Wednesday, January 28, 2015

queen's gambit review

"Queen's Gambit" by Elizabeth Fremantle is the novelized telling of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.  The author notes that the majority of the novel is of a true telling, however, some of the characters have been created or added to.  Katherine Parr is twice widowed and had no children when the King sets his sights on her.  He chooses her primarily for her ability to maneuver appropriately in the position of Queen.  She has no choice in the matter.  After the order of marriage comes to Katherine, she begins a delicate chess game of battling for her life.  People around her fall in and out of favor with the King regularly.  The trick is to fall back in before he has one executed. 
I am thoroughly fascinated with the Henry VII saga.  I love to read these stories, so I have several versions and authors to compare to with this novel and Fremantle.  I liked that she stuck close to reality and how she told it in a modern fashion.  The reading is much easier than some.  Some authors when telling of the Tudors get a little hoity toity with their speech.  Fremantle keeps in mind her audience.  It is enjoyable and fascinating.  I really liked this version and will be reading Fremantle again.  I received this book for free in a giveaway. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


" A Pledge of Silence" by Flora J. Solomon is one heck of a book.  The novel follows Margie from the time of her acceptance into nursing school in the 1930's to 2000.  Margie goes to school following high school and gets a nursing diploma.  Though she has her life all planned out with her fiancé; life itself has other plans.  With a shortage of jobs, she joins the army reserve.  Then WWII breaks out. Margie is stationed in the Philippines.  Plans keep changing, until Margie has no plans at all.  After being taken captive by Japanese, her main plans are to try to eat....someday.  Solomon does a really good job of bringing the horrors to life throughout the book.  This is one of those books that you can't stop reading.  Unspeakable acts are done to Margie and she comes home a broken woman.  She seeks help eventually and the struggle continues for the rest of her life.  This is a book not only about war, but also about PTSD.  The length is rather long, but the books sticks with you and you won't mind it.  I give it 5 stars.  Excellent book.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from

Thursday, January 15, 2015

the tutor review

"The Tutor: A Novel" by Andrea Chapin is the fictional telling of the 'lost years' of William Shakespeare.  Shortly after marrying and fathering three children, Will, leaves his wife and becomes an actor and poet.  He takes a temporary job as a tutor at a manor where he meets Katherine.  The orphaned thirty something niece of the Lord of the house.  The two strike up a relationship of both attraction and assistance.  She helps him write his poem and worships him.  Which he loves.  He has a brilliant way with words (obviously), and a performance level that is astounding both on paper and off.
In this telling, Will is a cad.  He likes them all.  Age, sex, station, looks, they mean nothing to him as long as he is adored.  The writer does an excellent job of bringing the main character, Katherine, and her thoughts and feelings into the reader's mind.  When I was growing tired of Will and his smuttiness; Katherine was growing tired of him too.  When I started to want more for her, she did as well.  I know little about Shakespeare so I cannot really tell you how historically accurate this story is, but it is very entertaining.  I give it 4 stars.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from First to Read.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I'll be home for........

"Home for Christmas: Stories for Young and Old" is a collection of short stories about Christmas.  Some of the authors are Pearl Buck, Ruth Sawyer, and Henry Van Dyke.  The stories have all ranges, mostly from a historical viewpoint.  They cover many eras and cultures.  Some are better written than others.  My favorite would be "Christmas Day in the Morning" by Pearl Buck.  It's about a man whose children have families of their own so he is left with his wife on Christmas.  He begins to think of Christmases past, when he had gotten up early to surprise his father with doing the milking for him.  Which got me to thinking of when my son at the age of 5 told me "supper's ready" and I went into the kitchen to find the table set and each plate with half a ham sandwich on it.  I must have bawled for half an hour after reading that story!  The stories will touch you; there is a story for everyone in here.  I received this collection of stories for free in exchange for an honest review from  Handlebar Publishing. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

It's all Greek to me

"The Patmos Deception" by Davis Bunn is a superb novel enriched in Greek history.  Nick and Carey are two Americans hired to track down missing Greece artifacts that are being stolen from the country.  Dimitri is a gorgeous man from Greece that rents his boat for tourism.  With the crisis that Greece is going through, it has been turned from a country you would want to visit, but wouldn't want to live there into not even that.  The economy is tanked and the government corrupt.  Dimitri is hired to move "items" with his boat; items he assumes correctly are stolen.  However, things are even worse than Dimitri imagines. 
Davis bring Greece to life.  The reader feels drawn not only to Greece's history, but it's present as well.  The characters are well developed.  The ending left things wide open for a series, so hopefully he will feel moved to write that because I am not through with this story!  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers.