It is the spring of 1527. Henry VIII has come to Hever Castle in Kent to pay court to Anne Boleyn. He is desperate to have her. For this mirror of female perfection he will set aside his Queen and all Cardinal Wolsey’s plans for a dynastic French marriage.
Anne Boleyn is not so sure. She loathes Wolsey for breaking her betrothal to the Earl of Northumberland’s son, Harry Percy, whom she had loved. She does not welcome the King’s advances; she knows that she can never give him her heart.
But hers is an opportunist family. And whether Anne is willing or not, they will risk it all to see their daughter on the throne…~Goodreads Blurb
Too often literature focuses its attention on Anne Boleyn as a conniving woman, or as a witch who tricked the King into marriage. There are some who choose to look at her through her daughter’s eyes and see a woman who was torn away from her daughter. Her time spent in the courts of others is usually just a brief mention in order to hurry her along into the arms of Henry the Eighth. I really appreciate the way author Alison Weir has taken the time to show the path that was taken before she became the notorious Queen that we most know her as. But instead of following up with this idea of a woman doing what she had to for her family and for her own survival, it seems strange that it instead slips into a strange world where some of our prominent men are rapists,though this was never proven, and other obviously fictional and unnecessary elements were added in order to make the story more interesting.
I understand that with such a well-written subject it can become difficult to write anything new about the story, I enjoyed the story of her youth and the interesting views of some of the other strong women in her life. It only seems like Weir seems to slip into a caricature of Boleyn that seems old and outdated. This made the book a toss-up for me. On the one hand I enjoyed the new look at young Anne but when she comes of age, she becomes the villain again. It seems to be a very strange route to take. This is going to be one of those books that you will either really enjoy or won’t be able to finish. I finish them in order to be fair but I know many don’t have that requirement.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for honest feedback**
The incredible true story of the young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium and their brave struggle for justice...
As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” were considered the luckiest alive—until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America’s biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights.~ Goodreads Blurb
During a time when often female physical complaints were brushed off or made to see as less than important, these women, these radium girls were ingesting a poison that was replacing the calcium in their bones and eating them away from the inside. Author Kate Moore has really outdone herself with this book. Well researched and yet far from dry, she paints the picture of these women who trusted their employers to keep them safe and paid for that with their lives. This book is definitely one of the best nonfiction books I’ve read. It shows the 1920s not as some hedonistic last bash before the Great Depression but real people with real lives. There are a whole slew of facts and interesting bits that I really want to learn more about, and I have to give kudos to Moore for being able to give all the facts and keep it from bogging down the story line or worse bogging down the reader. I would recommend this to people who are interested in the discovery of new science and its effects on the population of the time.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for honest feedback**
When Anna Butterfield's mother dies, she's sent to live with her uncle, a silk merchant in London, to make a good match and provide for her father and sister. There, she meets Henri, a French immigrant and apprentice hoping to become a master weaver. But Henri, born into a lower class, becomes embroiled in the silk riots that break out as weavers protest for a fair wage. ~Goodreads Blurb
Often times there are little parts of history that get forgotten when people write about more exciting big picture stories. I feel as though this book might have been the author, Liz Trenow’s way of correcting that, in regards to the silk weavers’ riots. It illuminated a part of history that I had previously not taken the time to really understand. I’m not often a fan of Georgian historical fiction simply because it tends to lurch towards romantic fiction quite quickly. Another part of me finds that many authors tend to mimic Georgette Heyer and turn her work into more formula writing. Liz Trenow, while managing to write a compelling story and also filling the gaps in my catalogue of information, does slip into more of historical romance than I usually prefer. I had hoped that it would be a strong woman making her way in the world, and I was left with a pair of lovers from opposite sides of the tracks instead. It starts out a bit slow but once it gets going it is worth finishing. I would recommend this for people who enjoy non-formula Georgian historical romance.
*This eBook was provided by Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback*
Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth--but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew's soul.
There is a new darkness in the town, too--frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice's blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he's become, Alice is desperate to intervene--and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew's reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul. ~Goodreads Blurb
As much as it pains me to admit it, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea for me to go time travelling. The future might be better, though that has risks of its own. Travelling to the past on the other hand, would see me put in a madhouse or more likely accused of witchcraft. Author Beth Underdown has done a terrifyingly wonderful job of bringing a different viewpoint to the English witch hunt. Before Salem even had a chance to eat some mind altering fungus, they had begun to receive reports about Matthew Hopkins in England, the self proclaimed Witch Hunter General. This all took place during the English Civil War. Unlike the American Civil War, this war was very much over religion. The Protestant leader Cromwell and his Roundheads eventually toppled the reigning monarch and a land that had always been on the edge of all-out Protestant and Catholic war slipped into just that. Throughout all this, Matthew Hopkins was travelling over the country, interrogating those accused of witchcraft. 106. The sheer amount of women killed before Hopkins death is truly upsetting. 106, before he was stopped. Underdown then asks the question, “Was it death or something else that stopped him?”
By using a woman and a sister to look at this terrifying creature, author Beth Underdown has given her readers a more relatable voice to connect to and fear for. One has to pause several times, to wonder if there really are paranormal activities taking place or if we are seeing a manifestation of the paranoia of the time. A delicious thrill that lingers in the mind, this story only lasted me a couple of nights. I wanted to know more and more about what was happening and I think I may have to do more of my own research into this time. I had never really thought about the English Civil War in any real depth but Underdown’s latest book has definitely sparked something for me.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for honest feedback**
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman's place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister's stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren't a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn't sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.
But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother's plans for her, which threaten Maud's future — and her happiness forever.~Goodreads Blurb
Anne Shirley and I were kindred spirits growing up and when I saw that there was a new historical fiction book about her author’s life, I couldn’t pick it up fast enough. There isn’t a lot about LM Montgomery out there and probably for good reason. It seems obvious to anyone who has read about her life, that she wrote for Anne the happy life that she didn’t always get. Having read all of LMM’s books, I couldn’t help but see correlations between her and Anne’s stories. Along with that came the pangs of nostalgia and sympathy for the characters.
Author Melanie J. Fishbane could easily have played to the hearts of fans of Anne Shirley and her tales, but instead she did her research and kept the story as fresh and clear as she could. She was able to do this without babying the reader. I never felt like I was being spoonfed the story. Even without having read LMM’s books I think this would be a great read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and coming of age stories.
*This book was provided by NetGalley and Razorbill Canada in exchange for honest feedback*
What explains our current obsession with selfies? In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie's historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. He sees selfies as tools people use to disguise or present themselves as spontaneous and casual. This collaboration includes a portfolio of fifty autoportraits by the artist ADÁL; he and Stavans use them as a way to question the notion of the self and to engage with artists, celebrities, technology, identity, and politics. Provocative and engaging, I Love My Selfie will change the way readers think about this unavoidable phenomenon of twenty-first-century life. ~Goodreads Blurb
This is definitely an interesting take on Selfies and their place within our culture. Though it reads like a dissertation, and can seem overwhelming in parts, author Ilans Stavans’ skill as a writer comes through and seeks to illuminate what he sees as the role of selfies, not only in the present world but beyond that. I enjoyed the ability of someone in an educational field to not just simplify the selfie-drive as pure vanity or hubris. Too often media tells the public that to take a selfie is to proclaim yourself better than the world, instead of the view that I took from Stavans’ book, that we are simply capture what we would like our life to look like.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Duke University Press Books in exchange for honest feedback*
Investigative team Blake and Avery find themselves entangled in a case involving political conflicts, personal vendettas, and England s first celebrity chef.
London, 1842. Captain William Avery is persuaded to investigate a mysterious and horrible death at the Reform, London s newest and grandest gentleman s club a death the club is desperate to hush up. What he soon discovers is a web of rivalries and hatreds, both personal and political, simmering behind the club s handsome facade. At the center is its resident genius, Alexis Soyer, the Napoleon of food, a chef whose culinary brilliance is matched only by his talent for self-publicity.
But Avery is distracted, for where is his mentor and partner in crime Jeremiah Blake? And what if this first death is only a dress rehearsal for something far more sinister?
Drawn in by the cover and held in by the writing, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was in fact the third in a series. Though the first book seems to have been set in India, this one is held in Victorian-ish London and I really enjoyed it. It stood very well on the strength of its own writing and was able to get away with the few leaning bits that it did have. As someone who loves a good food story and a decent mystery, I found M.J. Carter’s book a great thrill. There are a few characters that I really didn’t connect to and I believe that may be do to my lack of previous knowledge rather than a blight on Carter’s writing.
That all being said and I must say I did enjoy the story once I was able to immerse myself, I have to admit that I found that there was quite a lot of detail that I didn’t need. It reminded me of Dickens and some of the other authors of that time period who were being paid by the word. I understand that the author must have put considerable amounts of research into her story and it seemed as if she pushed all of it into this story. I love finding out little bits and things the author has come across in their research but I think there were definitely times when I could have used less in order to speed things along. I’m looking forward to going back and adding the first two of the series to my TBR list, and would recommend this to fans of the genre and Carter’s following.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam in exchange for honest feedback*
In 2061, a young scientist invents a time machine to fix a tragedy in his past. But his good intentions turn catastrophic when an early test reveals something unexpected: the end of the world.
A desperate plan is formed. Recruit three heroes, ordinary humans capable of extraordinary things, and change the future.
Safa Patel is an elite police officer, on duty when Downing Street comes under terrorist attack. As armed men storm through the breach, she dispatches them all.
'Mad' Harry Madden is a legend of the Second World War. Not only did he complete an impossible mission—to plant charges on a heavily defended submarine base—but he also escaped with his life.
Ben Ryder is just an insurance investigator. But as a young man he witnessed a gang assaulting a woman and her child. He went to their rescue, and killed all five.
Can these three heroes, extracted from their timelines at the point of death, save the world?~Goodreads Blurb
With great promise, comes great responsibility. Well, not really but it can’t hurt to put a bit of pressure on an author. A book of this size has a promise of some world building and to have a lot going on. Instead readers are given some back story, and then pages upon pages about one character’s depression. While I would expect there to be some underlying trauma from finding out you’re dead and have to move on, the “woe is me” attitude wore thin very quickly. Honestly, Safa had more reason to break than Ben Ryder. I expected this story to be about these three great heroes making a difference, even after death. I would almost recommend a name change to “Ben Ryder: I’m Not a Soldier.”
Coupling the highlighting of Ben ryder’s character with Safa’s character makeup, annoyed me to no-end. She is described as the perfect woman, and in almost every instance men are drawn to her. She gets taken advantage of by her boss, and then in a matter of weeks, the author has her trying to seduce a guy better. Harry, a man extracted from the furthest point, could easily have been replaced by a robot sidekick for all the real growth the character has. No one has the training to be able to automatically adjust to moving years into the future or the past. It had the potential to be a great book but unless something drastically improves the next one, I don’t think this will be a series to promote.
*This eBook was provided by NetGalley and 47North in exchange for honest feedback*
Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city’s Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are “fallen” women—unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is sixteen-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.
Teagan soon befriends Nora Craven, a new arrival who thought nothing could be worse than living in a squalid tenement flat. Stripped of their freedom and dignity, the girls are given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, who has secrets of her own, inflicts cruel, dehumanizing punishments—but always in the name of love. Finally, Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, who helps them endure—and plot an escape. But as they will discover, the outside world has dangers too, especially for young women with soiled reputations.~Goodreads Blurb
There will always be people who will use their authority over people and their faith to take advantage. In every religion there are bad people. Rarely has it on par with the Catholic Church and the Magdalen Laundries. Following the interest sparked by the film “Philomena” and similar documentaries, author V.S Alexander has attempted to bring some more understanding through historical fiction. Giving us three young girls to see their world through, we watch as they adapt and try to hold on to their sense of self in a religious prison that will do all it can to save their souls, whether they need saving or not.
Of course with a tough subject as religion and the trust given to authorities of faith, there were bound to be moments that rubbed the wrong way. The idea that the blame falls on the girl for tempting a priest instead of berating the priest for having impure thoughts, causes me to grind my teeth. Many of these girls, historically, were sent to the laundries for many different reasons. Some were seen as fallen women, while others had nowhere else to go and no one who really wanted them. It is not a system to which I have ever understood, nor would I survive in such a place. One of the few things that I found difficult about these book is the story line of Sister Anne. A fiendish woman who enjoys the release pain grants her and enjoys inflicting pain on others under the guise of saving them. There were far too many pages wasted on trying to redeem her in the eyes of the readers. She did not need to be given a redemption arc. I also felt that parts of the story were tempered down in order to not upset readers. It seems a very open-shut view of a very complex problem. I would offer this up as a light read about a very serious subject, almost on a young adult level.
Miranda is a lonely child. For as long as she can remember, she and her father have lived in isolation in the abandoned Moorish palace. There are chickens and goats, and a terrible wailing spirit trapped in a pine tree, but the elusive wild boy who spies on her from the crumbling walls and leaves gifts on their doorstep is the isle’s only other human inhabitant. There are other memories, too: vague, dream-like memories of another time and another place. There are questions that Miranda dare not ask her stern and controlling father, who guards his secrets with zealous care: Who am I? Where did I come from? The wild boy Caliban is a lonely child, too; an orphan left to fend for himself at an early age, all language lost to him. When Caliban is summoned and bound into captivity by Miranda’s father as part of a grand experiment, he rages against his confinement; and yet he hungers for kindness and love.~Goodreads Blurb
If you were expecting a retelling similar in style to Margaret Atwood’s “Hagseed” this isn’t what you’re looking for. “Miranda and Caliban” is to “The Tempest” as “Wide Sargasso Sea” is to “Jane Eyre.” Just as WSS became a classic, my hope is that MaC is taken in by a wider audience. Instead of focusing on Prospero, author Jacqueline Carey has focused on predominantly two of the side characters. If you have any knowledge about the play it’s based on then you know where these characters will end up, but for a short time you are able to lose yourself in Carey’s excellent character development. Instead of the trope characters Shakespeare gave us, Carey has dug into their character development and fleshed out a backstory I think Billy Shakes would be proud of. (If my Shakespeare Literature professor is reading this, me and Billy go way back so I don’t feel bad about using an informal nickname.) With only so much to work with, Carey has bridged the gap between the exile and escape of Miranda and Prospero in a way that I think very few authors could. The writing is very in keeping with the source material and the sheer amount of character growth that she was able to work in, is breathtaking. Fair to say I really enjoyed having my views turned over.
This is a great read for people who enjoy YA books that don’t promise a happy ending. I would even encourage people who are planning to start reading “The Tempest” to give this a go if only to have a clearer view of the characters. With all Billy’s plays, it better to watch them while reading them, in order to understand what’s going on. For “The Tempest” I would whole heartedly push you towards Helen Mirren’s Prospero.
**This eBook was provided by NetGalley and Tor Books in exchange for honest feedback**
Jacqueline Carey (born 1964 in Highland Park, Illinois) is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.
She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore as part of a work exchange program. While there, she decided to write professionally. After returning she started her writing career while working at the art center of a local college. After ten years, she discovered success with the publication of her first book in 2001.
Currently, Carey lives in western Michigan and is a member of the oldest Mardi Gras krewe in the state.