Book Review: The Huntress by Susan Carroll

In a time of intrigue and betrayal, the huntress is on a quest that could jeopardize two empires and two great queens: Catherine de Medici and Elizabeth I.

year is 1585–and prophecy has foretold the coming of a daughter of the Earth whose powers are so extraordinary they could usurp the very rule of the Dark Queen herself, Catherine de Medici. Dispatched from Brittany to London, Catriona O’Hanlon, known as the Huntress, must find this mysterious young girl and shield her from those who will exploit her mystic abilities, which have the potential to change the course of history.

Catriona’s skill with weaponry is all she has to protect herself and her young charge from spies who snake through the courts of Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen–including the girl’s own father, whose loyalties are stretched to the breaking point. But Catriona will soon face menacing forces and sinister plots unlike any she has ever encountered.

The Huntress is another stunning chapter in Susan Carroll Dark Queen series. In this book we once again find ourselves brought into the world of those in Faire Isle, Ariane and her husband Justice are present but the main story focuses on the fiery Irish woman Catriona or simply Cat.

With the ageing Dark Queen having found out that little Megera or The Silver Rose was not killed, there is a grave danger to the girl. And so Ariane sends her Gallowglass Cat to find the girl and her father the roguishly handsome Martin Le Loup and bring them back to Faire Isle. And once again Susan Carroll wraps you up in the world of magic and intrigue. There are so many delightful twists and turns you hardly know where to look.

Cat finds Martin and Meg in England, Martin having established himself well and with ambitions for more. While Meg has to be a lovely young Lady and she is in love with the Tudor Queen of England, Elizabeth. I have thoroughly enjoyed every single book in this series. Generally when I read series the fourth book starts to drag. But not this one. The Huntress does not disappoint with intrigue, love and danger. Cat proves to be the fiercest of the heroines yet. She can easily stand up to any man; handle a sword, and most of all a bow. She protects Meg, and earns a friendship with her and her father. And so much more. If you love historical fictions you must read The Huntress, I promise you it will not disappoint. Susan Carroll’s writing style is exciting and I know I am eagerly awaiting her next release in this series.

Book Review: A Dangerous Dress by Julia Holden

If there’s one dress that can make Jane Stuart think that anything was possible, it’s her late grandmother’s vintage 1920s Parisian dress. And when the dress becomes her ticket out of Kirland, Indiana, Jane takes her first tentative steps on her own reckless, passionate, and oh-so-dangerous adventure-to the fashion world of Paris, the celebrity scene in Manhattan, and beyond. But, as the dress takes her to dazzling new heights, one man will bring her back down to earth.

First person books can be hard to get into if you’re not used to that style. But that is not the case with A Dangerous dress; it’s a fun flirty romp of chic lit fun. Jane is from a small town in Indiana, but she has found that life offers a lot more excitement than just small town gossip.

When Jane inherits the 1920’s Parisian dress from her grandmother she finds herself swept up into a whirl wind. A woman who believes in Cinderella stories she finds herself swept up into one because of this dress. Soon the small town girl has Hollywood and love affairs at her feet. This is not a book that will make you think hard, so if you’re looking for that this is not the book for you. But if you’re looking for a book that offers some fun that will make you laugh, I recommend this one.

A witty, well written piece it will keep you fully enthralled. I sat down and ended up reading this book in one day, I just couldn’t put it down. If you like chic lit you will really enjoy this book, and you might find yourself feeling a little whimsical about a special dress in your closet. Jane shows you that weather you’re in a small town, or a large city there is always something going on. It is not all fun and games for Jane though, like any person she does have her low points and you will follow her through them. But things perk up again for Jane, and the dress seems to work its special magic.

Book Review: And only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

This book was the first I have read by Tasha Alexander, and I am impressed. I will be promptly seeing to adding more of her works to my TBR pile. She weaves an amazing story of a widow who is coming to terms with the loss of a husband she barely knew, with intrigue of what he possibly could have done. Lady Emily Ashton is a carefree character who was ever happy in a typical woman’s role. Agreeing to marry her husband purely to get away from her Mother, when he dies only months into their marriage away in Africa she finds herself able to be more as she wishes to be. This does not agree with society.

We meet a loveable bunch of characters in this novel, from Margaret the brash American socialite to Cecile, the eccentric French widow. The story unfolds in a plethora of twists and turns, and in the background there is just a hit of romance from the many suitors Emily finds at her door. Some are earnest and don’t fully appear so, and some are not earnest at all. You will find yourself surprised at just how things all unfold and turn out to be sure. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and some mystery. And if you’re a woman who likes to see ladies going against society’s rules, well pull up a glass of port and enjoy some time with Lady Ashton.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory

The year is 1539. Henry VIII must take another wife and the dangerous prize of the crown of England is won by Anne of Cleves. Although she is fascinated by the glamour of her new surroundings, she can sense a trap closing around her.

Katherine Howard, meanwhile, is to flirt her way to the throne. But her kinswoman Jane Boleyn is haunted by the past and the Boleyn inheritance of suspicion, betrayal, and death. In this time of upheaval and uncertainty, these three young women must try to survive the most volatile court in Europe.

Phillipa Gregory does it again with this novel. The Boleyn Inheritance is a striking tale of the least known wives of Henry the VIII, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. We also meet Jane Boleyn known mostly in history only for her part in seeing her husband George and her sister-in-law Anne go to the scaffolding. We follow the tale from Cleves when Anne is being selected, right on up to the scaffolding and eventually the Kings death, and the whole book will hold you spell bound.

I could hardly set this one down, and yet at parts I had to. It is so descriptive and so heart breaking you will cry for the way these women are terribly caught up in this court. Henry VIII truly was a mad man bent on his own whims, his own desires and no one ever dared tell him no, for if they did they could, and would end up dead. Watch as the body counts of those sent to the scaffold tally higher, for small crimes like simply loving a girl. And those who are the true masterminds of the plots get away from the axe man like a slippery snake in the grass.

You will shake your head at how stupid and frivolous young Katherine is as a Queen. And yet you will feel utterly horrified for her in the end she was really only a child of 16 years who could not possibly know right from wrong when she only ever did was she was told. I believe in the end the only one I did not feel sorry for was Jane Boleyn, to me she made her own bed. Through pure jealousy, ambition and self preservation, in the end she got what was coming. Though preferably no one should have died because of the whims of a selfish King, who thought he was a god. If you haven’t read this book yet, do. You will be emotionally grabbed and riveted to each and every page.

Book Review: Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Skyes

Plum Sykes burst on to the literary scene in 2004 with her beguiling debut novel introducing readers to the glamorous world of PAPs (Park Avenue Princesses) and her loveable heroine, Moi, a “champagne bubble of a girl” who became an instant hit with readers from coast to coast.

I am sorry it took me so many years after publication for me to find this book. The Bergdorf Blondes is a really wonderful romp through socialite New York. The book follows the point of view of Moi, with her friends Julie Bergdorf (the queen bee of society), Lara and Jolene and may others. At some parts you want to laugh and ask yourself can anyone really be this shallow. They abbreviate everything including the word PH for potential husband. But, at the end of the day you really just do have to laugh about it.

Moi takes us not only into the world of the fashion obsessed “Princesses of Park Avenue” but through a series of her own very poor relationship mistakes. There is Zach, the moody depressing photographer who treats her like crap, who she almost marries. Eduardo the married, with children prince from some where or another, Patrick the married man with the psycho wife. And of course the very “regrettable” Charlie Dulain, who is Julie’s boy friend, or so she thought. You will get a few curve balls you didn’t see coming in this fun little run around the world, from New York to Rio and back again. I recommend reading this one if you want something easy, and something to lighten your mood.

Book Review: We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

In this gripping novel of motherhood gone awry, Lionel Shriver approaches the tragedy of a high-school massacre from the point of view of the killer’s mother.In letters written to the boy’s father, mother Eva probes the upbringing of this more-than-difficult child and reveals herself to have been the reluctant mother of an unsavory son. As the schisms in her family unfold, we draw closer to an unexpected climax that holds breathtaking surprises and its own hard-won redemption. In Eva, Shriver has created a narrator who is touching, sad, funny, and reflective. A spellbinding read, We Need to Talk About Kevin is as original as it is timely.

This book is shocking, it is so grippingly raw that you will get emotional over it.Not very many books can take the very sensitive material of a high school killing, that was so forward in the headlines and turn it into a peace of art.. The book is told in a format of letters from the mothers point of view. You can deal with things from her perspective, and all of her raw emotions. If you can handle a high charged read this is a can not miss for you. I enjoyed it though it made me cry, I am glad it took me this long to find Kevin, I honestly don’t think I could have handled it before now.

Book Review: The Handmaidens Necklace by Kat Martin

Five years ago Rafael, Duke of Sheffield, believed he was betrayed by the woman he loved and the pain haunts him still. When Rafe discovers that he was cruelly tricked, and that Danielle Duval was never unfaithful, he’s desperate to win her back. But Dani is already on a steamer bound for America to marry another man. Impulsively, Rafe follows her and, trapping her in a compromising situation, quickly makes her his wife.Promising her that with time he can prove his love and win her trust, Rafe presents her with a stunning necklace rumored to hold great power. As much as Dani wants to believe it can right the wrongs of the past, she fears there is one truth it cannot conceal, a truth that could cost her this second chance with Rafe, the only man she has ever loved.

The Thrilling ending to Kat Martins Necklace Trilogy, this book was just as great as the first two. The Brides Necklace, and The Devils Necklace. We got to talk with the characters from the other books again, and we finally see Rafe get what he needs. His beautiful Dani. As with the other books in the series, this is well written with some unseen twists and turns to keep it exciting. I am sad the series is over, but would highly recommend it to anyone else who loves Historical Romances.

Book Review: Chocolatherapy by Karen Scalf Linamen

Chaos. Change. Crisis. In the grand recipe of life, these are common ingredients. All I know is that I find them in my personal mixing bowl far more than I’d like. They’re in my life now. Probably yours too. My initial response is to reach for the chocolate. This might be why my closet contains a variety of clothes from size 12 to 24. Okay, I lied. Sometimes I also reach for chips. Or doughnuts. Or-like last week’s binge-Bit-O-Honey. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those chewy bite-sized candies that taste like honey even as they extract all your fillings? Except I couldn’t stop with just a bit. What I really ate was more like Bag-O-Honey. My dentist sent me a thank-you card. From the Caribbean. I think this all means something, besides the fact that I should have pursued dentistry as a career. I think that when I’m consuming chocolate, I’m really craving something else. Something healthier. Something deeper. Why I get fixated on comfort foods is anybody’s guess. Chocolate, after all, is just a quick fix. A tasty substitute. A delectable melt-in-my-mouth imposter. What if, in those all-too-frequent seasons of chaos, change, or crisis, I could somehow stop settling for second best and give my soul whatever it’s really seeking?

This was a pretty good book. It offers some helpful thoughts and advice, and it had some great humor too. Not much else to say, but I did enjoy it.

Book Review: Mount Vernon Love Story: A love story of George and Martha Washington by Marry Higgins Clark

Charming, insightful and immensely entertaining in its unique presentation of one of America’s legendary figures, Mount Vernon Love Story, by famed suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark, shows the reader the man behind the legend, a man of flesh, blood and passion, and in the author’s skilled hands, the story and the man come fully and dramatically alive.
Mary Higgins Clark’s interest in George Washington was first sparked by a radio series she was writing in the 1960s, called “Portrait of a Patriot,” vignettes of American presidents.
Always a lover of history, she wrote this biographical novel — her first book — and titled it Aspire to the Heavens, which was the family motto of George Washington’s mother. With all events, dates, scenes and characters based on historical research, the book was published in 1969.
Its recent discovery by a Washington family descendent led to its reissue under its new title, Mount Vernon Love Story.
In researching George Washington’s life, Mary Higgins Clark was surprised to find the engaging man behind the pious legend. He was a giant of a man in every way, starting with his physical height. In an era when men averaged five foot seven inches, he towered over everyone at six foot three. He was the best dancer in the colony of Virginia. He was also a master horseman, which was why the Indians gave him their highest compliment: “He rides his horse like an Indian.”
She dispels the widespread belief that although George Washington married an older woman, a widow, his true love was Sally Carey Fairfax, his best friend’s wife. Martha Dandridge Custis was older, but only by three months — she was twenty-seven to his twenty-six when they met. Mary Higgins Clark describes their relationship from their first meeting, their closeness and his tenderness toward her two children. Martha shared his life in every way, crossing the British lines to join him in Boston and enduring with him the bitter hardship of the winter in Valley Forge. As Lady Bird Johnson was never called Claudia, Martha Washington was never known as Martha. Her family and friends called her Patsy. George always called her “my dearest Patsy” and wore a locket with her picture around his neck.

This book, I am not sure if I can find the right words. It is beautiful, a beautiful telling of the love between George Washington and his beautiful wife Martha. It is a charming romp through his memories, his life from child hood and on through. We find him remembering these things from his minds eye as he is giving over the reigns of his government to John Adams. It’s witty, and shows some funny jests about Thomas Jefferson (my all time favorite) and John Adams. This book was simply not long enough for me, I wanted more. I wanted to have more memories from George’s point of view. A wonderful book, that is making me wish to dig out my rev war books right now.

Book Review: Two Women: A novel of friendship by Marianne Fredriksson

With her acclaimed novels Hanna’s Daughters and Simon’s Family, international bestselling author Marianne Fredriksson captivated readers with the extraordinary power of her emotional landscapes. Now Fredriksson gives us Two Women, the unforgettable story of a remarkable friendship–and the secrets that threaten to tear it apart.They meet on a spring day in the local garden center: Inge, a native Swede, lovely and refined, a woman ruled by reason and her own deeply held moral beliefs; and Mira, a Chilean immigrant who still feels out of place in the cold Scandinavian north. Through many shared afternoons in Inge’s garden, Mira slowly reveals the horrors of a shadowed past and the heartbreak involving her beloved daughter. As Mira and her family begin a wrenching journey of discovery, Inge unwittingly uncovers secrets in her own life that make her question the very order of her world. An elegant novel of time and memory, love and distance, and the wounds they create and conceal, Two Women is Marianne Fredriksson’s most affecting work of fiction to date.

For me the writing style of this book was a little bit hard to read. But the content was good. This is a good story about the love and friendship between two women. It really does show that no matter how different your lives are you can always find common ground. There is always a way to move around differences, and find friendship.

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