Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles 1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen. She struggles to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. Ethan Wate finally meets the girl who haunts his dreams. On her birthday, she must choose good or evil. In a town with no surprises, this secret could change everything. (Goodreads)
Lena moves to Gatlin to live with his uncle and ends up in pretty much middle of nowhere where you’re an outsider if you’ve lived there for 50 years. She meets Ethan who has been having dreams about this girl who’s face he never sees but when Lena shows up, he realises it her. He finds out that Lena is a Caster (witch) and on her 16th birthday something bad is gonna happen.
I was fearing this would be too YA and it kinda was. I liked that it was dark but it went little too overboard. Especially the first half was just I’m soo alone here, no one understands me kind of crap. Only thing that was missing was suicidal thoughts. Of course the cheerleaders were straight from Mean Girls.
It was refreshing that it was from male’s point of viw but unfortunately I just didn’t feel any connection with him, nor with Lena. The people I liked was Lena’s uncle Macon and Ethan’s great-aunts.
After all this bashing I have to say the second half was better. It took too long to actually start but after that there was parts when I was curious what would happen. So I ended giving 3 instead 2.5.
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2010)
The White Boar by Marian Palmer
Richard III, last of the Plantagenet Kings, could condemn the author of that crude doggerel to a traitor’s death but he could not stem the inevitable tide of history. Richard’s emblem, the white boar, commanded the loyalty of able men like Lords Catesby (the Cat) and Ratliff (the Rat), and Francis Lovell (our Dog). It could not withstand the onslaught of the Tudor rose.
The White Boar is a dramatic historical novel that vividly recreates the life and times of England’s controversial King Richard III. Shakespeare portrayed him as evil incarnate, a hunchback who gained the throne by murdering his two nephews. Conversely, many historians argue that he was an innocent scapegoat and might have been one of history’s great monarchs had his reign not been so tragically short.
In this novel one issue concerning Richard’s life is never in doubt – that he held the unfaltering devotion of two extraordinary men, Phillip and Francis Lovell. And it is through their eyes that the reader of this remarkable book sees the last Plantagenet – the man and the King.
Marian Palmer presents a striking chronicle of England in the last half of the fifteenth century: the pomp and pageantry of the royal court; the treason and the intrigue which were the death of the Plantagenet dynasty; and the bitter struggle between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians that was the War of the Roses.
The author does not offer a solution to the riddle of Richard III; rather she presents him as he might have appeared in his own lifetime to the two men who were, above all else, his friends. The character which emerges is as unforgettable as Shakespeare’s misshapen monster. (Goodreads)
The story is told by the Lovell cousins Philip (pretty sure he’s fictional) and Francis. Francis is given is wardship to Warwick and goes to Middleham. There he meets Philip after long time and for the first time sees Richard, Duke of Gloucester. There’s lot more going on but I don’t even try to tell it. Wikipedia is your friend.
I did enjoy this but it was bit dry on points and some of the phraisings does show the book’s age. But I liked how the characters were described, especially Richard. He was neither too good or too bad. I loved how Anne Neville’s rescue was portrayed.
It was nice to read that Francis and his wife Anna had their happy moments. They are always portrayed hating each other and while this either didn’t end happily there was some good too.
Published: Hodder & Stoughton (1969)
Source: my own
Drums of Autumn (Outlander 4) by Diana Gabaldon
It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna….
Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history…and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past…or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong…. (Goodreads)
Jamie and Claire lives now in America They have some lands in the middle of wilderness and they’re ready to settle to “normal” married life. The local Indians are relatively peaceful and Jamie’s nephew Ian becomes good friend with them.
In the 20th century Brianna is trying to find what happens to his parents. She’s also coming closer to Roger Wakefield, who helped Claire to trace Jamie. When Brianna finds old newspaper article about her parents she decides to go through the stones without telling Roger. When Roger finds out she has left, he’s determined to find her.
Yet another godd book by Gabaldon! I enjoyed it but still thought it to be the weakest book in the serie so far. But that doesn’t mean it was bad! I just found Roger so utterly boring. And there were too many pages from his point of view. He seemed more interesting in the future time.
I liked to see how Brianna and Jamie got to know each other and their relationship grow. AndI liked how well she get along with John Grey. But I didn’t understand how John could be so uninterested about his wife’s death.
The one thing I could have lived without was Brianna getting raped. I just didn’t see the point of it…
Published: Dell (1997)
Source: my own
Child of the Northern Spring (Guinevere 1) by Persia Woolley
In an age alive with portents and magic, a spirited young beauty rode out of the rugged Celtic lands to wed the great warrior king, Arthur. Now, at las, Guinevere herself unfolds the legend.
Born a princess, raised to be a queen, Guinevere traveled the length of England protected by the wise enchanter Merlin. As Britain struggled out of a long darkness, scattered armies raised the cry for war and old gods challenged the new in combats mortal and immortal. And Guinevere encountered her destiny in the fabled dreams of her king. She would reign as High Queen of all Britain, but her most perilous adventure was yet to come…the journey from royal innocent to passionate lover. (Goodreads)
Story starts when Guinevere is a child, the Romans has left and the Saxons are coming. Arthur isn’t King yet and there is no round table. I liked that there’s no dragons, magic or anything like that but it’s more based on fact.
I like that Guinevere is strong and independet who loves horses but the first half of the book was rather boring. It gets better after she mets Arthur. And the time jumps were annoying! I don’t like when time jump happens and it’s not clearly stated and you spend 2 pages wondering what the hell is going on.
This was a good start in a series and I’m curious to see how the story continues and hoping there’s more action in the future!
Published: Poseidon Press (1987)
Source: my own
The Magician’s Apprentice (The Black Magician Trilogy 0.5) by Trudi Canavan
Taking place hundreds of years before the events of “The Magicians’ Guild, The Magician’s Apprentice “is the new novel set in the world of Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy.
In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer. Her mother would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn.
When the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage get violent, Tessia unconsciously taps unknown reserves of magic to defend herself. Lord Dakon, the local magician, takes Tessia under his wing as an apprentice.
The hours are long and the work arduous, but soon an exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants and – to Tessia’s delight – regular trips to the great city of Imardin.
However, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. For a storm is approaching that threatens to tear her world apart. (Goodreads)
Tessia is the village healer’s daughter and has nearly an obsession with healing. After an incident in Lord Dakon’s house She shows that she has magic and her life is gonna change forever. Lord Dakon takes her as his apprentice and his other apprentice, Jayan, is none too happy about it. And soon Kyralia is being invaded by Sachaka, a neighbour country, who gave them their independence.
The other story follows a Sahaka woman named Stara who finds herself married because she has to get pregnant and her sister-in-law’s life depends on it.
I truly enjoyed this book! I loved the relationship between Tessia and Jayan. Jayan is from noble family and first thinks Tessia as simple peasant and is jealous about the time Dakon takes teaching her. I loved how they’re relationship changed with time and develops into friendship.
I thought it was interesting how the magician’s must obtain more power from the apprentice’s and aren’t all powerful once getting to certain level.
The only complain I have is that while I liked Stara and the story, I thought it was quite unnecessary. It was more like two completely different storys. Stara met Jayan and Tessia once for like 3 seconds and that was it. But it was kinda refreshing to move to other story for awhile.
I think it would have helped if I had read her other books before but it can stand as a stand alone.
Published: Orbit (2010)
Source: my own
Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires 1) by Rachel Caine
It’s a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows—one that will spill out into the bright light of day.
Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn’t have the right connections—to the undead who run the town.
When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Hew new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.. (Goodreads)
I have to say that I was positively surprised about this book and very much enjoyed this. I’m not usually huge fan og these kinds of books because it’s just too YA for me. At least there was no sparkly vampires or going out in the sun.
I liked Claire but I wished at times that she would have more spirit but I guess time for that comes later on… There was few “omg, he’s so hott” scenes that could have been left out but thankfully there wasn’t many of them. What I didn’t gt why was it such a big deal that Claire was nearly 17 and the boy’s were nearly 19? Not sure if Michael was actually 19 but anyway… I mean it’s still only 2 years. I mean that’s kinda normal and not in “Eww, that’s gross! category.
And I cant believe that the book ended on such an evil cliffhanger! That’s just…wrong! Now I have to read the next book.
Published: Allison & Busby
Source: my own
Angel Time (The Songs of the Seraphim 1) by Anne Rice
The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O’Dare—a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases—just now: Lucky the Fox—and takes his orders from “The Right Man.”
Into O’Dare’s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O’Dare, who long ago dreamt of being a priest but instead came to embody danger and violence, seizes his chance. Now he is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear . . . In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love. (Goodreads)
The first half of the book tells how Toby came to be an assasin. About his childhood in New Orleans with alcoholic mother and little brother and sister after his fathers death. He’s practically taking care of his sisters and running the house and the thing that helps him going through al this is playing a lute. He has great love for historic books about medieval religious stuff and when he was little he dreamed becoming a priest. But all this ends when he comes home and finds his whole family dead. He leaves without leaving a trace behind. Some time after going to New York he meets a man who’s going to change his life and making him come an assasin. He meets an angel on his latest mission and the angel, Malchiah, send him to 13th century England to save a Jewish family.
I had some fears about reading this book because I couldn’t finish the first Christ book. But I’m a huge fan of hers and love all her other books so I had to try. And I’m glad I did. It’s not just about angels, it’s more about a man trying to find himself. While most of the religious stuff went over my head I always love her writing style and how she describes everything. I have no knowledge about Jews in that time period, or much in general, so it’s interesting to learn more.
Published: Knopf Doubleday
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: my own
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family’s Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities.
But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra’s parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man. Meanwhile, Florence is changing, increasingly subject to the growing suppression imposed by the fundamentalist monk Savonarola, who is seizing religious and political control. Alessandra and her native city are caught between the Medici state, with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola’s reactionary followers. Played out against this turbulent backdrop, Alessandra’s married life is a misery, except for the surprising freedom it allows her to pursue her powerful attraction to the young painter and his art. (Goodreads)
I have to say that I wanted to like this more than I did. I don’t know much about Italy and I wish I’d knew more about the things that happened in the book. I didn’t feel connected to the characters and the only one that I wanted to read about was the painter, who isn’t mentioned by name. I did some skipping in the beginning but it did get better towards the end.
Published: Random House (2004)
Source: my own
Hugh and Bess: A Love Story by Susan Higginbotham
Forced to marry Hugh le Despenser, the son and grandson of disgraced traitors, Bess de Montacute, just 13 years old, is appalled at his less-than-desirable past. Meanwhile, Hugh must give up the woman he really loves in order to marry the reluctant Bess. Far apart in age and haunted by the past, can Hugh and Bess somehow make their marriage work?
Just as walls break down and love begins to grow, the merciless plague endangers all whom the couple holds dear, threatening the life and love they have built. (Goodreads)
Elizabeth de Montecute (Bess) is not happy when she hears that she is to marry Hugh le Despenser, son of Hugh le Despenser the Younger.A man twice her age and not to mention horrible family history. Hugh is not thrilled either but the king himself offers the marriage, he won’t say no.
After the executions of Hugh’s father and grandfather and his own time in prison, he is trying to restore the family name and shows himself loyal to the King.
I loved the relationship between Bess and Hugh and especially seeing Bess mature. I loved how kind, gentle and patient he is with Bess. The scene in the court when Bess comes little tipsy is just hilarious! Not all husbands would have been so understanding. Loved his sense of humor and his remarks about his family history.
I liked how Edward III was portrayed and I wish there would have been more of him, but maybe that’s just me…
I really enjoyed the book and wished it would have been longer!
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark (2009)
Source: my own
The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal 3) by Elizabeth Chadwick
Following early beginnings as a knight in the English royal household and a champion of the tourneys, William Marshal’s prowess and loyalty have been rewarded by the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare, heiress to great estates in England, Normandy and Ireland. Now a powerful magnate, William has weathered the difficult years of King Richard’s absence on crusade and is currently serving him on campaign in Normandy while Isabelle governs their estates. All the stability William and Isabelle have enjoyed with their young and growing family comes crashing down as Richard dies and his brother John becomes King. Rebellion is stirring throughout the Angevin domains and although John has created William Earl of Pembroke, the friction between the two men leads William and Isabelle to distance themselves in Ireland. The situation escalates, with John holding their sons as hostages and seizing their English lands. The conflict between remaining loyal and rebelling over injustices committed, threatens to tear apart William and Isabelle’s marriage and their family. (Goodreads)
I read The Greatest Knight earlier this year and absolutely loved it! The Scarlet Lion shows us more mature Marshal and the book also focuses more on his wife Isabelle and their children.
After King Richard’s untimely death John gets the crown and he certainly won’t make life easy for Marshal family. William’s and Isabelle’s marriage has some rough times when John takes theit two eldest sons as hostages. I love how their marriage is portrayed and how Isabelle is more than just her husband’s possession. William truly loved her and listened her opinions.
The ending and William’s death was so touching and I cried so hard through the last chapter. I didn’t want the book to end! Yet another awesome book by the author, you can never go wrong with Elizabeth Chadwick :)
Published: Sphere (2007)
Source: my own