Friday, June 28, 2013

Review - The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court #1) by Kate Emerson

The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #1)Title: The Pleasure Palace
Author: Kate Emerson
Series: 1st
Pages: 372
Published:  February 3rd 2009 by Pocket
ISBN:  9781416583202
Source: Purchased Copy

Description: Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters -- the princesses Margaret and Mary. With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the virile young men flocking to serve the handsome new king, Henry VIII, who has recently married Catherine of Aragon. Then a dashing French prisoner of war, cousin to the king of France, is brought to London, and Jane finds she cannot help giving some of her heart -- and more -- to a man she can never marry. But the Tudor court is filled with dangers as well as seductions, and there are mysteries surrounding Jane's birth that have made her deadly enemies. Can she cultivate her beauty and her amorous wiles to guide her along a perilous path and bring her at last to happiness?  

I Give This ...

I've had this book sitting on my shelf for awhile.  As the series grew, I kept meaning to pick it up.  I love Tudor England, and this fit the bill perfectly.  

This book really gave a new light to the Tudor court.  Instead of regal and impersonal, I felt like these people might actually be human.  Granted there a instances were you definitely tell that we were dealing with a very powerful court.  All that main events in this time period are showcased throughout the novel.   Events that I'm extremely glad I was familiar with.

Jane might be one of my new favorite unheard of historical people.  I know the author has taken liberties with the characters.  But, I found the set up extremely interesting.  Was it really a possibility that Jane could be as close to this monarchy as the author portrays?  There are documents that show that this might be a possibility.  Who was she to one of the most famous families in history?

I really enjoyed how the story played out.  The book covers a great amount of time, but yet I never felt like it was too much.  We had a starting point of when Jane leaves Brittany and ending of when she ends up back.  There's a great amount of intrigue in the time between.  We learn a great deal of history in the chain of events that happens.  From the death of King Henry VII, Henry VII taking the thrown, and all that comes after, Jane is there.  She sees it all and probably knows more than she should.

As she gets older, the mystery surrounding her sudden arrival in England begins to nag at her.   The problem lies in the fact that her mother died soon after their arrival.  As she tries to track down those who may have known her mother, she learns that people will go to great extremes to cover up secrets.  Especially those that may threaten the thrown.

I loved how the author took the little known facts about Jane Popyncourt and weaved a fantastic and believable tale surrounding her.  I love finding out more about little known characters like this.  Especially ones that might have had the eyes and ears of those at the top of the heirachy!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review - Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy #4.5) by Jennifer Estep

Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy, #4.5)Title: Spartan Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: 4.5 (Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost, Crimson Frost)
Pages: 60
Published: June 25th 2013 by Kensington Publishing Corporation 
ISBN: 9780758294777
Sourcce: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I'm fine, that Loki and the Reapers don't have a hold on me anymore, but I can't risk it. I can't risk hurting Gwen again. So I'm leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away. I know Gwen wonders what's happening to me, whether I'm safe. I can't tell her, but this is my story. . . 

I Give This ...

I've been eagerly awaiting another installment in this series.   I thought I would tide myself over with this short story.  Especially since it's told from Logan's view point.

I do enjoy getting the story told from another view point.  I think it bring new insight to characters you think you know really well.  I thought I had Logan pretty well pinned down.  I did not expect him become slightly self destructive.  He's so hung up on the fact that he tried to kill Gwen that he can't get past it.   I think he's horrified by the idea that his actions were so easily taken over by another.  He's afraid to let himself be put in a position were that could happen again.

I don't think the answer is to immerse himself in his training and let himself be used by the Parthenon.  He also really needs to realize that he hurting Gwen more by keeping away.

The only true downfall is obviously this is short.  I wanted more of this story (especially since we get a little cliff hanger) and I wanted more of Logan.  But, it was enough to gear me up for the next book, which comes out soon!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review - Linked (Linked #1) by Imogen Howson

Linked (Linked #1)Title: Linked
Author: Imogen Howson
Series: 1st
Pages: 368
Published:  June 11th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers 
ISBN: 9781442446564
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.  

 I Give This ...

I really had high hopes for this book.  I liked the idea of mixing dystopian with the interesting connection between twins.   Sadly for me the book didn't live up to my expectations.
I enjoyed the beginning.  At first we don't know what's wrong with Elissa.  We get a run down of her symptoms and what the doctors have tried to help her.  We also get a glimpse into what life has been like for Elissa, both socially and physically.  She's been trough a lot.  To endure all the pain and suffering plus be abandoned by your friends is a lot for anybody to endure.   When she realizes her "dreams" are actual events that have happened to someone else, she decides to she must track down the person she is so connected to.  Even more so when she discovers that person is her twin.
I think my problem lied with Lin.  I just didn't really like her character.  I don't think she really understood the sacrifices that Elissa made for her.  I think she manipulated Elissa a lot.  She played on her emotions and made her doubt everybody.  I'm not saying she wasn't right to do so, I just didn't like the way she did it.    I often felt like if the situation had been different, that Lin might have tried to take Elissa's place.  She seemed to place far more value on their connection than Elissa did.

I was intrigued by the government involvement in this and how far they would go to get them back.  Their actions lead to a lot of change far reaching than just them.  I'm curious to see how others might react to that.  But, I'm not sure I'm curious enough to want to read the next one.   

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review - Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1)Title: Gameboard of the Gods
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: 1st
Pages: 448
Published: June 4th 2013 by Dutton Adult 
ISBN: 9780525953685
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills. When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board. 

I Give This ...

 I think I'm the only person in the world that hasn't read Vampire Academy yet.  But, this one caught me eye and sense its a new series I thought I would give it a shot.

I admit I forgot that Richelle Mead also writes adult books, and I think its important to note that this is one of those.  I don't mind a little sex in my books, but man this one really jumped right into it.  In fact, its a major part of the novel.  First because are two main characters have some much sexual tension you can feel it jump off the pages.  Two, both our characters use sex as a means of release in ways that aren't really normal.  

Justin was really an interesting character for me.  Basically banished for RUNA because it felt he could no longer keep quiet about the things he had seen on his job.  In this future world, there is no religion.  Those that practice any form are considered crazy.  Any time a religion gains to many followers, the government finds a way to shut them down.  Justin has seen many thing that make him question the idea of there is no god(s).  In fact, after his last mission, he's pretty damn sure there might by some supernatural at work.  Once it becomes and official report, the government has a harder time 

I really liked Mare to begin with. But, the fact that we get to see her softer side right at the beginning was distorting.  Once her job because the focal point, she so hard and seems uncaring.  We see flashed of that other side, but they are so far between that I wasn't sure which one was her real face.  And she's so quick to judge.  I really felt that was more a personality flaw than part of her ingrained training.

The history of the country, the different factions and classes, and the obsession with religion were really interesting.  But, the murders really just didn't fit with the rest of the story.  I often felt like we had two different storylines going at the same time.  I found parts of it extremely dull and slow going.  But then every once in awhile I would find myself engrossed and couldn't put it down.  I don't think I've ever read a book that could do both.

I'm really not sure what I will do when the next book comes around.  Although, there seems to be a religious movement building, and I'm curious how that might play out.  I guess I will see when the time comes.  


Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:  

The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #1)The Moonlight Serenade (Fascination Island #2)Star Cursed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #2)
  • The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson 
  • Moonlight Serenade by Kate Hinderer
  • Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
Currently Reading:  
Some Quiet Place
  • Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton
Up This Week:  
The Queen's RivalsRaven Flight (Shadowfell, #2)
  • The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy 
  •  Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

Sunday, June 23, 2013

In My Mailbox!

For Review: 

This Song Will Save Your Life
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review - The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy #1) by Laura Andersen

The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, #1)Title: The Boleyn King
Author: Laura Andersen
Series: 1st
Pages: 358
Published:  May 14th 2013 by Ballantine Books 
ISBN: 9780345534095
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William's mother, Anne Boleyn.  Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king's desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England's fortunes forever. 

I Give This ...

I was nervous to give this one a shot.  I've never read a book that so blatantly changes history.  But, my curiosity got the best of meHow could I not read a book were Anne Boleyn actually had a son who lived and never lost her life.  

I really was not sure what to think of William at first.  I imagined a boy who had a lot of the fire of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  But, I think he's true fire and personality is hidden beneath the fact that he is still under regency for most of the book.  He's not truly governing and I think he's not sure how much influence and force he really has.  But, by the end of the story I think we get a taste of what might be in store for us in the next book.  He's got fight in him after all.

I found it deeply interesting that it seems that much of the events of history remain the same.  It's almost like we've replaced King Edward with King William.  Princess Mary still has far too much support from those who wish to bring England back to the Catholic faith.  Her presence in the book feels extremely true to character.  I love that Princess and Elizabeth is such good friends who her brother.  I know I'm partial to this historical figure.  But, I love the way she is portrayed in this novel.  
 I really enjoyed our fictional characters of Dominic and Minuette.  Dominic is as loyal as them come and I look forward to see how he grows as a character throughout the series.  Minuette has an interesting place in this book.  You wouldn't think she would have such an intricate place at court.  But you can't count her out.  What remains to be seen is her relationships with Dominic and William.  I think this is were we will find out how much of his father is in William.

An extremely interesting blend of complete fiction with real history.  When I first picked up the novel, I had no indication that this would be a series.  I was so glad to see it was, because there is definitely more to tell!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review - The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles #3) by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Iron Touch (The Steampunk Chronicles, #3)Title: The Girl With The Iron Touch
Author: Kady Cross
Pages: 384
Published: May 28th 2013 by Harlequin TEEN 
ISBN: 9780373210855
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives. With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke's sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him...and for Griffin. Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel's desolate alleyways to Mayfair's elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine. To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has.... 

I Give This...

I honestly didn't think I would be continuing this series after the first book.    But I'm so glad I gave the series another chance, because I loved the final book in the series!

It's always interesting to watch a male character go through so much to save everyone he knows and loves.  Griffin definitely believes he needs to be the one to save everyone.  The problem is that he often does this without any help.  He's willing to risk his own life to protect them.  Never admitting that outcome might have a higher rate of success if he lets them in on the plan.  Thankfully his friends are able to get him to recognize that the aether will take him under before he can accomplish anything.

I love the Finley is still no nonsense.  She doesn't need Griffin to complete.  In face, she's completely kick ass on her own.  However, she also knows the sometimes love is worth sacrificing a few things for.  She just wants to know its worth is before she does.  I also loved that we finally get a definite feel for Sam and Emily's relationship.  I just was never sure what Sam would do for Emily.  How deep that devotion actually ran.

The one aspect of steam punk that tends to get to me is the combination of Victorian age and modern technology.  It sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  This time around, I was really able to separate the two and enjoy the book for what it was.  Plus, the way the technology was used this time around was just down right creepy and that really drew me in.  Deformed automatons and bodies barely kept alive by machines gave this story a totally different feel.

If you haven't read this series, I really recommend that you pick it up!  I can't wait to see what Kady Cross comes up with next!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review - The Princess of Egypt Must Die by Stephanie Dray

The Princess of Egypt Must DieTitle: The Princess of Egypt Must Die
Author: Stephanie Dray
Series: Stand Alone Short
Pages: 55
Published:  November 28th 2012
ISBN: 9781301647637
Source: Purchased Copy

Description: Princess Arsinoe came of age in the glittering court of Ptolemaic Egypt. Abused by her ruthless sister, a pawn in the dynastic ambitions of her father, and dismissed by the king who claimed her for a bride, young Arsinoe finds herself falling in love with a young man forbidden to her. She dreams of a destiny as Egypt's queen, but first she must survive the nest of vipers otherwise known as her family.

I Give This ...

How did I miss that Stephanie had a new story out!  I'm not one to normally read short stories, but there are certain authors that I do not care.

I was curious as to who this new princess might be.  At first she seemed like a young girl lost in the crowd.  The favored wife hated her because she was in constant competition with her own daughter.  But, she knew she could do nothing about it.   But really, she was a girl who watched and observes everything.   When it turns out her father had agreed to marry her to a old man, she doesn't care that he is a King.   But, she's listened to her mother and knows her best interest it become the favored.

What she never counted on was to fall in love.  And love often is the downfall of many.  It never ceases to amaze me though how far people will go to bring another down.  Sometimes the person you have to watch the most is the one you least expect.  And I really was not expecting the person who was set to out the princess.

One of my favorite things about historical fiction is when it introduces me to a a new figure in history.  It always makes me want to learn more.  Needless to say, what I've learned about Princess Arsinoe was very eye opening!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review - Tempest Revealed (Tempest #3) by Tracy Deebs

Tempest Revealed (Tempest, #3)Title: Tempest Revealed
Author: Tracy Deebs
Pages: 352
Published: June 4th 2013 by Walker Childrens
ISBN: 9780802734839
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Half-mermaid Tempest Maguire is trying to have it all: fulfilling her duties as second-in-line to the merQueen Hailana while periodically returning home to the California coastline to be with her family and longtime boyfriend, Mark. Living under the sea and rebuilding Coral Straits is grueling work, while being back home reminds her of everyone she loves and misses. But when her old flame Kona arrives bearing news that Hailana has died and Tempest is now officially merQueen, she returns permanently to Coral Straits--even though it devastates her family and rips her apart from Mark. Once there, she discovers that an old enemy has resurfaced, hell-bent on taking over her throne...with or without her. As Tempest prepares for her final showdown against Tiamat and anyone who stands with her, she must decide what--and who--is really important to her. Because there will be few survivors in the ultimate sea battle that is brewing--and Tempest isn't sure she will be one of them.
I Give This ...

I was a little hesitant for this one.  I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but the second left me a little unhappy with events.  I was hoping that Tempest would be able to redeem herself a little bit.  Plus, I knew this was the final book in the series, and I wasn't about to give up.

The beginning proved that Tempest was still thinking of herself.  Hailana is on her death bed, but Tempest goes off to shore believing everything will be fine.   I don't think she really thought that, it was just what she kept telling herself to justify her actions.  I understood she wanted to keep her humanity.   But, she truly needed to recognize when visiting the mainland was appropriate.

When we learn that Hailana has died.  It doesn't take Tempest long to realize that havoc her absence has created.  Her kingdom has been taken over and the mermaids have never fully trusted Temptest, so they allow the take over almost willingly.  And her kingdom isn't the only one.  Every ocean creatures kingdom has been taken over by one of Tiamat's minions.  Those who haven't been killed and wish to fight have to taken refugee on a hidden island that belongs to Kona's clan.  And most of these people don't trust Tempest either, despite the prophecy that she might be the only one who can take down Tiamat.

This book is definitely darker that the previous stories.  Tempest is tortured almost to the point of death.  The events are exactly highlighted, but you know what happening and the effects it has on Tempest.  There is also a lot of other ocean creatures killed throughout the story.  When this time of book comes to its climax, you can almost guarantee I was that someone you love in the story is going to die.  Unfortunately, I was correct in this assumption. Thankfully it wasn't one of my beloved characters.  

I was satisfied with the ending for the most part.  I admit I'm still disappointed in her choice in the love triangle.  First time I've ever routed for the other guy.  The actual events were fine though.  An interesting take on the supernatural ocean world!

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
 Read Last Week: 

LinkedJust Like My PapaSpartan Frost (Mythos Academy, #4.5)

  • Linked by Imogen Howson 
  • Just Like My Papa by Toni Buzzeo
  • Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep 

Currently Reading:  

The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #1)
  • The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson  
 Up This Week
The Moonlight Serenade (Fascination Island #2)Star Cursed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #2)Some Quiet Place
  • Moonlight Serenade by Kate Hinderer
  • Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
  • Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

Sunday, June 16, 2013

In My Mailbox!

For Review:

Tumble & FallThe Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)Star Cursed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #2)
Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)The Coldest Girl in ColdtownJust Like Fate

Raven Flight (Shadowfell, #2)Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy, #5)The Moonlight Serenade (Fascination Island #2)
  • Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
  • The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
  • Star Cursed by Jessica Spotwood
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger 
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black 
  • Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
  • Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier 
  • Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep 
  • The Moonlight Serenade by Kate Hinderer


Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight, #1)
  • Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones 

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren and she was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

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