Age of Iron by Angus Watson

age of ironAge of Iron (Iron Age 1) by Angus Watson

LEGENDS AREN’T BORN. THEY’RE FORGED.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar’s army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar’s most fearsome warriors, who’s vowed revenge on the king for her sister’s execution.

Now Dug’s on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that’s going to get them all killed . . .

It’s a glorious day to die. (Goodreads)

I really wanted to love this but I didn’t. I like fantasy and I like history so this should be perfect book for me, right?
I think the biggest problem was that I thought this was a fantasy book. But it was in Britain, Romans are coming and Germany was also mentioned. Just because you add pagan gods and add few druids and their magic doesn’t make it proper fantasy book for me. If I think it as a historical book then the too modern language would bother me. At some point I wanted to start counting how many times shagging was mentioned but that would have meant too much commitment.

I didn’t mind the blood, gore or mentions of rape but that could be a problem for someone. I’m pretty sure that every time new female character was introduced we’re told how her face, hair, boobs and ass looks. And it got tiresome after awhile.

Aithne was big-boned, big-arsed, busty and tall with hair the colour of piss-soaked stable straw, while Lowa was average height, slender, with hair so blonde it was almost white. Admittedly she was on the stocky side of slender. Riding and archery had built muscle, and a keen observer would have seen that her right shoulder and arm were bigger than her left from drawing the longbow, but she was slim-waisted and supple, with a bottom that lobbed slingstones would have bounced off. Aithne had the small-featured, freckled face of a milkmaid. Lowa had the pale skin and high cheekbones of a fairy princess. Aithne had dark, bovine eyes with long, heavy lashes. Lowa’s eyes were blue, pale-lashed and slanted like a wildcat’s. Aithne was gregarious while Lowa watched from the edges. Aithne was confused and idealistic where Lowa was logical and pragmatic. Aithne was a glutton for food and booze, often to be found vomiting before bed, while Lowa never overate and had never been sick after drinking. Aithne was two years older, but Lowa had been the leader as long as she could remember. (pg.53)

I couldn’t care less about the characters and I was so bored that I had to force myself to open the book. The writing wasn’t bad but unfortunately that’s not enough to make this good. But I liked that there is strong women who went to battles, and fought well, so that is a bonus and earned higher rating.

This definitely wasn’t for me but everyone else seems to love this so don’t take my word for this.

2/5

Published: Orbit (2014)
Format: paperback
Pages: 523
Source: my own

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

Sea WitchSea Witch (Sea Witch Voyages 1) by Helen Hollick

The time: the golden age of piracy – 1716

The Place: the Pirate Round – from South Africa to the Islands of the Caribbean

At 15 Jesamiah Acorne escapes the bullying of his elder half brother to become a pirate with only two loves – the sea and his freedom. But his life is to change after an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa when he meets the mysterious Tiola Oldstagh, an insignificant girl – or so he assumes until he discovers her true identity, that of a white witch. Tiola and Jesamiah becomes lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten also wants Tiola as his wife. Meanwhile, Jesamiah’s half-brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past.

When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship, the Sea Witch, is put in Jesamiah’s path he must choose between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both… but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.

Tiola must use her gift of Craft to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural presence of Tethys, the goddess of the sea, who will stop at nothing to claim the soul of Jesamiah Acorne for herself. (publisher)

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about pirates so this was interesting. I’ve liked the pirate movies I’ve seen though. Erroll Flynn, people!

I was curious to see how Hollick will show the pirates because I liked her King Arthur books and Arthur wasn’t all nice guy. We get realistic picture of pirate life, there’s murder, whores and lot of rum but Jesamiah is still very likeable guy. Who doesn’t love a man with troubling past? We also meet Jesamiah’s half-brother who is total asshole and while he didn’t have happy childhood either, he’s still an asshole.

Our heroine is Tiola, who also happens to be a witch, carries her own secrets about her past. She first sees Jesamiah when she is quite young and has a crush on him ever since but I liked that when they meet again, despite her crush she holds on to her morals and doesn’t blindly follow Jesamiah and his pirate ways.

The only thing I wasn’t huge fan was the mystical element; Tiola’s craft and especially Tethys. I’m not fan in general mixing magic and historical fiction so that’s not a surprise. It didn’t ruin the book or anything but I could have lived without it.

This was fun and enjoyable read and I learned a lot about ships and what everything is called.

4/5

Published: SilverWood Books (2011)
Format: eBook
Pages: 314
Source: Author

The Blood of The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

Powell_Knight_Cover_Template_UK.inddThe Blood of The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

A triumphant sequel to Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight. A desperate king trusts a lone knight to unravel a web of murder.

England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

I haven’t read the first book and while this works as stand-alone, I wish I had read the previous book. I think there’s lot more to Benedict and Theodosia’s tale than we learn here.

While Henry’s relationship with Rosamund isn’t new to me it was still interesting to read. For me Rosamund’s portrayal was nice change from what I’ve usually read about her. Which is logical considering that Henry was quite older than she… Geoffrey was also very interesting because most times he’s very minor character and I liked reading more about him.

I liked the relationship between Benedict and Theodosia; they’re very loyal and committed to each other. I really wish I had read the first book because I’m curious to know how they met.

I’m very bad with mysteries but I did not see who the villain was. I was so sure I knew who it was but I was totally wrong!

I loved this book and I have to read the first book soon!

4,5/5

Published: Thomas & Mercer (2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 368
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

04_The Blood of the Fifth Knight_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

You can check the tour schedule here

About the author

E.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller THE FIFTH KNIGHT which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State) she now lives in the north west of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is a reviewer of fiction and non-fiction for the HNS. Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Mailbox Monday (26.1.)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

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Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper (bookmooch)
The Three Edwards by Thomas B. Costain (bookmooch)
Love Letters Of Henry VIII To Anne Boleyn (bookmooch)
Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors by Chris Skidmore (purchased)
Age of Iron by Angus Watson (purchased)
Knife-Sworn by Mazarkis Williams (purchased)
All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein (bookmooch)
Elizabeth of York by Arlene Naylor Okerlund (bought)

Mailbox Monday (18.1)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

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Isabel The Fair by Margaret Campbell Barnes (bought)
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (bought)
Täältä Pohjoiseen – Sentencedin Tarina by Matti Riekki (bought)
The Canmores: Kings & Queens of the Scots 1040-1290 by Richard Oram (bought)
Judgement of the Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt by Joyce A. Tyldesley (bought)

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

the-book-of-life

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy 3) by Deborah Harkness

After traveling through time to Tudor London, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont are now back in the present to face new crises and old enemies.

At Matthew’s ancestral home in France they reunite with their families – with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago. (back cover)

I don’t really know what to say… I really loved this series and I’m sad that it ends here.

Diana and Matthew are back in the present from Tudor time and Diana is pregnant with twins. Matthew is still trying to find a way to cure blood rage.

All that lab work and DNA thing went way over my head again, but it was still fascinating stuff. And the nerd in me really loves that they’re historian and scientist so we get along with their researching,

Diana finally grows into her magic here and is less afraid to use it. Thankfully while being pregnant she’s still doing stuff so her chapters are never boring.

We meet new and old characters and I really loved Fernando and Gallowglass. Okay, maybe I had little crush on him… I would have liked to know what happens to him in the end because that was left open.

The bad guy of the book is Matthew’s son Benjamin who also has blood rage. Now who wouldn’t like a villain who kills, tortures and rapes to get his vengeance? He was crazy enough to be a perfect villain.

4/5

Published: Headline (2014)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 580
Source: library

Oracles of Delphi by Marie Savage

9780989207935-Perfect.inddOracles of Delphi by Marie Savage

All Althaia wants on her trip to Delphi is to fulfill her father’s last wish. Finding the body of a woman in the Sacred Precinct is not in her plans. Neither is getting involved in the search for the killer, falling for the son of a famous priestess, or getting pulled into the ancient struggle for control of the two most powerful oracles in the world. But that’s what happens when Theron, Althaia’s tutor and a man with a reputation for finding the truth, is asked to investigate. When a priest hints that Theron himself may be involved, Althaia is certain the old man is crazy — until Nikos, son of a famous priestess, arrives with an urgent message. Theron’s past, greedy priests, paranoid priestesses, prophecies, and stolen treasures complicate the investigation, and as Althaia falls for Nikos, whose dangerous secrets hold the key to the young woman’s death, she discovers that love often comes at a high price and that the true meaning of family is more than a bond of blood.

I have to confess I hadn’t heard about the Oracle of Delphi before this and I realized how little I actually know about ancient Greece.

Althaia is a privileged young woman from Athens but thanks to her lenient and loving father she’s had more rights than most women. She has knowledge to perform an autopias on a dead body, which becomes handy when a dead woman is found.

I liked Althaia, Theron and her two slaves. Praxis was almost like a brother to her even though he was a slave and it was nice to see their close relationship. Althaia was very likeable character: strong, compassionate and quite outspoken for that time. We get another perspective of her from the point of view of Nepthys, her personal slave.
Little by little we learn more about their past and how they became to each other’s lives.

I loved reading about the Oracles of Delphi because there the women could have power and be quite independent since women didn’t have much rights in Ancient Greece. And many of the women were born peasants and they could still be powerful.

3,5/5

Published: Blank Slate Press (2014)
Format: eBook
Pages: 324
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

04_Oracles of Delphi_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL You can check the tour schedule here

About the author

Marie Savage is the pen name of Kristina Marie Blank Makansi who always wanted to be a Savage (her grandmother’s maiden name) rather than a Blank. She is co-founder and publisher of Blank Slate Press, an award-winning small press in St. Louis, and founder of Treehouse Author Services. Books she has published and/or edited have been recognized by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), the Beverly Hills Book Awards, the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction, the British Kitchie awards, and others. She serves on the board of the Missouri Center for the Book and the Missouri Writers Guild. Along with her two daughters, she has authored The Sowing and The Reaping (Oct. 2014), the first two books of a young adult, science fiction trilogy. Oracles of Delphi, is her first solo novel.

For more information visit Kristina Makansi’s website and the Blank Slate Press website. You can also follow Krisina Makansi and Blank Slate Press on Twitter.

2014 End of Year Book Survey

survey_14

Yearly End of the Year survey hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

survey_142

Number Of Books You Read: 69 (DNF 4)
Number of Re-Reads: 1

survey143

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
I couldn’t decide so I’ll say these two: Shadows And Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick and The Gathering Storm by Brandon Sanderson (Robert Jordan)

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Hmm… I’ll say A Triple Knot by Emma Campion.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
In a good way: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. It’s YA book with vampires and I was surprised how much I liked it.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
I don’t think I “pushed” anything…

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
Series: I didn’t really started any series this year so I’ll say The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. I think    that’s the only one I started.

Sequel: India Black and the Widow of Windsor by Carol K. Carr

Ender: Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Elizabeth Fremantle

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I don’t read much historical mysteries so I’ll go with The Winter Siege by D.W. Bradbridge

8. Most unputdownable book of the year?
This was really hard but I’ll say Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I re-read (too) rarely so probably nothing.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014? sonata
This was quite boring year cover wise but I liked the cover of Sonata Arctica by Marko J. Ollila.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Either Jorg Ancrath from The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence or Brunin FitzWarin from Shadows And Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick. For very different reasons though…

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
hmm… I have to think about this…

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity by David Kirby

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I’ve meant to read it for years and finally did it.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
Many but can’t remember any right know.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Not counting short stories etc.
Shortest: Richard the Lionheart by Tracy Kauffman (124 pages)
Longest: The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson (784 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Gah I don’t know… Let’s go with character death in A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
don’t really know what that means…

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
oh dear, I’ll say Allie and Jackal from Blood of Eden

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Shadows And Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure
I guess Everneath by Brodi Ashton. Lot of people were raving about it when it came out but didn’t work for me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Brunin FitzWarin from Shadows And Strongholds

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
I don’t think I read any debuts this year.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I don’t know… The Gathering Storm?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Sonata Arctica by Marko J. Ollila

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
Anne Frank Remembered: The Story Of The Woman Who Helped To Hide The Frank Family by Miep Gies

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Sekhmet Bed by Lavender Ironside