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A Girl Child – Donna Nitz Muller

12 Jul

Started – 3/7/13

Finished – 6/7/13

Format – Kindle e-book


Synopsis – Tillie is a German concert pianist in 1915. She is assigned by the German Military to an American tour in order to provide good-will and to spy. All the while she does her duty, she has an agenda of her own. She must rescue her sister from kidnappers. Tillie changes from a young lady on the brink of promise to a resourceful woman willing to sacrifice everything. As Tillie learns, desperate times lead to desperate acts. Her journey takes her from Frankfurt to Washington DC to France and to England. Even as she runs for her life, she finds love with a German Intelligence Officer. While she risks being shot as a spy, she performs her music. While she grieves for her fallen friends, she works to reach the child, Rose.


My Thoughts – I downloaded this book onto my kindle as it was free for a day and it had a lot of things in it that i thought I might enjoy reading. It is set during the first world war, it has Germany in it and is also about spying so I thought it might be a good book.


However I didnt really enjoy this book. It seemed to jump about a fair bit and it could have been a lot better if it had been padded out a bit more and things explained as to why it was all happening. This book had two plots one that involved the spying and one that involved Tillie getting her sister back. FOr some reason it seemed to have been thrown together a bit and should have concentrated on one or the other.


This book is the second in ther series and while i havent read the first i didnt think that it made all that much sense. I did enjoy reading about the German side of the first world war though.


Rating – 2/5

Brothers’ Fury – GIles Kristian

3 Jul


Started – 22/6/13

Finished – 3/7/13

Format – Paperback Book



Rebel Cast out from his home, rejected by his family, Tom Rivers returns to his regiment. But his commander believes the young hothead’s recklessness and contempt for authority has no place in his troop. But to a spymaster like Captain Crafte, Tom’s dark and fearless nature is in itself a weapon to be turned upon the hated Cavaliers – who else would dare to infiltrate Oxford, now the Royalist capital, to destroy the King’s printing press and strike a blow at the very heart of the enemy? Renegade Raw with grief at the death of his father, Edmund Rivers rejects the peace talks between Parliament and the King. He chooses instead to lead a hardened band of marauders across the moors, appearing out of the frozen world to fall on unsuspecting rebel columns like wolves. But Prince Rupert – recognising in Mun a fellow child of war – has other plans for him, from stealing a colossal gun, to tunneling beneath the walls of Lichfield. The only peace the enemy will get from Mun Rivers is that of the grave. Huntress Her heart broken following the deaths of her beloved Emmanuel and her father, Bess Rivers takes the hardest decision of her life: to leave her new-born son and depart Sheer House in search of tghe one person who might help her re-unite what is left of her broken family. Risking her own life on the road, Bess will do whatever it takes to find her brother Tom and secure his Royal pardon

My Thoughts – I was sent this book by the publishers for a review.


Tom Rivers is a rebel fighting the King’s army during the British civil war. Left for dead on a battlefeild and nursed back to health after having his finger cut off by looters for his ring he has a point to prove to all those on the enemy side.


Edmund ‘Mun’ Rivers is fighting for the Kings course however he is now fighting with a group of marauders killing those who fight against the King.


Bess Rivers fresh from the loss of her father and Emmanuel, the father of her young son, sets off on a task to search out her brother for a royal pardon. However in order to do this she has to cross the English countryside during the civil war.


This is a very interesting book set during the Bristish civil war about three siblings that all have there own struggles to contend with while trying to stay alive and reach there own personal goals. I have read a few books set in this time period however they are normally on one side or the other. What makes this book unique is the fact that the story is told from both sides and more interestingly from the perspective of two brothers, both of whom think that there side is the better and should be the ones winning the war.


The brothers story is full of action and what it was like to fight during those times. It also brings into perspective just how many people died from the British Civil War. At times there is a lot of battle scenes and these are a little gorey but what with the type of book that it is it is to be expected and also to add to the story. It was a little sad with some of the battle scenes where some of the horses died but again that is another factor of the war during that time.


Bess’ story broke up the fighting and i feel that this really made the book. She is trying to get her brother back and get him a pardon but he proves to be a difficult person to find. She is not without danger though and this is told throughout the book.


This is the second book in the trilogy and unfortunatly I have not read the first one but now that I have read the second I really want to read the book. I found it very easy to pick up the story and while it may have been easier to pick up the story first if I had read the first in the series it wasnt to hard to get into it.


I found this book very easy to get into and I really enjoyed the story to it. I am going to get my hands on the first book in the series and also I cant wait for the next book to come out as it left on a very big cliffhanger.


Rating – 4/5

His Dark Lady – Victoria Lamb

14 May

Started – 25/4/13

Finished – 12/5/13

Format – Hardback Book


Synopsis – London, 1583.


When young, aspiring playwright William Shakespeare encounters Lucy Morgan, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s ladies-in-waiting, the two fall passionately in love. He declares Lucy the inspiration for his work, but what secret is Will hiding from his muse?


Meanwhile, Lucy has her own secret – and one that could destroy her world if exposed. No longer the chaste maid so valued by the Virgin Queen, she also bore witness to the clandestine wedding of Lettice Knollys and Robert Dudley, a match forbidden by the monarch.


England is in peril.Queen Elizabeth’s health is deteriorating, her throne under siege from Catholic plotters and threats of war with Spain. Faced with deciding the fate of her long-term prisoner, Mary, Queen of Scots, she needs a trusted circle of advisors around her now more than ever. But who can she turn to when those closest to her have proved disloyal?


My Thoughts – I got sent this book by the publishers as I read the first book in the series – The Queens Secret last year and really enjoyed the story. The book carries on from the first book, a bit of time has past since the end of the book and the start of this one but all the familuar characters are in it. Queen Elizabeth I, her sister Mary, all her court, Master Goodluck and of course Lucy Morgan who the story centralises on.

Will Shakespeare is very much a bit part to this book and I’m not overally sure if I liked the part that he played. I dont want to ruin it for others what he does but I’m not sure if I like it or not! However it was really good to read some fiction on his home life and that of his family like his daughter and his twins.

The love triangle from the previous book continues however it does kind of reach a head in this book. It did make me feel sorry for Queen Elizabeth I with how everyone was laughing at her but it was a good point to the book.

It did shock me with what happened to Mary I didnt really expect it in this book. This book tells the story of what life was like during that time, the plague, how horrible living conditions were and how many people did not live for very long.

The writing of this book is as beautiful as the first and it was really easy to get into the style.  I really enjoyed this book and i’m very hopeful that there is going to be more books in this series because i will definitaly be reading a brilliant book highly recommended by me.

Rating – 4/5

Wolf Hall – Hillary Mantel

19 Apr

Started – 30/3/13

Finished – 19/4/13

Format – Hardback Book

Challenges – World Book Night 2012 Longlist

Synopsis –  ‘Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,’ says Thomas More, ‘and when you come back that night he’ll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks’ tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.’ England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

My Thoughts – This book was picked for the April reading circle choice and its also a book that I have wanted to read for quite a while.

This book tells the story of Thomas Cromwell and his relationship to King Henry VIII, his divorce from Katherine and his next marriage to Anne. Now when i first picked this book up i was a little put off by its size. My copy was around 650 pages and hardback so at first sight it was quite a book to read.

I did have a problem remembering who was who as there is a lot of characters in the book and i did have to keep on refering back to the list of characters at the front of the book.

However i did enjoy the story of the book and got really into it. I thought it was a good representation of the time period explaining the plague and how many people died during that time. I also thought that Anne was represented quite harshly and made out to be quite nasty and I’m not too sure if she was actually like that.

I would like to read the second book in the series at some point. I’m not going to rush out and buy it but its a book i would like to read some day.

Rating – 3/5

Cold April – Phyllis A. Humphrey

15 Dec

Started – 11/12/12

Finished 15/12/12

Format – Kindle e-book


Synopsis – Fresh from three years in America, Englishwoman Elizabeth Shallcross has big plans for her future, and they do not include remaining in England as a lowly governess. She finds, however, that she has one last obligation to fulfill; she must accompany Richard Graham, a dashing American widower, and care for his charming child on a luxurious voyage to America. Their ship? The Titanic. On this fateful trip two handsome men vie for her attention. But when the ship hits an iceberg, who will survive?

My Thoughts – I downloaded this book as it was free for a day on amazon and as i am quite fascinated by the Titanic and all its happenings i thought that this woud be a good book to read.

Elizabeth, or Miss Beth is a governess who has recently returned from living and working in America for three years. She longs to go back and begin a career as a typist but before she can do this she is asked by her previous employers to be a governess for a friend of the family. She agrees, but only for the crossing between England and America and until someone else suitable can be found.

The man in question is Richard Graham, an American gentleman who sadly lost his wife a few years ago and left his daugher without a mother. Beth hits it off with him almost at once and the class barrier seems to fade away between them.

They board the ill fated Titanic and its here that the two characters really seem to start getting to know each other. I did like how some parts of the book were told from Richards point of view and it explained how he was feeling and i felt it added more depth to the book.

Beth also meets another man, Harry, who is a magican and an acrobat who entertains the children on the ship. Harry seems very smitten with Beth and although Beth doesnt really feel the same she sees him as a good friend.

I liked how the main facts of the actual event were put into the story. For example the fact that there werent enough lifeboats and this was a well known fact. As the Titanic was supposedly an unsinkable ship the makers didnt see the need for lifeboats to be made available.

Once the iceberg stuck i liked how many people didnt think the ship could sink so they werent too bothered about getting up on deck or getting into a lifeboat to start with. I liked how the story of Elizabeth and Richard was weaved around the iceburg.

I ended up shedding a tear at the end of the book as so many people lost there lives on this ship. It was an event that could have not maybe been avoided but if more lifeboats were on board more people could have been saved. I would be interested in reading more about the Titanic event itself now.

This is not a massive book, i read the majority of it in one sitting and it has a lot of information in it about the real life event. I did think that i woud have liked to read more about the characters after the actual event but that was just a personal thing. I did really enjoy this book though.

Rating – 4/5


The Marlowe Conspiracy by M. G. Scarsbrook

27 Nov


Started – 13/11/12
Finished – 27/11/12
Format – Kindle e-book

Synopsis – 1593, Elizabethan England: In a turbulent time of wars, famine, and religious persecution, Christopher Marlowe struggles to balance his life as England’s most popular playwright with his duties as a government spy.

Suddenly, when he falls under suspicion of atheism, a capital crime, Marlowe fears his many powerful enemies have launched a conspiracy to have him executed.

With only a few days to clear his name, he quickly enlists the aid of a young William Shakespeare – one of the few friends he can still trust. Together, they race through Marlowe’s tangled life of crime, espionage, and noble connections to expose the conspiracy and save him from the hangman’s noose.

My thoughts – I downloaded this book on my kindle earlier in the year as I love Shakespeare and as he appears in this work of fiction I thought this would be a good book to read.

Although Shakespeare appears in this book it’s more about Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe and his life as a playwright and also as a spy for the Queen. I wasn’t overly familiar with him before I read this book but as I was reading it I was researching him and others in the book.

Sometimes I find it quite difficult to read about real people in fiction but this book was very well done and I really enjoyed it.

This book was very good and had many twists and turns in the plot. I did enjoy reading this book however as I was ill while reading this book it kind of put me off a little although this should be no reflection on the book itself.

I think many people will enjoy reading this book especially fans of the time period of Elizabeth I and those that are interested in reading about real life people in fiction.

Rating – 3.5/5

The King’s Spy – Andrew Swanston

26 Sep

Started – 16/9/12

Finished – 26/9/12

Format – Hardback Book


Synopsis – England is at war with itself. King Charles I has fled London, his negotiations with Parliament in tatters. The country is consumed by bloodshed.


For Thomas Hill, a man of letters quietly running a bookshop in the rural town of Romsey, knowledge of the war is limited to the rumours that reach the local inn.


When a stranger knocks on his door one night and informs him that the king’s cryptographer has died, everything changes. Aware of Thomas’s background as a mathematician and his expertise in codes and ciphers, the king has summoned him to his court in Oxford.


On arrival, Thomas soon discovers that nothing at court is straightforward. There is evidence of a traitor in their midst. Brutal murder follows brutal murder. And when a vital message encrypted with a notoriously unbreakable code is intercepted, he must decipher it to reveal the king’s betrayer and prevent the violent death that failure will surely bring.


My Thoughts – This was a book that i got sent to me from the Transworld publishers as part of a reading challenge. This book is about Thomas Hill a bookseller who lives with his sister and her two children during the times of the English civil war. He travels away to Oxford and its here that he becomes a cryptographer for the king. He has to decode a series of messages and the war could depend on it.


This book not only has the code aspect too it, its also full of torture, murders and lots of other not nice things. I did think that these were quite well done and added a bit more substance to the story. I did also like the ammount of codes and the details that the author went in to explain how the codes were solved. The illustations were also a hepful aspect to help understand the codes fully.


I really loved the character of Jane and was so gutted with what happened to her in the book. I would have liked her and Thomas to have ended up together but that was not the case.


The only couple of things that i didnt like about the book was that it was quite predicable what was going to happen and the twists and turns could be seen a mile off. Thats not to say that i didnt enjoy the book, i really did but this was the only thing that put me off a little, This book is the first in a trilogy and i think that im going to keep a little eye out for the next.


I enjoyed reading this book although its set in a time period that im not too familar with it was an enjoyable experience to read.


Rating – 4/5