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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Recent book haul

Whilst I was home over half term I spent a couple of hours scouring local charity shops to find cheap books. I ended up spending £10 and bought the books below:

That's £2 a book! And they were all pretty good quality

'Bess of Hardwick was one of the most remarkable women of the Tudor era. Gently-born in reduced circumstances, she was married at 15, wedded at 16 and still a virgin. At 19 she married a man more than twice her age, Sir William Cavendish, a senior auditor in King Henry VIII's Court of Augmentations. Responsible for seizing church properties for the crown during the Dissolution, Cavendish enriched himself in the process. During the reign of King Edward VI, Cavendish was the Treasurer to the boy king and sisters and he and Bess moved in the highest levels of society. They had a London home and built Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. After Cavendish's death her third husband was poisoned by his brother. Bess' 4th marriage to the patrician George, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl Marshall of England, made Bess one of the most important women at court. Her shrewd business acumen was a byword and she was said to have 'a masculine understanding', in that age when women had little education and few legal rights. The Earl's death made her arguably the wealthiest and therefore - next to the Queen - the most powerful woman in the country.' - Amazon.

'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies . . .
Six interlocking lives - one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, Cloud Atlas erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity's will to power, and where it will lead us.' - Amazon

This is the cover of the book I found, and no I do not like it. I want one of the prettier covers! But this one was £2 so I'm not complaining too much.
For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to the majesty of Scotland's mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones, about a love that transcends the boundaries of time, and about James Fraser, a warrior whose gallantry once drew the young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful daughter as Claire's spellbinding journey continues in the intrigue-ridden court of Charles Edward Stuart, in a race to thwart a doomed uprising, and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.' - Amazon

I like this cover, but I used to have the prettier original cover. Then my sister lost it. She still owes me the book, but I bought this anyway.
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
It's a small story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.

'The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.' - Amazon.

I've read two of these already (once before I even bought the book, and the other the day I bought them). 
Have you read any of these? Thoughts?

What have I read during February (and since I last posted here)

I have read a lot more than I expected to during February, but I was so tired during half term that I completely forgot to post!

The last book I wrote about here was....trying to read The End of Mr Y (and I failed).

Since then I have read:

Crown of  Midnight by Sarah J Maas
Burned by Karen Marie Moning (on my kindle)
Firelight, Moonglow and Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan (on my kindle)
The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
Delilah by Eleanor Jong
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

I finally got round to starting this series at the end of last year, and this month I read the second book in the series. I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of character development, and some huge plot twists. I love high fantasy, and this series so far seems really accessible. The characters are funny and great to read about. The third book was ordered straight away.

Burned by Karen Marie Moning

I had heard mixed reviews on the book before this in the series (Iced) but I read that in January and enjoyed it. This book returned to Mac's storyline, and I loved it. For those of you who don't know about these books; this is book number 7 in the Fever series. This series is urban fantasy set in Dublin, with a lot of adult content. I wish the next book was already here!

Firelight, Moonglow and Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

 I read these books on my kindle very quickly. They are a steampunk urban fantasy series set in Victorian London, and are the first three books in The Darkest London series. I had had Firelight on my To Be Read list on Amazon for a while. They are quite light-hearted and serious at the same time. They are a fun, quick read. These first three books are told from the point of view of three sisters (one sister per book) who encounter supernatural events in London. There are at least two more books, told from points of view of characters who are NOT in the family, but are introduced by Winterblaze. 

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

I love a good Philippa Gregory book. The Other Boleyn Girl (about Mary Boleyn ) is one of my favourite books ever, and I have read all of her Tudor Court books (my second favourite is The Constant Princess, about Katherine of Aragon). The Red Queen is the second book in The Cousins War series, and is the third one in the series that I have read. Perhaps it is more accurate to call them a 'collection' because these books don't really have to be read in chronological order. My favourite in this series so far (there are at least 2 I haven't read, although I have at least read the first three in collection) was The Lady of the Rivers - not least because I found out my family tree can be traced back to her! Anyway, I enjoyed this book because it added to the immersion in the rest of the series, taking into account the point of view of a character mentioned in The White Queen. Perhaps it might be useful to break down who each book centres on?

The Cousins War
  • The Lady of the Rivers -  Jacquetta Woodville mother of Elizabeth Woodville (Lancaster House, then York House)
  • The Red Queen - Margaret Beaufort mother of Henry Tudor (Lancaster House)
  • The White Queen - Elizabeth Woodville mother of Elizabeth of York (York House)
  • The Kingmakers Daughter - Isabelle and Anne Neville (I have not read this yet)
  • The White Princess - Elizabeth of York wife of Henry Tudor and daughter of Elizabeth Woodville (I have not read this yet)
  • The Kings Curse - Margaret Pole. (I have not read this yet, but it overlaps, timeline wise, with the Tudor Court series,
The Tudor Court

  • The Constant Princess - a young Katherine of Aragon
  • The Other Boleyn Girl - Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn
  • The Boleyn Inheritance - Jane Boleyn, sister in law to Anne and Mary, set during Jane Seymour/ Anne of Cleves/ Katherine Howard time period. Katherine Howard is also a pov character, if I remember correctly. She links to the Boleyns because the Boleyn family is a branch of the Howard family.]
  • The Queens Fool - a jewish girl living in court as a Royal fool, during Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I reigns.
  • The Virgins Lover - Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and Amy Dudley.
  • The Other Queen - Mary Queen of Scots (I don't think I've read this)

Delilah by Eleanor Jong

This book is about Delilah, of Samson and Delilah fame. It centres on her character and imagines Delilahs reasons for the betrayal of Samson. I liked this book, but it is not one I would reread.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

This is the sequel to The Bone Season, a urban sci-fi/ fantasy book set in futuristic London, if London had taken a very different path at the end of the 19th century. I really enjoyed the first book, and this did not disappoint, ending on a massive cliffhanger. I feel like these books are a good step between YA fantasy, and adult (I hate calling things adult as there is really no such thing) fantasy. The characters were interesting, the plot really exciting, and I love all books centred on London!

I also reread Fire by Kristen Cashore this month. I love that book, and all the characters, so much. If you have not read the Graceling series, do so now.

Clair's 2015 Reading Challenge:
  • A book you read in a day - Dreamfever/ Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning (3rd January 2015)
  • A book with magic in it - The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan (9th January 2015)
  • A book written by someone under 30 - The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (21st February 2015)
  • A book with a colour in the title - The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (18th February 2015)
  • A book that takes place in your hometown - The Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan (February 2015)
  • A book set in a different country - Delilah by Eleanor Jong (15th February 2015)
  • A book with nonhuman characters - Burned by Karen Marie Moning (February 2015)
  • A book with a female author - A Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

~to be added to as time passes~

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Apologies for a lack of posts recently; I've been having a hard time at work and then to top it all off, I was ill. Thanks children.

I'll be posting properly soon, but to keep this blog updated I HAVE been reading loads. I'm currently really enjoying Jennifer Armentrouts piss take rereads of the fifty shades books.