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Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

12 Sep

Started – 31/7/12

Finished – 9/9/12

Format – Paperback book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

World Book Night 2012 Long List

Synopsis – Tomorrow is another day… Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed. Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O’Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

My Thoughts – I’ve had this book on my shelf for a long time and to be honest i was getting a little bit put off my the sheer size of the book. its over 1000 pages long and to be honest this did put me off a little bit. However, i didnt need to have worried i absolutly loved this book and i really wish i had read it sooner.

This epic book centres on Scarlett O’Hara and her life. At the start of the book she is a very self centred person and all she wants to do is attend lots of parties and find a husband and lead as many boys on as possible too. Its at a part she meets Rhett Butler and these too dont really mix very well. In fact the end up really disliking each other.

Then the unthinkable happens, civil war breaks out in America and all the men go off to fight leaving all the women behind. This is the chance for Scarlett and her friends to have to do lots of things like working in a hospital and treating the wounded soldiers. Once the civil war is over with the reconstruction takes place and its here that Scarlett’s character really starts to appear.

To be honest i didnt really like Scarlett, I really tried to but her treatment of people, espeically Frank. I thought that this was so sad what she did, i do understand the reasons behind it, to save Tara, but she ruined her sisters happiness at this. Scarlett could have had a brilliant life but instead she was so preoccupied with Ashley that she didnt realise how badly that she was treating everybody.

I did find the treatment of the black people in the book so shocking. I know that this is what happened during this time period but reading about it was so shocking and i just dont know how people could have been treated in that way by others.

I also thought that this book was so much more than the romance story that it is billed as. I found it so sad with the ammount of death in the book and there were so many twists and turns that sometimes i couldnt believe how much was happening. At the end of the book i did shed a tear as Melanie was such a nice person and i just didnt think she deserved anything that happened to her.

The only thing that did put me off slightly was the begining was very complicated with all the characters being introduced and this did at one point make me think that it wasnt the book for me. This was nessassery for the book to be introduced and once i got a hundred pages in i didnt really look back.

I loved this book its not often that i say that and i was so shocked at how much i loved this and how quickly i got into it. An amazing book!

Rating – 5/5

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The Queen’s Secret – Victoria Lamb

24 Aug

Started – 6/8/12

 

Finished – 21/8/12

 

Format – Hardback Book

 

Synopsis – July 1575

 

Elizabeth I, Queen of England, arrives at Kenilworth Castle amid pomp, fanfare and a wealth of lavish festivities, laid on by the Earl of Leicester. The hopeful Earl knows this is his very last chance to persuade the Queen to marry him.

 

But despite his attachment to the Queen and his driving ambition to be her King, Leicester is unable to resist the seductive wiles of Lettice, wife of the Earl of Essex. And soon whispers of their relationship start spreading through the court.

 

Enraged by the adulterous lovers growing intimacy, Elizabeth employs Lucy Morgan, a young black singer and court entertainer, to spy on the couple. But Lucy, who was raised by a spy in London, uncovers far more than she bargains for.

 

For someone at Kenilworth that summer is plotting to kill the queen. No longer able to tell friend from foe, it is soon not only the queen who is in mortal danger – but Lucy herself.

 

My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the Hardback Historical Challenge from the Transworld Publishers. I really had a craving to read a book from this time period and this book really fitted the bill for me.

This book is set in the time period of Queen Elizabeth I and is about Lucy, a girl in the courts. She starts off by being an entertainer in a big group, but ends up being one of the Queens favourites as the time goes on. There is also a big love triangle between the Queen, her cousin and a man, Robert. Along with spying and lots of other things this book had the premise to be a very good book.

I really enjoyed this book, especially the part where a young Will Shakespeare makes an appearance. As her is part of the climax of the book i was really surprised to see him in there, however this really made the book a lot more enjoyable for me.

I also enjoyed the big love triangle. This for me was really good and I couldn’t help but think how long it would be before they all got caught and it all became unraveled.

I’m not sure how historically accurate the book was as this time period is not my strongest, but i really enjoyed reading about it. I really want to learn more about this time period and read more books set in it.

I loved this authors writing and having a look there is a follow-up book to this one, due out next year and i will definitely be wanting to read that when it is released.

A great book that is highly recommended by me
Rating – 5/5

 

 

Across A Bridge of Dreams – Lesley Downer

31 Jul

Started – 6/7/12

Finished – 20/7/12

Format – Hardback Book

Synopsis – Unified after a bitter civil war, Japan is rapidly turning into a modern country with rickshaws, railways and schools for girls. Commoners can marry their children into any class, and the old hatred between north and south is over – or so it seems.

Taka is from the powerful southern Satsuma clan which now rules the country, and her father, General Kitaoka, is a leader of the new government. Nobu, however, is from the northern Aizu clan, massacred by the Satsuma in the civil war. Defeated and reduced to poverty, his family has sworn revenge on the Satsuma.

Taka and Nobu’s love is unacceptable to both their families and must be kept secret, but what they cannot foresee is how quickly the tables will turn. Many southern samurai become disillusioned with the new regime, which has deprived them of their swords, status and honour. Taka’s father abruptly leaves Tokyo and returns to the southern island of Kyushu, where trouble is brewing.

When he and his clansmen rise in rebellion, the government sends its newly-created army to put them down. Nobu and his brothers have joined this army, and his brothers now see their chance of revenge on the Satsuma. But Nobu will have to fight and maybe kill Taka’s father and brother, while Taka now has to make a terrible choice: between her family and the man she loves…

My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the Historical Hardback Reading Challenge from the publishers Transworld. I picked this book as i love books set in Japan, after falling in love after reading Memoirs of a Geisha.

This book is about Taka, the daughter of a general in the army and a former geisha. To start with her life is fairly comfortable, until herself and her mother are attacked in a tea house. A young man steps in to defend them, and it is here that we meet Nobu. He manages to fight off the attacker and in return gets a job as a ‘servant’ carrying Takas books about for her. They quickly become friends, however there is one big problem, Taka and Nobu are from different clans, warring clans and would never ever be aloud to be together.

I liked the massive change in culture that is discribed in this book, its kind of a modernisation of Japan and i thought that this came across very well in the book. However Japan was still a bit of a traditional country as Taka had to get her maid to take letters to and from Nobu and not take them herself.

I liked how the book was spilt into sections and followed a number of years. For me this made the book span like a proper love story and really made me enjoy the story more. I also liked how it told the story from both Taka and Nobu’s point of veiw and even though this meant telling certain events twice, it really made me understand the characters more.

During the book it kind of went from a riches to rags story with Taka, i felt that this was well done with the approach of the war. The war at the end of the book was my favourite part and i couldnt put this book down towards the end.

This book is a kind of Romeo and Juilet book set in Japan. I loved reading it and really enjoyed emmersing myself in Japanese culture.

Rating – 4/5

A Flicker of Light – Roberta Kagan

7 May

 

Started – 22/4/12

Finished – 6/5/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Synopsis – In 1935, the Nazi’s established a program called “The Lebensborn.”

Their agenda, to genetically engineer perfect Aryan children.

These children were to be the new master race, once HItler had cleared all undesirable elements out of Europe. Within a year the first institution was built.

The year is 1943….

The forests of Munich are crawling danger under the rule of “The Third Reich,” but in order to save the life of her unborn child Petra Jorgenson must escape from the Lebensborn Institute. Alone, seven months pregnant, and penniless avoiding the watchful eyes of the armed guards in the overhead tower, she waits until the dead of night. Then, Petra climbs under the flesh shredding barbed wire that surrounds the institute and at the risk of being captured and murdered she runs headlong into the terriying desolate woods.

Even during one of the darkest periods in the history of mankind, when horrific acts of cruelty became commonplace and Germany seemed to have gone crazy following the direction of a madman, unexpected heros came to light. And although there were those who would try to destroy it, true love would prevail. Here, in this lost land ruled by human monsters, Petra will learn that even when one faces what appears to be the end of the world if one looks hard enough one will find that there is always “A Flicker Of Light.”

My Thoughts – I downloaded this book as it was free for a day on Amazon and Nazi Germany is a subject that i am interested in. I had never heard of The Lebensborn program and to me this was really horrible thing to have ever happened.

This book is about Petra who escapes the Lebensborn programme despite being a fair few months pregnant. She goes through the German countryside in the hope of being able to find her way home, but ends up at a farmhouse where a couple have never been able to have children. They take her in and start to live as a family.

Meanwhile, a young doctors apprentice, finds his life falling apart when the persecution of the Jewish people began. He has to leave his home with the fear of being caught and he also has to try and find somewhere safe. He comes across the same farm that Petra is living and from here on in its when the trouble starts.

This book goes into detail of how cruel the SS officers were at times and one of the scenes in this book is very disturbing, it was very difficult reading but I’m sure that this kind of event actually happened. Also the scenes of the concentration camps were described in great detail which at times was quite difficult reading.

I did think that the book moved along a little too smoothly, for example when Petra turned up at the farm, she didnt really seem to be bothered about staying there and this was just accepted.

Overall a very good book, one for fans of historical fiction, this was good.

Rating = 3.5/5

Sin and Sacrifice – Danielle Bourdon (Daughters of Eve #1)

10 Apr

Started – 2/4/12

Finished – 8/4/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Synopsis

Evelyn Grant, along with her four sisters, have a secret. A secret the Knights Templar want for themselves. It all went back to the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge and Life. The Knights will do anything to exploit the girls and their access to that sacred place, but one man, government agent Rhett Nichols, is set to the task of saving the women from torture and even death.

He succeeds—and he fails.

After centuries of being hunted, would Evelyn ever be able to trust the one person who might be able to help her? On the run, Evelyn and Rhett face off against their adversary and she’s left with no choice but to put her life in his hands.

 

My thoughts – I downloaded this book as it was free for a day on amazon, along with the other books in the trilogy. I really enjoyed this book.

 

This book is about Evelyn and her four sisters, who although they seem normal on the outside, they are hiding a huge secret. A huge adventure happens when an event unfolds ( i dont really want to say what it is incase others want to read the book!) Due to this event, the lovely Rhett makes an appearance. Now Evelyn is not the only one hiding a secret, Rhett is too. This book is a great mystery story, a little like the Dan Brown books, a bit of romance, but not too much, suspense and lots more thrown in.

 

This book was a little bit gruesome in places, personally I’m not a fan of two much blood, but i think that this story needed the odd part to illustrate a few points. For once i think that violence in a book was just about right.

 

There were several other twists and turns in this book, some that left me gasping and at a couple of points i couldnt believe what was happening, i really liked these parts.

 

The synopsis above doesnt really do the book justice, it was much better than that. I have the other two books also on my kindle, so i’ll be reading them soon, i just want to ration them a bit so that i enjoy them more.

 

I really enjoyed this book and i would recommend it to other people.

 

Rating – 4/5

The Rise of April – Tarrin P Lupo (Pirates of the Savannah #3)

22 Mar

Started – 5/3/12

Finished – 20/3/12

Format – Kindle E-book

 

Synopsis – The Rise of April is the third book in the Pirates of Savannah: Trilogy. Follow our heroine and her crew on daring pirate ship raids, smuggling runs, and deadly sea battles. Join the group of adventurers as they engage in swashbuckling sword fights and take to the high seas to break free from the clutches of the redcoats and the rule of the British Crown.

This historical fiction trilogy is a fun adventure in a Pre-Revolutionary War setting. It follows fictional characters through an actual timeline and is packed full of real people, places and events. This novel is appropriate for young adult and beyond.

 

My Thoughts – I have read this trilogy back to back on my kindle and i have to say this is my least favourite book out of them all. I still enjoyed it, but for some reason this book just didnt hold my attention as well as the other two.

 

This book still focuses on Patrick and his life in Savannah, however now he is a free man and can do as he pleases. He still has many adventures and people seem to come out of the woodwork when you least expect it. This book is all about April, as the title suggests, and unfortunately i just didnt like her as a character. I just wasnt sure that her attitude was all the nice and i just couldnt warm to her. Along with the surprise of Tracy, i just didnt think that this added much to the story.

 

I also thought that this book was very rushed through as the others had been a lot slower paced and the build up was better in those. I didnt think the ending was the ending and thought that this could have been eeked out a little more.

 

However, i did like the fact that there was a whole section about what was true and what was not at the back of the book. i found this fascinating and i really thought that this added to the book and i was able to learn a lot about that time period through this book.

 

Now I’m not saying this book was not enjoyable, it was, but maybe i am a bit too old for the book and it would have been better aimed at a different reader, for example a teenage boy. This contained lots of gore that i think would appeal.

 

Rating – 3.5/5

Battle Rats – Tarrin P. Lupo (Pirates of the Savannah #2)

9 Mar

Started – 4/3/12

Finished – 5/3/12

Format – Kindle e-book

 

Synopsis – Battle Rats is the second book in the Pirates of Savannah trilogy and is the follow up novel to Sold in Savannah. Join the group of ex-convicts as they try and establish a new life in Savannah and escape their pasts. Follow the gang through duels, battles, and heists while trying to avoid the corrupt Redcoats at every turn.

This historical fiction trilogy is a fun adventure in a Pre-Revolutionary War setting. It follows fictional characters through an actual timeline and is packed full of real people, places, and events. This novel is appropriate for young adult and beyond.

 

My Thoughts – i downloaded this book as part of a trilogy (Pirates of the Savannah) that was free on the kindle store for a day. This book is no longer free, but in my opinion it is well worth buying because i enjoyed this a lot more than the first in the trilogy.

 

This book follows Patrick again and his struggle for freedom, not against the family that he lives with, but against the government, or the redcoats. There are more trials and tribulations in this book, like stolen cannons and mules and many other things too. In this book Patrick has his first dealings with a woman, and i think that this was delt with really well as part of a young adult trilogy, it wasnt graphic in any way.

 

As with the first book, the first chapter was really graphic and gruesome, something that i really struggled with again, as it was maybe a little too graphic for the audience intended.

 

Reading this book out of sequence would be really difficult as the books directly follow on from each other and probably wouldnt make much sense.

 

A great second book in a so far great trilogy, i really enjoyed this book a lot more than the first.

 

Rating – 4/5