Book Review: The Season by Sarah MacLean

Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued — in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.

When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex’s heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year’s season begins!

Welcome to the glittery world of the ton. Step into the lives of three girls as they make their first season of London’s best and brightest in search of a husband. Lady Alexandra, Lady Vivian and Lady Eleanor have been best friends for as long as they can remember and that does not change now. Sarah MacLean did not leave us wanting in the male department either from Alexandra’s three brothers, to Lord Blackmoor and even the impish Lord Stanhope.

I enjoyed The Season and found it a fast and enjoyable read. It was not the best book of the year and some of the plot was pretty easy to figure out early in, but since it is geared at a younger audience I would expect that and don’t hold that against the book.

Sarah MacLean made some very enjoyable characters in The Season and I found myself smiling a lot at the actions of the three friends. The situations that they found themselves in are situations that I think I would find myself in, or at least I picture I would do if I was in the time period. It was a light read even with some of the serious themes within it. There is a mystery of whom killed Gavin Lord Blackmoor’s Father and a good portion of the book is focused on that. The descriptions of the balls are well done and I could picture myself among the glittery ton and enjoying the waltz with a Mr. Darcy like gentleman.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Mistress to the Crown Isolde Martyn

Release Date: Feb 1st 2013

The day Lord Hastings came into her husband’s store, Elizabeth saw the opportunity she had waited twelve years for — a way to separate herself once and for all from her dull, impotent husband, William Shore. The handsome stranger presented not only the chance to partake in the dance of desire, but legal counsel to annul her 12-year marriage.

She did not, however, foresee her introduction to the King of England, nor her future at his side…and in his bed. From this unlikely alliance, Elizabeth is granted severance from Shore, and finds herself flourishing in the radiance of the King’s admiration. But she soon finds that her new position comes at a terrible price — her family has shunned her, the people of London have labelled her a harlot and the Queen’s family want her to burn in Hell.

So long as King Edward and Lord Hastings stay close, Elizabeth is safe. However, her beloved Ned falls ill and Lord Hastings falls out of favour.

Can Elizabeth’s wiles keep her out of trouble? Or will they lead her to further trouble…and the hangman’s noose?

Mistress to the crown takes us once again into an England that is on the cusp of the Tudor reign placing us into the stories of the Last Plantagenet King’s. Elizabeth Shore is a good and dutiful Wife who has a husband who can not preform the duties he is meant to. While she is wistful for a child and very unhappy in her marriage she remains faithful, all until Lord Hastings Chamberlain to the King arrives in her shop one day and sets her world on it’s head.

First she becomes a lover to Lord Hastings, learning that the art of being in bed is indeed a pleasure. However after they are barged in upon by a man dressed in messengers clothing but with the air of something else Elizabeth’s life changes further. It is later when the messenger summons her under the name of Lord Hastings that she finds out he is indeed King Edward.

Isolde Martyn has done a fantastic job in bringing these characters to life. It is never easy to be a King’s Mistress and they are often painted as little more than grasping harlots. In truth they are often little more than what they are painted as. However Elizabeth Shore is brought to life as a very human character. While I did not like her in the first chapter when she was young and seeking an annulment I think she was a normal girl of her age. When we come upon her later and she is indeed an independent woman who is dealing with a situation no one would like I warmed to her.

We see growth within Elizabeth with each turn of the page, and to say that King Edward was a charmer is putting it lightly. However he was a King and we see his human side as well, from his fits of temper to his moments of deep sadness in which he seeks comfort. Over all this makes for a very real and human book that engages you to the characters. I would recommend this book to any historical fiction readers especially those who like the War of the Roses time period. The history is well presented and the facts that have been filled in because we do not know them seem to stay true to what we do know.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Covet by J.R Ward

Redemption isn’t a word Jim Heron knows much about—his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charge with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he’s good with that — until fate intervenes in the form of a tough- talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. But then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart—and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

Covet is the first book in the Fallen Angels series and my first trip outside of the Black Dagger Brother hood with author J.R Ward. The setting is once again in Caldwell, New York and my first question when we hit that setting was, where is the Brotherhood? Well while they do not jump out of the pages and say here I am there are some veiled references. We have mention of Zerosum and the reverend, and we even catch a description of one of the Brothers going into a meeting. So alright they are around.

However this book isn’t about them. Jim Heron is your typical military bad ass. He works alone as his license to kill black ops kind of way of being suggests and while hes trying to live in retirement it would seem like has other plans for him. Jim ends up being recruited for another kind of war, the war between good and evil. He is told that he is a player seen by both sides as agreeable on the field and he has to save 7 souls. If he doesn’t well that’s it for existence gone in the blink of an eye. His first soul? His boss one Vin diPietro.

I have to say again while it did take me a little bit to get into this book once I got into it, I could not set it down. The story is gripping and will keep you going “no way” over several things that happen. Of course it is a paranormal so the skies are the limit on what your going to see. I like that while it is obviously a battle of good and evil, good isn’t your typical saintly kind of guys. In fact they are more like guys you wouldn’t bring home to Mom, at first. There is some comedy to lighten the darker moments in the book and I really appreciated those comedy moments. I found myself literally laughing out loud at several parts. If you like paranormal this is a good book for you, if you like The Black Dagger Brotherhood, this is also a good book for you.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Front page Fatality by LynDee Walker

Release Date Jan 29 2013

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime.

As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

Jumping into a Genre I do not usually read I was given the chance to read Front Page Fatality from Net Gallery. LynDee Walker introduces us to a Lois Lane at heart Nichelle Clarke. She is a very go and get them kind of reporter and of course she does it in fashionable shoes. A girl after my own heart because what girl does not love her Jimmy’s and her Manolo’s? Nichelle like me however is also a deal seeker and gets her lovely shoes off ebay. You really do have to love a girl who can write and find a deal on shoes.

Nichelle soon finds herself up to her eye balls in trouble however as she stumbles upon the story of the year. The bad side of this is that she starts to suspect almost everyone around her of being in on the crime. The hunky sports guy who works with her at the paper Parker, her buddies at the Richmond PD Aaron and Mike and the Deputy Chief of Police. Although who ends up being at the center of what is going on will be a surprise and a swat in the face to most. I know it was to me.

LynDee Walker has truly written a fun, but exciting story. I could not pick out what the ending was going to be while reading, which to me is a good thing. There is nothing worse than reading a mystery and knowing the ending before your at the end. I am glad that this is marked as number one in the series because I will be reading the next one. I had a few issues with the formatting and a couple of spots in the plot to me just didn’t seem to fit with the rest. Otherwise this was a good one and not a bad one to have on your to read list.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Noor by Milton C. Toby

While Seabiscuit is perhaps the best-known Thoroughbred in history, Charles S. Howard owned another remarkable racehorse that should never be forgotten. Irish-bred Noor dominated the 1950 racing season, setting world records in victories over Citation and winning the Hollywood Gold Cup by defeating a Triple Crown winner, the Horse of the Year and the previous year’s Kentucky Derby winner. Sadly, that fame faded as he failed to sire champions, and Noor was buried in an unmarked grave in Northern California decades later. Veteran turf writer Milt Toby recounts Noor’s colorful career and the inspiring story of racing enthusiast Charlotte Farmer’s personal mission to exhume the Thoroughbred’s remains for reburial in central Kentucky years after the horse was inducted into the hall of fame.

It is not often that I get to read a book about something that is very close to my heart and that is a real story, Noor by Milton C Toby is one of those books. I was lucky enough to get to read this book through Walker Author tours, but I was drawn to read it because of my love of horse racing and my Great Grandfathers Love of the subject Noor.

I grew up on my Great Grandfather’s knee learning about racing and learning about the Irish bred horses. Being that his side of my family is where I get my half Irish side this came as no surprise. He always favored Irish bred horses, and taught me to, something that holds true at the track for me even today.

Milton C. Toby brings everything to life again in a vivid wash of well put prose. Not only does he cover the life and racing career of Noor, but the journey to find him again. So many people do not understand what can (and often has) happened to a horse that while perhaps well known is not in public graces as much as say Secretariat, when they pass. Often they are put in a little known place and forgotten, much like what happened to Noor.

This book made me both sad at what happened to Noor and then Happy at the fact he was able to find his place in the pantheon of famous racers we can now visit. For all my love of this horse instilled in me by my Great Grandfather I did not know the final end to his story until I read Noor by Milton C. Toby, I am so happy I did. I can happily say I am making a trip to Old Friend’s this summer in honor of my Great Grandfather so see the living legends and those who have passed on. Thanks for the great book Milton!

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Forgotten Queen by D.L Bogdan

Release Date: Jan 29th 2013

From her earliest days, Margaret Tudor knows she will not have the luxury of choosing a husband. As daughter of Henry VII, her duty is to gain alliances for England. Barely out of girlhood, Margaret is married by proxy to James IV and travels to Edinburgh to become Queen of Scotland.

Despite her doubts, Margaret falls under the spell of her adopted home. But she has rivals. While Jamie is an affectionate husband, he is not a faithful one. And providing an heir cannot guarantee Margaret’s safety when Jamie leads an invading army against her own brother, Henry VIII. In the wake of tragic loss she falls prey to the attentions of the ambitious Earl of Angus—a move that brings Scotland to the brink of anarchy. Beset by betrayal, secret alliances, and the vagaries of her own heart, Margaret has one overriding ambition—to preserve the crown of Scotland for her son, no matter what the cost.

Exquisitely detailed and poignant, The Forgotten Queen vividly depicts the life and loves of an extraordinary woman who helped shape the fate of two kingdoms—and in time, became the means of uniting them.

When most think of a Sister to King Henry VIII they think of Mary, who married Charles Brandon. Indeed D.L Bogdan named the book aptly in choosing to call it the Forgotten Queen. Upon the opening of this novel we are thrust right into the world of a Princess who like most is never really going to be able to steer her own destiny. Raised to be a Lady, to have children and be a Wife who will wed who she is told. Ah, but we also learn quickly Margaret Tudor is every inch the Tudor as we know them, fiery, temperamental and stubborn.

I truly enjoyed this walk in the shoes of a Tudor that I did knot know much about.There are many historical facts that D.L Bogdan touches on (I did a little research while reading), and of course with any work of fiction some liberties have been taken. That said what is presenting really is a gripping story of a Woman who is a Queen and desperate to be loved. A woman who makes many wrong steps in her life and yet she truly does seem to mean well when she makes each of them. A woman like any woman who loves her children and fought nearly her whole life for her Son’s throne and for peace between her homeland of birth and the homeland she adopted.

Margaret Tudor is a character or person as you like that caused a lot of conflict within me. At times I adored her and I understood the plights she was in, and the choices she was forced to make. At other times I wanted to grab her and shake her hard because she was being so selfish. It was at those times that I reminded myself, where any royals really unselfish? They were raised to rule, and raised to think of themselves as god’s anointed and the most important person in the land. Prepare yourself for a up and down ride with this book and prepare yourself to be enlightened to some not as strongly sung parts of history and you will enjoy it.

My Gemstone Rating:


2013 Book Challenges

I am feeling more in the mood to get some challenges going this year after sucessfully completeing my 2012 reading goals. I won’t do to many but enough to keep my reading fun for me. So here is the post where I will be keeping the information for the challenges.
I will of course do the good reads challenge again for an overall goal and beyond that..first up
2013 Historical Fiction Challenge Hosted by Historical Tapestry
I have chosen to do the Ancient History Level which is 25+ historical Fiction Novels for the year.
2013 Immortal Challenge hosted by Under the Covers
I am going to take part in two categories and I may update it as the year goes on. I have some werewolve books on the Kindle just can not break my Vampire love to read them yet. May change in 2013 though!
Category 1: Vampires  I have selected to read at least 5 Vampire books in 2013
Category 2: Angels and Demons I have selected to read at least 3 Angel & Demon books in 2013

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