Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

Well one of my tasks this year was to read 100 books, well I am sorry to say I failed my 10 books! Well I am on my 91st book as we speak but, I doubt I will finish that by midnight as I have to work until 4pm unless I can get in some sneaky reading at my desk!!

On the up side it was the most books I have read in a year and there are a few books that stand out for me this year:

Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell - I have read this previously but, its a fantastic book especially if you are interested in the mystery of Stonehenge.

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George - This is a most definite stand out book of the year for me, I have to confess I did put off reading this for quite some time due to the volume of pages to be devoured! But, it was so engrossing it didn't seem that long at all, a definite read for Tudor fans.

Courtesan by Diane Haeger - I loved this book it was something different for me as mostly my historical fiction reading is based around the Tudors so this was great to learn about other people from history and a beautiful story as well.

The Well of Shades by Juliet Marillier - Juliet remains one of my favourite authors and this was no exception continuing the story of Bridei's Chronicles, I just love the worlds Juliet creates and whilst this was not as good as the Sevenwaters series (I don't think I will ever read anything to top those) this was a fantastic series which I hope continues.

2008 also saw me complete my first reading challenge I tend to not sign up for things like that because often I forget or there is something else I want to read but, have to read something else for a challenge but, maybe 2009 will see me signing up for more challenges.

Hopefully I will reach my target of reading 100 books in 2009 I also must finish the Kushiels Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey will also give me an excuse to re-read one of my favourite books ever - Kushiels Dart.

Hope you all have a fantastic New Year and an even better 2009.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Teaser Tuesday

I saw this on Marg's of blog and not sure if you have to be nominated to join in or tagged whatever or can just do it yourself so opted for the latter!

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading -

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

This is mine:

the body of the queen was lying. No one could quite believe it. The catastrophe had happened so quickly.

This is from Jane Boleyn by Julia Fox.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Don't talk back to your Vampire by Michele Bardsley

Broken Heart, Oklahoma, is now a center for paranormal activity of the vampire kind after a PTA meeting was disrupted by a sick vampire who turned every parent into one of his own kind.

Single mother Eva LeRoy is one of the new vampires, and her teenage daughter is adjusting. It helps that the whole town is vampire friendly, except for the renegade group that is trying to kill them. Eva is still testing her new powers when Lorcan, the vampire who transformed her, starts coming around.

She knows that he was sick with the taint and has forgiven him, but he has yet to forgive himself. Eva is drawn to Lorcan and relies on him to help keep her spirits up as her idea of normalcy is destroyed and her daughter's boyfriend turns out to be a vampire hunter.

This is the second book in this series and this time this story concentrates more on Eve leRoy who is the librarian of the towns library. Eve is a single and hasn't had a date in too long she can also communicate with animals.

This was every bit as funny as the first with a great mix of suspense & humour thrown into the mix.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

I'm The Vampire That's Why by Michele Bardsley

There's a new breed of soccer mom in town-with fangs.

Does drinking blood make me a bad mother? That's the question single mom Jessica Matthews faces when she wakes from a savage attack sucking on the thigh of Patrick O'Halloran, a super-hot Irish vampire who'd generously offered his femoral artery to save her from death...only to make her one of the undead.

Jessica can't rest until the beast that did this to her is caught. Meanwhile, she's having trouble committing to Patrick (in the vampire handbook, physical intimacy costs you several hundred years of being bound together) and keeping her kids in line.

This was a fun paranormal romance and reminded me of a cross between the Argeneau vampires and PC Casts books. If you can get over then cheesy titles and covers and if you love paranormal romances you will love this.

Jessica is a great character and aside from all the erotic side of this book there are parts with some really good Celtic history. This is a very un-serious book so no Anne Rice comparisons at all, this is as far away from the Vampire Chronicles as you can get but, I loved it!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

Proud and solitary, Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the house's sole inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows. It is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose.

Firstly, the negative for a relatively short book I did find this rather slow moving - its brilliantly told don't get me wrong just rather slow!

But, thataside it is a very chilling shivers down your spine kind of book. It has all the typical traits of a typical ghost story - the lonely house no-one dares goes near but, for all its haunting and chilliness I did not find it really all that scary at least not scary in the way The Magic Cottage scared me!

Arthur Kibbs attends a funeral for Mrs Drablow and whilst there he is asked to go through the papers to find a benefactor. He goes to Crythin Griffin and it is when he gets here he enters Mrs Drablows house a house that seems totally isolated from the rest of the world!

If you love typical ghost stories then I am sure you will love this for an old well-loved classic I am sorry but, it didn't leave me as thrilled with it as I thought it would.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Sovereign by C J Sansom

It was autumn, 1541. Following the uncovering of a plot against his throne in Yorkshire, King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to overawe his rebellious subjects there. Accompanied by a thousand soldiers, the cream of the nobility, and his fifth wife Catherine Howard, the King is to attend an extravagant submission of the local gentry at York. Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as assisting with legal work processing petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission - to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator being returned to London for interrogation. But the murder of a local glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. As the Great Progress arrives in the city, Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret papers that holds danger for the King's throne, and a chain of events unfolds that will lead Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age.

The third instalment from CJ Sansom's brilliant Shardlake series was for me the best yet!

In this instalment we see Shardlake get as close to King Henry VIII than he ever has before and why? This time around Shardlake is working for Archbishop Cranmer and he has to go to York to meet with the King's progress.

At first Shardlake thinks he is just assisting a fellow lawyer but, as always not everything quite goes the way it should. In this instalment Shardlake's assistant is Barak who portrays a brilliant supporting character. Based in York rather than London this time makes for a wonderful descriptive tale.

This is longer than the previous two books but, not noticeably so as it kept me gripped right to the very end, I love these books and will be delaying reading Revelation, which I think is the last or at least is the last of the series in print at the moment, lets hope it continues for many books to come!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes

My Lady of Cleves reveals the mesmerizing story of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, one of the rare women who matched wits successfully with the fiery king and lived to tell the tale.

Written by world-renowned historical novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes, My Lady of Cleves gives readers an intimate portrait of the warm, unpretentious princess who never expected to become Queen of England. Knowing the king's ravenous desire for a son, and aware of the disastrous consequences of not bearing an heir, Anne of Cleves bravely took on the duty of weathering the Tudor King's temper, whims, arrogance, and irresponsible passions - and won the hearts of his subjects in the process.

A treat for readers of Tudor fiction and those fascinated by the complex relationships of Henry VIII and his wives, My Lady of Cleves leads readers into a world of high drama and courtly elegance.

This was a very interesting account into the life of Anne of Cleves. The majority of Tudor books I have read focus mainly on Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard etc and with very little on Anne of Cleves, with possibly the exceptioon of The Boleyn Inheritance so to have an entire book dedicated to Anne of Cleves was IMO brilliant!

This was very well written and as I always check reviews before I read books I wasn't expecting a great deal as the one review gave this just a one star review which I did think was a little unfair but, of course we cannot all agree on everything!

This book covers Anne's life right from just before she married Henry right up to his death in 1547. I would really recommend this book especially if you want to know more about Anne of Cleves, ok it is fiction but, I thought the historical accuracy was fairly good.

This is the second of Margaret Campbell Barnes' books I have read (the first being Brief Gaudy Hour about Anne Boleyn) and both have been excellent, she has another re-issue acoming out next year and that will definitely be on my wish list!

Loved it!