Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: A Triple Knot

A Triple Knot
by Emma Campion

Why did you choose this book? the synopsis intrigued me
When did you read this book? July 2014
Who should read this book? readers who enjoy historical fiction set in early England
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of A Triple Knot from TLC Book TOURS

Joan of Kent, the renowned beauty and niece of King Edward III, seems blessed with a life of royal privilege until her father is executed for treason and she becomes a ward of the king, living amongst those who deem her the daughter of a traitor. Joan begins to understand the brutal constraints and dangers inherent in being of royal blood. There is one at court who loves her, but his love proves the greatest threat of all.
As an impetuous teenager, she escapes into a clandestine marriage in a bid for freedom, then must hide it for nearly a decade, as her guardians marry her off to another man. After her first husband’s death, Joan—now a mother of four—enters into another scandalous relationship, this time with the heir to the British throne, Prince Edward, hero of Crécy and Poitiers, who has loved her all along. But his devotion comes at a terrible price. Haunted by nightmares of her father’s execution and the ruthlessness of her royal kin, Joan must reconcile her passion for the crown prince with her own conscience.

My Review

I enjoy historical fiction involving England and royalty but hadn’t read any for awhile, so as soon as I started this one, I felt like I was relaxing with an old friend. The last stories I’d read from this specific genre we centered around the War of Roses, which was new to me at the time. I’ve gone back about one hundred years further with this book, which is set in the mid-1300s.

The first thing I should tell you about this book is that it is a long one, running about 465 pages. This is not a problem unless you are in the mood for a light, quick read. For the most part, I enjoyed this book, though it did drag a bit at times. Telling the story in about 400 pages would have been better.

I also have to mention that I felt a little mislead by the blurb on the cover. When I read it, the implication was that much of this book is based on the period during which Joan ‘enters into a scandalous relationship’ with Prince Edward. That actually happens very near the end of the book, and we don’t learn much about this relationship at all. I really would have liked to seen more detail about this period, though that would have made the book even longer. The good news is, the author is in the early stages of a sequel to tell this part of Joan’s story!

That said, I enjoyed the book very much. I really didn’t know anything about Joan of Kent, so this was new territory for me. One reason I enjoy historical fiction is because it motivates me to learn more about the period covered. I couldn’t wait to hit Wikipedia when I finished to learn more about Joan of Kent and her Black Prince! I really appreciated the author’s note at the end where she clarified what was fact and what was left to her imagination. She also made a point of explaining how different words had different meanings in the 1300s than they do today (ie. clandestine), which added a lot to my understanding of the events. If you have the time to invest and you enjoy historical fiction, this is a very good read!

About Emma Campion

Emma Campion is the author of The King’s Mistress and, writing as Candace Robb, author of the internationally acclaimed Owen Archer crime series. She lives in Seattle. Visit her blog HERE.

Below is an interview of Candace Robb aka Emma Campion discussing writing.

My Rating:  ★★★1/2   3-1/2 Stars

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I received a copy of the book in return for an honest review, which you can read above.

Emma’s Tour Stops

Monday, June 30th:  Broken Teepee
Wednesday, July 2nd:  Daily Mayo
Monday, July 7th:  Fiction Addict
Tuesday, July 8th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, July 9th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, July 10th:  A Bookish Affair
Friday, July 11th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, July 14th:  Book Addict Katie
Tuesday, July 15th:  From L.A. to LA
Wednesday, July 16th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, July 17th:  Unabridged Chick
Friday, July 18th:  The Most Happy Reader
Monday, July 21st:  Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, July 22nd:  Time 2 Read
Wednesday, July 23rd:  Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, July 24th:  Historical Fiction Notebook
Monday, July 28th:  Literally Jen
TBD:  Passages to the Past - author interview
TBD:  Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

On My Radar: July 2014

I haven't done one of these since March! I meant to be more regular than that! Sooo....it’s time for round two of my ‘mini-meme’, ON MY RADAR! I pin a lot of books to my ‘Possible Reads’ board and some really good ones sometime get lost before I can get to them. ON MY RADAR  highlights books I’ve come across that seem especially interesting. These may be just released books or they may be older books I was not previously aware of, but either way, there is something about them that caught my eye. I haven’t decided if will actually read any of them yet, but I do want to follow the reviews to see what others think. That’s why they are ON MY RADAR!

If you do a similar post, be sure to link it up here. Maybe I’ll find something else that should be on my radar. And if you do a review of any of the books here, please leave a link in the comments so I can see what you thought of it! It may help me decide what to read next!

Here are some of the books that are currently ON MY RADAR...

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed

The thirteenth child conceived of miserable Irish exiles, Katie O’Toole dreams of a different life. Little does she know that someone far away is dreaming of her.

In 1747, savages raid her family home, and seventeen-year-old Katie is taken captive. Syawa and Hector have been searching for her, guided by Syawa’s dreams. A young Holyman, Syawa believes Katie is the subject of his Vision: the Creature of Fire and Ice, destined to bring a great gift to his people. Despite her flaming hair and ice-blue eyes, Katie is certain he is mistaken, but faced with returning to her family, she agrees to join them. She soon discovers that in order to fulfill Syawa’s Vision, she must first become his Spirit Keeper, embarking on an epic journey that will change her life—and heart—forever.

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

The Actress by Amy Sohn

A big, lively breakout novel from bestselling author Amy Sohn, in which a talented young actress falls in love with Hollywood’s biggest star—ignoring the rumors that he’s gay—only to realize that she may just have been cast in the role of a lifetime.

All Maddy Freed has ever wanted is to act. When the indie film she made with her director boyfriend, Dan, wins her a special acting prize at the Mile's End Film Festival, she's thrilled but doesn't yet understand how much it will change her life. Then she catches the eye of Bridget Ostrow, a legendary talent manager whose biggest client is Hollywood heartthrob Steven Weller. Before Maddy knows it, her career has shifted onto the express track.

Bridget secures Maddy an audition for an Oscar-worthy role opposite Steven, and soon the two actors are thrown together amid Europe’s Old World charm. Though for years there have been rumors that Steven is gay, it doesn’t take long before their professional relationship turns personal. After the passionate whirlwind wedding, though, rumors continue to swirl, and cracks start to appear in their fairytale lives. Even as Maddy stands by the man she believes is the love of her life, she begins to question just how much she knows about her role as his wife…

The Actress is a romantic, literary page-turner about Hollywood fame, the treachery of love, and the pleasures and pains of female ambition.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Losing Touch

Losing Touch
by Sandra Hunter

Why did you choose this book? I like reading about different cultures
When did you read this book? June 2014
Who should read this book? readers who are okay with difficult subjects
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of Losing Touch from TLC Book TOURS

After Indian Independence Arjun brings his family to London, but hopes of a better life rapidly dissipate. His wife Sunila spends all day longing for a nice tea service, his son suddenly hates anything Indian, and his daughter, well, that’s a whole other problem. As he struggles to enforce the values he grew up with, his family eagerly embraces the new. But when Arjun’s right leg suddenly fails him, his sense of imbalance is more than external. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he is forced to question his youthful impatience and careless cruelty to his family, until he learns, ultimately, to love them despite — or because of — their flaws. In a series of tender and touching glimpses into the shared life of a married couple, Sandra Hunter creates strikingly sympathetic characters — ones that remind us of our own shortfalls, successes, hypocrisies, and humanity.

My Review

Another wow! I’m not even sure what to say about this one! I liked it very much….I just can’t really put my finger on WHY I liked it. At the surface, it appears to be a very depressing subject. Arjun, the main character, has inherited a degenerative neuromuscular disorder and the story follows his decline. In addition to his health, his family relationships also are in decline. Part one takes place in the 60s, when of course there was a lot of generational discord, so it is not surprising to find that with the teens in the family, everything is not all fun and games. In addition, Arjun’s family has immigrated to London from India, and there is the tension of wanting to hang on to Indian traditions vs adopting western attitudes. This causes a deep enough rift between Arjun and his wife Sunila to put their marriage in jeopardy. But despite these seemingly depressing circumstances, this is not a story of hopelessness.

One thing that really struck me is how the story was told. Arjun’s physical decline was told in the title of each chapter, which for the most part were spaced 13 months apart. I wondered if this was significant because 13 is considered an unlucky number. And though the text did sometimes detail Arjun’s physical decline, the story itself was a story of relationships and family, where the disease was just a background story. Most of the family issues could occur in any family.

This will be a fantastic choice for book clubs, with so much to discuss. And this is a book that begs to be discussed, covering issues of how illness affects family dynamics, communication within a family, racism, and generational conflict among others. Oh, and did I mention, I love the cover?!

About Sandra Hunter

Sandra Hunter’s fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and has received three Pushcart Prize nominations. Among other awards, she won the 2013 Women’s Domination Story Competition, 2012 Cobalt Literary Magazine Fiction Prize and the 2011 Arthur Edelstein Short Fiction Prize. Her short story “Blessed Are the Meek” won Glimmer Train’s Spring 2005 Very Short Fiction Award, and is now a chapter in her novel Losing Touch, to be published in July 2014 (OneWorld Publications).

Please visit Sandra’s website HERE.

My Rating:  ★★★★   4 Stars

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I received a copy of the book in return for an honest review, which you can read above.

Sandra’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 1st:  1330 V
Wednesday, July 2nd:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Thursday, July 3rd:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, July 7th:  Lit and Life
Tuesday, July 8th:  The Written World
Wednesday, July 9th:  Books in the City
Thursday, July 10th:  Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, July 11th:  BookNAround
Monday, July 14th:  Missris
Tuesday, July 15th:  Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, July 16th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, July 17th:  Luxury Reading
Friday, July 18th:  Time 2 Read
Monday, July 21st:  Bound By Words
Tuesday, July 22nd:  A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, July 23rd:  Good Girl Gone Redneck

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Butternut Summer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating!

Butternut Summer
The Butternut Lake Trilogy #2
by Mary McNear
Expected Publication Date: August 12, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads

An absorbing, highly entertaining novel about family secrets,The Never Never Sisters Return to the golden beauty of Minnesota’s Butternut Lake in this emotional story that vividly captures the joy and pain of first love, as a mother and daughter each come to terms with the desires of her heart.

Summer at Butternut Lake—a season full of surprises . . . and life-changing choices.

Preparing for her final year of college, Daisy is crazy busy now that she’s back at Butternut Lake. She’s helping her mother, Caroline, run their coffee shop and trying to build a relationship with the absentee father who’s suddenly reappeared. She never expected to fall in love with Will, the bad-boy from high school who works at the local garage. With every passing day she and Will grow closer to each other . . . and closer to the day they will have to say goodbye. As summer’s end looms, Will and Daisy face heartbreaking choices that might tear them apart.

Caroline already has her hands full trying to make ends meet at the coffee shop without having her no-good ex suddenly show up. Now that Jack is back, he’s determined to reconnect with the family he walked out on twenty years ago. But with the bank pounding on her door and Jack’s presence reminding her of the passion they once shared, Caroline’s resolve begins to crumble. As Daisy’s departure looms and her financial worries grow, Caroline just may discover the support she needs . . . in the last place she ever imagined.

Why I am waiting....
I read the first book in the series, Up At Butternut Lake, and enjoyed it, but if you read my review, you can see I wanted a bit more resolution in Caroline’s story. It looks like this book is going to give it to me!

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