caught up in a local case that sounds very similar to one she had worked on in the past.

I quickly got sucked into the court trial, looking at how different aspects could be perceived for the benefit of both the prosecution and defense. While I was sure I knew what the outcome of the trial would be, there was such suspense that I wasn’t totally sure. I also NEVER saw the resolution of the local case that she worked while awaiting her trial.

One thing that bothered me was that these two stories seemed to run parallel to each other but not integrate together well. Only one story was focused on at a time and by the time we got back to the local case I had forgotten what had happened when it was last discussed. I enjoyed both of the stories, but I think they would have been better off on their own.

I also am not sure how I feel about the newest addition to the Women’s Murder Club. I guess I will have to see how well she is integrated in the next book.


★★★★★
 
The only comment that I am going to make on the audio - thank God for Carolyn McCormick. I did not enjoy the narration of the first two quite as much. So glad she is on this one.
 
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, November 26, 2009

Read Your Own Books Challenge 2010

I'm back at this challenge again for 2010. This challenge is again hosted by MizB. I chose 10 books for 2009, which I thought was going to be a struggle because at that time I hadn't been reading a lot. I have done a lot more reading lately, but sadly I haven't read many of my own books. One of my resolutions is to read more of my own books, so this challenge is perfect. I think this year I will set my goal at 12.

Here are the rules:
•Pick a number of books you’d like to read in one year
•Choose those books from your OWN collection
•Read them between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010
•Re-Reads are NOT allowed (the challenge is to get more of your own books read that have been sitting there waiting!)
•Audiobooks & e-books ARE allowed
•You do NOT need a blog to participate — you can leave comments on their post with your progress

I will update this list as I read:

1. Going Rogue by Sarah Palin
2. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
3. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
4. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
5. Dancing for Degas by Kathryn Wagner
6. Gossip Girl: Nothing Can Keep Us Together by Cecily von Ziegesar
7. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
8. Suite Scarlet by Maureen Johnson
9. Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart
10. Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr
11.
12.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HerStoria Spotlight - Women Pirates

Thanks to Amy’s suggestion I picked up HerStoria Magazine. There are some amazing articles in these magazines. I have decided that every so often I will do a post based on something that intrigued me in these articles.

This session is about women pirates.

I have always been interested in pirates, as I think many people are. The thought of a woman pirate had never really crossed my mind. Apparently there are not too many recorded women pirates but there were a few that I was clued in to in the article.

Mary Read (English): Mary Read began dressing as a man after her husband died and became a sailor in Holland. After doing that for awhile, Mary joined the ranks of Calico Jack’s ship where Anne Bonny was already a pirate. Anne fell in love with Mary, who was still dressed as a man. It is believed that they became lovers. While attacking ships, Mary dressed as a man, but during the other times aboard ship, she dressed as a woman. Their ship was overrun by a pirate hunter in Jamaica and both Mary and Anne were imprisoned. Mary was not executed because she was pregnant (supposedly by an artist), but she died in prison from childbirth fever.

Anne Bonny (American): As a young teen, Anne Bonny ran off and married a low ranking pirate. While they were in the Bahamas she met the pirate Calico Jack and had an affair with him. Her husband was upset and had her tried for adultery – she eventually ran away with Jack and joined his crew. Anne was a successful pirate with Jack. As stated above she had a relationship with Mary Read. When their ship was captured she plead pregnancy as Mary had done (the child is believed to have been Jack’s). It is believed that her father was able to secure her release and brought her back to South Carolina where she lived to an old age.


Grace O’Malley (Irish): Grace’s father was involved in international shipping, so the ways of the sea were in her blood. Grace took the reins of her own ship and traveled around Ireland. One of the things that she was known for was stopping trade ships and exacting a tax in order for safe passage – refusal to pay could lead to dire consequences. Grace is most known for her famous meeting with Queen Elizabeth. She met with Elizabeth in order to have her sons and brother released from custody as well as another list of demands in exchange for ceasing her pirating activity. Some were met, some were not. Apparently the women hit it off. She later resumed her piracy.

For further reading try:
Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell (about Grace O’Malley and Elizabeth)
The Only Life the Mattered by Jack Rackam (about Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and Calico Jack)




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday #21

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marica at The Printed Page.

I got a few good things in my mailbox this week and each one was from a different type of source.

Arleigh let me borrow her copy of The Shadow of the Pomegranate by Jean Plaidy on audio book. Thanks Arleigh, I am just shy of 1/2 way through.

• I finally recieved one of the books I order through Amazon (from Marie's store) The Sister’s Who Would Be Queen by Leanda de Lisle. I'm very excited about this. Has anything shown up on your end yet Marie?

• After Amy told me about HerStoria Magazine, I went to their website and order the 3 back issues – Spring, Summer, Fall. I have read Spring so far, really a great magazine! Thanks Amy!

• From author Donna Russo Morin I received The Secret of the Glass for a future Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event.

• And what I think is the coolest thing I got this week was a book chapter of A Tale of Two Demon Slayers by Angie Fox. She was nice enough to sign it for me too. The book will be coming out this January, so it is cool to get to read the first chapter. Watch for a giveaway of the book on this blog sometime in January.

Anything awesome in your mailbox this week?




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guest Post - Nick, on George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones

First let me say what an honor it is to be able to post on my girlfriend's blog, and to be a part of something she loves so much! My name is Nick, and it's nice to meet you all. I've heard only good things! A few months ago, I began to read an epic novel called A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin. This tale, while often classified as "fantasy", seemed to be so much more about the lives and times of the characters in their fictional world, and less about magic and over-the-top plots. This led me to make the following offer to Heather:

"Let me read the story to you." After all, she had nothing to lose, and the book always seemed to be more of a historical fiction than a fantasy (historical fantasy?) anyway. Of course, A Game of Thrones is no short bed-time story that one reads in a single sitting. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is an 807 page novel, and only the first of a seven book series called A Song of Ice and Fire.


I will save most of the summary for the inevitable review, but I will say now that A Game of Thrones is full of intrigue, twisting plots, love, lust, and many characters that are portayed in such a way that they make you wish that they actually were real.

In lieu of a book trailer, feel free to watch the following video composed of art inspired by the series. I hope it piques your interest!




What is more, A Game of Thrones will be adapted to the small screen in the coming months. The pilot has been filmed, and will be airing on HBO soon. The cast includes Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings) and Peter Dinklage (The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian). For more information, feel free to check out the blog "Winter is Coming" , who has been following the adaptation from the beginning.


I am excited that I was able to turn Heather on to such a great book, and I hope that you consider picking up a copy as well!




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Requesting Help with a Review

Hi Everyone!

I am writing tonight to ask for some help. I have been trying to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for about 2 weeks. I just can’t seem to get into it – and it’s not because I don’t like the book. I have only read a couple of sections, and liked them, but it is just not holding my attention enough for me to want to keep reading. I feel really badly, but I have other books that are catching my attention. So here is what I am going to do – I’m going to give it to someone who really wants to read it. If anyone is interested in receiving my review copy and writing a review of it please leave a comment below. I will leave it open until Wednesday, November 25th and then mail it on Friday. After you write the review, if you want to leave me the link to your blog, I will post the link here.
I really want this book to go to someone who wants to read and review it. That is what this prize winning book deserves. Thanks everyone.

Update: The person who will be receiving my copy of this book to review is virginiebarbeau. Thanks to those who offered to help me out! It is much appreciated.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray


Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Hardcover, 480 pages
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
September 22, 2009
★★★★ ½☆

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Personal Collection

"Can Cameron find what he’s looking for? 
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most."

Cameron is your normal 16 year old boy – that is until he finds out that he has Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease or the human version of mad-cow. While lying in his hospital bed he is visited by a punk fairy who tells him he must go on a journey to follow clues that will eventually lead to finding a cure for his disease. Cameron takes this trip with a talking lawn-gnome and a dwarf and has many crazy adventures. But will all of these adventures lead to his cure?

I couldn’t stop laughing throughout this entire book. The almost 500 pages just flew by; I was having such a good time. Bray creates her own words to describe things (which is something I do ALL the time) and is really in-tune to how teenagers talk and act. I was disappointed by the ending, but not because it wasn’t good, but because I wanted more of it. I wanted more adventures; Cameron was a totally lovable character.

I still have to say that my favorite part of the book was the first chapter. There is just something so hilarious about what goes on in 5 year old Cameron’s mind as he rides the It’s a Small World ride at Disney.

I think that this book was a great depiction of Bray’s personality. I really enjoyed listening to her read this book at the author event I went to and she is a wonderful person.


Author Libba Bray also has written a Victorian YA trilogy: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and A Sweet, Far Thing.  You can visit Bray's website or blog for additional information about the book.
 

Here is the crazy book trailer for Going Bovine:


My other reviews of this author's works:
 
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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book Review: 3rd Degree by James Patterson


3rd Degree by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
Women's Murder Club Series
 
Unabridged, 6 hr. 30 min
Hachette Audio
Carolyn McCormick (Narrator)
May 8, 2007
★★★★☆

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Audiobook

Source: Personal Collection

"The Women's Murder Club returns in a shockingly suspenseful thriller. Plunging into a burning town house, Detective Lindsay Boxer discovers three dead bodies...and a mysterious message at the scene. When more corpses turn up, Lindsay asks her friends Claire Washburn of the medical examiner's office, Assistant D.A. Jill Bernhardt, and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas to help her find a murderer who vows to kill every three days. Even more terrifying, he has targeted one of the four friends. Which one will it be?"

Lt. Lindsay Boxer has faced the Bride and Groom Killer as well as Chimera so far on the job but when terrorists strike San Francisco it is a whole different ball game! The terrorists are demanding action for crimes against humanity by the political and economic head honchos of the global community. People start dropping like flies, about every 3 days – and one of these deaths hits close to home for the Women’s Murder Club! Lindsay and the girls take the case and chase after the man in the wind known as August Spies. Will they stop whoever is doing this before the whole city come tumbling down?

I feel that this book takes a little bit more of an in-depth look at the lives of the ladies in the Women’s Murder Club. You find out more of the back story for Claire and Jill especially. I also am pleased that small events and story lines from the first two books haven’t been forgotten like sometimes happens in series. The characters still continue to grow and develop. Even though this series is told from the view of Lindsay Boxer it is nice to get to learn more about the other ladies and find out what makes them who they are and how they can do their jobs.

I would rank this book in 2nd place overall for the first three books in the series (my ranking: 1st to Die, 3rd Degree, and then 2nd Chance). I really enjoyed how the mystery was resolved. I think it also shows how easily people can be manipulated for a cause.

I am already halfway through 4th of July and enjoying it even more than I did this one. This series is definitely growing on me!



★★★★ ½☆
 

I also really like the narrator, Carolyn McCormick – so far this is the third narrator for this audio book series, but it looks like she is the narrator for all of the ones that are out so far after this one. She has a voice that won’t put you to sleep and keeps you interested – great for when you are driving because I have found some that could easily induce a coma.

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, November 16, 2009

Mailbox Monday #20

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

My mailbox was small this week - but as I am trying to not buy any new books and read my own, this might be a good thing.

From PaperBackSwap:
Leonardo’s Swans – Karen Essex
The Passion of Artemisia – Susan Vreeland

From Carnevale Publishing for Review:
The Harlot’s Progress: Yorkshire Molly – Peter Mottley

I still expect to get some exciting books every now and again for Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table events - there are going to be a lot of exciting events coming up starting in January with O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell. Keep on the lookout for further announcements!

Did you receive anything exciting this week in your mailbox?




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Award

This cool award was given to me by CelticLady from Book Blog O' The Irish. The look of this award really symbolizes what it means - it has a great look. Thanks so much for this award.

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Post the award on your blog, with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that you particularly like. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Here are the 5 bloggers I think are totally deserving of this award:

All of these ladies have mastered the art of a beautiful blog! Check them out!



Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Review: The Golden Tulip by Rosalind Laker


The Golden Tulip by Rosalind Laker
Paperback, 576 pages
Three Rivers Press
November 27, 2007
★★★★ ½☆

Genre: Art Historical Fiction, Romance

Source: Received from Arleigh @ Historical-Fiction.com to help her out with her reviews

The Golden Tulip brings one of the most exciting periods of Dutch history alive, creating a page-turning novel that is as vivid and unforgettable as a Vermeer painting.

This amazing novel has many different story threads woven together beautifully. At the heart is the story of Francesca and her family. Francesca is the daughter of a decent artist in Amsterdam. Taking after her father, she appears to be headed toward great things in the art world. An apprenticeship is acquired for her with the relatively unknown (at the time) Johannes Vermeer in Delft. Things all seem to be looking up – Francesca has an apprenticeship, her family appears to be doing well (her father has a wealthy patron), and she finds herself falling in love with Pieter (a tulip grower and landscape designer). Just when things appear to go well, all starts to fall apart. The patron of her father has become obsessed with Francesca and is determined to marry her – no matter what the cost! How do these problems affect Francesca’s art? How will her family fare? What will happen to the blossoming love between Francesca and Pieter?

My favorite part about this novel was the way the characters were written. I truly felt for the characters. I would be excited when good things happened and very upset when horrible things happened. Each character felt so real – they all had their flaws and personalities and didn’t feel typical. One of my favorite characters was a minor character – Catherina Vermeer, Johannes Vermeer’s wife. She was so good to Francesca and I just loved her personality.

It is very obvious that a lot of research went into this book. Tulipmania was explained in relative depth – this was when the price of a single tulip bulb climbed to as high as a year’s salary, everyone wanted them, and then the market crashed and people were left penniless. There were also great descriptions of the cities of Amsterdam and Delft. Vermeer’s paintings were discussed – what the meaning are behind some of the works and symbols, stories about the sittings as well as physical descriptions.

I really loved this book – it had so many little stories happening with this family and was very intriguing. I cannot wait to get to read The Venetian Mask which is on my shelf right now.

Rosalind Laker also has written many historical novels, a few include: The House By the Fjord, The Venetian Mask, and To Dance With Kings.  You can visit Rosalind Laker’s website here. You can also check out my photo post of some of the Vermeer work that was described in 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

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vermeer Artwork in The Golden Tulip

In The Golden Tulip the main character, Francesca, takes an apprenticeship with the relatively unknown artist of the times, Johannes Vermeer. Sprinked thoughout the book were discriptions and discussions about some of his paintings. This is not the first time I have read a book about Vermeer paintings; A Girl With A Pearl Earring comes to mind. I thought it would be interesting to look up these artworks and share them because I have always had a great appreciation of art.

A Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, 1662-1665

An Artist in His Studio, 1665

A Little Street in Delft, 1657-1658

Allegory of Faith, 1670-1674

The Love Letter, 1667-1670






Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mailbox Monday #19

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marica at The Printed Page.

This week there is just a very tiny mailbox - and it is kinda cheating because it came in my inbox!

I received the e-book of Booth's Sister by Jane Singer from the publisher Belle Bridge Books.

I've never read an e-book but it wasn't too long so I thought I would try it out.

I have been waiting for my Amazon order for over a month. I got an email about 2 days ago saying it was delayed. The Sister's That Would be Queen by Leanda de Lisle is finally on its way, no word yet on Mary Boleyn by Josephine Wilkinson. I will wait semi impatiently I guess.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Author Event - Chandra Prasad

Yesterday I had the opportuntity to attend another author event at RJ Julia Bookstore; this time to meet Chandra Prasad, author of the new book, Breathe the Sky.

Chandra was such a wonderful person and very knowledgable when it came to Amelia Earhart. Her new book is historical fiction about Amelia up until her last flight. Where her book differs from other books about Amelia is that she doesn't romanticize what might have happened to her.

It was also interesting to learn that Chandra had someone who helped her learn about how airplanes work, the technology, terminology, and such things to help make the descriptions of the flights authentic. The man was in the audience at the event and it was the first time she was meeting him - it was sweet.

Here is a discription of the book:
"Amelia Earhart disappeared from the world's radar in the 1930s, but she has not been forgotten. Breathe the Sky is a fresh and provocative portrait of the legendary pilot whose courage and charisma have dazzled millions. It is also the first novel to reveal the dark side of Earhart's fame-and the dangerous, madcap course of her final voyage. Venturing where history and biography have not, Breathe the Sky takes the reader on Earhart's last expedition along the equatorial line, through wild storms, across endless desert and jungle, and over shark-infested waters. With stark, nimble prose, Prasad brings Earhart to life once more, securing her place in the pantheon of great explorers, while inspiring risk and adventure in readers."

You can visit her website here.




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review: The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory


The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Paperback, 518 pages
Touchstone Books
August 7, 2007
★★★★ ½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

"The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration, and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror. Once again, Philippa Gregory has brought a vanished world to life -- the whisper of a silk skirt on a stone stair, the yellow glow of candlelight illuminating a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower Green below the newly built scaffold. In The Boleyn Inheritance Gregory is at her intelligent and page-turning best."
The Boleyn Inheritance is narrated through the voices of three narrators: Anne of Cleves (the 4th wife of Henry VIII), Katherine Howard (Henry’s 5th wife), and Jane Rochford (the late Anne Boleyn’s sister-in-law). Each of these women has a lot on the line because of the cloud that hovered above with the name of Boleyn. Each has earned their current place, in a sense, because of the death of Anne.

I enjoyed the parts of the book that were narrated by Anne of Cleves the best. She was only really part of the Tudor Court for a very short time and was new to the country of England as well. Her chapters brought an outside eye to the story while Jane and Katherine’s brought the inside eye. One thing that I really saw in this book was how easily used Katherine Howard was. She was manipulated by all sides and didn’t even have a chance to realize quite what was happening. I wasn’t a huge fan of Katherine’s sections for that reason – she was completely oblivious to everything that was happening – come on girl! Jane’s sections were interesting to see her wrestling with the guilt over what she did to her husband and sister-in-law. It was also enlightening to see the way she rationalized everything she did.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book just as much as The Other Boleyn Girl and The Constant Princess. A unique way at looking at this short period of time and the events that quickly unfolded.

To borrow a little more from the back cover to wrap this up nicely “Anne of Cleves – Her Boleyn Inheritance: accusations and false witness. Katherine Howard – Her Boleyn Inheritance: the threat of the axe. Jane Rochford – Her Boleyn Inheritance: a fortune and a title, in exchange for her soul.”

Philippa Gregory also has written several other Tudor set books including:The Constant Princess, The Other Bolyen Girl, The Queen's Fool, The Virgin's Lover, and The Other Queen. You can read the first chapter of the book here for a sample of Gregory’s style. You can also listen to a sample of the audio on the website too.

My other reviews of the author's works:

Reviews of this book by others:

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, November 4, 2009

2009 Audiobook Challege Complete

Yay! I finished the audiobook challege host by J. Kaye's Book Blog. I started this challenge because I really needed something to occupy my time on the drive to work. I have an hour each way and these audiobooks have really helped me read books that I have been putting off because my time is precious and I like to read my historical fictions in that time.

Here is what I have read:

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

Thanks J.Kaye for the great challege!



Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Book Review: Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire


Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
Unabridged, 14 hr. 16 min.
HarperAudio
Gregory Maguire (Narrator)
September 29, 2009
★★★ ½☆☆

Genre: Fantasy, Audiobook

Source: Personal Collection

"Ten years after the publication of Wicked, beloved novelist Gregory Maguire returns at last to the land of Oz. There he introduces us to Liir, an adolescent boy last seen hiding in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully, Liir is shattered in spirit as well as in form. But he is tended to at the Cloister of Saint Glinda by the silent novice called Candle, who wills him back to life with her musical gifts. What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba's son? He has her broom and her cape-but what of her powers? Can he find his supposed half-sister, Nor, las seen in the forbidding prison, Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz that, since the Wizard's departure, is under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up?"

This story picks up a short while after Wicked ends. Liir is struggling with life after the death of the Wicked Witch of the West. There are many questions that he has, most pressing – is he Elphaba’s son? Liir sets out on a journey to try and find some answers to his life. This path leads him into interaction with Dorothy, Glinda, the army, and the maunts (like nuns). Liir has to find out who he is and this story really is about him coming of age in the shadow of a well known Witch.

I would definitely recommend reading Wicked before picking up this one otherwise you will be completely lost as to who the characters are and what is going on in the Land of Oz. Like Wicked, a lot of what happens in the story is based on the political upheaval in Oz. I had read Wicked a couple of years ago, and I still had some trouble following the politics of the land. In this book, Dorothy and her 3 friends (4 if you count Toto) have more of a role. Other than them, Liir and Glinda, you really won’t recognize any of the characters from the traditional story of Oz. This was a little bit of a problem for me as a reader. Unlike Wicked, I couldn’t connect with the characters – even though they we mentioned in passing or were related to the traditional characters, I just didn’t feel for them as much.

I found the book hard to get into at the beginning, but by the end I was rooting for Liir on his quest and hoping he would find what he was looking for. I want to read the third book in the Wicked series, A Lion Among Men, focusing on the life of the Cowardly Lion, but I think I will take some time before I jump into that one.


★★★☆☆

The narrator of this audio book was the author, Gregory Maguire, and I’m not sure that I liked him as the narrator. He gave individual voices to all of the characters (and even did a little singing too!) but somehow it just didn’t keep me interested. I think that my opinion of the book might have been changed if I had read the book or if it had a different narrator. Sometimes the author is just not the best choice.


You can check out Maguire’s books on his website. He has also written 3 other books in the Oz series: Wicked, A Lion Among Men, Out of Oz.
 
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, November 2, 2009

Mailbox Monday #18

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marica at The Printed Page.

This week I just have one book to add to my list:

Thirsty by Kristin Bair-O'Keeffe (from publisher Phenix & Phenix)

I'm excited to read this book because I spent several weeks in Pittsburgh this summer and my family is from that area so the setting is perfect.

Any thing good in your mailbox?




Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More Awards!

Over the past two weeks I have received 2 awards and am just now getting the chance to share them.

This award was given to me by Jenny from Jenny Loves to Read. This award is for those bloggers who write from the heart. The rules are:
Pass it on to 7 deserving bloggers and write 10 honest things about yourself.

Ok so the bloggers I would like to pass this on to are:
Now for the 10 honest things:

  1. One of my absolute favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz - I must have watched it a million times.
  2. I hate being late for anything - I am one who is always somewhere early.
  3. I used to horseback ride and loved it - I haven't rode in about 8 years and I miss it.
  4. I never used to like baseball before I started dating my boyfriend - but now I like watching it more than he does - big Red Sox fan!
  5. I love chocolate - ice cream, candy, hot chocolate (but I hate white chocolate),
  6. Despite my love for chocolate, Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I get more excited about my birthday (not a real holiday but I think it is! lol).
  7. When taking a trip I am a much better navigator than driver.
  8. I love to cook - I think it comes from my love of food. I like trying out new things with and without a recipe.
  9. I love how in the month of December there are all of the famous Christmas movies on TV - I will schedule my plans around watching my favorites.
  10. I like to watch NASCAR and wrestling (some habits I have acquired from my parents. My dad used to own/work on a racecar on the local level)

The Superior Scribbler Award was given to me by Virginie from Virginie Says.... The rules are as follows:

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

And the 5 Superior Scribblers are:

  1. Marg from Historical Tapestry
  2. Sarah from Reading the Past
  3. Arleigh & Lucy from Plaidy's Royal Intrigue
  4. Leslie from Royal Affairs and Notorious Royal Marriages
  5. Dar from Peeking Between the Pages

Congratulations to all of your deserving awardees! And thanks to Jenny and Virginie for the awards.





Copyright © 2009-2011 by The Maiden’s Court