Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tudor Tuesday; The Kingmaker's Daughter ~ Philippa Gregory

Ok so I know this isn't exactly a Tudor novel but since Henry's mother is in it I figured it counts...

The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #4)The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Kingmaker's Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the "Kingmaker," Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his daughters, Anne and Isabel as pawns in his political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.

At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Married at age fourteen, she is soon left widowed and fatherless, her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Anne manages her own escape by marrying Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will set her on a collision course with the overwhelming power of the royal family and will cost the lives of those she loves most in the world, including her precious only son, Prince Edward. Ultimately, the kingmaker's daughter will achieve her father's greatest ambition

My Take:
An interesting look at the Plantagenet England. I made the mistake of reading this novel at the same time as watching the series the White Queen. I'm not sure if this book ruined the tv show or if the acting just wasn't that great but either way the novel was much better. It was interesting to look inside the Plantagenet family and watch as their line breaks down from the inside. Even more interesting after just having finished the novel about Margaret Pole. The stories seem to blend and build slowly creating a picture for the reader of what it would be like to try to survive so close to the throne.
Ambition is the name of the game with everyone vying for the Throne. Hoping to get favor with the King or win over the Queen.
We follow the story of young Anne as she enters court for the first time, enamored with the beautiful Queen. As time goes on she begins to both fear and resent the Queen. Blaming her for the death of her sisters first child and later fearing her. We will never know how much was fear and how much was real but thats what makes the whole story that much more interesting.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tudor Tuesday ; Wolf Hall ~ Hilary Mantel

Welcome to our next installment of Tudor Tuesday

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

My Take:

What can I say about this Novel? A friend recommended it after we discussed the the show The Tudors. Thomas Cromwell has always interested me. A man who rose from nothing to help guide an empire. A man who would still meet the same fate as those he abandoned to death. What would it take to mold a man who helped mold and push forward a religious movement. Even if he didn't seem an overly religious man? If you have any interest in Tudor England this novel is both interesting and insightful.

I will warn you, the novel is written from Cromwell's perspective. You are living his life from his eyes. Seeing the world as he sees it. The narrative takes a little bit to get used to. Once you get past that part you realize its the only way to understand him. This character had such an important roll in England. He was an intelligent man who always seemed two steps ahead of the rest of the crowd. Mantel makes his seem more human, showing us his softer side. The book covers both the loss of his beloved Cardinal and his family. It follows how he builds a new family around him, of ambitious young men. Ready to shape the world.

Take a peak inside the world of Thomas Cromwell. I'm sure you will be ready to jump back into the story with the next novel. Brining up the Bodies.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tudor Tuesday ; The Last Tudor ~ Philippa Gregory

Here we are for the second installment of Tudor Tuesday!

The Last TudorThe Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: New York Times Bestseller
The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen.

Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power grab into tragic martyrdom.

“Learn you to die,” was the advice Jane wrote to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and fall in love. But she is heir to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and then to her half sister, Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a Tudor son. When Katherine’s pregnancy betrays her secret marriage, she faces imprisonment in the Tower, only yards from her sister’s scaffold.

“Farewell, my sister,” writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary keeps family secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After seeing her sisters defy their queens, Mary is acutely aware of her own danger but determined to command her own life. What will happen when the last Tudor defies her ruthless and unforgiving Queen Elizabeth?

My Take:
This book was the best novel I've picked up in a long time! Honestly, I had trouble putting it down. Even though at times I dreaded continuing on. Thats the trouble with reading Historical fiction. Sometimes you want to wish the best for the characters but you know what really happened. What I enjoyed most about this novel was it showed me a different side of Elizabeth the 1st. Up until this point I had a very romanticism picture of her. The Virgin Queen, leader of the England during the Golden Age.
Although this novel focuses on the lives of three of her lesser known cousins I feel like Gregory gives you a peak inside of Elizabeths Psyche by showcasing her treatment of those around her. 
As the novel went on I had a feeling of "Oh yes she was Henry's daughter" that changeable nature that made his so dangerous seems to have molded his daughter. 
The three sisters are all interesting in their own way. As the oldest of three girls its not surprising to me at all that these sisters would have such starkly different personalities. Jane, the oldest, lives and dies for her faith. Fueled by the desires and ambitions of the men around her. Katherine the middle child is the free spirit. Loving and beautiful, she appreciates court and the courtly ways. Her beauty and status would cause her downfall. Mary, the youngest, and most un noticed still suffers for her relationship to the Queen but not nearly has badly as her siblings, and other cousins for that matter.
This tales of unjust treatment and intense desires for wealth and power follow the Tudor dynasty and thats what makes this book series so interesting. History has never been more alive than when its being told by Philippa Gregory!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tudor Tuesday : The Other Boleyn Girl ~ Philippa Gregory

Welcome to Tudor Tuesday! From now on every Tuesday we will review a book related to Tudor England. Luckily there are plenty to choose from! Have one of your own you'd like to be featured? Have a cover you'd like to release? Feel free to contact me.

The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9)The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take fate into her own hands.

Summary: I have to say this is the first novel of the Tudor Series that I have read and I really loved it. Being a lover of Tudor History I think it was great to see the story from the perspective of Mary. If you enjoyed the TV show the Tudors this is a must read. Mary's character (and in fact her life) had a much bigger impact on Henry the 8th than most people would realize and I think its great she has finally gotten her story told. There are of course so interesting twists along her path. In some ways real life can be far more twisted than fiction and I'm sure the author took some of her own opinions and guesses to fill in the Historical blanks. Overall the story was excellent. I think if Philippa Gregory was hired to write History books more of us would have learned something!

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cinder ~ Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cinder is one of those books that looked interesting but I just kept putting off reading. Having so many series I already follow I decided to wait until closer to the last book to give it a shot. I was glad I waited because I do feel I enjoyed to whole series much better when read as a whole as apposed to piece by piece.

Summary:Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Take:

I found Cinder to be a truly original take on a classic fairy tale. A cyborg girl trying to make her way in a world. A Future world where technology and disease run rampant. The division between the classes is huge. But inspire of it all young Cinder has made a name for herself as a mechanic. That name spreads as far as the Prince and through what some might consider a small interaction the whole world that they live in is changed.
Beyond the fairy tale this is a story that speak a lot about segregation and equal rights. I think there is an overall message to treat each life as an equal no matter what parts they have or where they are born.
Being the begining of a series the story also sets the pace for the next installment.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cover Reveal ~ Under his Skin

Today Wolf Majick Reviews is happy to participate in the Cover Reveal for...

Under his Skin by Stacey O'Neale

Book Blurb:
Earth girls are never easy. But they're worth it.
Bakery owner Annabelle Sparks' business is booming ever since she won reality TV's Cupcake Wars. The one thing deflating her happy soufflé? The extremely sexy Kaden Chance only sees her as a best friend-and Annabelle wants so much more. After waiting a year for him recognize their chemistry, she's giving up and dating other people.
What she doesn't know is Kaden's heart doesn't actually beat. He's not human. Heck, he's not even from Earth. To retain his intergalactic immunity, no one can ever know he is an extraterrestrial. But when Annabelle starts dating, something strange happens to Kaden's unmoved heart: it begins to beat. Now he faces an impossible choice-tell Annabelle the truth and be deported-or lose his last chance at love.
Release Date: September 21, 2015 

Pre-order Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Game board of the Gods ~ Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1)Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, All I can say is I loved this book. I have so many comments to make but they are all huge spoilers. So you have been warned.

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of Xseries, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

My Take:First off the characters were interesting and dynamic. There were definite times that I wanted to just smack Justin off the back of the head, which proves how real each character felt. I also enjoyed the slow build for each character. We learned subtly more about each one in such a way that it was like getting to know a new friend.

The world that they live in play a huge role in the novel. Its a nation that has given up huge chunks of freedoms to be safe and healthy. They have essentially traded their worship of "Gods" as a higher power to one of the Runa being the higher power. This future world really makes the reader step back an think. Would you give up religious freedom and reproductive choices if you knew it was the only way to have a healthy human race. Would you rather have someone tell you how many children you can have but in tern know those children will grow up safe with a quality education in a society where every school teaches the exact same curriculum? Where secondary school is free? What about a society where technology has soared? Is it worth a little freedom of choice then? Richelle Mead has done a fantastic job with a fantasy novel that touches upon some of the political extremes we see debated every day. A few of the religious ones as well. This novel has sparked some interesting conversations in my house, another mark of a well written book.

I also found a few twists and turns at the end to be just what the story needed. Although I hope Justin smartens up in the next book!