Tag Archives: feminism

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. Review 

Read no further if you haven’t read the first book Outlander as there will be spoilers from the first novel, but none from Dragonfly in Amber

I really enjoyed Outlander where I was swept into the world of Claire and Jamie Fraser. Claire travels back through time to the 1700s where she meets a young highlander Jamie Fraser who she falls in love with. These are hefty books but beautifully written with amazing language, wonderfully put together passages of language. 

We return to this world in Dragonfly in Amber but twenty years on, Claire is back in the 1960s with a grown up daughter, returning to Scotland to reveal several truths that will blow the worlds of those near to her wide open. But fear not avid readers, we return to Claire’s memories to find out what happened next in her love saga with Jamie.


This sequel has all the passion of the first book in the series but tinged with sadness, knowing that Claire is back in present day means that the reader is second guessing how this could have happened and what may happen next. Some of the old friends and foes return and in places it’s a case of life and death! It’s another bulky novel but it doesn’t feel that way because of how engrossed you become in the storyline and needing to know what happens next. 


From a historical fiction lover’s viewpoint, I was really enamoured with understanding the rising of ’44 and the historical perspective not only of Bonnie Prince Charlie who I had heard of but never really studied, but also the court of the Parisian King Louis and his followers. It was interesting to see how much more advanced the French were in those days than the English. For example, I’m sure this doesn’t count as a spoiler but there is a very funny scene where Claire’s French friend gets her to wax her legs and armpits and Jamie’s reaction to this is just hilarious. I can’t wait to start Voyager

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. Review 

I can’t say why this book appealed to me other than to say that the title really intrigued me. Two words that in the Western world we would never associate with one another ‘erotic’ and ‘Punjabi’. I guess that’s because our little knowledge of other cultures sees anyone who is religious as being strict, conservative and definitely not about to write erotic stories! And that’s exactly what Nikki thinks too. Nikki is a young Punjabi woman born and raised in London as an East-West mix. Nikki is a member of feminist groups, she doesn’t believe in the culture of her religion which she sees as binding, controlling and far too conservative for the modern woman. Certainly she isn’t happy when her sister Mindi asks her to post her profile on the marriage board of the temple in Southall. Nikki doesn’t want her sister to have an arranged marriage, something she certainly couldn’t imagine herself. 


But while she is at the temple, Nikki sees an advertisement to teach storytelling to lonely widows in the community and is excited by the prospect. Currently working in a bar after quitting her law degree she has been at a loose end and is unsure where to go or what to do next. But her plans to teach the Widows English reading and writing goes astray when they have other ideas about what stories to tell. 


I really enjoyed this novel. The story was for the most part light, and enjoyable but there was also a dark undertone. The suppression of women in certain cultures. Murder, bullying, hatred, racism and fear. But it was not an unhappy novel despite these undertones. Instead what we see is women brought to life by stories, gaining their freedom, enriching their lives and rising from surpression. I think for people who have grown up in a completely western world, who may possibly have a lack of understanding of other cultures this book provides an interesting and different perspective, to gain understanding that people are people no matter where they come from, the religion they follow and certainly not the colour of their skin. 

The story is funny, honest, bright and leaves you with a sense that justice has been served. 

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory. Review 

This was perhaps my favourite of the Tudor Plantagenet series by Philippa Gregory. It tells the story of the three Grey sisters. Jane who is otherwise known as the 9 day queen and the only one I’d actually heard of, and her sisters Katherine and Mary who were equally persecuted by a bitter and attention seeking brat, I.e Elizabeth I. 

The Last Tudor is not as we would initially think about Elizabeth I herself which is what I expected, but instead about the other remaining Tudor’s Jane, Katherine and Mary. 

The novel is split into three parts with each sister narrating each section in order of age. Jane of course was well known (so hopefully no spoilers) as the young queen forced onto the throne after King Edward’s untimely death and 9 days later is thrown into the tower under arrest as Queen Mary takes her throne back. Jane was of course beheaded for treason. 

The story then takes up with Jane’s younger sister Katherine, a seemingly frivolous girl who loves animals especially her little monkey Mr Nozzle. Always cheerful she marries for love, seeing herself as doing no wrong and yet encountering Elizabeth’s wrath. The same goes for Mary the youngest of the sisters and a little person. She too marries for love only to be imprisoned herself and pushed far from court, but it is she who is bravest and endures the most at the hands of the spiteful ruler who expects attention only for herself.

I really enjoyed this novel because I think that as people we often idolise the Tudors. They were the first monarchs I learnt about in school and of course Mary and Elizabeth were the first queens to rule as a female monarch and not the wife of a king. It was interesting therefore to see another take on it where Elizabeth is shown as actually rather a B*tch! Her obsessive behaviour, her refusal to stand up for anything and to Convict people who she saw as a threat not only to her throne but to her own life as the ‘virgin’ queen. All she really wanted was to be the most beautiful and most admired. 


I really felt passionately like I hated Elizabeth! While I felt unsympathic towards the pious (and slightly annoying) Jane Grey, I felt the true passions, loved, hopes and dreams of Katherine and Mary and felt like writing to William Cecil for their release myself! 

As always with Philippa’s books she educates, mixing fact with a little fiction to make the characters come to life, while reminding us that these events are ones which truly happened in England’s past. A book which truly makes you think. 

The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. Review 

It all started with The Cousins War or at least it did for, my love of Philippa Gregory came when I cut my teeth on the White Queen, The Red Queen, Lady of the Rivers etc. Then of course the story began to merge with the Tudors. With the release of The Last Tudor (check back for a review on that coming soon) it made sense that I should finally get around to reading The King’s Curse. It’s a pretty hefty novel coming in at over 500 pages, and rightly so as it details the long life of one of the forgotten players in the Tudor/Plantagenet history; Margaret Pole. Beloved tutor of Princess Mary and friend to Queen Katherine of Aragon. 


Margaret saw a lot in her 67 years, a long time to live in those days. This story picks up after the fall of the Plantagenet family from the Royal Household and Margaret’s undying loyalty to her cousin the Queen, married to Henry VII. Margaret was a key player in the Tudor’s story, Prince Arthur lived with her and her husband until his death, she became friends with, and defended Katherine of Aragon and fell constantly in and out of favour with both Henry VII and Henry VIII, fearing constantly that death and danger were stalking her family because of their name, and their royal blood. 


Through Margaret’s eyes, we watch the child Prince Harry, first turn the half destroyed and neglected kingdom around from his father’s rule, to becoming the harsh tyrant who ripped apart the church, the faith of the country and tore down the monasteries, not to mention the divorcing, beheading and casting aside of his wives in his obsession to beget a male heir on one of them. We see the bitter, twisted control of the Boleyn family as they strive for greatness through the vicious Anne, a very different perspective from the one given by Anne and her family in Philippa’s earlier book. 


The novel, despite being long, is well put together and it is clear, as always that Philippa Gregory has considerably researched her subject. Although some of the storyline is not known to be completely factual (this is a work of fiction after all), Philippa does use rumours and presumptions as well as modern scientific and medical research to form her opinions and plots. 

I really enjoyed this, as I do all of the Plantagenet / Tudor hybrid novels, I’m just sad that after The Last Tudor it will all be coming to an end! 

Launching a New Book Product! 

Hi everyone, thanks for visiting my blog again! 
Just a quick post from me today to say that after a long time thinking about it I’ve decided to go ahead and launch my own book related product!! It’s really exciting but before I can proceed I need to do some research into what my potential customers would like to see and the sort of cost they would expect to pay. Subsequently I’d really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to take my survey 
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KR7XVQV

Fireblood by Elly Blake. Review 

Thank you to Netgalley, Hodder and Stoughton and Elly Blake for my ARC of Fireblood

Fireblood is the sequel to Frostblood and if you haven’t read Frostblood you should stop here as there may be a few spoilers of the first novel. You can however read my spoiler free review of Frostblood here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/frostblood-by-elly-blake-review/

At the end of Frostblood the Frost King’s evil reign of terror was over when Ruby and Arcus melted the frost throne and vanished the Minax who inhabited it, but now it’s back. Ruby is haunted by dreams of the Minax and is terrified she will hurt those she loves. Not to mention the reception she’s getting from the Frost court is shall we say… frosty…. 


Despite Arcus’ warnings, Ruby travels to Sudesia with a roguish Fireblood called Kai, Ruby is sure that all the answers to the past and the future lie in the library of Sudesia. But maybe they’re not the answers she was looking for after all… 


The second book in the Frostblood Saga is a lot more fast paced than the first one, the action begins almost immediately and we are thrown into the middle of wars woven in secret and deliciously hidden secrets. Nobody is who they seem and Ruby can no longer be sure of who she is.


I cannot wait for the third book in this series now, I need to know what happens next!! 

July Wrap Up 2017 

I read 25 books this month and in the fashion of Kristin at Kristin Kraves Books I’m going to give the total pages as well: 7,736 

So here goes! I’ll not go into descriptions as there’s just too many! But I’ll give a sentence or two for each. 


Frostblood & Fireblood by Elly Blake. There are two types of people here those that fight with frost and those who fight with fire. There’s action romance and plenty of wit! 


The Wind on Fire trilogy by William Nicholson. I read these as a child and they were just as good now! The Manth people combat different evils in the search for thei home land. Dystopian. 


The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black. 3 children are drawn into a magical world unseen by everyone else and battle ogres and goblins to save the world. 


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Girl travels back in time to 18th century Scotland where she embarks on an adventure with a hunky, kilt wearing Scotsman. 


The Break by Marian Keyes. Relationship breaks down when husband goes on a break, cue Marian’s unique style of humour. 


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. The loneliest girl in the world learns how to make friends. 


The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. Boy puts things in a magic cupboard and they come to life! 


Final Girls by Riley Sager, girl survives murder only to be targeted by another killer. 


The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson Girl goes missing and comes back years later, is it really her though? 


Rusticles by Rebecca Gransden beautifully put together short stories with phantasmagoric themes. 


The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. Author gets installed in his own story and becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. 


Victoria by Daisy Goodwin the tale of one of the great monarchs of the 20th century. 


The Friend by Dorothy Koomson a woman is embroiled into a mystery around an attempted murder and poisonous friendships. 


The Overneath by Peter S Beagle a gorgeous collection of short stories from the author of The Last Unicorn. 


Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine. A woman and her family on the run become the target of a murderer. 


Storm Front by Jim Butcher a series about a wizard detective. 


Friend Request by Laura Marshall a woman becomes the victim of a stalker who appears to be an old friend who died at school. 


House of Shadows by Nicola Cormick. After the disappearance of her brother a woman finds herself embroiled in a historical mystery, a time slip between present day and Stuart England.