Book Review: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:

Read between: 7th- 11th September
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 405
Published: 14th April, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England.

Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Rating: 3-5-stars

Review: This book follows Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the House of Lancaster (hence the Red Queen- red being the colour of the Lancaster rose) and her rise and fall in society and the royal court during the War of the Roses.

Margaret is very devout to her religion which probably helps her get through life considering she is married off at 12, and goes through a very brutal birth to her only child, Henry Tudor, before becoming a widow at 13. So- not a very happy start  to her life, especially at such a young age!

A big part of this book focuses on her hatred for Elizabeth Woodville and the rest of the Rivers family- mainly because she’s jealous (a trait I didn’t like). She wants her son, Henry, on the throne of England and will stop at nothing to make that happen.

This includes ordering the murder of the princes in the tower (which her husband ends up covering up to blame King Richard III!)

However, I really liked her character, even if she could be very jealous and childish- but as she got older, she got more ambitious. Everything she did, she did for her son and for herself.

The fact that this book crosses over with the events of ‘The White Queen’ made it a lot easier to follow. I already had an idea of the story, but this time it was from a different point of view.

Both the Red Queen and the White Queen are formidable women, so it’s easy to see why they don’t get on, but they do end up working with each other to try and remove Richard from the throne of England. Neither believe he belongs there.

I really enjoyed Margaret’s story- she had a touch childhood, she hardened, and then she became the woman that she wanted to be. Margaret Regina.

3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed the story but sometimes felt the character let herself down in her spouts of jealousy and anger.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:

Review: The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory.

Book Review: The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

Book Review: The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

Read between: 21st-31st August
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 533
Published: March 29th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: When the young and beautiful Jacquetta is married to the older Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta has visions of the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of their royal York rivals. Jacquetta fights for her king and queen, as she sees an extraordinary and unexpected future for her daughter Elizabeth: a change of fortune, the white rose of York, and the throne of England…

Rating: 🌻🌻🌻

Review: This book follows the story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg- the Duchess of Bedford and mother of Elizabeth, Queen of England under Edward IV. That was actually all I really knew about her, and this book, although mostly fiction, opened up her life to me so I could get a better understanding of who she was.

Philippa Gregory always puts a lot of research into her novels and this one was no different!

Jacquetta is a very interesting woman- her first husband marries her to use her gift of sight! There’s a lot of supernatural elements in the novel, most that could be considered witchcraft- fortune telling with tarot cards, psychic abilities, charms and potions- bit this doesn’t distract too much from the history which was good. I would have hated it to have taken a path down the fantasy route.

I also liked the inclusion of Joan of Arc at the beginning as well as Jacquetta’s friendship with Margaret of Anjou- three very important women, all linked- through Joan as a child, and through Margaret as a supporter of the House of Lancaster and King Henry. Jacquetta certainly gets around!

The main thing I love about Gregory’s writing is her focus on the women in history!

There were a couple of times the book got repetitive, for example, every time Jacquetta knew she was with child, she’d put her hand to her belly- she ended up having 14 children with her second husband! That’s why it gets repetitive- once or twice I could deal with but 14!!! However, away from that, the way that the start of the War of the Roses was written kept me reading- I wanted to know if Jacquetta’s family were safe!

It’s a very good story- the only character I couldn’t connect with was Queen Margaret of Anjou, I think mainly because she was very fiery and I’m not so I was a bit put off by her temper in some places. I believe that’s true to her character though so….

I enjoyed this book, and the story, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series with The White Queen!

3/5 stars.
I’d recommend it to people who are interested in the time period or fans of historical fiction 🙂
Thanks for reading!

~Katie

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Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)

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Read between: 14th- 21st August
Format: ebook
Published: April 8th, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown
Synopsis: Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

Rating: Image result for four stars

Review: In the final installment of the series, angels have invaded Earth and taken over the Vatican, dead chimaera have been dug up, and a scientist, Eliza Jones, has a secret that she tried very hard to run from.

Although they’re on the eve of a war between species, Karou is busy resurrecting chimaera and using that skill to fool them into thinking Ziri is Thiago, so that they can trust him. And hint of mistrust and they could lose their army…

As I know Karou and Akiva pretty well by now, I actually preferred the side characters more in this story- especially Mik and Zuzana, who seemed to have grown in character since the first book- especially considering they’re out of their comfort zones- quite literally!

Despite the war going on, they still find time for each other.

It was also great to see Karou’s fake grandma, Esther again, although the outcome of her return definitely wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t see it coming and it was definitely a shock! Just goes to show that you don’t always know the people closest to you.

There was plenty going on to keep me reading, from the war to Akiva and Karou and their ‘will they? won’t they?’ relationship, but especially the revelation about Eliza, and her true genetics. If she hadn’t been dragged to examine the bodies of dead chimaera, and left her phone in unsafe hands (stupid Morgan Toth), maybe she could have kept her secret for longer.

I liked it though. It made her more important than just a background character.

I enjoyed the series! It didn’t end how I thought it was going to, I’m not complaining though- it worked. I still think the first book is my favourite though!

4/5 stars.
A great fantasy series, I’d recommend it!

Thanks reading
~Katie

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Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)

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Read between: 11th- 14th August
Format: ebook
Published: November 16th, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
Synopsis: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: So…..funny story, my kindle has the books ordered wrong so I started reading the third one, and was pretty much done before I realised what I was reading didn’t make any sense….

So, now I have a better understanding of what happened after the first book, here’s my review!

After the events of Prague, Karou finds out what Akiva really did and the two go their separate ways, she goes to the chimaera to help them prepare for the inevitable war against the seraphs. Akiva goes to the seraph’s to find his father….and kill him. Each of them have their own missions in the war between their species.

There are lots of emotional moments in this book- deaths on both sides and a pretty horrible near-rape scene that was very hard to read. It’s that scene that lowered my rating just because I had to put the book down. However, the death that hurt the most was that of the Kirin, Ziri, because I felt Karou’s pain at losing one of her own.

An element I liked is that with Karou’s friend, Zuzana and her boyfriend Mik in the mix, there were plenty of light-hearted and funny moments too! It was also nice to get more of Akiva’s backstory, even if, as a Misbegotten, he isn’t overly liked by the other angels- especially the emperor (who is also his father.)

It is clear that that this book is setting up the scene for the third one which is probably why I didn’t connect with it as much as I did with the first one! The constant flicking between Karou’s situation and Akiva’s got confusing sometimes but it also worked well to progress their stories until they were reunited.

Zuzana and Mik are so cute though.

I enjoyed this book- I enjoyed the different sections and different locations- it added to the story.

The first book is still my favourite, this one was problematic in some places. Let’s hope the new Thiago is a little nicer though….I actually hate him.

Still, a good story, and I can’t wait to finish the series!
Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Read between: 27th July- 1st August
Format: ebook
Published: September 27th, 2011
Publisher: Little Brown
Synopsis: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?


Rating: Image result for five stars

Review:

I was so excited to start this series and I’m glad I did! Laini Taylor has a way with words, from worlds to characters- it’s all very beautiful! I was hooked from the first page.

Firstly, the book is set in Prague, a city I’ve never visited, but it sounds perfect for the world Laini created. I could totally see it being full of doors leading to a world full of demonic beings. Secondly, the main character, Karou, was so interesting! For starters, she doesn’t really have a back story- she has no idea where she came from, just that a chimaera called Brimstone raised her.

And ever since she was old enough to do so, he calls her away from Prague to his shop to run errands for him….which is mainly collecting teeth.

With her bright blue hair it was easy to become drawn to Karou. I had a hunch about who she really was and it was actually a shock to discover I was right! However, it did feel good to have the clarification.

I also loved her best friend, Zuzana. When the truth comes out she just accepts everything! We all need a best friend like that! One that is so accepting, and doesn’t stop being Karou’s friend even if the truth sound crazy!

Karou’s ex was a bit of a dick though….

It was such a good book! I can’t wait to continue with the rest of the series! I hope they get even better. I’d definitely recommend it!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

 

Book Review: Salvage Trouble by J.S. Morin

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Read between: 20th-27th July
Format: ebook
Published: October 26th, 2014
Publisher: Magical Scrivener Press
Synopsis: Science to build a starship. Wizardry to take it past light speed. A crew to give it a soul.

In the year 2254 gravity was officially declared to be magic; the scientists gave up trying to figure it out and handed it over to the wizards. Without the inherent respect for the laws of physics, the wizards poked and prodded at gravity, poring over all that science knew about the attraction of one object to the next, and dismissing it as poppycock. They discovered ways around the tired old limits, and gave birth to the first true starships. Some enlightened journalist, covering the maiden voyage of the Impossible, noted that the ship was shaped like a hand giving the middle finger to science.

The dreams of children came alive, and humanity expanded into the cosmos, unlocking the secrets of the galaxy.

Who could have foreseen that three hundred years later, a down-on-his-luck captain would be answering distress calls, hoping to arrive in time to get first pick of the salvage …

Mission 1: Salvage Trouble

A routine salvage job turns into a rescue mission, and a good deed never goes unpunished. With two refugees aboard, Captain Carl Ramsey finds that his ship, the Mobius, has a target painted on its hull. Someone is after the new passengers, and willing to stop at nothing to get them back.

With his ex-wife as pilot, a drunken mechanic, a predatory bodyguard, and an outcast wizard from the Convocation, what’s a captain to do? Just get paid for the job, and try to keep everyone alive. That’s all you can ever ask, really.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: A small team of humans an aliens crew the ship Morbius, a salvage ship- then they pick up an escape pod with a nun and a ten year old boy inside. Are they both what they seem?

For a short sci-fi novel, it was packed with space travel, futuristic settings and lots of surprises! I actually enjoyed this novel, well novella really, being under 200 pages. I also liked that each of the characters are different, and have different personalities, from the captain, Carl and his ex wife and co-pilot Tanny, to the old wizard Mort.

Each one was unique.

There are also alien crew members too, a girl who is some kind of humanoid big cat, and a four armed humanoid, who also happens to be the mechanic. This added to the story and it feel completely futuristic, and helped me to become fully immersed in the world.

The author is very clever to create such a diverse range of characters without any of them clashing (apart from when they needed to of course….) and there wasn’t a character I disliked!

Okay, sometimes the writing was a little bit simple but there wasn’t much to judge and as I got into it I found it became really easy to read as well as flowing really well between the sections- It’s all one chapter, with hashes to separate scenes.

As an opener to a series, it was just enough to get to know the characters enough so that I’d be well informed if I chose to continue with the series….I’m still debating if I will or not, my TBR is a little heavy right now so I’d rather clear it first….

A good, quick, sci-fi read!
I’d definitely recommend it if you want something short and quick, and different too!
Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

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Previously read by the same author: The Selection Series (The Selection, The Elite, The One) & The Heir

Read between: 16th-20th July
Format: ebook
Published: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Synopsis: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Rating: 003d1-threestar

Review: I read ‘The Heir’ last year, and when I started The Crown it took me a while to get my head around what happened previously, but then I started to remember and the story began to flow and it all came back in no time- The Crown continues exactly where The Heir left off. So it wasn’t hard to get back into the story.

The Crown is the second half of Princess Eadlyn’s story, and follows the second half of her Selection. Something that isn’t at the front of her mind at the moment, however, considering her mother is bed-ridden after her heart attack.

Her father is by her mothers bedside, and she has to make decisions about a possible husband on her own. She feels on her own, despite having her ladies, maids, and the six remaining boys by her side to help her on this journey.

Eadlyn makes a lot of decisions for herself- to help herself, and I think that’s why I found her character to be slightly problematic, in a similar way that America was in the first three books. I mean, America didn’t really have a choice, but Eadlyn does- so that’s why I was so surprised by the way she ended her Selection.

I was surprised by her choice more so. The whole novel seemed to be leading up to her union with Kile Woodwork, she even voiced this out loud to her ladies and advisors, she had a plan set in motion….and then she completely goes against that plan and changes her mind, and then goes against that choice to be with someone who wasn’t actually part of the Selection at all!

I mean, I understand she was in love, and you can tell by the way it was written, but honestly, she needed to make up her mind and stick to it- even if she did become Queen halfway through. However, despite my animosity over Eadlyn’s character, I did enjoy this book.

I had forgotten the world and it was nice to return to the Kingdom of Illea. Although, not all the subjects seem to be as nice as before, especially Marid Illea, who turned out to be a horrible person! Eadlyn learnt that the hard way- she trusted him, she was nice to him, and it backfires!

Still, it was a good story and it was nice to finalise the Selection series through Maxon and America’s daughter.

A good read!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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