Book Review: A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries, #1)by Elizabeth Hunter

“No secret stays hidden forever.”

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he’d abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

A Hidden Fire is a paranormal mystery/romance for adult readers. It is the first book in the Elemental Mysteries Series.

I am really on the fence with how I feel about this book which is why I ended up giving it 3 gems. The book plot is solid and the characters are interesting and have depth. However, things just seemed to drag along slowly. Beyond that I have to admit that sometimes the characters were so childish you expected to see them passing notes. Gio was a curious character sometimes I liked him and sometimes I just wanted to slap him. Lorenzo would have been fun had he been the REAL Lorenzo De Medici,but nope of course he couldn’t be that epic historical person.

Sadly I can’t really write a whole lot more about this book because in the end I just felt very Meh about it. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it. The read was okay but nothing that will probably stick with me. The only thing I will probably remember for a while is that fact that Gio had the power of fire and electricity, many of the Vampires in this story are elemental and Fire of course is the most dangerous for their kind. So that one part was very interesting. If the story had a little faster pace maybe it would be more then meh for me. I might try to tead the next one in the series, but we will see.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

There are some books that you read in your life and they stay with you. There are some books that you read in your life and they change your life. For me one of those books was The Color Purple. Although I Have read it many times I have ever done a real review about it, I think now is the time. I first read this book when I was only in Junior High and perhaps that was a little early, but oh, it gave me such a view on the world. I hated that these characters and of course real people of this time had to go through these things. This is one of the books that really, truly turned me on to studying history, I wanted to learn more about the past so I could try and help and keep the past from repeating.

This book is emotional and it rips at your heart and there is a reason that it is a book that truly did change the world. It is full of fantastic colorful characters. I often find myself at a loss for words when saying how I feel about this book. I also enjoy the movie, I felt the movie really did justice to the book. However, the book itself just truly I have found it hard to say the right words. It changed me when I first read it and at times where I feel disconnected I often come back to it. I read it and I remind myself of the feeling that I had when I first read the book. Most of the time it can center me again, that is why I read it again this year in 2016.

The writing style is unique and I like the way that Alice Walker used poor grammar and short phrases among other things, to truly bring the characters to life. There are times that you feel as if they could leap off the page and you could talk directly to them. If you have not read this classic book I suggest that you do. It is life changing. However, although I read it when I was very young I would not recommend it be read before High School personally. I can look back now as an adult and see that I read a few very graphic books that I likely should not have at a young age. Luckily for me those books galvanized me into the person I am today, but it could have very easily traumatized me. Before anyone reading this thinks my parents were not supervising me enough, they watched over me carefully, but like any kid sometimes I was sneaky and naughty. Not only that but my parents tried not to stifle my reading choices because they encouraged me to read and to learn about these things. Events like what happened in The color Purple are events that happened in the world you can’t rosy color history sometimes. Much like being allowed to read Trinity by Leon Uris long before I should have (another very graphic and violent book) and yet today it is also one of my favorites and a book I feel had an impact on my life. History and event books were generally approved, romances, though well, tsk tsk none of those until I was of proper age!

I realize this review has turned into a bit of a ramble and a little off topic. I am sorry about that. The long and short of it, The Color Purple is, was and always will be to me a fantastic book. It is a book that I feel everyone should read before they die.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book Review: The King’s Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court #5) by Kate Emerson

In the fifth novel in Kate Emerson’s highly acclaimed Secrets of the Tudor Court series, a young gentlewoman catches King Henry the Eighth’s roving eye.In 1533 and again in 1534, Henry the Eighth reportedly kept a mistress while he was married to Anne Boleyn. Now, that mistress comes to vivid life in Kate Emerson’s The King’s Damsel.
A real-life letter from Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, written on September 27, 1534, reported that the king had “renewed and increased the love he formerly bore to another very handsome young lady of the Court” and that the queen had tried “to dismiss the damsel from her service.” Other letters from Eustace reveal that the mystery woman was a “true friend” of the Princess (later Queen) Mary, Henry’s daughter by Catherine of Aragon. Though no one knows who “the king’s damsel” really was, here Kate Emerson presents her as young gentlewoman Thomasine Lodge, a lady-in-waiting to King Henry’s daughter, Princess Mary. Thomasine becomes the Princess’s confidante, especially as Henry’s marriage to Catherine dissolves and tensions run high. When the king procures a divorce in order to marry Anne Boleyn, who is suspicious and distrustful of Mary, Mary has Thomasine placed in Anne’s service to be her eyes and ears. And that’s when she gets the attention of the king…
Rich in historical detail and featuring a wealth of bonus material, The King’s Damsel is sure to keep readers coming back for more in the exciting series!

Something very strange happened to this review. I had it written, scheduled and all ready to go back in 2015! I did not really check on it (my mistake, obviously I should have) and assumed it posted to the blog. When I was doing a clean up after moving over and checking to make sure everything was running smoothly since moving over from Fire & Ice to The Purple Booker, I found part of the post. After doing a search through everything I could not find the rest and saw that this one never actually posted. So, after all that long babble and with no further gilding of the lily here is a review from 2015 that really should have gone up ha ha! I may even have to go back and read the book again now.

Tamsin is a Lady of good family who was used to being tended to herself, her life like many in the upper reaches of Tudor era had the best of things. However, she was tapped to be part of the court of Mary Tudor and then found herself in the servant role. Making matters worse is the fact that after her parents die she becomes the charge of Sir Lionel Daggett, there is no love lost between both of them. No love lost at all.

Like the other books in this series I found this a fast paced and fun read. All the history is there and author Kate Emerson builds upon what we know to add her own twist to things. Of course King Henry is around, but I love that the focus of this series is the smaller people in the court, those players that most often only sit in the background in fiction of this era. It is these players that make up an entire court, though, the King and his family are such a small portion. If you enjoy good historical fiction that has a little bit of love and a lot of other information to enjoy, I highly recommend not only this book but the entire series.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book Review: Black Mass by Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill

John Connoly and James “Whitey” Bulger grew up together on the streets of South Boston. Decades later, in the mid 1970’s, they would meet again. By then, Connolly was a major figure in the FBI’s Boston office and Whitey had become godfather of the Irish Mob. What happened next — a dirty deal to being down the Italian mob in exchange for protection for Bulger — would spiral out of control, leading to murders, drug dealing, racketeering indictments, and, ultimately, the biggest informant scandal in the history of the FBI.

Compellingly told by two Boston Globe reporters who were on the case from the beginning, Black Mass is at once a riveting crime story, a cautionary tale about the abuse of power, and a penetrating look at Boston and its Irish population.

The movie Black Mass was one that I really needed and wanted to see. I Have always been curious about crime bosses and Whitey is one of those larger then life characters. You would expect him to actually be a character in a movie not someone who was real. However, as someone who has committed to the read it first challenge no book no movie. So I dove into the book happily, but put off writing that review. I admit I have not been the best book blogger this year but I am working on changing that for the better. The new design and domain name as well as being the new hostess of long running meme’s Musing Monday and Teaser Tuesday gave me a breath of new life for book blogging. Alas I have gotten off subject, Black Mass the book.

This book is gritty and raw and honest. Some of the things that Whitey does whether himself or by order are just beyond the pale. He tries to act like he is a good guy a king of Robin Hood for his area and for some people he is. There are many in his neighborhood who like and respect him. The bottom line is that for me in this book Whitey was not the main bad guy, the FBI was in fact the main bad guy from my point of view. I might get stoned for that comment but I truly do believe it.

The FBI wanted to put a stop to a lot of mafia crime, which is of course understandable and plenty of people remember this era and how many top bosses went down. The problem is they essentially created a monster. Whitey was no choir boy when they got to him, but he was a relatively small little thug. That was until the FBI basically gave him carte blanche to do anything he wanted so long as he gave them information. Whitey gamed the system and played the FBI and continued to say he was not a rat.

This book is riveting and it is a warts and all kind of book. I was glued to the book from cover to cover and was a little bit sad when it was over. So to make a long rambling post short, I recommend it. The only reason that I gave it four gems instead of 5 is that honestly I really wanted it to be a little longer. What can I say I am a girl who loves research and enjoyable historical real life stories.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book Review: Doctor Thorne (Chronicles of Barsetshire #3)

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

I feel a bit like a silly girl admitting this, but when I picked this book off my shelf I totally forgot that it was part of a series. The good news is you can read it as a stand alone and still enjoy the book, or at least I did. Also means I can go back and enjoy the first two books in the series, always a win when you have more time with the characters.

This is a spellbinding book that draws you in and makes you love every part about it. The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 rating is because at times it dragged a little, which can be hard when reading such a long book. Beyond that however and I personally really enjoy it. The characters are rich and full of life. You can picture yourself walking along with them as they go through the motions. Anthony Trollope made a beautiful romance that you just have to dive in and reach for yourself to truly understand it. I personally feel that I would fail at finding the right words beyond what I have said just now to properly sum up my feelings on this book. The bottom line is, I recommend it, you should read it and allow yourself to be enveloped by the book.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book review: Kiss of Fire (Imdalind #1) by Rebecca Ethington

Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn’t know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn’t want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won’t let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to.
The scar is the reason she is being hunted.

If only she knew that she was.

If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air.

Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.

I wanted to like this book, I wanted to be in love with this book. Sadly the feeling I ended up having when it came to Kiss of Fire was just kind of meh. It wasn’t a bad book and all of the right things seemed to be there, a little mystery, some tension, two star crossed kids. Alas, something really just didn’t come together for me.

One nag I had about it was Joclyn hiding her scar so much. A huge deal was made of the scar, and without giving anything of the story away I get that. However, for me it is stretching a little to far to fathom that she managed to completely and successfully hide it for so long by wearing lots of hoodies. Hey, I enjoy hoodies too, but come on.

There was also a lot of Mary sue type situations and in the end, I really can’t take too much Mary sue these days, so maybe that was what really ended up bothering me the most. I may be saying a lot of negative in this review, but overall the book was readable. It was not the best book of the year, but it wasn’t the worst either. As I started with for me it was just a bit meh. That doesn’t mean someone else won’t enjoy it more than I did, because the potential is there. Toss in Ryland who suffered so much at the hands of his own Father and the book does give you some of those emotional punches that you need.

I might even give this series another try and check out the second book of the series. If the second book picks up the pace faster, it might bring me out of the Meh zone.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book Review: Savage Season (Hap and Leonard #1) by Joe R. Lansdale

A rip-roaring, high-octane, Texas-sized thriller, featuring two friends, one vixen, a crew of washed-up radicals, loads of money, and bloody mayhem.Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are best friends, yet they couldn’t be more different. Hap is an east Texas white-boy with a weakness for Texas women. Leonard is a gay, black Vietnam vet. Together, they steer up more commotion than a fire storm. But that’s just the way they like it. So when an ex-flame of Hap’s returns promising a huge score. Hap lets Leonard in on the scam, and that’s when things get interesting. Chockfull of action and laughs, Savage Season is the masterpiece of dark suspense that introduced Hap and Leonard to the thriller scene. It hasn’t been the same since.

I became interested in Hap & Leonoard when James Purefoy signed on for the new TV series. I admit this is not usually a book I would have picked up on my own, without something to prompt me. With that said I am so glad that I did pick it up because this is a fantastic book! It is very fast paced and the things that Hap and Leonard get into, oh you can’t help but think of it as a comedy of errors sometimes. They may be best friends but they bicker like an old married couple and they really are polar opposites. I am looking forward to going forward with the series both book and TV. The book really is fantastic and gave me a lot of laughs. It filled in more details for me after watching the series, and I can appreciate that. Hap, oh all I can do with some of the things he does is shake my head his name seems to suit.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

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:

Photobucket

Book review: The Magicians (The Magicians, #1) by Lev Grossman

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined

The Magicians is a book that will make you believe in magic. I enjoyed every single page of this book from start to finish. With that said, there are some who claim this book is misogynistic and a variety of other things. It might be on some level, however if we didn’t enjoy things just because they had some characters and topics we didn’t like not likely we would get a lot of reading done. Yes there are some misogynistic characters, there is also sex, drug and crime. For me that is what made the book entertaining, interesting and what held my attention.

This is NOT an adult version of Harry Potter like some say, but it does have magic and a world that is different from ours within it’s pages. It also has a Syfy series now that has been based on it. I find the two to be fairly different, the series for me is a bit tamer. I for one enjoyed The Magicians and might even read it a second time (those who know me know what a big deal that is), but it is not going to be a book for everyone. If you want an Adult Harry Potter head on over to The Dresden files, main character is even named Harry.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Book Review: Cerulean Sins (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #11) (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #11) by Laurell K. Hamilton

A book review of:

Cerulean Sins, the eleventh entry in the hugely-popular Anita Blake series, finds everyone’s favorite vampire hunter keeping house and kicking butt.

Anita Blake is trying to get her life back to “normal” after a break-up with her werewolf lover. She has settled into a pattern of domesticity, which means that the new man in her life, the leopard shapeshifter Micah, has no problem sharing her with Jean-Claude, Master Vampire of the City. Things are as peaceful as they ever get for someone who raises the dead, when Jean-Claude receives an unexpected and unwelcome visitor: Musette, the very beautiful, very twisted representative of the European Council of Vampires. Anita soon finds herself caught up in a dangerous game of vampire power politics.

To add to her troubles, she is asked to consult on a series of brutal killings, which seem to be the work of something un-human. The investigation leads her to Cerulean Sins, a vampire-run establishment that deals in erotic videos, videos that cater to very specific tastes. Anita knows one creature of the night who has such interests — Jean-Claude’s visitor. But if Anita brings Musette down, the repercussions could cost her everything she holds dear.

Once a sworn enemy of all monsters, Anita is now the human consort of both Master Vampire Jean Claude and leopard shapeshifter Micah. When a centuries-old vampire hits St. Louis, Anita finds herself needing all the dark forces her passion can muster to save the ones she loves.

Anita Blake returns to find hell hath no fury like a vampire scorned.

Back into the world of Anita Blake and I am sadly starting to ask myself why I am still reading. It is not that the book is completely bad, it isn’t, but there is starting to be a pretty clear pattern emerging and I am left wanting to smack Anita when I am reading and when I sit down to write my book review.

We once again have an ubber strong vampire visiting from out of town, who wants to control Anita and surprise, surprise tests her knowing full well how she is going to react anyways. Anita of course pisses off super bad vampire and breaks rules, funny super bad vampire broke rules anyways. Anita sleeps with some more people, and then has a boo hoo fit over it. Also, she still won’t let the multiple boyfriends be with anyone else. Hypocrite much?

So the basic theme of this book is vampire violence and a lot of sex. I am not a prude or really one who minds violence in books, but at this point it is becoming repetitive and Anita needs to grow up. So why three stars instead of less? Asher is what saved this book for me from getting totally bombed and being a DNF, I have loved Asher since he first showed up in the series and getting to finally know a little bit more about him and his story made me feel better. I still wanted to slap Anita for not allowing Jean Claude to be with Asher since she has a billion boy toys, but Asher really has my heart at this point. So if I am reading further into the series after this book review, it will be because of him and not so much Anita. Unless we get our kicking ass and taking names girl back.

My Gemstone Rating:

Photobucket

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...