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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Winter Palace By Eva Stachnick

Summary:Her name is Barbara—in Russian, Varvara. Nimble-witted and attentive, she’s allowed into the employ of the Empress Elizabeth, amid the glitter and cruelty of the world’s most eminent court. Under the tutelage of Count Bestuzhev, Chancellor and spymaster, Varvara will be educated in skills from lock picking to lovemaking, learning above all else to listen—and to wait for opportunity. That opportunity arrives in a slender young princess from Zerbst named Sophie, a playful teenager destined to become the indomitable Catherine the Great. Sophie’s destiny at court is to marry the Empress’s nephew, but she has other, loftier, more dangerous ambitions, and she proves to be more guileful than she first appears.

What Sophie needs is an insider at court, a loyal pair of eyes and ears who knows the traps, the conspiracies, and the treacheries that surround her. Varvara will become Sophie’s confidante—and together the two young women will rise to the pinnacle of absolute power.

With dazzling details and intense drama, Eva Stachniak depicts Varvara’s secret alliance with Catherine as the princess grows into a legend—through an enforced marriage, illicit seductions, and, at last, the shocking coup to assume the throne of all of Russia.

 My thoughts: The friendship of Barbara and Catherine was fasicanting  it was a fast pace read for me the character of Barbara kept me interested in the story but I just wish there was more of Catherine 's life .  Lots of twists and an turns to keep you turning the page, The development of the friend ship between Sophie and Barbara was one of my favorite parts. This book just draws you to another time in Russia and you just dont want to leave until that last page .
Format: Book
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Reader's Christmas

I hope every one had a wonderful Christmas, now that things have calmed down a bit I thought i would share with you what I recieved this year under the tree. My big gift was a Kindle Fire,I love this little thing it is basically just a big Ipod as my daughter would say but it is perfect for me since I usally have to share the big pc with hubby so he can play his games . Reading on this little gem will be different from the K3 I recieved last year since it is a LCD Screen, I tried a few books so far and it doesn't seem to bother me. I am really excited to own one and look forward to enjoying it over the year. I also recieved Two gift cards for Barnes and Nobel which I used to preorder these two upcoming releases..

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book of the Year 2011

                    It's that time of the year again  to pick the the book of the year.
This year's I have 2  book that I wanted to give Book of the year award too
First up is  A Royal Likeness  I recieved this one from the Author  for review last year
after I picked The Queen's Dollmaker for a honorable mention.Since it was  not suppose to be out til 2011 I saved it for this years award

 Christine  really finds some interesting carrers to write about  this one is based on Madame Tussade's wax figures. and is  a sequel to The Queen's Dollmaker.  A fabulous book to read  I can not wait for the one about the  Victorian undertaker I am sure that will be a wonderful book as well.  

I loved Roses  it was pure escapism  I loved it so much I donated it to library where I volunteer it has become  a hit there as well.It really should be a movie it was that good.I have a few honorable mentions  this year as well.
 First up is
Now unless you have been under a rock you  know we had a Royal wedding this year.
Anderson is one of my favorite Royal biographers and he has written a lovely book on William and his new wife Catherine. It is a lovely tribute to the couple and to William's mother and the lessons he had learn from her life. A must read for Royal fans.
 Georgie  is one of my favorite characters to read about she is always in to some kind of trouble and I love her run in  with Wallis Simpson.
Isabel Wolf is a new author for me I downloaded this book by mistake on to my Kindle it was quite a surprise I loved reading about the vintage clothing and the histories behind them. and all the sightings in London came to life in this book  I was surprised to see that there was a scene set in the Diana Memorial Park.
Gregg Olsen  is another new author to me  Starvation heights is a true story about a woman who was convicted of murder a English Heiress and countless others. Another one of those books that really need to be made in to movie.  
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and gets lots of books under their tree this year 

In The Mailbox

This weekin the Mail box  I recieved from The Library Thing for review.

From paperbackswap I recieved some books that are not historical fiction but  I am trying to get caught  up on DALLLAS  before the new series starts in the summer so I grabbed these gems  for my bookshelf.

Mine in the Night By Liz Curtis Higgs

Summary:Stepping from a battered coach on a rainy April eve, newly widowed Elisabeth Kerr must begin again, without husband or title, property or fortune. She is unafraid of work and gifted with a needle, but how will she stitch together the tattered remnants of her life? And who will mend her heart, torn asunder by betrayal and deception?
Elisabeth has not come to Selkirk alone. Her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr, is a woman undone, having buried her husband, her sons, and any promise of grandchildren. Dependent upon a distant cousin with meager resources, Marjory dreads the future almost as much as she regrets the past. Yet joy still comes knocking, and hope is often found in unexpected places.
Then a worthy hero steps forward, rekindling a spark of hope. Will he risk his reputation to defend two women labeled as traitors to the Crown? Or will a wealthy beauty, untainted by scandal, capture his affections?
The heartrending journey of the Kerr women comes to a glorious finish in Mine Is the Night, a sparkling gem of redemption and restoration set in eighteenth-century Scotland.
My Thoughts: this is suppose to be a take on the Ruth, Naomi and Boaz  from the bible
the story started off well  and the chapters were short a so it wasa fast read but the I had a problem with the scottish language and the constant worrying about Gibson drove me nuts.
  I found  out that it part of series maybe that is the reason why  I didn't "get" the story.
Format: Book:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Movie of The Month Love's Christmas Journey

While still mourning the loss of her husband and daughter, recently widowed Ellie King (Natalie Hall) visits her brother Aaron Davis (Greg Vaughan) and his children for Christmas. Ellie does her best to enjoy the holidays, even making new friends with Mrs. Thompson (JoBeth Williams), a local shop keeper, and handsome admirer Deputy Strode (Dylan Bruce). Settling in nicely with her brother's family, Ellie also meets Erik (Bobby Campo), a young man abandoned by his outlaw father whom Aaron has taken in as one of his own. When Aaron travels out of town to purchase adjacent land for farming, Ellie agrees to watch his children, but the season’s festivities are threatened when Aaron goes missing.

It has been awhile since I have watched this movie but I figured I need to go ahead and review it so I can review another film. Love's Christmas Journey was a sweet film but lacked the drama that the others in the series had. Since it was not based on a particular book I  felt like  the series has run it course. A good start to the Christmas movie season but left a lot to be desired

The lady of The Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.
Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and 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 can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty.
Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.
My Thoughts:
Philippa's books always draw me  in to the story really fast and before I know it  am at the end and  disapointed that I now have to wait another year or so before the next one. This one was no exception I enjoyed Jacquetta's story and was relived to find that the Joan of Arc portion of the book did not drag on through out the story. I even enjoyed the Meslunia  parts I guess because there was so much more going on than just the witch craft. Queen Margaret of Anjou needed a good slapping from time to time with all of her whining and clinging to Jacquetta who seemed to be with child every year or so.I personally would have like to have seen more of the running of her house hold and interactions with her staff the poor woman never stayed home long enough to have a child and get back to court.
 I would really suggest reading this one before the White Queen then read The Red  Queen  if you have not started this series yet  since it will make more sense  to the reader that way. I personally enjoyed it and look forward to the next book in the series  The Kingmaker's Daughters.
Format: Book:
Friday, December 2, 2011

In the Mailbox New DVDs For The Weekend

Today I received a DVD that I won from the website it focuses on all things British in film, Music and TV. I entered a giveaway and the prize was the three disc set of the movie The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher. it looks like it was made like the drama The Queen with three different actress playing each stage of her life.I can not wait to watch it this weekend

I also received the movie Gunpowder,Treason &Plot this one I purchased. It is set during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots it looks to be very interesting. So i am ready for the weekend just need to get some Popcorn!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Starvation Heights By Gregg Olson

Summary: A tall, egotistical woman doctor with an imposing jawline and a fierce will to dominate others. The victims are two wealthy English sisters, gullible health faddists after the fashion of those who flocked to Dr. Kellogg's sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. But unlike Dr. Kellogg's comparatively gentle method of diet plus enemas, Dr. Hazzard's method was to literally starve her patients to death--and then defraud them of their valuables.
My Thoughts:
I first saw this book at our local library where I volunteer it was ordered on interloan library for another patron So I could Not check it out. But the photos and the history of this woman and her crimes drew me in to the story. I had to download it to my Kindle that night.This is one of the best "Crime" books I have read in a long time it reads like a historical novel and is easy follow along. I could not put this book down,In fact my daughter and I rented the Deadly Women ( Obession) Episode from Netflix so we could find out more about Linda Hazzard sadly to say it left alot to be desired and I went back to the book asap.An awesome read!
Format : Kindle
Friday, November 18, 2011

BBC & HBO Adapt ‘Wolf Hall’ Novel For TV

HBO are teaming up with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to produce a made for TV mini-series of the Hilary Mantel novel ‘Wolf Hall‘. The novel won Mantel the UK’s most prestigious literary award, the Man Booker Prize, in 2009.The adaptation will be penned by the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy movie writer Peter Straughan and will become a four part series to be broadcast on HBO and BBC2.

A work of fiction,Wolf Hall is set in England during the first half of the 16th century and follows the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII. Cromwell, a staunch supporter of the English Reformation, helps Henry VIII annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he can marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. The King eventually tires of Cromwell and has him executed.

Developing the series for HBO and the BBC are Company Pictures, the team behind Shameless, Skins and The Shadow Line, and former HBO Films president Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment.

Source: The Guardian

Disney's Brave Trailer

This first trailer introduces us to the stunningly animated, Scottish characters. Not only is this fairy tale a first for Pixar, Merida is the first Scottish princess for Disney as well. Full of Pixar humour, this is sure to be an epic adventure and the ginger-haired family will be a memorable one for all.

Brave is directed by Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews, and the British cast also includes Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, and Kevin McKidd.

Watch the trailer below, and see this in US theaters on June 22,2012.
I can not wait to see this!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

To Die For By Sandra Byrd

Sumamry:is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods on neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne’s favor rises and falls, so does Meg’s. And though she’s pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it.
Meg's childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must follow, too, with consequences of her own. Each character in the book is tested to figure out what love really means, and what, in this life, is worth dying for. Though much of Meg’s story is fictionalized, it is drawn from known facts. The Wyatt family and the Boleyn family were neighbors and friends, and perhaps even distant cousins. Meg’s brother, Thomas Wyatt, wooed Anne Boleyn and ultimately came very close to the axe blade for it. Two Wyatt sisters attended Anne at her death, and at her death, she gave one of them her jeweled prayer book.
My Thoughts:
 Sandra Byrd did a fantasic job on Anne's story  it was a refeshing look in to her life through the eys of Meg her friend and confidant. I loved everything about this book from the cover to the Authors questions.  There was not one dull moment reading this novel.
Format: Book
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In yesterday's Mailbox

 This beautiful book arrived in my mailbox yesterday for my review from Blogging for books.
I have been eyeing this book in the stores for awhile so I am excited to get the chance to review it.
Sunday, November 13, 2011

In My Mailbox

This week in my mailbox I recieved the following books.
The second book in the elizabethan mysteryseries I am trying to collect them all before I begin reading them. 
The following books I purchased from my book club



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Novemeber Movie of the Month: Jewels

 After her marriage crumbles, Sarah Thompson tours Europe where she is captivated by William, the Duke of Whitfield. In time, William insists on making Sarah his wife. They settle in a chateau in France and begin a family. World War II interrupts their happiness and alters their future when Sarah is left at home with a small child and another on its way. When the war finally ends, in a gesture of goodwill, the Whitfields start buying jewelry from war survivors, which eventually leads to a successful jewelry store business. But conflicts abound after William dies, as Sarah struggles to control her children’s rivalry. As Sarah strives to keep the family and the business together, a man from her past teaches her that it may be possible to love again. Jewels on of my favorite movies besides all the glittering jewels and the royal love story it has passion, family drama ,heartache. it sort of reminds me of those primetime soaps from the 80's.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Sound Among Trees By Susan Mesinger

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.
 My Thoughts: This was a wonderful story of a house and the women who lived in it and thier personal tragedies and heartache. The beginging  was a bit slow for me but by the time I reached 137 pages it got better Characters were well written. i actually enjoyed this one alot more than I did Lady in waiting. Thanks to blogging for books for the chance to review this book.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Borgia Series On Netflix

If you loved Showtime's Series The Borgias you will probably enjoy this series as well.
It is available for streaming via Netflix now.   Created by Tom Fontana, The series is a French/German production and will recount the Borgia family's rise to power and subsequent domination of the Vatican during the Renaissance.You can start watching here  Thanks to CW Gortner for the heads up on this series.