Being on a bit of a historical fiction kick, I couldn't resist another Alison Weir novel, and the story of Jane Grey certainly caught my interest. Queen for nine days, her reigned was always destined to doom.

My Rating: 4 ❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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This book made for interesting reading as it is told from multiple points of view. We hear from Jane, her mother, her nurse, from Katherine Parr, from Lady Mary and others as well. The change in narrators was sometimes jarring but I think it painted a fuller picture of exactly what was happening politically after the death of Edward VI and how a young girl so far removed from the crown was set up as Queen of England.

Jane is depicted a pious, studious girl. From an early age, she is marked for her intelligence and thus her parents allow her education to include subjects that most girls of the time would not have studied. Her parents hope that this will allow Jane to make a great marriage, one that will also advance them in society, and as time goes on, they hope that Jane might make the greatest marriage go of all, to King Edward himself. It saddened me that despite her intelligence,  and her strong convictions, that Jane is nothing more than a puppet.

Her parents greed for power truly angered me. They had no care for Jane in their ambition and it led them into very dangerous waters. When it was out of the question that Jane marry the young king, they force into a marriage with a man who will have much power--and perhaps all--once the king is dead, a marriage that is hateful to Jane. This is how Jane becomes queen, through subterfuge and impossible schemes. I found I could not forgive her parents.

I also found I could forgive Queen Mary I. I have always pitied this woman, though she has been dead so long. Separated from her mother, made from princess into bastard, forced to give up her faith, never given the chance at marriage and children which she desperately desired, I always felt her life must have been especially hard, and indeed I still do. However, later in life she also became tyrannical her in quest to stamp out heresy and burned hundreds at the stake. Had her hard life made her too unyielding? Was she faithful to the point of being a fanatic? I cannot say, but I will say that she does take what may have been the first step down this bloody road in this novel when she signs the execution warrant that leads to Jane's death.

A great addition to the novels about the Tudor world, Alison Weir keeps me coming back for more.

Happy Reading,
Jewels


I hadn't dove into a Sandra Brown novel in a while, and it was a real treat to get back to this great suspense author. I think Envy ranks among my favourites of titles from Sandra Brown.

My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Romantic Suspense
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Envy opens up with a gripping scene of  boat accident, one that immediately drew me in. You later discover that this scene is one from a novel being read by the main character, Maris who is also the editor and daughter of a well respected publishing house owner. It was certainly an interesting way to start this novel, as it propels Maris into seeking out the author of the book.

Locating the author is something of a challenge, but one Maris overcomes and soon she is reading more of his novel. It is very interesting how the novel within the novel unfolds, and how interwoven both plots are. I think Sandra Brown really did a brilliant job in crafting Envy.

  Sandra Brown novels are always well paced and the characters are strongly portrayed. This combination never fails to find me engrossed in the plot so I can tell you, this book is a page turner. I immediately liked Maris, her appreciation of literature. I liked how even tempered she was, but how she was no push over. Both Noah, her no good husband, and Parker try and push her around but she doesn't let either of them. I like strong heroines.

Parker is the other character I really enjoyed. Rough around the edges, he does try and push Maris' buttons. Later in the novel I see there is a deeper seeded reason for this than is seen on the surface. It's not just apart of who Parker is, but part of his plot for revenge. And his revenge pivots around Maris.

I'm not sure how to say more without revealing too much of the plot, but I will say that this novel is worth the read. It's powerfully written and won't be a book I'll forget any time soon.

Happy Reading, 
Jewels
My my, this book is one not to be missed! Funny, well paced and sizzling this read swept me away and I enjoyed everything about the novel. It was really a devastating read from the first page to the last.

My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Historical Romance 
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I haven't read much by this author, but I must say this novel blew me away. I'll have to keep my eye out for Cedric's story, as the author hinted his own romance might be told. My American Duchess was witty, romantic, a novel of misunderstandings in its way, and I loved the characters. When authors take the time to fully develop characters, I always appreciate them and the story so much more.

Mary was a funny character, always in and out of love and outspoken. I loved to laugh with her and at her as her antics provide many moments of hilarity. Yet, she is kind and honest and perhaps that is why I found her so utterly endearing. That is likely why the duke found her irresistible as well. She speaks from the heart. For a man used the ton, where everyone stands on ceremony, she was a refreshing change, and since Trent was not a man who fully appreciated the falseness of London society, one who it was easy to fall in love with, as does Trent immediately.

The only hitch in this romance is the fact that Mary is engaged to Trent's twin brother, Cedric. And even though Mary quickly realizes she is not in love with him, she refuses (at first) to break the engagement because she already has two broken engagements in America. And Cedric isn't a man to let go of Mary's fortune so easily once she does make up her mind not to marry him.

I won't say how Trent and Mary end up happily ever after, but they do. There are certain bumps along the way, such as the fact that Trent doesn't believe in romantic love. But, what I will say is watching them grow together as a couple will sweep you off your feet at times, while at other times it'll knock your socks off because these two really know how to heat things up.

A lively read, this novel is sure to please all fans of historical romance.

Happy Reading, 
Jewels
I've long been interested in the Tudors, and this novel by Alison Weir paints an entirely different picture of Anne Boylen than any I've read before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it for any fan of historical fiction, but especially those interested in the Tudors and the lives of Henry VIII's wives.

Series: Six Tudor Queens, #2 
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Anne Boylen is the most infamous of Henry VIII's wives, the wife that he beheaded and for who he cast aside his wife of nearly twenty for as well broke with the Church of Rome to marry. Anne has been portrayed as a seductress, a master manipulator, a woman of overreaching ambition, a witch, a whore, and hugely disliked during her reign as queen.

Alison Weir paints Anne in a light that I personally had never considered. Beginning at age twelve, we see Anne grow from a strong willed girl thirsty for life and knowledge into a woman of intelligence and a feminist at the court of Margaret of Austria, and later at the French court. She is careful to guard her virtue and plays the courtly game of love wisely and prudently while setting fashion and garnering attention from the courtiers. Anne is virtuous, intelligent, strong minded and forward thinking. At the Tudor court, she makes huge efforts to ward off the attentions of King Henry, refusing to be his mistress either in the courtly sense or the physical one until finally she agrees to be Henry's courtly mistress. He is relentless after all, and this is likely the beginning of Anne's downfall as soon Henry begins to want more.

As I read the book, I began to think that Anne was untimely placed in Henry's path as during this time, Queen Katherine enters later life and can no longer bear children, leaving Henry without a son and heir. And perhaps Anne's education and forward thinking betray her as she debates religion with Henry and encourages him to put aside Katherine so that she marry him to solidify the power she so covets in order to be a great woman of power like Margaret of Austria and even Isabella of Castile.

Once she is queen, Anne does not receive respect or power and even Henry treats her as any man of the period would a wife, as an inferior. Anne's position is suddenly uncertain, especially as she fails to produce a son and she loses the love and admiration of Henry.

I think what I found most interesting was that in this novel, Anne is not at all in love with Henry. It the queenship that she wants, the power to rule and yet this is utterly denied her. Instead of being as loved and respected as she thought to be, she is reviled and hated and then finally accused of horrid tacts and treason. I've always been sure that Anne was innocent any charges found against her and painted in this light, she becomes a woman to be utterly pitied for she was guilty of nothing more than being a feminist in the end, one who did not understand how hard it is to change the society and mindsets of those around you.

A thought provoking novel, well written and engaging. I can't read more from this author.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
May has been an epic fail for me for reading. I am reading a longer novel, but I didn't get a chance to finish it in time to review. I also had little time for blogging, or much of anything else really but hey, 4 months of 4 ain't bad when it all comes down to it, so perhaps it's not entirely an epic fail. At least, not in that light. Maybe there are no epic fails. Food for thought friends, food for thought.

But I know you didn't click here to read my musings on life and its ups and downs. And life has plenty of them. You're here to see my newest feature, Latest Acquisitions.

The name is entirely what it suggests, me sharing some book love by showcasing books I recently bought. Cuz who doesn't love a great book? And I think I picked up some winners here. They are all by beloved authors, although admittedly I have never read a Karin Slaughter novel. But the cover and title drew me in, as has the fan love.


Lisa Kleypas is a favourite author of mine, and I have been loving The Ravenels. I think the series shows the author's growing strengths as a writer and doesn't romanticize this era in history while still being romantic. I have yet to read Hello, Stranger but I love that it features a woman doctor. 

The Others is a fabulous fantasy series and the novels have yet to disappoint me. I can't wait to read more about this world and other girls like Meg. There is so much potential in this series for growth and coming to understand those that are different than ourselves. 

I have no idea what to expect from a novel by Karin Slaugther. I've heard her books are excellent and very gripping, and I'm excited to have this novel in my library. 

I hope to share more new acquisitions with you soon--hint, I didn't share them all with you today so stayed tuned ;) I also have new banners to reveal and hopefully a review coming soon. 

Happy Reading,
Jewels