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Mar 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should be Reading:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! Please avoid spoilers!
P. 116 "The Unlikely Disciple" by Kevin Roose
A few hours after dinner I sit down with Marco in his room. He's eating a bowl of Easy Mac while browsing, looking through some of the squad's articles, with titles like "The Rationality of Theism" and "God: The Failed Hypothesis".

Mar 30, 2009

Review: "The Crimes of Paris : A True Story of Theft, Murder and Detection" by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler

Monday, March 30, 2009

Publish Date: 4/27/2009
ISBN: 9780316017909
Pages: 384

The Crimes of Paris was an interesting read and I was not disappointed. Furthermore, it was unexpected. If you judge a book based on its cover, then you will not be disproved in this case. Yet, if you read the back then you may be in for a surprise. The Amazon summary (and on my back cover) is: “Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. Painters, scientists, revolutionaries, poets - all were there. But so, too, were the shadows: Paris was a violent, criminal place, its sinister alleyways the haunts of Apache gangsters and its cafes the gathering places of murderous anarchists. In 1911, it fell victim to perhaps the greatest theft of all time - the taking of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Immediately, Alphonse Bertillon, a detective world-renowned for pioneering crime-scene investigation techniques, was called upon to solve the crime. And quickly the Paris police had a suspect: a young Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso...”

I was expecting the fact that Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting was stolen to be the central focus. But since the actual story of the crime was simpler than many had theorized this becomes a history of criminology in France as it details many crimes, criminals and the detectives, studying the evolution of each of these topics. It discusses notorious crimes that changed the path of criminology, intriguing the reader to delve into 19th and 20th century France. If you like the CSI television series for its technology, it is really inspiring to learn from the beginning just how crime solving techniques have evolved. As stated in the summary, we are taught about the painters, scientists, murderers, revolutionaries etc. Many details are given about the economic and social atmosphere of Paris so that we could better understand the harsh reality of the time.

The book focuses on major figures of the time such as Alphonse Bertillon, who was famous for how he started cataloging criminals. He also testified in the famous Dreyfus Affair which caused a stir with its political scandal damaging his good reputation. We look at figures of note such as Pablo Picasso and Matisse to follow the art culture of France, and the wild murderers and thieves of the Bonnot Gang.

What makes this book better than ordinary is the way the authors weave the characters in and out and bring them back together. It is not just a telling of facts; it contains many interesting subplots following the intellectuals, anarchists, artists and thieves of the time. All of this information we glean so that we can easily comprehend the attitudes of the times when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. The drawback is that with all of these separate stories in one book, then with the solving of the Mona Lisa as an after-thought, it seemed a bit anti-climatic. But since this is non-fiction, perhaps I expect too much.

I always love a book with pictures, and there are some fascinating photos in the center of the book. I enjoyed the book for its easy-readability, for with the multitude of subject matter it tackled it could have easily become boring yet the authors wrote it deftly. Anyone interested in France’s historical information, her artistic cultures and influences, or the origins of criminology, will enjoy this book. I give this book 4 stars, I enjoyed the education very much.

For more information please visit
Giveaway Alert! Courtesy of Hachette Group we are giving away 5 copies of “The Crimes of Paris”:
1. For your First entry, Follow Me, AND leave a comment with your email address. If you are already a follower, let me know that too.
2. For Two Extra Entries, Blog This Contest. Leave me the link to your Blog post.
3. For One Extra Entry, Twitter about this Contest. Leave me your Twitter name so I can check up. (I am
BurtonReview on Twitter) The Tiny URL for this post is

You do not need to leave separate comments, all in one comment is fine. I will use Randomizer to select the winners.
You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.The giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents only.NO P.O. Boxes. One winner per household/IP address. I will email the winners and they must respond within 72 hours.This giveaway will end on Saturday April 11th Midnight E.S.T.

Mailbox Monday ~March 30

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mailbox Monday
Happy Monday!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. Here's what I received during the last week:
From Hachette books to Review (which means giveaways coming!!):

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University By Kevin Roose

Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
And from a Giveaway that I've won: (woohoo!)
To review:
The Shipwreck of a Nation: Germany By H. Peter Nennhaus

The Love Response (Your Prescription to Turn Off Fear, Anger, and Anxiety to Achieve Vibrant Health and Transform Your Life) by Eva M. Selhub, M.D

What did you get this week?

Mar 29, 2009

Sunday Short

Sunday, March 29, 2009
Hello Friends... I just wanted to sneak in tell you to not forget the giveaway for "Too Hot To Handle", going on until April 5th.

Monday I will post my review of "The Crimes of Paris" and offer a giveway, as well as Tuesday I will also review and give away "Laura Rider's Masterpiece" by Jane Hamilton; both courtesy of Hachette. I would post the first review now but I can't concentrate, the kids are very distracting!

Otherwise things get crazy busy in my real life with the end of the month closing and now Quarterly closing, so I will be sadly not focusing on blogs etc. if numbers are not cooperating.

But I will be peeking in for sure!

Mar 27, 2009

Friday Fill-In

Friday, March 27, 2009
Hosted by Friday Fill-in
This week, I took the first sentence in 6 of my favorite fill them in...with the right words or even better, ones of your own. we go!

1. In a hole in the ground there lived a family of fairies.
2. My future ain't great but that ain't no matter.
3. After dark the rain began to fall again, and I missed the moon.
4. Uncle freed himself from the hold of the Spanish galleon.
5. There was a hand in the darkness, andI took it because my life depended on it.
6. Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, and many did not return.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to quiet time with my husband, tomorrow my plans include going to mom's and Sunday, I want to finish reading my Crimes of Paris!

Mar 26, 2009


Thursday, March 26, 2009
It’s that time of the month again! No, don’t groan! This is Good!! Hachette is making the rounds with their generosity, and there are lots of giveaways that they are sponsoring. Many of the following Giveaways are courtesy of Hachette, but we may be lucky enough to find one or two off the main beat. Enjoy the linkage!

Vera at Luxury Reading -Giveaway for hardcover copy of Honolulu by Alan Brennert ending 3/31.
Rhapsody in Books -Five copies of George Pelecanos's "The Turnaround", ends April 2nd.
Dar at Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 5 copies “Girls in Trucks”, ends April 26th. She is also giving away Katherine Center’s “Everyone is Beautiful”.
Readaholic -5 copies each of "Girls In Trucks" and "The Turnaround", ends 4/7. Two more giveaways there to end 4/5.
Nely at Bookwormy Girl is hosting her first giveaway, five copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch; Ends 4/17.
Kaye and her Pudgy Penguins - Oolong Dead by Laura Childs; ends April 4th.
Sharon Kaye Penman – signed copies galore at her site, but you have to work for it. I wish I could.
Marie at The Burton Review is giving away SIGNED copies of Robin Kaye’s "Too Hot to Handle", ends April 5th. (sneaking that in)
Mo at Un-Mainstream Mom Reads is giving away the Kitty Norville series, ends April 4th. And she has several other Hachette Giveaways too!
Donna at Write By Faith has a giveaway for Patti Lacy’s book, Bayou Saw.

Okay, are you sick of giveaways yet… (naaaaaah)
PS Stick around, next week I’ll be giving away The Crimes of Paris by the Hooblers. I just need to get my review up first.. oh and I have to finish it too…

Booking Through Thursday

Thursday, March 26, 2009
The host of Booking Through Thursday can be found by here.
Suggested by Janet: Today's question:

The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”

I enjoyed Phillipa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl. This was the very first book I had picked up and had no clue otherwise as to Tudor History. Of course, everyone now scoffs at her because of the precarious plotlines. Especially since the release of 'The Other Queen' her credibility has gone down the tubes. She still has some die-hard fans, of course.

Yet I have to say that this introduction to the Tudors was what started my passion towards the Historical Fiction genre, and also the non-fiction. I learned early on that to get to the truth in the matter was to read a counterpart non-fiction book when reading a Historical fiction novel. And then I learned that even non-fiction books have been up for debate when the author makes conclusions based on their opinions. It's been a fun ride and I'm glad to be on it.

Mar 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme I found from Alyce's site. This one I will love to do! The trick is to narrow down a book you are anticipating, to just one.
It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
"A Secret Alchemy" by Emma Darwin

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (June 2, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061714720
Two murdered princes; a powerful queen betrayed; a nobleman riding towards his certain death...The story of the Princes in the Tower has been one of the most fascinating - and most brutal - murder mysteries in history for more than five hundred years. In a brilliant feat of historical daring, Emma Darwin has recreated the terrible, exhilarating world of the two youngest victims of the War of the Roses: the power struggles and passion that lay behind their birth, the danger into which they fell, the profoundly moving days before their imprisonment, and the ultimate betrayal of their innocence. In A Secret Alchemy, three voices speak: that of Elizabeth Woodville, the beautiful widow of King Edward IV; of her brother Anthony, surrogate father to the doomed Prince Edward and his brother Dickon; and that of present-day historian Una Pryor. Orphaned, and herself brought up in a family where secrets and rivalries threaten her world, Una's experience of tragedy, betrayal and lost love help her unlock the long-buried secrets that led to the princes' deaths. Weaving their stories together, Emma Darwin brilliantly evokes how the violence and glamour of past ages live on within our present.
I'm guessing the hardback was released in Nov/December 2008 elsewhere. Lucky dogs.
Maybe we need to move? Interesting tidbit, Emma Darwin's Great-Great-grandpa is THE Charles Darwin.

Award Away...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I am loving my Blogosphere of Book Junkies and Friendly Bloggers, and I have received two more awards since last week's Sisterhood Award.. The hard part is finding new people to pass them on to; I am sure the ones I picked last week don't want me awarding them with awards they've already received 10 times over, right?! But I didn't want to just ignore the process altogether.

So here goes:

Thank you to Misfit, for At Home with A Good Book and cat.. (who can't love that title?!) for this "Where Life Hands you Lemons Award" :)

The rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

The Blogs I am awarding:

Alyce from At Home With Books
Marta from Marta's Meanderings

And now, on to the Second Award I am passing along:

About this award: "This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

Thank you so much for choosing me Alabama Book World, the feeling is mutual!

Well I am not coming up with eight this time around, but I chose:

April for Cafe of Dreams; she also received Blog Tour Host of the month from Pump up your Book, she is a busy gal!

To Sally, Leah & Amy at The Friendly Book Nook; this site is clean and organized with lots of reviews & tours.

To Bella from Confessions of a Convicted Bibliophile; she also has tons of reviews peruse, as well as newsworthy snippets.

All these blogs are not interested in awards either, which is what is awesome about the premise of both of these awards; and just wanted to do a round of applause and Thanks to all these wonderful blogs!

Mar 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should be Reading:

Drumroll please...... my first Teaser Tuesdays :)
rGrab your current read.
rLet the book fall open to a random page.
rShare with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
rYou also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
rPlease avoid spoilers!

The Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Theft, Murder & Detection by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, release date April 3, 2009

page 146, line 8

"Thus Bertillon soon realized that, in addition to the strain of ten daily hours of rote copying, every minute of his time was wasted on an activity that was of no use whatsoever. The schoolboy who refused to spend time on subjects that he didn't like now reasserted himself."

~~I am enjoying this book, I am not very far with it though. There is alot of information on a whole new topic for me (Paris) and there is so much background that it goes into that I wasn't expecting. But so far, so good..

Mar 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday - March 23

Monday, March 23, 2009

This is my first "Mailbox Monday" post, so I'm posting everything I've gotten for March. I am not that lucky to get all these books in one week, for sure, and this is pretty awesome for a month as it is. So the quantity of books won't be this large probably EVER again.. (so enjoy!)

Mailbox Monday
Happy Monday!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. I also include books I have bought. Here's what I received:

I had an amazing busy month of mail in March, beginning with my Amazon order:
The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Catherine of Aragon (Tudor Women Series) by Laurien Gardner
A Lady Raised High: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Tudor Women Series) by Laurien Gardner
The King's Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen (Rose of York) by Sandra Worth
Mistress of the Revolution: A Novel by Catherine Delors

An ARC from the author Kate Emerson herself (muah!):
Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson (my review here)

ARC's to review for April and May:
Too Hot to Handle by Robin Kaye (awesome signed copy giveaway here, interview coming in April)
Wild Highland Magic by Kendra Leigh Castle (Guest Author Posst coming May 12)
The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

Mar 21, 2009

Saturday Short

Saturday, March 21, 2009
Okay, let's be honest here. I received "Too Hot to Handle" as an Advance Reading Copy, I chose it because it sounded like a fun read from the description (not looking for the cover). Then I receive the book, and immediately think how am I going to walk around with this thing? You see, I am normally seen toting around "scholarly" books with a portrait of a late King or Queen, or a novel with one of those headless but extravagantly bodiced bodies. Something that I would not mind striking up a passionate conversation about. I work in a small office, with three other males. We all pretty much keep to ourselves, busy working. Here I am, the only female, reading a book with the cover like this:
So this remains in my purse when the guys are around. I am going to try and finish it this weekend so I don't need to bring it back to work :) but then again I don't want to purposefully rush through it because I am having too much fun with it. And I was all detailed/facted to death with my last read so this is an awesome respite. Don't forget to sign up for my awesome giveaway of two signed editions of this book, and my ARC copy! You won't be sorry!

Mar 20, 2009

Sisterhood Award!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Awwww shucks... Amy at Passages to the Past offered me a Sisterhood Award.. how cool is that for a new blogger? That is way cool for Amy to think of me, and it is truly appreciated!
Amy has one of the best Historical Fiction Book Blogs out there and is one of those that has inspired me to endeavor into this realm.
Award 411:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I would like to award the following blogs for inspiring with their awesome blogs, just as Amy has (and have kept me busy lurking!):

S. Krisha of S.Krishna's Books; she has been very graciously helpful to me!

TeddyRose of So Many Precious Books, So Little Time, who has also taken time out to help me!!

Daphne of Tanzanite's Shelf & Stuff, she has such an awesome blog with so much info. She is responsible for my huge Virtual TBR pile!!

Arleigh at for such a clean and informative blog on my favorite topic!!

Dar at Peeking Between the Pages, she has tons of things going on there too!!

Thanks to everyone in Blogland! :)

"The Tudors" Season Premiere

Friday, March 20, 2009
Things that make you go hmm.....
E-Online has the video up for Showtime's "The Tudors", I know some may be interested in it.. I just might buckle down and watch it myself. Maybe. How about you comment and let me know if it's worth my time? I just cannot seem to forget the fact that it is probably all hogwash, but maybe someday I'll loosen up and value it for its' entertainment purposes.
Such as, (from E Online:)According to Jonathan, who plays the megalomaniac Henry VIII, "[There is] a lot more killing and a couple of more wives; a couple of people from court get skewered, and Henry goes into mourning."

And the link goes to the full 53 minute premiere that starts April 5. Hey that's my son's second birthday.. ah, I digress.. again...

Friday Fill-In

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 20, 2009

1. Why do we have to pay for the daycare bills when the kids aren't in daycare?
2. Blogs are now habits.
3. I have forgotten everything I learned in school.
4. I had never heard the phrase "let's go lollygagging" and it would be fun.
5. I wish that one day I would wake up and get out of bed, instead of hitting the snooze button 15 times like the way I always do.
6. How was I to know that I would have many regrets.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading after putting the kids to bed, tomorrow my plans include reading after putting the kids to bed and Sunday, I want to read after putting the kids to bed!
My first ever meme. Yippee.

Review: "After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland" by Leanda De Lisle

Friday, March 20, 2009

"After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle for the Throne of England" by Leanda De Lisle ISBN: 0345450450 Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (January 31, 2006)

Leanda De Lisle brings the reader to the time of Elizabeth's reign where all of her countrymen were wondering, "What happens, after Elizabeth?" in her debut book. Elizabeth was the daughter of the controversial Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, famous for having six wives. Henry declared Elizabeth illegitimate during his reign, through and Act of Parliament no less, which undoubtedly gave Elizabeth a complex. Once Elizabeth gained her throne, she ruled for 44 years; which was 44 years of wondering who would rule after Elizabeth. Normally these things would naturally work themselves out, through marriage and procreation. Yet, Elizabeth refused to marry, thus earning the nickname "The Virgin Queen", which put a damper on the possibilities of offspring. And Elizabeth effectively eliminated most of the other contenders of the throne who had some royal lineage; she scoped out the plotters to her throne and made sure she was quite secure throughout those 44 years with the help of her Cecil's. Leanda De Lisle explains the rival factions, the religious difficulties, and the summaries of the people who would be in line to the throne with just enough information to offer the reader a sense of the later years of Elizabeth's reign. The first half of the book comprises of the author touching on all of these aspects, which to a Tudor fan is nothing new. But she writes it effortlessly, attempting to not bog down the reader down with mountains of hard to follow facts. Oh, there are plenty of facts and a lot of information here but it fortunately does not read like a textbook. Some of the names come and go, which as always, the titles of the nobility can get cumbersome to follow. Who was Lord Cobham? I had to look that up since he came back a few times. (I really wish these types of books would have a chart other than the genealogy charts that would say, 'Northumberland' is 'this person(real name)' so I can gather relationships easier.)

Leanda then moves on to James I of Scotland, who does eventually get the crown of England, quite easily it seems. There is no struggle here until England realizes perhaps having a man to rule is not so great after all. We learn a bit more about James and his personal life, his habits, and his intellect. We get a sense of what Scotland felt to essentially lose their King to England, and how the English felt to get a Scottish King after years of Border Wars and hostility towards one another. The book then details the various plots and the plotters, notably Walter Ralegh, and their effects on England that occurred after James took the throne. The book picks up its pace once getting through the first half and where it picks up after Tudor books have left off.

The criticisms I DO have of the book are that I felt when the author was trying to convey a certain point she was telling a quick synposis of an event, that related to another event, which brought us to another.. I felt I had to keep track of the dates because there was a bit of jumping around in the timeline. This happened a lot and always aggravated me. I wish it were a bit more straightforward.
Also, whereas I found this book to be an engaging read for the most part, most of the information may not be new to the British history buff, and could become a bore if looking for "new" insights especially regarding Elizabeth. The way that the author flings about the names of the effected people, it would be hard to keep up if you have not already read a few other books of the era. The author in no way "goes slow" with us as far as name dropping. And then there were some slow parts, like James' very expensive journey through England to ascend to the throne; the author comprised it of mini-stories weaving in and out.

Upon finishing the book I find myself more interested in doing some followup reading on some of the supporting characters that Leanda De Lisle touched upon. I have read several novels and biographies on Elizabeth and yet still enjoyed Leanda De Lisle's telling of it perhaps because of the enormous amount of details. Because of the differences in laws between Scotland and England, it was interesting to see how James changed things and how England's nobility reacted. I also enjoyed the color pictures, there were some that I had not seen before. This is not a light read, there is a ton of information here, so don't start this unless you are planning on devoting some time to it. This took me about two weeks to read.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars = Good, and Recommended for those interested in just the facts regarding the transition from Elizabeth I to James I, and England's journey to becoming part of the United Kingdom.

Mar 17, 2009

Giveaway Alert! *HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!*

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Again, Happy St. Paddy's Day to y'all.. :) are you wearing your green? I am! I have traced a line of ancestors to Antrim, Ireland to my 8th Great Grandfather, a Mr. Gershom Lee born in in Ireland in 1690 who later came to New Jersey. So here's to you Grandpa.. (on my mother's mother's side..)
May the luck of the Irish be with you! Here's some Free Book Giveaways I've rounded up!

First off, I am giving away Too Hot to Handle by Robin Kaye right here on my blog. See this post here!

S. Krishna is having a Book Giveaway – The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson (the book is only available in the UK so here's a great chance for USA).

The Novel Bookworm is giving away an ARC of Big Sid's Vincati: The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime, which gets released April 30, 2009. Giveaway ends March 18th.

Cheryl's Book Nook is having a huge 5 book Giveaway celebrating the African-American. This ends March 27th.

Jenn's Bookshelf is giving away Willing Spirits by Phyllis Schieber, an endearing tale of friendship. Ends March 28th.

Book Critiques is giving away an inspirational book by Kristin Armstrong called
Work in Progress: An Unfinished Woman's Guide to Grace By Kristin Armstrong. Ends March 24th.

A Christian Writer's World is giving away Another Hour to Kill by Anita Higman. Ends March 28th. Interview with the author on the site as well!

Confessions of a Convicted Bibliophile is giving away the new book, Wicked, by Gregory Maguire. Ends March 27th.

Jenn's Bookshelf is giving away Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly. Ends March 28th.

Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages is also giving away Galway Bay with an awesome Gues post up as well; ends March 29th.

For another chance at this great book, try Diary of an Eccentric! She has got a guest post with the author, and some MORE giveaways posted in her sidebar. Ends March 24th.

TeddyRose at So Many Precious Books has another list up of more giveaways there...

Enjoy, Good luck.. Happy Blogging..


Mar 14, 2009

"Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace" by Kate Emerson

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Publisher: Pocket (February 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416583203

Kate Emerson veers off her normal routine by tackling the dramas of the Tudor Court with this new novel. Jane Popyncourt's life is fictionalized in this fun novel although she truly was a ward of King Henry VII. We are introduced to Jane Popyncourt as a young girl fleeing her home France to seek refuge in England with the King. Jane is young enough to not question how it is that she has this privilege, although as a reader that is in the back of our minds, we are just made aware there is a family connection.

Meanwhile, orphaned Jane is being raised with the Royal Family, befriending Lady Mary and tutoring her and her sister Margaret in French. Years later, as Jane is reunited with a childhood friend from France, she realizes there is some mystery to her background. She begins her quest among unhelpful court ladies to learn more about her mother.

Jane is portrayed as knowing how to act as a lady at the appropriate times, but she is ready to sow some wild oats when she meets a dashing Duc de Longueville Louis D'Orleans, a prisoner of War. Thus she gains a reputation, coupled with the fact that she is a foreigner, she does not have a bright future ahead of her. Jane must find her way, and learn the truth to her heritage amidst a dangerous time of war.

Kate's novel is full of historical tidbits as far as how the courtiers dresssed, their jewels, the pageants and parties; just enough information to not sound like non-fiction but more to give us a sense of being right there in Jane's presence. This is a novel full of romance, mystery and intrigue. The writing was well-done and the book was an easy read and I am looking forward to the next installment in the Tudor Court series. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction, I give this one 5 stars!

A big thanks to Kate for sending me this book!

Mar 13, 2009

Elizabeth of York

Friday, March 13, 2009
Ok, so I must not get out much.. :) I know THAT already.. but this little video had me so happy.. it is not every day I get to hear those wonderful UK accents.

Check out this short news video about Elizabeth of York, and the unveiling of a painting at Hever Castle. Features David Starkey also.

Mar 12, 2009

Giveaway Alert!

Thursday, March 12, 2009
"Mistress of the Sun" is the current Giveaway by Amy at Passages to the Past. This is a Historical Fiction novel about Louise de la Vallière, mistress of France's Louis XIV, the Sun King. This ends March 17th.

And Arleigh at is hosting an awesome ARC giveaway for 6 different but awesome looking HF books. This ends March 21.

And off the beaten path is a contest for a book "Every Sunrise" by Tricia Goyer. This contest is a bit different so head on over and check that out! It's mouth watering!!

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha by Andrea Gunraj-2 copies, ends March 20.

A fun 100th Post Giveaway for several different books for 5 lucky winners at Shelly Burns's blog Write for a Blogger, ends March 17th.

And Cheryl at Cheryl's Book Nook is having more then one contest going on right now, the one I want to win is for the book on Mona Lisa painting, The Crimes of Paris. ENDS MARCH 13th, HURRY!

Mar 8, 2009

Upcoming Releases

Sunday, March 08, 2009
In my Jane Popincourt post, I had questions about Henry VIII's other mistresses: who were they, and in all reality why didn't he have more?
(Ask and ye shall receive)
Perhaps we shall learn some more about Henry and his mistresses with the upcoming book "The Other Tudors: Henry VIII's Mistresses and Bastards" by Philippa Jones. Amazon shows it to be coming in June 2009. I couldn't find out anything else except it seems the author has gone by "Pip Jones" and is of the U.K. Hopefully this one is on schedule..

Also found on Amazon:

Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's True Love by Elizabeth Norton (Hardcover - May 14, 2009) Elizabeth Norton also wrote Anne Boleyn: Henry VIII's Obsession which is due out this month.
Mary Boleyn: The True Story of Henry VIII's Mistress by Josephine Wilkinson (Hardcover - April 14, 2009
1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII by Suzannah Lipscomb (Hardcover - Mar 20, 2009)

and soon to be available in Paperback is
Elizabeth I: Fortune's Bastard by Richard Rex; and author Tracy Borman is scheduled for an Elizabeth I biography titled "Elizabeth's Women", but it is not on Amazon for the US yet. UK release is September 2009.

Mar 7, 2009

"Castile for Isabella" by Jean Plaidy | Review Part Two

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Review Part Two
(Here are my thoughts from Part One)
Now that I've officially finished "Castile", I wanted to get the quick final review in. I mentioned most of the plot in the earlier post, and it continues with the focus on Isabella and ends when she finally manages to obtain the throne of Castile. As with most books dealing with crowns and disunity, there were several opposing forces at work trying to achieve their own status or prominence via their proximity to the crown, which was the plot for the book. Isabella stays true to herself and her upbringing and does not let others persuade her into an otherwise unhealthy alliance with anyone but her betrothed, Ferdinand. What were interesting were the characters surrounding Isabella, and the myriad of unworthy people prying their way into Isabella's life. She has an unstable mother, a younger brother who is docile and loving, and an older brother who is King of Castile but who is pretty much useless in all ways.

Plaidy stays the course in this novel and is not as gripping as some of her other novels, yet Isabella as a young girl is not all that extraordinary, yet rather pious (her nickname is Isabella the Catholic). The character of Isabella is that of practically a saint, and her main focus is her betrothal and her vision of the alliance of Castile and Aragon. It will be interesting to see how Ferdinand and Isabella strategize for power both in state matters and marriage with the next novel of the trilogy. I'll give this one 3.5 stars.

Mar 4, 2009

"Castile for Isabella" by Jean Plaidy | Review Part One

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Castile for Isabella" by Jean Plaidy
ISBN: 0-330-23830-2 Reprinted in UK June 2008 ISBN: 0-330-23830-2
Book one of the Ferdinand and Isabella Trilogy
(Burton Review, Part One)

Isabella was intriguing to me from my previous reads relating to Catherine of Aragon. Isabella was Catherine's mother, and I also recognized Isabella as the one who supported Christopher Columbus in his discovery of the New World.

Jean Plaidy brings history to life with the novels she writes about Royalty and courtiers. In most of her novels there is not just a main character, there are always many supporting characters with equally absorbing storylines that effect the main plot. I don't think I will ever meet a Plaidy Novel I didn't like. So of course to no one's surprise I would be giving a favorable review. Yet, with many thoughts going round and round my head when I am only halfway through the book, I wanted to get them down here so that #1 I would remember what is intriguing me while reading this, and #2 to avoid another lengthy 'review' post. I would welcome any comments!!

This novel begins the story of a young Isabella, born in 1451 to daughter to King John II of Castile & Isabella of Portugal. She is older sister to Alfonso, who is in his cradle at the opening of this novel. She has a great sisterly love for her older brother Henry IV of Castile, who became King of Castile after John died in 1454. The novel revolves around Isabella and her mother who is mentally unstable; and the court of Henry, with the drama resulting in certain factions and their choice as the proper heir of Castile.
Henry is shown as sexually active yet his wife, Blanche, fails to reproduce. Blanche is sent home and Henry takes a new wife, Joanna. Castile needs an heir! In the novel, Joanna takes matter into her hands and finally gives birth to a daughter. I immediately researched on the internet, is Joanna's daughter, Joanna (Joan, Juana), illegitimate? Interesting topic of course and nothing can be proved.

Another interesting topic is the very sad mention in the book regarding the outcome of Blanche II of Navarre (Blanca), who is said to have been a virgin for the full thirteen years of her marriage to Henry IV. I wonder why that was? Was she ugly? When she was sent home to her family she was imprisoned and poisoned because her family (she was half-sister to Ferdinand!) wanted Navarre. Thus she was succeeded by her sister Eleanor upon the father's passing. In the novel, a messenger from her sister Eleanor comes to Blanche hours before she is poisoned. Blanche's father and stepmother are rumoured to also have poisoned Blanche's brother Carlos (Charles) who was to be the father John II of Aragon's (another John) heir. But the 'evil' stepmother only has needs for her children with John, and she doesn't need any distractions from her husband's children with a previous wife. At the top of the list of importance to John and his wife Juana Enríquez was Ferdinand. I can definitely say that I was upset that Blanche was poisoned. Of course nothing ever comes of it as far as anyone caring about it. And the fact that Carlos had died before her also, and still the King or his wife are not challenged regarding murders.

Isabella and Ferdinand are betrothed early on, and Isabella only has prayers and thoughts for that day they are to be together. She recognizes him as her saviour from a scary life where she can be used as a pawn by rebellious factions of her older brother Henry's court.

More another day; this is pretty much to the point in the book that I've read up to.

Jane Popincourt

Wednesday, March 04, 2009
I was reading the post by Daphne at Tanzanite's Blog and she mentions that "The Pleasure Palace: Secrets of the Tudor Court" by Kate Emerson is now available on Amazon.

This is the novel of a Jane Popincourt (Popyncourt) who was a slightly promiscuous Frenchwoman who becomes the first mistress of Henry VIII. Apparently she is brought to the English court by Henry VII to be a companion to his daughters Margaret and Mary. (I had read she was a tutor on Wikipedia?)
The summary says she was brought as a ward to the English court for safety from France following the death of King Charles. I find it interesting that Henry VIII, a man touted as frivolous and perhaps not the best reputation, only had a few mistresses. So here is the story of one of them. The second mistress was Bessie Blount who gave Henry his sought after son he had wanted from Catherine of Aragon for so long. Another famous mistress was Anne Boleyn, his second Queen, then Jane Seymour became his third Queen. (Were there any more mistresses? Mary Boleyn of course, before Anne..)

With this novel, here is the story of a vivacious Jane Popincourt where she falls in love with a French prisoner of war and her perilous path to happiness in an unruly English court. There are rumors of murder, affairs, and many court celebrations.

There is an Interview here with the author Kate Emerson and she gives some insights as to the influences she drew on while writing the book, as there is some confusion about Jane's origin and there is not much know about her. For instance, was she French or Flemish? What exactly was the family tie that put her in the position to be a ward of King Henry VII? Kate says that this novel is as true to history as she could make it, and of course adding her little spin to make it into a novel and to bring together gaps in history.

Of more interest, Kate Emerson is the pseudonym for non-mystery historicals set in sixteenth-century England of author Kathy Lynn Emerson. 'Kate' is writing a second novel in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series, tentatively titled "Between Two Queens" which is from the point of view of another real person, Anne Bassett, who was a maid of honor to five of Henry VIII's queens.
And finally HERE is Kate's website with related links regarding the book. There is also a page with a Who's Who in Tudor Women which is fun to dabble through.
I am looking forward to both of these books.

Mar 3, 2009

Bibliophile Pursuit

Tuesday, March 03, 2009
With so many new releases this year that I am salivating over, and the stack to to-be read books growing, I've decided to compile a list of the books that are Bibliophile List Worthy. There are going to be two lists, of course.

The 'To Be Read and Reviewed' list are books I think I already own (or have been at my library)& REALLY need to get them prioritized to read SOON instead of wandering about aimlessly;

The "Bibliophile Pursuit" list are the ones that I really want for this month. And I do want them all so it is going to be hard to discriminate. I must force myself to read reviews and it is not a 4-Star review or more then I must not allow myself to purchase it (until much later when it's on thriftbooks).
For March's To Be Read and Reviewed List:
Castile for Isabella by Jean Plaidy
Spain for the Sovereigns
Her Majesty's Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage (at my local library)
After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle For the Throne of England (I'll have to check my bookshelves, I THINK I've owned this one for a year)

Bibliophile Pursuit for March:
The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Catherine of Aragon (Tudor Women Series) by Laurien Gardner
A Lady Raised High: A Novel of Anne Boleyn (Tudor Women Series) by Laurien Gardner
The King's Daughter. A Novel of the First Tudor Queen (Rose of York) by Sandra Worth
Mistress of the Revolution: A Novel by Catherine Delors

Those I have purchased at Amazon a few minutes ago from Amazon; the first two by L. Gardner are bargain price so I couldn't resist. So that's my Purchase quota for the Month. Unless of course there is something awesome at the local used bookstore, like ANYTHING related to the Historical British genre, which is rare. I did once find a Margaret Campbell Barnes "My Lady Anne of Cleves" which is very old. And a week later I ALMOST purchased the new reprint of it! I wish there were a spot on Amazon where it would say THIS IS A REPRINT of a 1971 book..
You can go around in circles with Jean Plaidy's novels as well. Ah, I digress..

Mar 2, 2009


Monday, March 02, 2009

"At Court with the Prince of Wales, before WWII darkened a world of glamour and grace."
REVIEW: Palace Circle, by Rebecca Dean

ISBN 13: 9780767930550 ISBN 10: 076793055X

As mentioned in a previous entry, I acquired this book as an advance copy from Carol at The BookReporter. I couldn't wait to delve into this as it is a bit off my recent path of Medieval to Tudor genres. The previews speak of 18 yr. old Delia who marries Viscount Ivor Conisborough just before WWII where she becomes part of Windsor Court. They have two daughters, she has an affair with her husband's best friend, they have to go to Cairo. Essentially they are trading one Palace Circle for another, her husband having a prominent financial advisor position to royalty. Delia and her daughters are torn from loyalties to the British and Egypt who is trying to get out of Britain's grasp. I was hoping it would not be complete chick-lit material but that it would offer a view of the reality of the time period.

The first night I began to read it, I was interested in Delia's story as she gets married, moves from Virginia to England, has kids.. and the story seemed to be written just as fast as that sentence was. As a reader, we like Delia as a person but her character was pretty blah. Not a lot of depth. She has an affair because her husband has an affair. No qualms about it, nothing special. The actual events in the story are, again, a whirlwind but the writing itself flows so easy you are still enjoying the read.

Set against a supposedly magnificent backdrop of World War II in Britain, I was expecting perhaps a bit more 'history', but the war moved along speedily in the beginning with friends and acquaintances going off to fight somewhere and some came back and some didn't. Just as fast as that and pretty much no true emotion.

Just as quick, her husband is transferred to Cairo and Delia's eldest skips a few years to 16 and is enjoying Egypt. That's all in the first 115 pages, which comprised "Part One: Delia; 1911-1930". Part Two is "Petra: 1930-1934". Now we are dealing with young Petra and her social life in Cairo, and who she thinks she loves and why. This is when we are getting pretty annoyed by the shallowness with the main characters. Then there are Parts 3, 4 & 5 focusing more on some of the other characters. This is Phillippa Gregory style and although it gets tiresome when it is done as a narration from characters going back and forth and back again, seperating it into parts works better then the former.

When I read a good Historical Fiction novel, after I put it down I typically go and find a non-fiction book on that time period or a certain event in that time period. From this novel there really isn't anywhere to begin because I was still as confused about it when I finished the book as I was before I picked it up. The people mentioned such as Winston Churchill seemed to just be added for effect. I just didn't have that desire to learn more. I hate to sound so critical of this author's debut, but these are just my opinions of course. And perhaps this is not intended to be a Historical Fiction novel.

The back of the book warns that it has a "fast-paced" plot. But it also said that it was unpredictable and I am not so sure I can agree with that. The premise for the novel was wonderful and made me want to read it; I would have preferred more insights into the various characters, and the reality of their current events which I would have expected to be more crucial. We never truly get the sense of the blurb that is on the cover about WWII darkening her world of glamour and grace. Delia and her daughters always seemed to have anything she wanted being beautiful and rich. Whatever problems came her way did not seem to phase her in the least. There are major personal family difficulties going on which really could have used a lot more interesting dialogue. With the suggested expanded material the author could've made this book into two novels instead. The fact that it doesn't drone on and on about anything doesn't make this book a bore, and the fact that it does indeed move swiftly may enhance it's readability to some. I think there will be some people who prefer more substance, and some others who would just enjoy a good read. If you would like a quick read, this is the book for you. But I must say after getting through all 5 parts of the book I was not thrilled with the ending, which seemed to be a bit abrupt.

Overall, it's not bad, it's not awesome. So I'll give it 3 stars.