Sunday, July 8, 2012

I have decided that I just can't keep up with two blogs so I am going to start talking about books on my daily blog, Losing the Shadow. I will be posting about books on Sundays. Here is my book post today. I hope if you don't read my other blog, you will now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Forbidden

I am working my way down my list on Evernote of medieval romances (and regular fiction) and this one has been on my list for a while. For a medieval romance, the plot is relatively different.

The hero, Ranald, was discarded by his father to a monastery and became a monk, only to be told that he must leave the order to marry his twin brother’s betrothed after the brother dies. He is also a warrior as he was the monastery's protector. Different right?

The heroine, Catalin, is an English lady who was to marry future Scottish laird, Murdoch, and when he dies, Ranald. Imagine being told you are marrying a former monk who was just dragged from the monastery  and is deformed by scarring. How would you react?

This book grabs you as Ranald adapts to life on the outside, learns more about the woman he married and changes. Catalin has also had troubles adapting because she had a secret and did not know what to make out of the scarred twin.

Raik, Ranald’s cousin, is a great character and added some humor to the story,  which is great because the next book, Seduced, is his story.

I recommend this for being different and complex but yet a true love story.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: His Captive Lady

Finally, a medieval romance book where the main hero isn’t a lord, knight, king or other medieval bigwig. He is a Captain in a lord’s army of humble birth.

This book takes place right after the Normans invaded England in 1067. The heroine, Lady Erica of Whitecliffe, a Saxon noble’s daughter who has been kicked out of her home and is hiding out after the invasion with several of her father’s men. The hero, Captain Wulf FitzRobert is a half Saxon, half Norman soldier and is sent to the East Anglia Fens to spy on Saxon rebels.

Wulf is sent to a Saxon rebel’s camp, which turns out to be almost a castle, to infiltrate himself into the rebels. Lady Erica has had enough of living life as an outlaw and seeks to end a family blood feud with Saxon, finds herself in the castle. Wulf stops Lady Erica from being raped by this Saxon and he rescues her. She does not know he is a Norman and when she finds out, the Saxon Lady would not be happy.

I really liked this charming little Harlequin Historical. Carol Townend paints a picture of life at the conquest, not just of the ruling class, but of the average person. The hero struggles with the fact that he thinks he will never advance in that world because of his birth, similar but a little different from what many think today. The heroine struggles with duty versus the heart.

I liked how the romance played out. I would have fallen for the hero myself. I love the name Wulf for a man.

This is part of her Wessex Weddings series and in my giddiness after finishing, I downloaded two more of the books for my Kindle. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I’m Reading..

With Mom’s funeral last week and the time spent by her side before, I have not had much time to post but I have been reading.

I will get back to posting tomorrow.

I have been a wicked eager beaver when it comes to reading though….

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: The Russian Concubine

What a misleading title and cover. There aren't any concubines in the book but that does not make it bad.

The story begins as the Friis family is leaving Russia during the Revolution and their train gets stopped by the Red Army. The family gets separated and the mother and daughter are allowed to continue on the Junchow, China.

Lydia, the daughter, grows up in the Russian Settlement of Junchow with her mother. As White Russians, they are stranded there without passports or money to leave. Her mother, an alcoholic, is not supporting her daughter as she should and Lydia takes to stealing to support her mother. When she is rescued out of a compromising situation on in an alley by a Chinese teenager, her life changes.

I like the history of this book. I have read other novels of lives in rich English Settlements in Shanghai but this book explored those in the seedier European settlements and what was going on China in the 1920s.

The cover and the title annoyed me a little, I will be honest and I might have rated it higher but the annoyance won out. I will read the next book in the series The Girl from Junchow based on the ending that hooked me

Monday, February 6, 2012

Currently Reading Storm


I have been reading up a storm but I have finished nothing.

Currently, I am reading.

from library

bought for Kindle

from library

from library

A little diverse, no?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Instruments of Darkness

Part of what drew me to this book was the cover. Like wine, I do read some books by the cover, or at least the blurb on the cover.

Goodreads describes this book as:

In the year 1780, Harriet Westerman, the willful mistress of a country manor in Sussex, finds a dead man on her grounds with a ring bearing the crest of Thornleigh Hall in his pocket. Not one to be bound by convention or to shy away from adventure, she recruits a reclusive local anatomist named Gabriel Crowther to help her find the murderer, and historical suspense's newest investigative duo is born.

For years, Mrs. Westerman has sensed the menace of neighboring Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex. It is the home of a once- great family that has been reduced to an ailing invalid, his whorish wife, and his alcoholic second son, a man haunted by his years spent as a redcoat in the Revolutionary War.

The same day, Alexander Adams is slain by an unknown killer in his London music shop, leaving his children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex, and to an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.

Instruments of Darkness combines the brooding atmosphere of Anne Perry with the complex, compelling detail of Tess Gerritsen, moving from drawing room to dissecting room, from coffee house to country inn. Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther are both razor-sharp minds and their personalities breathe spirit into this gripping historical mystery.

This story takes place in Sussex and London, England in the 1780s and has flashbacks to Boston during the Revolutionary War. Mrs. Harriet Westerman, a naval commander’s wife, finds a body of a man on her Sussex estate. She enlists the aid of anatomist Gabriel Crowther, who lives alone hiding his own secrets, to solve the murder. At the same time, the author tells the story of Alexander Adams, a music printer in London.

I like the rolls the townspeople played rolls in the story and you got to know the family dynamics of the local gentry.Imogene Robertson weaves the three stories together in a way that sucked me in and grabbed me. She had me turning the page and wanting more.

My only disappointment was by the last few chapters I had guessed who done it. Though, I was not disappointed enough not to want to read the subsequent book in the series, The Anatomy of Murder.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: The Iron Queen

I had to go to Chicago for work last week and brought this book along. I am happy I did.

This books picks up where The Iron Daughter ends off. Meghan and Ash are banished from NeverNever and go back to Louisiana only to be ambushed by Iron fey and the game begins again.

They meet up with Puck and begin a quest to kill the false Iron king. Ash lets down his icy veneer in this book and Meghan grows up a little bit. It is my favorite book of the series so far. The indecisive schoolgirl in the previous books is gone and she took charge of her destiny in this book. She took the extra step with Ash, making him her knight and they went beyond the schoolgirl crush that Meghan had on him

Julie Kagawa paints a great picture in her worlds. She kept the action up in this book and created a good female lead in Meghan. She kept me interested in the book with her writing and story building.

The end of the book sets up the next book and the last book in the series, The Iron Knight, and I look forward to getting that from the library. Ash has grown on me and I have an inkling that Ash is the main character of that book.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Deathless

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

I loved this retelling of Russian folklore set around the time of Stalin and World War II. I knew nothing of Koschei and house elves prior to reading this book. Now I want to know more.

The heroine of the story, Marya Morevna, watched birds become men who came to claim her sisters as wives. She waited for the day a bird would come to claim her. Marya was able to communicate with the house elves, who like the outside world of Soviet Russia, has organized in committees.

Koschei, in the form of a bird, eventually comes for Marya  and thus begins her journey through the folklore of Russia intertwined with 20th Century Soviet history.

This book does not gloss over that history but it made me want to learn more about it it with Valente’s prose. I recommend this rewriting of a fairy tale.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: The Iron Daughter

I am 38 years old. Yes, I really liked The Iron Daughter, the 2nd book in The Iron Fey Series.

Meghan Chase, the half human and half faery teenager, is still in NeverNever with Puck, Grimalkin, the icy Prince Ash and my personal favorite, Ironhorse.

The book starts off with Meghan in the Unseelie Court and sort of abandoned and treated horribly by the icy Ash. Instead of getting mad at Ash, she gets weepy. Ash does come back to rescue Meghan after she witnesses a theft.

After she get away, they meet up with Puck and the charming Grimalkin, the cat. What saved this book from wallowing in Meghan’s Ash problem, was Ironhorse. This brash Iron Fey is the fey!

With Ironhorse back, I was sucked in. The team fights their way through battles. Meghan has internal Ash battles. The problem might be solved but might not be either.

I am ready to read the third book, The Iron Queen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: A Man of Value


A Man of Value is book 2 of Anna Markland’s Montbryce Legacy and revolves around the hero of Book 1, Ram Montbryce’s illegitimate son, Caedmon Woolgar (I love these names, so different). Caedmon is a Saxon knight living in exile in Scotland and is injured in battle, where he is brought to a convent to be treated.

At the convent, he is nursed by Agneta Kirkthwaite, a novice and one thing leads to another and they fall for each other. Unfortunately, Caedmon was part of a raid that killed Agneta’s family. This puts a strain on things and continues as they try to be successful together.

As a follow up to the first book, this was a good second book. I connected with the characters who had faults, like all of us. It can be read as a stand alone book but book 1 gives some of the back story.

I have already bought book 3 of the series and I get further drawn into the world of medieval romances. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: Shutter Island






I saw the movie long before I read this so I knew as much as one could about from the movie but this has been on my reading list for so long and I am fascinated by the topic.

You may or may not know I blog about my battle with depression. I have talked about my great grandfather being in Mattapan State Hospital in the 1950s. It just hit home a little.

When I saw the movie was was fascinated. I wanted to talk about this movie. Finally, I read the book and now I can talk about the book as well.

If you saw the movie, the movie was very much in line with the book.

Teddy Daniels is a federal US Marshall who is sent to Shutter Island with his partner, Chuck Aule, to investigate the disappearance of a mental patient, Rachel Solando. Daniels is a World War II vet with a wife that was killed. Daniels thinks there might be strange tests going on on the island.

As they investigate, they discover that things don’t quite add up. The weather is a big character in the book.

I wish I had not seen the movie before reading the book. Normally, the book and the movie are somewhat different. This was not the case with this book and movie. I would have liked to have read the book with a clear mind.

I think about if something like the book discusses actually happened. This is a thought provoking thriller. I recommend it especially if you have not see the movie.

What did you think of either the movie or the book?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Conquering Passion

I have an admission to make. I have a slight addiction to medieval romances. How this came about, I don’t know but there it is.

From Goodreads:

What if William the Conqueror had appointed four Marcher Lords to control the Welsh border with England instead of three? What if the fourth was a man of honour and diplomacy, as well as a great warrior, a man who abhorred the cruelty and brutality that became the hallmark of the Conqueror’s reign? The marriage arranged for a hero of the Battle of Hastings, a man who prizes obedience in a wife, brings to his bed a willful, independent refugee with a huge dowry and an indomitable spirit to match. Can Ram de Montbryce and Mabelle de Valtesse find love as they lay the foundation of a powerful dynasty amid the turbulence and uncertainty of the Norman Conquest?

Mabelle, who spent six years moving around with her father from castle to castle after being banished from her home and Ram, the a future baron and earl, had an arranged marriage. Neither was especially keen on it but as was common, they made it work.

The author did research and I liked the history of the time of William the Conqueror that is explored in this book. As much as I can emphasize with people from 1,000 years ago, I liked the characters and I felt the problems the characters face seem realistic. The romance between the two felt right.

This was a good inexpensive Kindle download. I have already downloaded the next book in the series. 

I love history and romance and this one fit the bill.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Confessions of a Kindle Addict


I bought a Kindle 4 a few months ago.


I have a slight addiction.

So far, most of the books I have read on it are medieval romances.Some of the covers of the covers of the book make me blush if I read them on the MBTA, Boston’s subway.

They generally have half naked men with women whose dress is on the way off. An example:

The book was much better then the cover would suggest. It would definitely make me a little self conscious on the train.

Thankfully, no one can see the covers on the Kindle and I can read romances until my heart content. So far I have read 49 medieval romances and a few other romances since I got the Kindle.

Currently, I reading:

I should be finished with it tonight or tomorrow.

I love the Amy Butler skin that I got from Skin-It. Very cool.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Among Others

Morwenna, a 15 year old in 1979, has been through the death of her twin and a mother who claims to be a witch. She is sent to live with her father and his sisters and she is promptly sent to a boarding school in England. She doesn’t fit in and loses herself in a world of science fiction books.

I was a child of the 70s and 80s.

While, I was younger then the heroine of the book, Morwenna, I still enjoyed the references in the book. I was also book obsessed as a teen ager, while not into science fiction and fantasy at the time, I was still eager to get into any book I could.

This book is full of references to books of Roger Zelazny, Ursula Le Guin and the Lord of the Rings books. I have not read any of them.

This coming of age story drew me in. Maybe it was my penchant to thinking of the past but I enjoyed it. It would definitely draw in the kid of today who is into science fiction and maybe a little bit nerdy.


I am still trying to figure out the best way to review books. With descriptions? Without? Some sort of rating system? Hmmm….

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: The Iron King

I am 38 years old and I like this book.

The synopsis from Goodreads:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

This story drew me in. Meghan is a likeable teenager and sort of an outside, much like I was. Her good friend, Robbie,  is very protective but who doesn’t want a protective good friend?

The story picks up when strange things start to happen around the house and at school. Meghan soon discovers that she is the daughter of the king of the Seelie Court of faeries.

The journey begins and I have been sucked in for the ride. The friends of Meghan include some great characters, who are taken from stories like The Midsummer’s Night Dream and Alice in Wonderland.

My favorite has to be Grimilkin, a cait sidthe. Puck, Meghan’s friend and Ash, the wickedly handsome Ice Prince round out the group.

This book will take you to Neverneverland when you read it. You will want to continue with the next book, The Iron Daughter, after you finish.

I have already requested The Iron Daughter from the library.

This gets my approval.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Library Adventures: New Years


I love my public library. I can not stress how much I rely on it.  I take full advantage of the interlibrary loan from the Old Colony Library Network, which my library is a member of. I can request books in my pajamas using their website. I love it.

This week I am reading:

I have been reading this today and I am about half way through.

My great grandfather was in a Massachusetts state hospital in the mud 1950s and I was fascinated by this movie and the history involving my grandfather. I am looking forward to this.

Besides having one of my favorite covers in a while, I am about half way through this tale set in England and Wales in the 1970s.

I loved Dai Sijie’s other book, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and I am hoping to this this as well.

I can’t resist a good World War II true story.

I also can’t resist folklore and this is of the Russian kind.

I will have a lot of happy reading this week!