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

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen (The Cousins’ War 2) by Philippa Gregory

The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty. (Goodreads)

Margaret Beaufort wants to devote her life to church but is instead maried off to Edmund Tudor when she is 12. He dies soon after that but manages to get her pregnant before that. After her son Henry is born, Margaret devotes her life to get him on the throne.

I don’t think I’ve ever hated any character so much as I hated Margaret! By page 60 I just wanted to stab her. She think she is England’s Joan of Arc ans is here to deliver England from the Yorkist. I got it, she’s pious person and loves to spend time in praying. I don’t need to be reminded of it on every page. And what up with Margaret and her “saint’s knees”? I read that way many times.

I think the book suffer from first person narrative. Margaret spends most of her time in the countryside and much of the happenings must be told in letters. I

All in all I enjoyed The White Queen more than this. I just couldn’t stand Margaret and it took a lot from the reading.

Published: Simon & Schuster UK (2010)
Format: Hardback
Pages: 432
Source: library

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls 2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Grace and Sam must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping dangerous secrets. For Sam, it means grappling with his werewolf past …and figuring out a way to survive the future.

But just when they manage to find happiness, Grace finds herself changing in ways she could never have expected… (Goodreads)

Sam has found a cure that keeps him as human but his problems aren’t over yet. Grace’s parents seems to hate him more every time and then there’s Cole, one of the new wolves Beck made in the last book. And Grace gets fever but feels that it’s not just ordinary fever…

I’m glad to say that I liked this as much as the previous one! The book is told from 4 point of views: Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole. I think it was great addition to hear the story from Isabel’s and Cole’s side too. Isabel seems more “humane” since last book, she’s gone through a lot since her brother died and feels guilty. At first I thought Cole was just an ass but I grew to like him.

After Grace’s parents finds Sam sleeping with Grace they freak out and starts trying to get some control over the situation. In Shiver they were never there and acted more like a teenager than Grace and then suddenly they think that Grace is supposed to do like they say. No, I don’t have kids and I understand how Grace felt about that one.

I enjoyed this but I didn’t have that same feeling that I need to know right now what’s gonna happen. But still very quick read!

Can’t wait to read Fever!

Published: Scholastic (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 420
Source: library

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls 1) by Maggie Stiefvater

When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace’s small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion. But Grace can’t help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. There’s something about him – something almost human. Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away…

A chilling love story that will have you hooked from the very first page. (Goodreads)

Grace is attacked by wolves when she is 11 and is rescued by a wolf with yellow eyes. She becomes rather obsessed with wolves and particularly with the yellow eyed one.
After a boy is attacked by the wolves, people starts hunting them. When a boy, Sam, with yellow eyes shows on Grace’s porch with gunshot wound she knows it’s her wolf.

I have to say I liked this much more than I thought I would. After all the hype I feared I’d be disappointed but I did enjoy it.

The book is told by Grace’s and Sam’s point of view. I rather liked to see the story from two sides and even the pov switches didn’t annoy me.
I liked how she did the weather thing with wolves. When it’s warm they can can shift and become human and when it’s cold stay as wolves.

Sam was bit too wishy-washy at times, and made really bad lyrics, but I thought he was so sweet. But his yellow eyes made me think Micah from Anita Blake every time. I couldn’t help it!

It was actually hard to put away at times and I’m happy I already have the next book!

Published: Scholastic (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 437
Source: library

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle by Olivia deBelle Byrd

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle by Olivia deBelle Byrd

While Olivia deBelle Byrd was repeating one of her many Southern stories for the umpteenth time, her long-suffering husband looked at her with glazed over eyes and said,“Why don’t you write this stuff down?” Thus was born Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. If the genesis for a book is to shut your wife up, I guess that’s as good as any.  On top of that, Olivia’s mother had burdened her with one of those Southern middle names kids love to make fun.  To see “deBelle” printed on the front of a book seemed vindication for all the childhood teasing.  With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Oliviade Belle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms.  The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt LottieMae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama.  Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church,where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.  Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment. (goodreads)

I’ve never laughed so hard while reading! This was absolutely hilarious! The book contains 41 short stories about childhood, motherhood and life in general in the South. I loved the writing style which was very down to earth.

My favorite was Directionally Challenged. I can totally relate! I have no idea which way to held a map and can’t for the life of me to tell which way if North and which South.

I truly recommend this if you want to read something light and funny. Quaranteed to give you good laugh!

Published: Morgan James Publishing (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
Source: from author for review