Elysium

Dancer's Lament

Dancer's Lament - Ian C. Esslemont So boring...

Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois

Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois - Sophie Perinot 3,5 stars

The book started really slow and I was thinking about quitting but at halfway through it changed when things started to happen. I’m glad I kept reading because the latter part was really good.

We follow Margot from her childhood when she joins the court of her brother Charles IX to St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. During that time, she learns to get less innocent and learn to stand up to herself.

My biggest problem, especially at the start, was Margot. I didn’t like her and she was just too naïve. How Catherine de Médici could have such a naïve daughter is a wonder. She did got more likeable towards the end but for some reason I never really warmed up for her.
However, I did like how everyone else was presented in the book. Since books usually focus on Catherine de Médici, it was especially interesting to see her through the eyes of her daughter.

This book doesn’t cover her whole life, and I was left wondering how Perinot would have covered her later life. This was my first book by the author and now I’m more curious to read The Sister Queens which I own.

Kings or Pawns: The Kings (Book I) by J.J. Sherwood

Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1) - J. Sherwood Weber

At first I was little confused with this world, who is who and what’s going on but after I got those cleared, I really enjoyed the story.

 

This focuses on elven world, which was a nice change for me because usually elves team up to fight the bad guys or whatever but here we see elves fight against other elves.

 

There’s lot of court politics and back stabbings going on and I felt bad for the new king Hairem. He is little too naïve and idealistic for this world and doesn’t have much experience about dealing with the elven council. He’s nice and fair to the servants and I loved the great relationship with his servant Alvena, who is also mute. Hopefully we will see more of her in the next book.

 

This was a great debut and I’m looking forward to the next book.

Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1)

Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1) - J. Sherwood Weber pending review

Blood Rose Angel

Blood Rose Angel (The Bone Angel Series Book 3) - Liza Perrat

I haven’t read the previous books but this works well as a stand-alone. I don’t think I’ve read anything set during the Black Death from the common people’s point of view so this was a change for me.

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In the Shadow of the Storm

In the Shadow of the Storm - Anna Belfrage As much as I loved the Graham saga, I started this book a bit cautiously. I’m not a huge fan of Mortimer but I have a soft spot for Edward II, and little bit for Despenser, and I knew they wouldn’t be showed here in a good light. But I trusted Belfrage to make it enjoyable nevertheless and I was right.

I liked both Kit and Adam and loved seeing how their relationship grew. With that kind of start to the marriage it could have gone terribly wrong. She was brave, not afraid to say what she wanted and ready to fight for what she wanted.

I didn’t really warm up to Mortimer and while I understand you’re loyal to a man who’s practically your foster father, I didn’t understand why he was so blindingly loyal. I’m curious to see how he feels about future events, especially since he’s so fond of Lady Joan…

I couldn’t help but feel that Despenser was little too evil here but yeah… I did mention about my soft spot for him so…

The book started bit slow but after events started picking up there wasn’t a dull moment. All in all I really liked this and I’m waiting for the next book.

The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great

The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great - Stephanie Thornton This isn’t an era I know much about and for some reason I’ve never been very interested in Alexander. But I’ve heard so much good about Thornton’s books that I jumped at this. And good thing that I did!

The story is told from four points of views: his sister Thessalonike, his friend and sometime lover Hephaestion and wives Roxana and Drypetis, Everyone is very different so we get 4 interesting perspectives. These were strong women who knew what they wanted and were ready to fight for it, by any means necessary. And then there was Alexander’s mother Olympias who sadly wasn’t POV character. She was ruthless, calculating and ready to do anything to get Alexander into power. It would have been great to know her motives for doing things she did.

We don’t get Alexander in a very good view but we see better side of him through Thessalonike’s eyes. But Roxana I loathed. She was the only character I hated and kept hoping something bad happens to her… My favourite was Hephaestion and I might have had a bit of a crush on him… I don’t care to imagine how much more destruction Alexander might have done without Hephaestion holding him back and trying to be a voice of reason.

This was amazing book and it definitely won’t be the last! I need to move Daughter of the Gods up my TBR list.

The Grace of Kings

The Grace of Kings - Ken Liu DNF 37%

A Year of Ravens: a novel of Boudica's Rebellion

A Year of Ravens: a novel of Boudica's Rebellion - SJA Turney, Russell Whitfield, Stephanie Dray, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Ben Kane, E.E. Knight, Ruth Downie 4,5 stars

I’ve wanted to learn more about Boudica but haven’t actually read any books about her so this was really fascinating read. I’ve never been fan of the Romans and this didn’t make me like then any more… Although the Britons nor the Iceni were any better really…

The book consist works by seven writers and I loved how well they worked together. Some characters feature on multiple stories and while written by different authors you still feel that it’s the same character. I’ve never read a collaboration like this and I was surprised how well it worked and how much I liked it.

It was a brutal war and it surely isn’t sugar coated here, which I appreciated. We don’t have Boudica’s point of view but we see her through different people; Romans, slaves, druids, friends and daughters. I thought both sides were well presented. I felt like all of the stories could have been a whole book because I wanted to read more!

Orphan's Blade

Orphan's Blade - Aubrie Dionne 3,5 stars

This is the second book in a series but I haven’t read the first one and I thought it stands well as a stand alone.

I really liked the idea of minstrels who can take part on a battle with their harps. The music affects people and like a dream spells and stuff. I thought it was so cool.

I liked Valoria and she was a great heroine. She stood up to Brax, who is a battle hungry prince and only thinks about war, and cared for the common people. I liked Nathaniel and his relationship with Valoria but thought Brax a was bit too unappealing to make Nathaniel more likeable.

My one problem with the book was the ending. It just ended so abruptly that I wouldn’t have minded more pages. It’s pretty short book with 190 pages and so it easily could have been bit longer.

But otherwise I enjoyed it and I want to read the first book too.

Spirit of the Highway

Spirit of the Highway - Deborah Swift 3,5 stars

The event take place soon after book 1 and is told by Ralph Chaplin’s ghost. Ralph has finally joined the army and when he comes back home learns that things have changed around Markyate Manor.

Since the story is told by a ghost you know he will die but it didn’t ruin the story in any way. I liked the first book more but that doesn’t mean this was bad either. I didn’t really care for Ralph in book 1 and he didn’t grow much for me in this one either. I liked his friend Cutch whom he met at the army and Cutch tried to act like voice of reason without much success. I wanted to shake Ralph so many times to get some sense into him because he seems to find himself always in trouble.

We see more about the life on the battlefield and I could have read more about that. Ralph makes an enemy on the battlefield where he meets a man who seeks vengeance for the killing of his family. Ralph’s father didn’t give good impression n the last book and even worse in this one.

I’m looking forward reading the next book in the series which will focus on Katherine Fanshawe.

Shadow on the Highway

Shadow on the Highway - Deborah Swift Abigail "Abi" Chaplin lost her hearing after childhood illness and has had trouble finding job because of that. When she manages to get a job as a maid in Markyate Manor, she’s shocked to find in what state the Manor is. Only 3 servants and the mistress, Lady Katherine Fanshawe, is as young as she is.

Abi is not happy when Katherine decides to pose as another maid called Kate. She is horrified when her brother Ralph falls for Kate and wants Kate to join their Digger movement. It’s a commune type of thing where they think the earth will provide for all.

I’m not that familiar with this era so it was interesting to read about the common people of this time. This was short and quick read but very enjoyable.

I liked Abi but I couldn’t understand why she wanted to help Katherine or what Ralph saw in her. I didn’t like Kate at first but she did grow towards the end and I liked seeing how the relationship between Abi and Kate changed as they get to know each other better.

This was my first Swift book but if her YA book is this good I’m looking forward reading her adult books.

Untitled #5

Untitled #5 - Kate Morton 4,5 stars

This is my second Morton book I’ve read and this was even better than The Forgotten Garden. Why is the books you love the hardest to review?

The dual timeline works well here and while the story is told from various point of views it’s not confusing at all.

I’m not good at solving mysteries and I though several times that I know what happened and then something new comes up. I got something right but one thing really surprised me and did not see it coming.

I don’t remember when was the last time that I got so caught up in a book that I jut want to keep reading and reading. I’m definitely reading more from Morton!

1066: What Fates Impose

1066: What Fates Impose - G.K. Holloway The book follows the events up to the Battle of Hastings and The Conquest. It’s told from third person narrative with huge cast of characters. Luckily for me I’ve read from the period before but there is list of characters in the beginning of the book. Which for me is useless when reading ebooks but maybe that’s just me. Anyway…

Although I found some trouble connecting with the characters, I did feel sympathy for Harold. I don’t know if William the Conqueror was as evil as portrayed here but I really hoped someone would kill him and the other Normans. Harold is likeable character who is intelligent and honorable while William is sometimes cruel, brutal and then at times like a whiny, spoiled brat. Made you root for Harold even more.

There’s politics, brutal fights and nothing is sugarcoated. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to live in those times. The book gives good idea of the complicated political climate of the time and how it led to the Battle of Hastings.

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel - Sally  Christie 3,5 stars

I haven’t read much about Louis XV, or about French history in general, and I hadn’t heard about the Nesle sisters before. I’ve heard of Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry but that’s about it.

The chapters alternate between the five sisters and it starts with old Hortense remembering what happened in the past.

It’s rather surprising how much I enjoyed this book despite the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters. I hated both Pauline and Mary-Anne, I felt bad for Louise but she should have just stood up for herself, Diane is so oblivious about everything that it’s not even funny and pious Hortense was too righteous. It doen’t give very good picture about Louis either. He’s a weak king who isn’t interested in governing the country and easy to manipulate. When there’s any trouble, he just leaves someone else to sort it out.

There isn’t anything about politics but every time any of the characters speak about the common people, I want to beat them up. Seriously. You definitely can see the seeds of the revolution.

The Sleeping King

The Sleeping King - Cindy Dees I have to confess that I was a bit confused at the beginning because there are so many characters and it jumps between those characters at first. You can see this is first book in a series so there is lot of introducing and world building to do.

Basically we have seven characters on this quest to wake the Sleeping King but the main people are Will; who learns family secrets after family is murdered and Raina; a healer who runs away from family. Sleeping King is supposed to save the world from this evil Emperor who we see on the first chapter. I wish there would have been more about him and the court but hopefully in the next book.

There’s adventure, battles, betrayals, evil emperors, orcs, elves etc. Lots of stuff happening! And I do have a weakness for elves…

One interesting fact was that death isn’t always permanent but you can be resurrected. It makes sense since the book is based on an RPG game but I though it was cool.

Currently reading

A Song of War: a novel of Troy by SJA Turney, Russell Whitfield, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Glyn Iliffe, Stephanie Thornton, Christian Cameron, Vicky Alvear Shecter