Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen (Fallen 1) by Lauren Kate

Seventeen-Year-Old Luce is a new student at Sword & Cross, an unwelcoming boarding/reform school in Savannah, Georgia. Luce’s boyfriend died under suspicious circumstances, and now she carries the guilt over his death with her as she navigates the unfriendly halls at Sword & Cross, where every student seems to have an unpleasant—even evil—history. It’s only when she sees Daniel that her life looks a little better. But Daniel has a secret which will put their lives in danger… (Goodreads)

Luce was in a fire where her boyfriend died and she gets shipped to a new school for troubled kids. On her first day there Luce sees Daniel and she gets the feeling they’ve met before but he makes it clear he doesn’t want anything to do with her. And then there’s this other guy who wants her…

I really wanted to like this more. I mean with this gorgeous cover you would hope the book lives up to it. And it made me sad that it didn’t and kept waiting it to get better which never happened.

Luce was ok but when she was near Daniel or Cam I just wanted to slap her.I mean I get she’s swooning for them but really… With back cover saying it’s the “ultimate love story” I was expecting some sparks. But I didn’t feel anything between Luce and Daniel. He spends nearly whole book running away from her and telling he doesn’t want her stalking and harassing him. He made it so clear and yet she she can’t let it go and goes into stalker mode. If I was being mean I’d called that pathetic. I couldn’t feel anything between them.

And then there’s Cam who’s supposed to be this charming, popular guy and of course he seems to know always how Luce feels and what she wants. They just gave me the creeps. Plain and clear. He gave me the feeling that he was 50+ old slimey guy after teenager. But maybe that’s just me.

And there wan’t lot going on. I kept waiting something to happen and when we learn about flallen angels I thought finally! But that didn’t really go anywhere and all we hear is that Luce can’t hear everything at once because it’s such a shock. Really?! At the ned there is a battle but we don’t see it so it kinda fell flat too.

Of course the school is supposed to be highly secured place where some wearstracking bracelets but still people just seems to sneak around when they feel like it.

In the end I felt there was too much telling and too little showing. But I’m saying again that I loved the cover.

Published: Doubleday (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 452
Source: my own

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm 1) by Kristin Cashore

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king… (Goodreads)

When Katsa was 8 year old she accidently kills her cousin and she learns that she has the Grace of killing. Her uncle King Randa uses her to punish everyone who displeases him and Katsa learns to hate him for this. Katsa organizes a Council that tries to help people and it is the Coucil’s job to rescue the King of Lienid’s father whe he’s kidnapped. While on the rescue Katsa meets another Graceling with matching fighting skill who turns out to be Prince Po of Lienid and looking for his missing grandfather.

I have some mixed feelings about this one. I enjoyed it but I’m still having problems writing my feelings about it.

I liked Katsa, she was tough and nice but I felt that I was supposed to be more scared of her than I was. And at times she was more childish than 10 year old Bitterblue who acts much older than her age. And if you can’t feel pain then why make such a huge thing about hairpins digging into scalp?

But I liked Po (what kind of name is that?) and Raffin. Po was so cute and fun and loved the way he understood Katsa.

It wasn’t bad and I liked it but guess I was again expecting something more. I have Fire also so I’m curious to see how that one goes.

Published: Gollancz (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 371
Source: my own

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands.  But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him. (publisher)

Luis de Santángel is chancellor to King Fernando (Ferdinand) of Aragon but he is also a third generation Christian, converso, but when the Spanish Inquisition starts in full force it’s not safe to have Jewish connections. At the same time Luis grows curious about his Jewish heritage and starts to see theologian in secret but soon catches the eyes of inquisitor and soon finds out that he or his family isn’t safe.

We also hear the story of Judith, a Jewish silversmith, who catches Luis’ eyes. Luis falls in love with her but is he willing to give up everything for her?

I’m not very familiar with Spanish Inquisition or Jewish religion and the little I know about Inquisition comes from reading Katherine of Aragon’s childhood. It is not a pleasant subject giving the worst example of humanity but it’s fascinating in a horrible way.

By Fire, By Water is certainly very thought provoking and well researched. While the books has lot of religious themes and has theological discussions it manages to not sound preachy.

It’s not action packed but gives one man’s journey while trying to find who he is and remaining true to himself.

The only minor problem I had was with the time. I wish it would have been stated better how much time had went on or mentioned on what year was going on.

What a great debut from Kaplan! I truly enjoyed this and couldn’t put it down.Can’t wait to read more from this author!

Published: Other Press (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 284
Source: from author for review

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush 1) by Becca Fitzpatrick


Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life. (Goodreads)

Nora Grey’s life changes when she gets new lab partner, Patch. She can’t stand him and at the same time is afraid of him. Her suggestion of a new partner is turned down and eventually she starts have major crush on him. But then stuff starts to happen and it seems Patch might be behind them.

There was some hype about this some time ago and witch such a great cover I just had to try it too. And I’m little surprised how much I liked this! Not great and had it’s falts but I did enjoy it.

Wasn’t huge fan of Nora herself. Bit boring and too naive, or should I say too teen? After she nearly runs ove a guy, her house is burned, nearly shot to death etc. absolutely never tell your parents, police or any adult because that would be stupid. Instead go to this huge investigating mode and speaking of that, the bar scene with wigs and all was so stupid. Seriously, when you are trying to find out about a guy you think is behind trying to kill you maybe your questions shouldn’t be:

“Do you know if Patch has ever had any restraining orders?
Does he have a history of stalking?
Does he have a girlfriend?”

But of course she can’t help but be in love with this mysterious guy! Whatever…

I found this kinda hilarious. When she sees Patch’s scars her first though is: “He must be fallen angel!” Seriously?? That’s your first thought? I have to remember this when I next time see someone with scars…
And naturally when she googles fallen angel the first page up is what se needs. Why this never happens to me?

But I liked Patch. I thought he was funny and I liked his sense of humor. I liked the idea of fallen angel and I wanted to learn more of his background.

For YA novel with such hype this was really good since I don’t usually like those. And good enough for me to read the next book.

Published: Simon and Schuster (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 391
Source: my own

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments 1) by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . (Goodreads)

Clary finds out she has ability to see people no one else can: demons, Shadowhunters, vampires and the like. This comes in handy when her mother is kidnapped and Clary is attacked by a demon. She gets help from 3 Shadowhunters (Jace, Alec, Isabelle) whom she meets when she saw them killing someone.

I’m having little mixed feelings about this one. I liked it but I’ve heard so much raving about this that I was waiting something more. It started kinda slow and I kept waiting something to happen but it got better in action wise towards the end. But it seems I’m the only one thinking that so don’t listen me…

Surprisingly there wasn’t any annoying characters even if Simon was boring but wasn’t huge fan of the triangle between Simon, Clary and Jace. And I wish there had been more Alec! And how could you not like Jace?

All in all it was good book if not great and I’ll definitely read the next one.

Published: Walker Books (2007)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 442
Source: library

The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans

The Innocent (War of the Roses 1) by Posie Graeme-Evans

The year is 1450, a dangerous time in medieval Britain. Civil unrest is at its peak and the legitimacy of the royal family is suspect. Meanwhile, deep in the forests of western England, a baby is born. Powerful forces plot to kill both mother and child, but somehow the newborn girl survives. Her name is Anne.

Fifteen years later, England emerges into a fragile but hopeful new age, with the charismatic young King Edward IV on the throne. Anne, now a young peasant girl, joins the household of a wealthy London merchant. Her unusual beauty provokes jealousy, lust, and intrigue, but Anne has a special quality that saves her: a vast knowledge of healing herbs. News of her extraordinary gift spreads, and she is called upon to save the ailing queen. Soon after, Anne is moved into the palace, where she finds her destiny with the man who will become the greatest love of her life — the king himself. (Goodreads)

15 year old Anne is being taken by her foster mother to work as a servant in merchant’s house. She has good knowledge of herbs and after Anne saves the merchant’s wife, her knowledge brings her to the attention of the court’s doctor.The doctor brings Anne to court to help the queen giving birth to their first child. While being there she attracts the king’s eye and discovers the truth about her parents.

Oh boy, where am I gonna start? First of all, if you’re gonna read this for historical accurancy, don’t bother.

My first problem is with Anne. She is just too perfect. Every man falls for her, even the king who is known for his many fleeting affairs just falls in love with after few glances. Of course she can heal better than the doctors, evade the merchant’s son who loves to spend his time raping the servant girls, staying annoyingly innocent and being nice to everyone.

In the beginning of the book the merchan’t son, Piers, has some rather gross sex scenes with this girl which I could have lived unknowing. And we also learn that Edward IV finds watching other people having sex erotic and appearantly so does Anne after peeking from the door where Hastings is with some laundress *insert eye roll here*

And the truth about her parents? Her father is none other than Henry VI. Because he’s known to be chasing girls between praying and his bouts of madness… And it’s rather understandable that after Margaret finds out the girl is pregnant she tries to assasinate her. This whole thing was little too much on the melodramatic side for my liking.

And after Anne finds out about her father, she rather instantly finds maturity and kind of a royal bearing. And after months of evading Edward she jumps to his bed after finding who she is. Because it’s much more logical doing adultery when you are royal bastard than a mere servant…
And why illegitimate daughter might be such a big threat to Edward is totally beyond me.

But I liked William Hastings. And I think that’s the first time so there was at least one thing I liked.

Published: Hodder (2005)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
Source: my own

India Black by Carol K. Carr

India Black (Madam of Espionage Mysteries 1) by Carol K. Carr

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator. (Goodreads)

India Black is owner of a brothel named Lotus House and her life is disrupted when a regular customer is found dead in her establishment. Thinking that the death will be bad for business and she decides to dispose the body. She gets help from a street kid named Vincent but they are caught by an English spy named French. India learns that the dead was high-ranking government official and was carrying important papers. Goverment thinks she will be useful to getting the papers back so India and French starts hunting down the Russians.

This was so much fun and loved this so much! Despite the heroine being a brothel owner there is no sex scenes and very little time is spent in there anyway. I’m not usually huge fan of first person narrative but it worked well on here and loved seeing what she thinks. India is funny and strong woman who has blunt honesty, is down to earth and isn’t ashamed of who she is.

Some of the politics went over my head but since it doesn’t concern India that closely it didn’t really matter. There isn’t much background being told so both India and French stays a little mystery and I would have loved to learn more about French.

This was such amazing read and laughed out loud many times! Great debut from Carr!

Published: Berkley (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 296
Source: from author for review

The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy

The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy

Shy, plain Lady Jane Parker feels out of place in Henry VIII’s courtly world of glamour and intrigue–until she meets the handsome George Boleyn. Overjoyed when her father arranges their marriage, her joy is abruptly cut short when she meets Anne…

George Boleyn is completely devoted to his sister; and as Anne’s circle of admirers grows, so does Jane’s resentment.

Becoming Henry’s queen makes Anne the most powerful woman in England; but it also makes her vulnerable, as the King is desperate for an heir. When he begins to tire of his mercurial wife, the stage is set for the ultimate betrayal. (Goodreads)

One day Jane get lost in court and gallant young man comes to rescue and escorts her to her rooms. She finds out his name is George Boleyn and she just can’t get him out of her mind. Jane convinces her father to start marriage negotiations but her father has doubts about the whole thing. But Jane is sure after she and George are married he will fall in love with her and be attentive and caring husband. After the marriage Jane realizes George wants absolutely nothing to do with her. But Jane refuses to accept the situation and soon finds the reason why her husband doesn’t love her, George’s sister Anne.

Wow, that was an interesting book. And not in a good way. When Jane meets George for the first time she instantly falls in love.

“My eyes were so dazzled by the sight of him I almost raised my hand to shield them, but to be deprived of the radiant sight of him would have been unbearable. A god in yellow satin, he was indeed the sun that lit up my life.” pg.16

That pretty much sums up the whole book. I just wanted to strangle the woman! Of course it’s because of his fiends, sister or whatever that he can’t love her, because there can’t possible be anything wrong with her can there? She seemed always to be there when something happened and those keyholes must have been huge and walls paper thin.

The sex scenes wasn’t as graphic as I feared but not good either. The whole masque thing with Anne as Salome and Henry Norris in a loin cloth was one thing but I really didn’t need that Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard scene with pot of honey, even if it was behind curtains. And Derham’s and Kat’s first meeting after Derham came to court with Derham licking juices of his fingers was just bad… And then this:

“To watch you, my darling wife, and to know that you want me, deny it though you will, as much as I want you; and that between your thighs your Little Kitten is hot and dripping wet with lust for me.” pg. 386

Aww how romantic. NOT. Just eeww!

The only characters I liked were George and Francis Weston. Have I mentioned I have soft spot for George? Well I do.

I was curious about Purdy’s book on Piers Gaveston but after this I’m so not going there!

Published: HarperCollins (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 418
Source: my own

The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou by Susan Higginbotham

The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou by Susan Higginbotham

A man other than my husband sits on England’s throne today.

What would happen if this king suddenly went mad? What would his queen do? Would she make the same mistakes I did, or would she learn from mine?

Margaret of Anjou, queen of England, cannot give up on her husband-even when he slips into insanity. And as mother to the House of Lancaster’s last hope, she cannot give up on her son-even when England turns against them. This gripping tale of a queen forced to stand strong in the face of overwhelming odds is at its heart a tender tale of love. (Goodreads)

Margaret of Anjou is married to Henry VI with hopes of making peace between England and France. But Margaret won’t find her life easy in England; the peace doesn’t succeed, people won’t trust her because she’s French and her being unable to produce heir doesn’t help. When she finally gives birth to a boy after 8 years, rumours starts guessing who the father really is. Then there is Richard, Duke of York, who believes that he has stronger claim to the throne and when Henry goes mad, he believes he’s the right man for the job.

I have to say that I wasn’t fan of the multiple POV’s at first but I grew used to it. I loved Hal’s and Edward’s povs the best.. We see rather innocent and frightened Margaret to grow to a strong woman but she seemed little too goody at times. Some faults wouldn’t have hurted. But I loved how Edward was portrayed. He was quite adorable and not just blood-thirsty brat. And got some laughs over Anne and Edward, she was such a tactful woman!

Margaret and the mices was hilarious! And for the first time I could keep the dukes of Somerset in order! I always confuse those guys…

I really enjoyed the book and it was great to read from Lancastrian point of view for change.

Published: Sourcebooks Landmark (2011)
Format: ARC
Pages: 345
Source: publisher

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

The truth is, none of us are innocent. We all have sins to confess.

So reveals Catherine de Medici in this brilliantly imagined novel about one of history’s most powerful and controversial women. To some she was the ruthless queen who led France into an era of savage violence. To others she was the passionate savior of the French monarchy. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter into the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protect her family’s throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power.

The last legitimate descendant of the illustrious Medici line, Catherine suffers the expulsion of her family from her native Florence and narrowly escapes death at the hands of an enraged mob. While still a teenager, she is betrothed to Henri, son of François I of France, and sent from Italy to an unfamiliar realm where she is overshadowed and humiliated by her husband’s lifelong mistress. Ever resilient, Catherine strives to create a role for herself through her patronage of the famous clairvoyant Nostradamus and her own innate gift as a seer. But in her fortieth year, Catherine is widowed, left alone with six young children as regent of a kingdom torn apart by religious discord and the ambitions of a treacherous nobility.

Relying on her tenacity, wit, and uncanny gift for compromise, Catherine seizes power, intent on securing the throne for her sons. She allies herself with the enigmatic Protestant leader Coligny, with whom she shares an intimate secret, and implacably carves a path toward peace, unaware that her own dark fate looms before her—a fate that, if she is to save France, will demand the sacrifice of her ideals, her reputation, and the passion of her embattled heart.

From the fairy-tale châteaux of the Loire Valley to the battlefields of the wars of religion to the mob-filled streets of Paris, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is the extraordinary untold journey of one of the most maligned and misunderstood women ever to be queen. (Goodreads)

I absolutely loved The Last Queen when I read it and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed with this either!

Catherine de Medici is leaving Italy to marry Henry, second son of French King François I. But Henri is on love with his older mistress Diane de Poitiers and doesn’t seem to care about Catherine at all. She feels lonely but she does befriend the king. Things gets better after years of waiting she delivers a boy. But it’s only after Henri’s death she becomes to her power.

She fights hard to secure the crown for her son(s) and keeping the dynasty alive. We see her growing from naive girl to powerful woman with capacity for compassion and understanding. And who also knows how to make people fear.

I loved how Gortner describes St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and how Catherine is involved with it. And how the things got to that point.

I love how Gortner is able to humanize Catherine and to show there were reasons to what she did. She made mistakes but she tried to do her best. And it wasn’t easy juggling between Catholics and the Huguenots.

The only quibble I had was that I’d liked to have something on the author’s note about Catherine and Coligny. But that was the only thing.

I just loved this book and can’t wait to read more from him!

Published: Ballantine Books (2010)
Format: ARC
Pages: 397
Source: won at a giveaway