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Ambrosia's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
tagged: currently-reading
At the King's Pleasure
tagged: currently-reading

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Rating System:
Don't Bother

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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Ambrosia has read 1 book toward her goal of 26 books.
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Posted by on July 14, 2018

In a court filled with repressed sexual longing, scandal, and intrigue, Lady Katherine Grey is Elizabeth’s most faithful servant. When the young queen is smitten by the dashing Robert Dudley, Katherine must choose between duty and desire-as her secret passion for a handsome earl threatens to turn Elizabeth against her. Once the queen becomes a bitter and capricious monarch, another lady-in-waiting, Mistress Mary Rogers, offers the queen comfort. But even Mary cannot remain impervious to the court’s sexual tension-and as Elizabeth gives her doomed heart to the mercurial Earl of Essex, Mary is drawn to the queen’s rakish godson…

I wanted to like this book so much more then I did. I read some of the reviews, but since I have enjoyed other books by the author and do love historical fictions in the time of Elizabeth I, it seemed like this would be a hit read. Sadly for me this book did fall a little bit flat. It was not a completely awful book but in the end it was just a bit repetitive and trite overall.

On nearly every single page at least once we the reader were reminded that at any moment Lady Katherine Grey could be named the heir to the throne. This of course was seen as a totally awful thing that the Lady did not want and we were told again and again how much she didn’t want it. With that being the very loud overall theme it was a little harder to get into the other events going on over that kind of noise.

It also felt for me that a lot of the characters were not fully fleshed out and I felt many of them were vapid because of this. With those negatives said there were some bright moments here and there. The book also flowed fairly well which is what saved it from a lower rating. My end thoughts are if you want to take a chance on a book give it a try. Otherwise if you don’t have much interest in the time period or taking risks give it a pass.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on June 27, 2018

An exciting debut: a vivid, richly imagined saga of ancient Rome from a masterful new voice in historical fiction

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress’s rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor’s mistress.

I am going to be completely honest here, I picked this book because it was based in ancient Rome and I wanted a book set in Rome to come with me on my Roman Holiday. So I really expected just a quick, fun, but cheesy read with this one. I am glad to say I got more than what I thought I would.

Mistress of Rome does have some of the familiar historical romance tropes, but it also has so much more within the pages. The characters created are multi layered and the story that unfolds is really gripping and spans so many years. I found myself feeling the anguish of Thea and her loved ones. This story really does show how little power over their own lives as slaves of the ancient times had. However, it also shows that if played right slaves could have a form of power, especially the Gladiators who won the heart of the mob. Was it a useful power? Was it power that was worth the price? Well, that is hard to say and you will have to read the book yourself to find out the details of this story. I truly enjoyed this read so much and I am going to be reading more in the series. The Emperor Domitian was no one that I did much research on personally, but this historical fiction has ignited my desire as a history fan to dig more into this interesting and complicated Emperor who was assassinated.

All in all, for me the fact that I really enjoyed the book AND it has made me want to dig into more real research means this is a winner. I am sure this read wont be for everyone, but if you like a good story with lots of layers and interesting characters with a hearty helping of love, this is a read for you to give a shot. It moves quickly and it holds your interest.

My Gemstone Rating:

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