Monday, May 30, 2011

MAILBOX MONDAY

Mailbox Monday is on tour and is being hosted this month by MariReads.


(want to read a book description?  Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon)


BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

WON:
Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip...from Teddyree at The Eclectic Reader
Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner...from Katy at A Few More Pages
Disrupted Lives by Brenda Youngerman (signed!)...from the author
A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens (signed!)...from the author

Note:  Jennifer, Brenda, and Katy also included bookmark swag and Katy sent a lovely thank you note.  Thank you, ladies!


BookMooch:
Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Lusser Rico

Purchased (from BOMC2):
Hungry Girl:  300 Under 300--300 Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Dishes Under 300 Calories by Lisa Lillien

I also received these lovely journals from papercoterie.  They were having a grand opening promo of $40 free toward any order awhile back (thanks to Being Tazim for the heads up) so I was able to order these three personally customized journals and all I paid for was the shipping! Check them out.  They have gorgeous products!
Favorite Quotes from books

My Christmas Books (to catalog the
Christmas books in my home library)

To record daily moments and memories
about my boys.

RANDOM MAGIC TOUR...PIRATES! THE PARTING GLASS

May 30
The Parting Glass Tour summaries

Another awesome blog tour comes to a close.  I would like to thank the incomparable Sasha Soren for organizing yet another fantastic community event.  I would also like to thank anyone who stopped by during the tour.  And to all the other participating bloggers...you all rock! Looking forward to the next go-round!
Today’s the wrap day for Random Magic Tour: Pirates! (May 10-30)

As one of the mates - ahoy, matey! - sailing with this crew of buccaneers, would like to say thank you for visiting the blog on my tour stop and hope you also enjoyed some of the other great blogs on the tour.

Note:  pause the music player in right sidebar before playing video.  Thanks!

(video – the song of the mermaid queen)
For the wrap day of the tour, we’re just going to raise a final pint
o’ grog to say thanks for the good company. Smooth seas be ahead o’ ye!

Message in a Bottle:  visit Liana's Paper Doll Blog today (link: http://www.joechip.net/liana/) to see the Pirate Queen Sasha and read more about her at Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf (link:http://moonlightgleam.blogspot.com/2011/05/author-interview-with-sasha-soren.html).

Friday, May 27, 2011

ARMCHAIR BEA...BLOGGING ABOUT BLOGGING

I feel like I covered what I feel is one of the essential musts in blogging yesterday.  Comment on others' blogs and always reciprocate.  The only other thing I can say is that I just do not believe in the 'rules' of blogging.  I have said this before in a post last year, ultimately you must stay true to yourself.  There will be people who love your blog and, most probably, people who hate it.  You know that old Ricky Nelson song, "you can't please everyone so you gotta please yourself."  It's the truth.  If you're not making yourself happy, you certainly aren't going to make anyone else happy.  Okay, I'm done preaching! Now here is the topic I want to discuss:

There are quite a few book blogging events out there. Which are your favorites and why? How do they affect your blog directly?


One word...READ-A-THONS! Anyone who knows me/follows my blog probably knows that I love read-a-thons.  I usually end up taking part in every one that comes down the pike. *L*  And even though the majority of the time I end up failing miserably, I still just can't resist! 


First, a shout out to the one that started it all.  Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon.  Dewey was a book blogger who was well loved in the book blogging community and she started these twice a year events, in April and October.  Unfortunately, Dewey passed away a year before I started blogging so I never got to meet the great lady, but she has left behind a legacy that brings together an entire community of book bloggers for 24 hours of reading bliss.


I am participating in a read-a-thon this week (again, failing miserably) that is hosted by the group over on Goodreads, Cover to Cover Challenge.  They have these read-a-thons four times a year in February, May, August, and November.  They are a week long and they start and end on a Saturday.  The first day of each read-a-thon is a 24 hour reading spree.  They also have challenges going during the event.


Some read-a-thons that are coming up are:

Last, but not least, I'm going to tell you about my read-a-thons.  Yes, I love them so much I decided to host my own! My read-a-thons are a week long and the main idea is to personally challenge ourselves in a laid back fashion.  And they have a theme.  I call them my seasonal read-a-thons.  My first one was the Fall Catch-Up Read-A-Thon, then A Winter's Respite Read-A-Thon, and Spring's Serenity Read-A-Thon.  My summer read-a-thon, the High Summer Read-A-Thon, is coming on July 25 at 12:00am CT through Sunday, July 31 at 11:59pm CT.  I have not posted the sign-up yet, but you can read more about it HERE.



How about you?  Do you believe that staying true to yourself is the way to blog?  Are you a read-a-thon addict like me?  Share your thoughts!


GUEST POST--RON FRITSCH, AUTHOR OF PROMISED VALLEY REBELLION

Prehistory, Archaeology, and Promised Valley Rebellion


The Wikipedia article "Archaeology" explains that "[o]ver 99% of the history of humanity has occurred within prehistoric cultures, who did not make use of writing, thereby not leaving written records about themselves which we can study today. Without such written sources, the only way to learn about prehistoric cultures is to use archaeology. Many important developments in human history occurred during prehistory, including . . . the creation of agriculture. Without archaeology, we would know nothing of these evolutionary and technological changes in humanity that pre-date writing. Further: "The discipline involves surveyance, excavation and eventually analysis of data collected in order to learn more about the past."

The events in my four-novel Promised Valley series, of which Promised Valley Rebellion is the first, take place before the invention of writing and during the creation of agriculture. The overriding conflict is between early farmers, representing the future and innovation, and hunters, representing the past and tradition. Everything in the novels therefore depends upon the findings and conclusions of archaeologists.

In mainstream historical fiction, the writer must research the historical record, which consists of the findings and conclusions of historians, except when the writer has the time and makes the commendable effort to visit museums and libraries and study the original documents themselves. No serious writer would wish to be caught telling us that Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VII or that the President of the Confederacy in the American Civil War was Robert E. Lee.

In the prehistoric branch of historical fiction, however, the writer has a bit more freedom to invent. In my own case, for example, I have no need to prove that a Promised Valley existed at a specific time and place and that a farmer king named Tall Oak and a hunter king called Lightning Spear fought vicious wars to retain or regain possession of it for their peoples.

But I do have other burdens, all of which require me to pay close attention to what archaeology tells us. For example, I can't have prehistoric people eating eastern hemisphere wheat bread along with western hemisphere tomatoes. I can have them eating onions and lentils, though, along with drinking beer made from barley. I can also have them fighting their battles and hunting with arrowheads and spear points made of flint but not iron, copper, brass, or steel.

In the latter three novels in the series, horses, which I barely mention in Promised Valley Rebellion, take on such a great significance in the lives of the warring valley people farmers and hill people hunters that some characters compare the animals to the gods. I'm confident I can do that. I've carefully read what the archaeologists tell us.

I would like to thank Ron for sharing this post with us today.  You can learn more about the novel, Promised Valley Rebellion, and about the author at his website.


Read my review of Promised Valley Rebellion HERE.

ARMCHAIR BEA...BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS


This is going to be a short post since I am so late posting! Had a very busy day today yesterday.

Of course, I owe my even having a book blog to Ryan at Wordsmithonia.  I met him on Twitter and the rest is history.  We still stay in touch at least every week via our blogs or Facebook.  Ours is one of the best friendships.  Who says you can't make good friends online!

I have made many other friends in the book blogging world.  Marie at The Burton Book Review has become a friend and we co-host the blog, Historical Fiction Connection together.

There are many, many others who I have met through my weekly Cat Thursday feature and many others with which we interact on each other's blogs.  They know who they are. =O)

As far as publishers/publicists, I have never contacted any directly about reviewing a book.  Haven't had to! I was receiving so many queries, I had to stop accepting review copies, except for special cases.  It's so hard for me to refuse, but I have stayed pretty strong.  I work fairly regularly with Pump Up Your Book! and Tribute Books.  They are both great to work with.  Also, Amy at Passages to the Past now runs Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  She is also great to work with.

And I have had some great interaction with authors.  To name a few...Robert Parry (Virgin and the Crab, The Arrow Chest), Christy English (The Queen's Pawn, To Be Queen), Scott Nicholson (numerous horror and thriller novels and many others), Lisa Kessler (Across the Veil).  Authors are really great to work with and all of my experiences so far have been wonderful.

I really feel like the best way to build and nurture relationships with anyone we as book bloggers interact with, be it fellow bloggers, authors, or publicists/publishers, is to always be polite and mindful of other's opinions.  And reciprocate, reciprocate, reciprocate! I work very hard at this and I do fail at times.  But the effort is to always interact with anyone who comments on your blog.  And return the visit! If I'm failing miserably at this, please let me know.  I am a work in progress and improvement is a constant goal.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BOOK TOUR: REVIEW OF PROMISED VALLEY REBELLION BY RON FRITSCH

My review:
Many know that I love historical fiction and I have a particular interest in prehistoric times. Ever since first reading The Clan of the Cave Bear, Book one in Jean Auel's Earth's Children series, prehistoric stories have fascinated me. When I was offered a chance to read this book, I jumped at the chance. What Ron has done with this book is truly amazing. He gives us a glimpse of what a civilized prehistoric society might have looked like and brings interesting characters and themes into the stories. I see the main character as Blue Sky and he is a great character because he questions everything. Many of the themes in the book actually come about from Blue Sky's challenging the norm.

The first thing I found very interesting was the presence of a gay/lesbian lifestyle within this society. I thought this was an excellent way to present the case that homosexuals have been present throughout history and not always kept under wraps. The lifestyle is a normal part of life in their community and no one is ostracized because of it. I found this idea refreshing.

The book takes an interesting twist from being so accepting of homosexual lifestyles and yet cannot accept the possibility that the people who live in the hills, the hunters/gatherers, could very well be a similar people. Not the evil and hideous invaders that legend has portrayed. This is one of the issues that Blue Sky questions and seeks to bring truth to the fore.

One of the main plot points surrounds Blue Sky's sister, Rose Leaf and Morning Sun, the prince of their land. Morning Sun's father, king Tall Oak, has forbade them to marry, but no reason is given. It is made known that if they marry or procreate, their child will be killed. This is an outrage to Blue Sky. He believes that the king should not have absolute power to make and carry out decisions like this. So another theme in the book is the issue of absolute power. Should a ruler have this kind of power with nothing holding him in check? An age old question that many societies, including our great nation. have asked and fought to change. Where the people have the right to choose. A favorite quote is when Blue Sky confronts his father, Green Field, an old friend and loyal supporter of the king:

"When you were a youth," Blue Sky said, "rebelling against a misguided and fearful king was called bravery. Those who did it are still, to this day, considered heroes. And rightly so, in my opinion. When they were young, they were fearless. But sadly, as they grew older, they let fear rule their lives and the kingdom. I'll have nothing further to do with you. I'll say goodbye to my mother now and be gone. You, though, can forget you ever had me for a son."

What a tell off! Blue Sky has decided to take a stand and champion the cause of Morning Sun and Rose Leaf. He is determined that the people of the kingdom will be equally outraged and a demand for change will come about. You will have to read the book if you want to know what happens!

I really liked Promised Valley Rebellion because of what I mentioned above, but also because of how Ron explored the differences between the hunting/gathering society and the societies of the farming towns and animal herders, showing that these societies coexisted for a time and that there was animosity between them. It is an interesting exploration of prehistoric life wrapped up with elements of conflict, love and lust.

Book description:

Prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them in return for their good behavior. Their enemies, hunters roaming the mostly barren hills beyond the mountains enclosing the valley,believe their gods gave it to them.

When the farmers’ king refuses to allow the marriage of the coming-of-age prince to the daughter of the farmer who saved the king’s life in the last war with the hunters, her brother decides he has to help his sister and the prince, his boyhood friend, correct the flagrant injustice.

That decision leads them and their youthful allies into a rebellion against the king and his officials, who rule the kingdom from their bluff-top town. The far more numerous farmers in the villages below, who despise the officials but not the king, and who admire the prince, are in a position to determine whether the rebels will succeed or face execution for treason.

Visit Ron's Website

This book tour is for Pump Up Your Book!: Online book publicity tours (I received a copy of the book for review and received no monetary compensation. Opinions are mine expressly).

Qualifies for the following reading challenges:

Monthly Mix-Up Mania 
The All Male Review Challenge
Historical Fiction Challenge 2011
GLBT Challenge
Outdo Yourself
Spring Reading Thing


CAT THURSDAY


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)


In my intro post for Armchair BEA, I mentioned how I love horror...I love to be scared.  One of my favorite horror movies is The Ring (which is also based on a book, Ring...also good, but a bit different from the movie).  One of the creepiest movies ever made! So today I'm sharing this lovely lolcats image with you.  Those of you who have seen the movie will get it immediately.  And those of you who haven't seen it, if you can tolerate some genuine creepiness and not too much gross out then check it out.


Here's the linky:



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ARMCHAIR BEA: NETWORKING...INTERVIEWS


Please join me in welcoming to my blog today, Kai from Fiction State of Mind.



1. How long have you been blogging and what compelled you to start your book blog?

Ive been blogging for about 16 mths. I discoverd the blogging world through twitter. After reading a lot of blogs, notably The Story Siren and Book Chick City I realized that this was a community I could be a part of so I jumped right in!

2. On your blog, you state that you read the following genres: Ya, Horror, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Manga. Which of these is your most favorite?

That's difficult! I would have to say Horror and Fantasy are my top two genres.

3. I did notice that you read and review a lot of Manga and Graphic Novels. What draws you to them?

I grew up reading comics. Mostly Archie comics until I discovered the superhero genre after High School. My first Manga was Naruto. What I love about Manga is that any possible interest you can have is covered: Horror, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery. I also like how Manga writers and artists take risks: characters die and don't come back and the fact that a lot of Manga ends, the course of the story is followed and then the threads are all tied up and the story is complete.

4. Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you have a number one favorite?

I have tons: Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, Frank Herber, Patricia Briggs

5. What are your top five favorite books of all time?

Another hard one!
1) Dune by Frank Herbert
2) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
3) The Books of Blood by Clive Barker
4) The Grave Yard Book Neil Gaiman
5) Watchman graphic novel Alan Moore

6. I noticed that you have read 79 books so far this year. Wow! How do you do it?

Two things attributed to my progress so far:
1) I joined over 16 challenges this year which really forced me to organize my books and become panicked to meet my goals :)

2) I attended a "SMALL" ALA event in January. It was a great event and I came home with um.. 135 books!!! I became doubly motivated to read more especially since I'm running out of space! I can't even imagine what the American Library Association's National Convention next year will bring.

7. We have something in common...loving reading challenges! Why do you love them? Which one(s) would you do every year, if they were offered?

I do really well with accountability. If I join something I complete it to the best of my ability. I also like the chance to win prizes and connect with other bloggers.


I love the challenges by Book Chick City: The Horror and Speculative Fiction and this is my first year doing The Debut Author Challenge which I'd love to do every year.

8. Do you have a large TBR list/pile? Are these books from your personal library or are they review books? Or a combination of both?

Right now my review book pile is three :) Every thing else is books I've bought, gotten from Paperback Swap or traded for. I probably have over 250 books to read.

9. Do you keep all of your books and buy books with the intention of keeping them (like I do)?

Buying a nook last June changed everything for me. With the exception of well loved books and signed books my goal is to read all the books I have and either donate or sell them. I'm going to be all e-books with the exception of illustrated novels and signed books.

10. How long do you give a book before you give up on it or do you plod on, determined to finish?

I have a hundred page rule. If it doesn't engage me by then I stop. My only Exception is review books. I work very hard to finish it even if I'm not fully engaged with it. This has made me very picky in the review requests I've taken lately. Though I always give my honest thoughts on the book.

11. What new-to-you genres or books, if any, have you discovered since starting your blog?

YA definitely. I had read a few like Harry Potter by the YA bloggers have opened me up to a whole new genre that I probably would have missed out on.

12. Are you initially struck by gorgeous covers? Have you ever bought a book solely because of its cover?

Yes Covers really effect me, even with services like Netgalley. I picked up Twilight based on the cover alone as well as The Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs.

13. What book(s) would your be most likely to recommend to others so far this year?

Enclave by Ann Aguirre, Across The Universe by Beth Revis, The Girl in the Clockwork Corset.

14. What do you like most about the book blogging community?

I would say the general support and acceptance of new bloggers on the block.

15. What is your favorite event in book blogging: read-a-thons, giveaway hops, social hops, memes...something else?

I really like readathons I really get through a lot of books. Especially the Dewey and you've hosted some great ones :)

16. Any tips on combating blogger burn-out?

Future posts have been really helpful to me. Having a t least one advance post for each week takes the pressure off. Also not pigeonholing myself into one genre really helps. So if books aren't inspiring me I can write about comics or Manga. I also try to do unique events like my upcoming Family Reading Challenge

17. Where do you see your blog in two years? Do you plan on continuing your blog indefinitely?

I would love to continue with my blog, have my readership grow and do more outreach with the publishers I buy from frequently. I love talking about books but I want to balance my blog with more interaction more comments and discussions. Ill admit I have a goal of 1,000 followers but I would give that up in place of more interaction in the form of comments and more of my thoughts reaching potential book buyers.

Thank you so much for joining us today! Everyone be sure to stop by and check out Kai's awesome blog.

I'm being interviewed today by Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit so be sure to stop by!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ARMCHAIR BEA...BEST OF 2011

Today's topic is "Best of 2011."  Since I have only read sixteen books so far this year (pitiful, I know) and only two of them were published in 2011, I'm going to share my top five six (sorry, had to add a sixth!) faves of 2011, including the two from 2011 because they do just happen to be favorites...imagine that!

Blue by Lou Aronica  A wonderful book that has not received enough exposure, in my opinion. My Review

The Raven Queen by Jules Watson  A historical novel about the legendary Irish queen, Maeve.  Need I say more?  My Review

By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (2010 release)  A richly and authentically told historical novel.  My Review


The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner (2008 release)  One of my favorite historicals of all time.  Gortner is one of the best historical authors today.  My Review 


The King's Mistress by Emma Campion (2010 release)  Campion is the foremost scholar on Alice Perrers (mistress to Edward III of England).  This is Alice's story, an excellent one at that! My Review


My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares (2010 release)  I'm not a huge YA reader and I'm still not sure if this is a YA novel, but regardless if it is YA or not, this is one of the best I've read.  My Review



Now...here are a few books I found being featured at BEA that sound absolutely intriguing to me.

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman (ACE publisher, Sept. release) 
A failed academic moves to a small Georgia town, where he plans to write of the horrors that once took place on his family's old plantation, little knowing that a terrible presence still lurks beneath the veneer of Southern charm. This supernatural horror debut is an unusual choice for Ace, which usually focuses on hard science fiction, and may signal an effort to branch out into the popular dark fantasy subgenre; "We have big plans for this book," says publicist Jodi Rosoff.

A More Perfect Heaven by Dava Sobel (Bloomsbury, Sept. release)
This time out, the bestselling author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter tells the story of Nicolaus Copernicus and the revolution he inspired. At the heart of the book is Sobel's play, And the Sun Stood Still, imagining Rheticus's struggle to convince Copernicus to let his manuscript see the light of day.

The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter by Brent Hayward (Chizine Publications, June release)
In the last days of a dying city, the decadent chatelaine chooses a forbidden lover, separating twin outcasts and setting them on independent trajectories that might finally bring down the palace. Then a lone god reappears and a limbless prophet delivers a message for all: beyond the city, something ancient and monumental has come awake. PW's starred review calls the novel "ambitious... beautifully written and morally ambivalent." 

The Taker by Alma Katsu (Gallery Books, Sept. release) 
A young woman is admitted to a hospital in rural Maine and proceeds to slice herself open with a scalpel—only for the wound to immediately heal in this debut novel that begins at the turn of the 19th century and continues into the 21st, billed as "part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner."

All information and book descriptions were obtained from The Big Books of BEA 2011: Adult Titles on Publisher's Weekly.


How about you...any favorites?  Looking forward to any BEA titles?  


Monday, May 23, 2011

MAILBOX MONDAY

Mailbox Monday is on tour and is being hosted this month by MariReads.


(want to read a book description?  Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon)

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

WON:
The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen...from Tina at TinasBookReviews
The Silver Locket by Margaret James...from the lovely ladies at Historical Tapestry
The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses by Ty Drago...from Roxanne Rhoads at Fang-tastic Books
The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer...from Lori at Psychotic State

FOR REVIEW:
The Memoir of Marilyn Monroe by Sandi Gelles-Cole...for Pump Up Your Book (tour date: Sept. 19)

BOOKMOOCH:
Divining Rod by Michael Knight
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
When Christmas Comes by Debbie Macomber


What did you snag this week?

ARMCHAIR BEA...WELCOME!

This is my second year participating in this event.  I had hoped to go to BEA this year in New York, but the funds were just not available.  Stupid money tree died! *L*  Anyway, I'm so excited to join in the fun again this year.  I have a busy week ahead of me.  I'm participating in a week long read-a-thon through Goodreads and I have a blog tour review and guest post this week.  Plus, several end of school year activities at my sons' school.  Whew! So I'm going to try to do as much as I can with A. BEA.  I have an interview with a fellow blogger on Wednesday that I'm pretty excited about.  I will see what else I can do as the week progresses.

Okay...a little bit about my blogging and reading.  I have been book blogging for almost two years (in August).  I have loved reading my whole life.  I was lucky enough to have parents who had their noses stuck in a book constantly and it really rubbed off! I own a huge amount of books...3000+...that's 1900+ fiction and the rest non-fiction and Christmas books.  I guess it's pretty obvious from those numbers that I'm a book lover...or maybe a hoarder?  What I like to read is pretty much summed up in the tagline in my blog header.  "An eclectic reader with an affinity for history and historical fiction"  I adore historical fiction and that is largely due to my love of history.  Up until last year, I was a history major and I'm hoping to get back to it as soon as I get some issues ironed out.  If I had to choose a couple of other favorite genres, they would be fantasy (epic or high, not urban) and horror.  I love fantastical worlds and I LOVE getting the stuff scared out of me! I am also a writer.  I have a writing blog and I'm currently participating in a writing challenge to get me motivated.  I'm actually in the process of researching my novel, but my ideas keep changing and that makes it difficult.  I really want to write historical fiction, but I worry about authenticity.  Can I do it?  Can I write an historical that doesn't rip history to shreds?  It's a worry and it's paralyzing! Back to this blog, I am a read-a-thon addict! So much so that I host seasonal read-a-thons.  I just had my Spring one in April and my Summer read-a-thon is coming up in July.  I also host two perpetual reading challenges, The Michener Challenge and the 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge.

Some personal things about me:  I am a Yankee by birth.  I grew up in Michigan, but have lived in Nashville, Tennessee for 20 years.  I have two sons that I love so much and am grateful for every day.  Being a mom is really the best thing in the world! I am a major cat lover.  If you've been here before, you've probably seen my Cat Thursday meme.  I used to have five cats, but now we are down to one very spoiled Alice.  Let's see, what else?  Oh! I have a fanatical love for Christmas.  Yes, I'm one of them! I have a year round Christmas blog on which I post every 25th of the month, throughout July, and from Thanksgiving through Twelfth Night.
My boys and Alice...her 4th birthday!
Well, that's it! I'm looking forward to this week.  I will try to visit as many of your blogs as I can.  I hope you all have a wonderful Armchair BEA experience!

Find me on Facebook: Personal page  Blog page
Twitter: @truebookaddict
Goodreads
Writing blog:  The Story Inside Me
Historical fiction blog (w/ Marie @ The Burton Book Review):  Historical Fiction Connection
Christmas blog:  The Christmas Spirit

Friday, May 20, 2011

ANOTHER READ-A-THON!

UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST


Okay, don't roll your eyes! I'm attempting to participate in a read-a-thon this week hosted by the Cover to Cover Challenge group over on Goodreads.  Their May Read-A-Thon runs from May 21 Saturday 10 am US Pacific time to May 28 Saturday 10 am US Pacific time. The one day readathon will be held on Saturday May 21. The timings for the 24 hour reading spree are left to your convenience. You can start whenever it fits your schedule and stop when you wish to (this is from their group thread).  The 24 hour reading spree is today and then the read-a-thon continues for a week, where you read at your convenience (around work, school, life, etc.).  They have several mini-challenges set up and it sounds like a lot of fun.  Not sure how well I'll do, but it's a read-a-thon and I always have to try!


Here's what my reading plans are:


1. The Trial of Elizabeth Cree aka Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem Peter Ackroyd(challenge #7)
2. The Half-Made World Felix Gilman(challenge #1) review book
3. Finish A Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin
4. Catch up on read along reading for John Adams David McCullough
5. Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
6. On Tuesday, read section for read along of The Crimson Petal and the White Michel Faber
7. Promised Valley Rebellion Ron Fritsch review book
8. other review books in my stack****
9. ****
10.****



Challenge #7 was to randomly select a book from your TBR stacks/shelves.
Challenge #1 was to read a not-so-chunkster book, 400+ pages.


I'm starting at 12 noon (or thereabouts).  Wish me luck!


Official start time: 4pm CT
Starting on page 232 of Johh Adams (will read through page 385)


Update: 5/22/11

Well, my 24 hours did not go as I had planned. Started at 4pm CT. Began with page 232 of John Adams. I am now only on page 279. Ugh! Only 47 pages read. I just could not stay awake last night.

Continuing with the week long read-a-thon, tonight I am planning on reading through page 385 of 
John Adams and then I will finish A Game of Thrones...hopefully!

BOOK REVIEW: THE KING'S DAUGHTER BY CHRISTIE DICKASON

The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason


My thoughts:
It's amazing to me how close England came to having another Elizabeth to rule the kingdom, well before the current Elizabeth II.  King James VI of Scotland and I of England, was named successor to the throne after Elizabeth I died and was the son of the infamous Mary, Queen of Scots.  He had three children, Henry who was heir to the throne, Charles (called Baby Charles), second in line to the throne, and Elizabeth, third in line to the throne.  There were plots and intrigues in abundance and many conspired to put Elizabeth on the throne.  King James was very suspicious of his two older children, who were much loved by the people.  He was constantly accusing them of treason, of plotting to usurp the throne.  Elizabeth came very close to being the sole heir to the throne.  After her brother Henry died, Baby Charles was next in line, but he was sickly and not expected to survive.  Ultimately, Charles did survive and became Charles I of England.  The King's Daughter focuses on King James' attempts to marry Elizabeth off in the most politically strategic betrothal.  Elizabeth had a precarious existence at court.  In constant fear of being accused of treason and losing her head and feeling more like livestock on the auction block than a person, she was navigating dangerous waters.  The author introduces the (fictional) character of Tallie, a black slave girl who is given to Elizabeth as a gift from her mother.  Elizabeth sees potential and senses a kindred spirit in Tallie and frees her, making her the chief lady-in-waiting in her household.  Tallie becomes Elizabeth's ally and confidant.

What I liked about this book was the interesting dynamic between King James and his children.  James is portrayed here as smart and calculating, but quite uncouth.  He did not seem well-loved by the English people.  So as I stated before, he was constantly suspicious of his children because he knew that England preferred his children to him.  I also enjoyed the friendship between Tallie and Elizabeth.  Although a fictional character, Tallie's introduction into the plot added a touching aspect of camaraderie to the book.  In all, The King's Daughter is an enjoyable and somewhat informative historical novel.

Note:  The author adds a helpful character list at the end of the book, outlining which characters were real and which were fictional, as well as an author's note regarding the historical aspects of the novel.

Book description (from Goodreads):
The court of James I is a volatile place, with factions led by warring cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon. Europe is seething with conflict between Protestants and Catholics. James sees himself as a grand peacemaker—and what better way to make his mark than to use his children in marriage negotiations? 


Into this court come Henry, Prince of Wales, and his sister Elizabeth. Their louche father is so distrusted that soon they are far more popular than he is: an impossibly dangerous position for a child of the king. Then Elizabeth is introduced to Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine. He’s shy but they understand one another. She decides he will be her husband—but her parents change their minds. Brutally denied their support, how can Elizabeth forge her own future? 


At once a love story, a tale of international politics and a tremendous evocation of England at a time of great change, this is a enthralling novel to thrill all lovers of fine historical fiction.


Read in conjunction with


Qualifies for the following reading challenges:
Alphabet Challenge
Monthly Mix-up Mania
Historical Fiction Challenge 2011
Chunkster Challenge 2011
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Spring Reading Thing



FTC disclaimer:  Book was provided in conjunction with a book tour and was mailed to the next tour participant.  Opinions are entirely mine and I was not monetarily compensated.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CAT THURSDAY


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)


I meant to post this last week and then I forgot...too, too funny!


Here's the linky:



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