Tag Archives: religion

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

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 

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick. Review 

I really enjoy Nicola Cornick’s writing and have done since I first read The Phantom Tree last year. Nicola writes historical time slip novels and House of Shadows lives up to this. 

In present day, Holly is flying towards Oxford following a frantic call from her young niece who informs her that her dad, Holly’s brother Ben has gone missing. When Ben doesn’t show up in the first 24 hours Holly decides to stick around. But sticking around means she’s drawn into the story of Lavinia a 17th century ‘whore’ and her mysterious memoir, then there’s the creepy mirror and its links to the knights of the Rosy Cross a 15th century order of soothsayers. And then there’s the new love interest who comes along too, making Holly act in ways she never thought she would… 

Meanwhile in 1662 the Winter Queen Elizabeth Stuart is fighting her own feelings for one of her husbands soldiers. William Craven, son of a cloth merchant and not worthy of a Queen. Yet she is inexplicably drawn to him as the crystal mirror and the pearl put her life and those around her on the course of destruction. 

I love learning about history but I’m not very fond of non-fiction reading, so this was right up my street. I’d actually never heard of the Winter Queen as my penchant has always been for the Tudors and Plantagenets. But now this interest has moved on to the Stuart’s as well and I find myself craving more information. Nicola Cornick provides a beautiful story, mingling facts with fiction to weave together an engrossing tale as we jump between past and present. If you like Philippa Gregory or Kate Morton you will be sure to like Nicola Cornick. 

June 2017 Wrap Up 

This month has been a HUGE reading month for me, because I went on holiday for 10 days I got the chance to read loads so because of that, in total I read 29 books this month and they were: 

1. The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase 

2. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay 

3. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare 

4. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare 

5. Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh 

6. Roseblood by AG Howard 

7. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier 

8. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy 

9. The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson 

10. Get Even by Martina Cole 

11. Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson 

12. Blind Fury by Lynda La Plante 

13. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein 

14. Wintersong by S Jae Jones 

15. The Strings of Murder by Oscar De Muriel 

16. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 

17. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine 

18. I See You by Clare Mackintosh 

19. The Hard Way by Lee Child 

20. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh 

21. Select by Marit Weisenberg 

22. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond 

23. Imposter by Philip K Dick 

24. Second Variety by Philip K Dick 

25. War Game by Philip K Dick 

26. The Minority Report by Philip K Dick 

27. Skin by Alice Broadway 

28. Parting Shot by Linwood Barclay 

29. The Stranger Within by Kathryn Croft 

Godblind by Anna Stephens. Review 

Godblind is the debut novel from Anna Stephens, published by Harper Voyager. It falls into the genre of Epic Fantasy and epic is the perfect way to describe it. 

It has been centuries since the Red Gods and there bloodshed were exiled, their people the Mireces have fled into the mountains to worship in mostly silence with the odd raid of outlying villages to capture slaves. Their lives are ruthless, lived in long houses and dependant on the sacrifices demanded by The Blessed One, a priestess with a direct line to the brutal Dark Lady and her brother Gosfarth. 

Meanwhile the good guys of the story over in Rilpor worship the two nice gods, The Dancer and her son the Fox God. Crys is a soldier who has befriended a prince, Dom is the Calestar, adopted son of the high priestess of the Dancer and like The Blessed One he is spoken to by his gods. Rillirin, an escaped slave brings news of an invasion by the Mireces and everyone’s lives change forever. 

The novel is brutal and violent. The Red Gods and their follower’s lust for blood and violence creates some unpleasant scenes but if you can cope with Game of Thrones you can cope with this. Godblind is heavy on the war as well and around 60% of the novel is focused on battle. There’s a good mix of betrayal, feistiness, and love thrown in there too though. Oh yeah and a evil, despicable prince in the mix, what more could you ask for? 

The novel is well written and interesting, the world building and character building are both done well, readers of my previous reviews will know I find this very important. I found that I felt more like I watched events unfold rather than being immersed in them, but I always feel like that when reading Epic Fantasy so it’s not a criticism, I found LoTR and GoT to be the same and I really enjoyed both of those. 

Overall this is a promising series and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalments! 

The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney 

Glen recently contacted me to ask me to review his newest novel The Virgin of the Wind Rose and I have to admit I was highly intrigued by the subject matter. The real identity of Christopher Columbus? It’s definitely a line which draws you in. 

The storyline is a bit hard to grasp at first due to there being many different puzzle pieces fitting together and being narrated seperately. 

Jaq is a rookie state department lawyer enjoying her life and embracing her religion, when she suddenly receives devastating news which leads her to the male dominated lands of Ethiopia to investigate a murder. 

Here she teams up with the mysterious antiquities thief Elymas to find the one relic which will rebuild Solomon’s Temple. 

Meanwhile many centuries before, a parallel story runs in Portugal. A young boy named Pero gets involved in the oldest secret societies; Portugal’s Order of Christ. Keen to begin exploring the seas Pero gets involved with the reclusive Prince Henry the Navigator. 

The story flits back and forth between past and present as the ‘real’ identity of Christopher Columbus is finally revealed. The reader soon starts to realise that there is a connection between the real CC and the modern day second coming of the Messiah. 

The writing is heavily detailed, it’s engaging but not an easy read. At time the detail feels a little too much, but there is so much history and build up entwined in there that it’s definitely worth it. 

The writer is correct in saying that this is a story for lovers of Dan Brown or anybody who loves the history of religion.