The Magician’s Apprentice by Trudi Canavan

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.

5/5
Published: Orbit (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 702
Source: my own

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

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.

3,5/5
Published: Allison & Busby
Format: Paperback
Pages: 348
Source: my own

Angel Time by Anne Rice

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.

4/5
Published: Knopf Doubleday
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 364
Source: my own

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

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.

2,5/5
Published: Random House (2004)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 403
Source: my own

Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham

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!

4,5/5
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark (2009)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287
Source: my own

The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick

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 :)

5/5
Published: Sphere (2007)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 579
Source: my own

The Queen’s Pawn by Christy English

The Queen’s Pawn by Christy English

At only nine, Princess Alais of France is sent to live in England until she is of age to wed Prince Richard, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is an innocent pawn on the chessboard of dynastic marriage, her betrothal intended to broker an uneasy truce between the nations.

Estranged from her husband, Eleanor sees a kindred spirit in this determined young girl. She embraces Alais as a daughter, teaching the princess what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But as Alais grows to maturity and develops ambitions of her own, Eleanor begins to see her as a threat-and their love for each other becomes overshadowed by their bitter rivalry, dark betrayals, conflicting passions, and a battle for revenge over the throne of England itself. (publisher)

Alais was sent to England, where she was to be married to his father’s first wife’s son Richard. She is taken under Eleanor’s wings and they form very close friendship. When she meets Richard she falls in love instantly. But when she meets the king, Henry II, she just can’t stop thinking about him and whe she catches Richard with another woman, Alais feels betrayed and runs to Henry.

This was very interesting read since there’s not much written about Alais. The story is told from two point of views; Alais and Eleanor. While it was fun to read how both women felt the repeating of things was little tiring. I liked how Eleanor was portrayed and while I liked Richard, at times he seemed a bit too romanticized. Even if I have some serious doubts that Richard would have taken Alais back after she gave birth to Henry’s child, I liked how Richard had a softer side with Alais. But I really wanted to slap Alais when she catches Richard with another woman and feels wronged. I mean, how naive is she? Did she really think he was just gonna wait for her forever? And she had been drooling after Henry herself.

The only real problem I had was how Alais and Eleanor always seemed to know what eachother was thinking. It started sounding like hey had psychic abilities or something. And it was starting to sound little repeative.

But I did enjoy the book and can’t wait for next book!

3,5/5
Published: NAL (2010)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 373
Source: from author for review

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Voyager (Outlander 3) by Diana Gabaldon

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite—or forever doom—her timeless love. (Goodreads)

The book starts with Claire, who’s been living in her own time the past twenty years. In the last book she met a historian who found out that Jamie didn’t die at Culloden. She’s been planning on going back for the last 5 months. Her appearance in the past tooks Jamie totally by surprise and while they learn to know each other again after twenty years apart, they have to save Jamies’s nephew (Young) Ian.

I have to say that I love these books! The book really started to come alive after Claire finds Jamie. I liked how they were showed learning to know each other again. No wonder you’d be a little akward when you haven’t seen each other in such a long time and so much has happened to them. I was getting kinda annoyed at Jenny though, why did you had to meddle in Jamie’s things?And by that I mean getting Jamie married to Laoghaire! That was the only problem I had with the book… I so wish we hear more of Fergus in the future. Poor man had a very interesting wedding… Most hilarious thing in the book :)

4,5/5
Published: Dell (1994)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 1059
Source: my own

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen (The Cousins’ War 1) by Philippa Gregory

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills. (Goodreads)

The story starts after Edward has already gotten his crown and Elizabeth has become a widow. She waits for the king to pass her on the road and petition for her lands. And Edward, who just can’t leave a pretty woman alone, takes fancy on her. After Elizabeth refuses to become his mistress by theatening him with a knife, they marries in secret. You could say the marriage isn’t taken with happy faces…

I have to say that I’ve heard more about Melusina thatn I’ve ever wanted to read in my life. And I don’t like how the author repeats certain things over and over and over again through the book. The readers aren’t stupid, you know? Didn’t care for the witchcraft thing either. I like history and fantasy, as long as you don’t mix them.

I liked how she portrayed Richard, Duke of Gloucester but didn’t care for what was going on with him and Elizabeth of York. But what did annoy me was the whole Anthony-hero-worshipping. I get that Elizabeth idolized her big brother but I was wondering if Gregory is gonna change history and gonna name him as a saint. Because there really wasn’t a thing he can’t do wrong. Haven’t read anyone else having this problem so maybe it’s just me…

For a person who brags what a great historian she is, you would think that she gots the places right. At one point Elizabeth goes to a palace that’s started by her grandson, Henry VIII. Time travel maybe?

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and it was better than The Other Queen.

3/5
Published: Pocket
Format: Paperback
Pages: 438
Source: library

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy 4) by Richelle Mead

Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck, a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love? (Goodreads)

Rose goes to Siberia, Russia to kill Dimitri as she promised and she also gets to know Dimitri’s family. While in Siberia, she meets this strange older guy who shows up when she’s in danger. She’s captured by Dimitri but manages to escape later on. We see what’s happening on Academy when Rose slips into Lissa’s mind and Adrian pays few visits in her dreams. Can’t really say much more without telling too much…

I think this was the best book so far. The book had a darker theme and I think Rose has (finally!) matured a little. She certainly didn’t annoy me so much anymore! Didn’t like Lissa at all this time, she was just a page-filler with her partying and drinking. The only good thing was that at the same time you get to see Adrian too. Somehow now that Dimitri is Strigoi, he’s and Rose’s age difference didn’t disturb me that much.

3/5
Published: Puffin
Format: Paperback
Pages: 493
Source: library