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Ambrosia's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine
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At the King's Pleasure
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2017 Reading Challenge

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Posted by on January 5, 2017

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything

What is there to day about this classic? I have always loved the Princess Bride both the book and the film. The characters come alive and seem to leap off the page when you read this book. I for one make a point to come back every few years and re-read this favorite. I feel a little silly making such a short review, but really what is there to say about such a classic? It is wonderful, there is everything you could want in a book so it has a wonderful pace. You have action, romance and of course a great deal of humor. Bottom line if you are a rare person who has not read this book yet, well what are you waiting for?

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on October 28, 2016

For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones… about a love that transcends the boundaries of time… and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart… in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising… and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves

This book really is a great read, it also breaks your heart more then once. As the seasons of Outlander play, I have been rereading as the seasons come and I forgot how much I loved these books. Dragonfly in Amber is a new adventure and we get to spend a great deal of time with the beautiful and feisty Brianna. I always have a bit of a smile when I think of her, Jamie and Calire are both super stubborn in their own rights, mix the blood together and you get a girl who wants to do all of her own things no matter what anyone says.

Better yet we spend time in Paris, as Claire and Jamie have to work through the intrigue of court life. Trying to put off what happens at Culloden. If you are a fan of the show you should enjoy the books as well, the source material is great. If you have read the books it’s time to jump in once more for fun. Dragonfly in Amber is a stunning part of the series and great as a standalone as well.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on February 12, 2016

A New York Times extended list bestseller and the exciting fifth book in the national bestselling Pink Carnation series.

After years abroad, Robert, Duke of Dovedale, has returned to England to avenge the murder of his mentor. To uncover the murderer’s identity, he must infiltrate the infamous, secret Hellfire Club. But the Duke has no idea that an even more difficult challenge awaits him-in a mistaken, romantic-minded young lady.

Charlotte Lansdowne wistfully remembers the Robert of her childhood as a valiant hero among men. Too aware of his own flaws, Robert tries to dissuade Charlotte from her delusions, even as he finds himself drawn to her. When Charlotte takes up a bit of espionage-investigating a plot to kidnap the King-Robert soon realizes that she is more than the perfect partner in crime.

Caught in a dangerous game full of deadly spies and secret rites, Robert and Charlotte must work together to reveal the villain…and confront their true love.

Another solid installment of the Pink Carnation series with the Night Jasmine and another enjoyable read. While for me this one started off a little bit slow it picked up the pace and became really enjoyable. Robert Duke of Dovedale is the kind of character I could conjure up a true image in my head of. I really liked him and even though some of his actions ticked me off (why couldn’t he just tell Lady Charolotte the truth?!) I also understood why he did them. He thought he was protecting her and that is of course how these books work.

While the spy craft is still around in this book it does focus a little bit more on the love and fairy tale aspect of a historical romance which to me made this one a little bit more light and fun. There is still the spy side and a little bit of danger to keep it spicy. Then there is the modern side of the story as we always have that bit to play with as well and this time we saw Eloise thinking that Miles was a spy. This lead to some very comical situations and then eventually he had to confront her.

Bottom line enjoyable and I look forward to reading the next installment.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on January 6, 2016

At the King’s Pleasure is the fourth novel in Kate Emerson’s well-reviewed series set in Tudor England—based on a real life member of the royal court of Henry VIII.

Following the acclaimed By Royal Decree, Pleasure Palace, and Between Two Queens, Kate Emerson again plucks a real figure from history in this lushly detailed tale featuring Lady Anne Stafford—who is torn between her husband and another man.

History remembers Lady Anne Stafford as the woman who cheated on her husband with both King Henry VIII and his companion, Sir William Compton. Lady Anne was indeed in love with two men at the same time….but the king wasn’t one of them. Lady Anne’s complex and heart-wrenching romantic relationships are at the core of this riveting tale that masterfully blends romance, drama, and historical detail as only Kate Emerson can.

A new year and finally finishing up a book that I started last year. For some reason I just could not get attached to this one last year in 2015. I got through it pretty fast this time around and I think I was having so much trouble before because it just was not as engaging as the other reads. Now with that said it was not a bad read at all.

Once again, you are in the court of a Young King Henry. This time the story revolves around the younger versions of key players to come out at court later, like the Boleyn’s and others. The main character is Lady Anne Stafford, the infamous adulterer who cuckolded her Husband with both the King himself and his boon companion Sir William Compton. The characters were fun, but some of the dialogue for me fell a little flat. Things came across as more vapid than in other books and I am not sure if this was on purpose or just how things came across but I didn’t like it.

The characters seemed to fly off the handle and have toddler tantrums more in this book than others as well. It was dramatic, of course, but sometimes a little off putting. Aside from all of that I did enjoy the book on a whole. It is once again a different look at the history of things and gives us a different side of everything that went on. Yes of course it is fiction, but it is very plausible fiction. I felt for Lady Anne and she did get dealt a bad hand on many occasions. Overall this is a good read and I am happy that I read it, overall it fits in well with the series so far.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on September 27, 2014

When Life Seemed Its Worst, Gresham Awaited

Julia Hollis’ opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family’s hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham.

Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she–who was accustomed to servants attending to every need–do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town..

The Widow of Larkspur Inn was a decent story. I went in knowing it would have a fair amount of God refrences as it was Chrisian Lit but towards the end of this book it got to be a bit much, very preachy. With that said the begining was a bit slow and there were the problems in the end, however the middle was good.

I enjoy watching the growth of the family once they move to the Larkspur and seeing how each member changes. The grow and get stronger. The cast of characters that come to live in the Inn are funny and watching them grow is interesting as well. It almost made me want to go and have a bed and breakfast myself! Overall this is a good read and if you can get past the slow points and the preaching I think you would enjoy it as well.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on February 7, 2014

They loved each other desperately.
Never in all the kingdom has there been a more brave and protective champion. Nor such a loyal and capable maiden.
He rescued her the first time when she was three years old in a killing storm. Years later, he was still occasionally rescuing her. ‘Twas in him to be a hero, and she had a pure intrepid way of getting into the kinds of scrapes that took rescuing. With such a brawny, masculine guardian around, ‘twould have been a fair pity to waste the gallantry anyway.
Their childhood friendship between two young peasants had grown into a devotion few are ever blessed to experience. It was strong enough to withstand all their dark age held—danger, feudalism, disease, and unfair oppression.
Or is it strong enough? They truly loved each other desperately.
They loved their kingdom more.

This was a great read, fast and fun. I enjoy a good romance and this one is not only a good romance but one with a deep story and history to it. We start the book with a tragedy which kind of slaps you in the face a bit but in a way that gets your attention and pulls you into the book. From that point on you find yourself invested with the characters. Investment in the characters is key at least for me to enjoy any book.

I did feel the middle point dragged just a little bit, not enough to make me upset or turned away from the book, just the one point that kept me from giving 5 gems. Other then that this is a great read and I would highly recommend it. There are Christian themes but it is proper for the time period and does not as i like to say “over take the general message” of the book. Two thumbs up for Warrior’s moon.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on December 17, 2013

The Darkborn aristocracy has rejected magic, viewing the pursuit of science as the only worthy goal. But Lady Telmaine Hearne does not have that luxury. She has kept her own powers secret, fearful of being ruined in society…until her husband Balthasar draws her into a conspiracy to protect the archduke and his brother against a magical enemy. But who will protect them from her?

Well as has been documented on the blog here I was in a little bit of a meh mood about reading in general when I started this book, however I did manage to shake that mood and dig into the second book of the Darkborn series.

I have to say I preferred Darkborn to this one a great deal actually. We do get to meet some new Characters and some that were lesser in the first book are brought forward more. However two of the main characters are pretty much not here at all and for me that was troubling. I have not been able to personally connect well with Telmaine so the story being mainly from her POV made it a little bit of a snooze fest for me. I wish I could blame it on my mood but I really do feel it was the book, it just was not as good. You do not get much answered either which is troubling. Personally when I am reading a series I think that each book in the series needs to build and give me some answers from the previous books questions, not just keep heaping questions on the pile.

So while this was not my favorite book I will read the third in the series and hope that I get the rest of my questions answered that way. All in all this one was a luke warm feeling for me.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on October 23, 2013

Eager to ease the financial burdens of her family, Cassandra Stover is thrilled when she is hired to be a companion to Mrs. Jameston, a wealthy society woman. Cassie finds herself living a life she’d never imagined-and growing close to the elderly woman who treats her like a daughter.

Her new position is tarnished only by Mrs. Jameston’s son. As Sebastian’s resentment and cruelty toward his mother mount, Cassie begins to harbor concerns for her employer’s safety–and ultimately her own. When Sebastian is suspected of fraud, insurance investigator Mark Langford solicits Cassie’s help to uncover the truth. But what begins as a game of pretense is quickly complicated by matters of the heart.

While I enjoyed this story as I have pretty much enjoyed the rest of the series, this was not my favorite of the set. Cassie is an interesting character and her eventual match as historical fictions go is also a character that draws you in. I am not sure why I could not fully click with this one maybe it is the time of year. Overall however it is a light, nice historical fiction read that has Christian themes but does not cram them down your throat. The theme works well within the period of the piece of course. So the short of this one is I would recommend it, a good read I just did not fully connect with it.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on October 18, 2013

In the land where ruthless Vikings and ominous shape-shifters roam free Eiess usurps the Northlandic Throne and suspends the seasons on Winter Solstice.

Lucia, heir to the Northlandic Throne, is taken prisoner and wastes away in one of the castle’s towers.

Ailia, a peasant girl, goes missing, and wakes up in a glacier cave months later with no memory of how she ended up there.

Soren, one of the Sentinors sent to defeat Eiess, has failed in saving Lucia and in defeating Eiess.

As Eiess continues to amass her forces, preparing for the battle to end all battles, Ailia, Lucia and Soren are about to discover that their lives are intertwined behind a veil of lies. Determined to take back the throne, they begin to form an alliance, but their mission to overthrow Eiess is stalled when the lies surface.

And when a forbidden love flourishes between two, anger, jealousy and duplicity arises, causing one of them to betray the others – a betrayal which puts their lives and the lives of humanity in grave danger.

Winter Solstice Winter by E. J Squires pulls us into the land of the Vikings a bloody time in history that was full of battles and excitement and in this version shape shifters. Nothing is as simple as it seems when you are battling an evil Empress and the three heroes of the piece Eilia, Lucia and Soren find themselves deeply entwined. But can they overcome the love and jealousy that comes between them in order to rise up and not only reclaim the throne of the lands but save all of humanity?

This book is going to grab every reader from the first page and hold you until the last, which is how it was with me. E.J Squires is a new author for me but one that I look forward to reading a lot more of because of the depth of work that clearly shows in this book. The binding love between Lucia and Soren will bring anyone who loves a historical romance in, but the story is really so much more than that. Layer upon layer has been created with this book to make it utterly entrancing. I may be going a little horn tooting in this review but I feel that strongly about this book, anyone who loves fantasy, history and love is going to love this book and I highly recommend it. The one and only complaint I have about the book is that it ended! I look forward to more of this saga for sure.

My Gemstone Rating:

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Posted by on October 9, 2013

When Chantel Panetta’s younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Vittorio, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Vittorios have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella’s pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando…only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando’s brother. The older, more handsome one.
Chantel can’t deny the attraction that flares when she’s with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel’s hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

This was not my favorite of this series, for me it just seemed to be missing some of the spark from the first two and it took me a long while to cozy up to the characters in this book. I think the only one I mostly liked from the start was Orlando. I did not dislike the book but out of the three I have read from this series this was my least favorite. It was not overly memorable for me, just kind of an okay read that probably won’t stay with me to long. It does have some interesting Romeo and Juliet style moments though between the feuding families.

My Gemstone Rating:

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