Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:




  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!
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My teaser this week comes from Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley.

Page 322 :
"He was silent for a bit, and I wondered what he felt about the lady who had birthed him but never raised him. As tactfully as possible, I inquired as to what she was like."
Page 93:
"She dipped her hand in the waters of the lake and drew it back with an exclamation of surprise."


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

His Last Letter



Thanks to the generosity of Penguin Group Publishers, I had one copy of His Last Letter by Jeane Westin to giveaway! 

And the lucky winner is.....


Ammy Belle




Congrats Ammy! I will be sending you an e-mail shortly to obtain your mailing information. Please respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen at random. 



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Book Review: His Last Letter by Jeane Westin

Publish: August 2010
Format: Paperback 400pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"One of the greatest loves of all time-between Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley-comes to life in this vivid novel.
They were playmates as children, impetuous lovers as adults-and for thirty years were the center of each others' lives. Astute to the dangers of choosing any one man, the Virgin Queen could never give her "Sweet Robin" what he wanted most-marriage- yet she insisted he stay close by her side. Possessive and jealous, their love survived quarrels, his two disastrous marriages to other women, her constant flirtations, and political machinations with foreign princes.
His Last Letter tells the story of this great love... and especially of the last three years Elizabeth and Dudley spent together, the most dangerous of her rule, when their passion was tempered by a bittersweet recognition of all that they shared-and all that would remain unfulfilled."

 My Review:

Having just defeated the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth I's spirits could not be higher; that is until she receives word that her long time love, Robert Dudley, has perished. All of her joy and laughter quickly vanishes and she is thrown into deep despair. As she is drawn into her private chambers by loyal subjects, we are taken on a journey through the final years of Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley's erratic and passionate relationship. 

Jeane Westin has brought Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley to life in this touching and absorbing novel. Focusing mainly on the relationship between these two characters, we see the events of that time period unfold through their eyes. Elizabeth I is not merely portrayed as a strong and fearless queen, but also as a woman, one who has desires and fears just as any other. 

The book moved at a fast pace and there was never a dull moment. Towards the end I found myself trying to read a bit slower because I did not want their story to end! My only issue with this novel was the switching between past and present. Although it was done in a very fluid manner, I often found that if I put the book down and picked it back up the next day, I would be a bit confused if I was in the past or present. These instances were quickly resolved and quickly forgotten.  

Overall this was an excellent read and one that will have you closing the book completely satisfied. Having not read much on Elizabeth I, I can definitely say that this novel has piqued my interest and I will definitely be reading more about this great monarch.



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Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The First Princess of Wales by Karen Harper

Cover Image
Publish Date: 2006
Format: Paperback 624pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"The daughter of a disgraced earl, she matched wits with a prince.
It is the fourteenth century, the height of the Medieval Age, and at the court of King Edward III of England, chivalry is loudly praised while treachery runs rampant. When the lovely and high-spirited Joan of Kent is sent to this politically charged court, she is woefully unprepared for the underhanded maneuverings of her peers.
Determined to increase the breadth of his rule, the king will use any means necessary to gain control of France—including manipulating his own son, Edward, Prince of Wales. Joan plots to become involved with the prince to scandalize the royal family, for she has learned they engineered her father’s downfall and death. But what begins as a calculated strategy soon—to Joan’s surprise—grows into love. When Joan learns that Edward returns her feelings, she is soon fighting her own, for how can she love the man that ruined her family? And, if she does, what will be the cost?
Filled with scandal, court intrigue, and prominent figures of the Medieval Age, The First Princess of Wales has at its center a wonderful love story, which is all the more remarkable because it is true. Karen Harper’s compelling, fast-paced novel tells the riveting tale of an innocent girl who marries a prince and gives birth to a king."



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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:



  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!
-------------------------------------

My teaser this week comes from the book: Virgin Widow by Anne O'Brien.

Page 155:
"On my words the door opened. We looked up expecting the return of Isabel and another sour blast of her temper. But it was the Earl who entered in time to hear my unhopeful question."

Page 39:
" 'You succeeded. I thought you were my friend.' He spoke to me as a brother to a younger sister. But still it pleased me. I was rarely admitted to such intimacy."


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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: Elizabeth, Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin

Publish Date: October 2010
Format: Paperback 352pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"In July 1553, sibling rivalry looms perilous, even life-threatening, between the daughters of King Henry VIII. Their brother King Edward is dead, his successor Lady Jane Grey has been beheaded, and Queen Mary Tudor has just won possession of the throne. But her younger half sister—the beautiful and vivacious Princess Elizabeth—holds the hearts of the people. Despite Mary’s health fading fast and her power beginning to crumble, she won’t give up the throne, determined to rule to the absolute end as her father did before her. In these treacherous times, when all about her there is secrecy and deception, Elizabeth must rely on her faith and courage if she is to survive her ordeal and rise to fulfill her destiny. With grace and elegance, Margaret Irwin continues the story begun in Young Bess, giving readers an intimate peek into the world of that most enigmatic of Britain’s monarchs."


My Review:

Elizabeth I is widely known as the greatest monarch England has ever had, but though her reign was that of a golden age, her rise to power was not with out turmoil. In Elizabeth, Captive Princess we follow the story of Mary Tudor's early years as sovereign; beginning with Lady Jane Grey's short and fateful reign and continuing until the arrival of Prince Phillip of Spain. Told from the joint perspective of Elizabeth and Mary, a battle of wits and cunning tactics ensues, capturing the readers attention with political intrigue page after page.

Having not read the first book in this trilogy, (Young Bess) I was curious how well I would pick up the plot line for this novel... I am happy to say I had no trouble at all. Elizabeth, Captive Princess grabbed my attention from the start. The conflict between Elizabeth and Mary was so vivid, almost as if you were in the same room watching their story unfurl. While the moments of intense drama between these two sisters was superb, I found the times when the focus switched to the leaders of rebellions to be lacking. Of course it was necessary to include the plotting of such rebellions, but it seemed to be missing suspense and I found myself wanting to hurry through those chapters. The last quarter of this book set the stage perfectly for the next and final installment of the trilogy, Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain. Overall this was a good read, and while it did not have a wow factor, it definitely held its own in a most captivating way.


FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.


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Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!
-------------------------------------

My teaser this week comes from the book The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig.

From page 176:
 "Read my lips." Turnip obediently looked at her lips. Arabella enunciated very carefully. "There are no spies. There are a series of school-girl pranks and a mildly mad music master with poor taste in facial hair. But there are NO SPIES."

From page 299: 
"Lifting her hand from the book, Arabella very slowly turned the rest of the way around, conscious of the pistol following her every move."


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Masterpiece Monday



Fran├žois Boucher. Shepherd and Shepherdess Resting. 1761


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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Review: Emma and the Vampires by Wayne Josephson

 Publish Date: August 2010
Format: Paperback 304pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In this hilarious retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, screenwriter Wayne Josephson casts Mr. Knightley as one of the most handsome and noble of the gentlemen village vampires. Blithely unaware of their presence, Emma, who imagines she has a special gift for matchmaking, attempts to arrange the affairs of her social circle with delightfully disastrous results. But when her dear friend Harriet Smith declares her love for Mr. Knightley, Emma realizes she’s the one who wants to stay up all night with him. Fortunately, Mr. Knightley has been hiding a secret deep within his unbeating heart—his (literal) undying love for her… A brilliant mash-up of Jane Austen and the undead."
My Review: 

This was my first venture into the supernatural world of Austen retelling. Unfortunately, I found my first experience to be lacking. When first starting the book, I was a bit confused whether or not the towns people actually knew they lived among vampires. It soon became clear that they had no clue their dearest friends were vampires; which then lead the reader to wonder how could they not figure it out since they were easily able recognize "wild" vampires that scoured the countryside. Another issue with the book was how well the original story and the vampire attacks flowed together. These transitions seemed a bit choppy and forced at times and were often too short for real intensity. What saved this book from only receiving one crown from me was the character of Emma. Her delightful and witty personality was a perfect match for the vampire situation. Her easy dismissal of dire circumstances was quite amusing and I found myself laughing often at her random remarks on the situation. Overall it was an easy and comical read but one that did not live up to its potential. 


FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.

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Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Release: The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick

Publish Date: November 1st 2010
Format: Paperback 656pp

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"Married to a king incompetent both on the throne and in bed, Emma does not love her husband. But she does love England. Even as her husband fails, Emma vows to protect her people-no matter what. For five decades, through love and loss, prosperity and exile, Emma fights for England, becoming the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different kings, the mother of two more, and the great aunt of William the Conqueror."
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