Tag Archives: 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge

Book Review: ‘Tudor Wales’ by Nathen Amin

Title: Tudor Wales: Full-colour guide to the many places in Wales associated with this famous dynasty

Published: 15th March 2014

Publisher: Amberley Publishing

Author: Nathen Amin

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HenryTudorSociety

Twitter: @nathenamin

 

Synopsis:

The Tudors are one of history’s most infamous families and the era over which they reigned still captures the public’s interest without rival. ‘Tudor England’ in itself has become a well-known phrase that covers many aspects of the era, particularly architecture, arts and the lifestyle. What is often overlooked however is that the Tudors, whilst coming to encompass all that is considered great about England, were a Welsh dynasty with their roots firmly entrenched in the hills across Offa’s Dyke. This guide will take you on a journey throughout the beautiful country of Wales and expose the reader to the hidden gems of the Tudor era, from Harlech Castle in the north to Pembroke Castle in the west, and from the holy Bishop’s Palace at Lamphey to the sacred Cathedral at St David’s. From Dale, Carew and Penmynydd to Raglan, Conwy and Denbigh, every part of W ales has Tudor links, both to the royal Tudors and their more obscure Welsh ancestors. This guide will put you on the path to a true Tudor experience in the Land of their Fathers.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about the Tudors.

Well this is a great guide of Tudor places to visit in Wales and I found quite a few that would be on my list to check out. You get snippets of history about the areas links to the Tudors and those who may have used or lived in the buildings, castles, manor houses etc, thrown in with beautiful photographs of the areas and places themselves. You have a handy key at the front so you could easily plan out a visit to some of the areas within. You also get a family tree and timeline of key events to give you an idea of what was happening at the time these places came to be.

The main places I think that would be on my list are: Carew Castle, Pembroke Castle, Tenby Tudor Merchant’s House, Raglan Castle, St Fagans National History Museum, Beaumaris Castle and Gwydir Castle (though to me this looks more like a large manor house). I think you can see a bit of a theme here with the places I picked, in that I really like castles. Whether they are still standing strong or have been slowly taken by the hands of time they have so much history within them that you can’t help but be in ore with the designs and how they would have been made.

Many of these castles designs were ahead of the time with adding the likes of hexagonal towers to fifteenth century designs – like with Raglan Castle. From high turrets and keeps, to moots and enforced doors and walls six feet thick, each castle had its own way of protecting itself from the siege of others. Many would change hands a few times over throughout the time of change from the Wars of the Roses to the Tudors reign. With many seeing improvements made by those who would then be the protector of it.

If a building could talk imagine the tales it could tell. If any of these buildings, castles or manor houses could talk I think you would be in for a historical treat with the battles that took place, literally and figuratively when with more of a verbal match. Great little guide through the lives of the Tudors, how they linked back to their Welsh roots and the fabulous places still around today for us to go and see.

4 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: ‘Trading Hearts’ by Saskia Walker

Title: Trading Hearts: Boxed Set

Published: 29th August 2016

Author: Saskia Walker

Twitter: @saskiawalker

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/104558.Saskia_Walker

 

Synopsis:

In her master’s arms she becomes pleasure incarnate… Naomi Kildare, a young Scottish fashion designer, travels to London to meet a renowned fashion buyer, but when the buyer is called away she meets Lucas Eaglestone instead.

Lucas is tall, dark, and masterful – and he wants Naomi. He is a direct man, and he asks Naomi to surrender to him, totally. Lucas quickly unveils Naomi’s true nature and at his hands she experiences sexual pleasures beyond her wildest dreams. She is enthralled by his physical and emotional claim on her, but she isn’t willing to sell her own dreams in exchange for a decadent life as his willing submissive.

Lucas wants Naomi more than anything and he would pull the stars from the sky for her if she would agree to accept them. He vows to win her, but first he has to make some big changes to prove to her that their Dom/sub symbiosis is precious and worth fighting for. Together they could be the perfect match but trading hearts is never that simple.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A trilogy (The Buyer, The Seller and The Deal). Three for the price of one and just getting hotter the further you go, so hold on for a fun ride.

The Buyer:

Naomi is in fashion and has a bespoke clothing design shop in Edinburgh. To get her store more exposure she needs the help of an advertiser so heads on down to London to see the buyer Georgio at Eaglestone Agency to see if they would be interested in helping her build her companies brand. A family matter seems to keep Georgio away but when a certain mystery man in reception, one she can’t take her eyes off, steps in to hear her pitch things start to look up. Takes her a while before she realizes that this mystery man is none other than the head of the company she went to see, Lucas Eaglestone. Things might just start to get complicated.

One look and you can see the chemistry between them, which only builds the longer the meeting progresses. Seems its not just Naomi who is entranced by his presence, as she is the first person to make him think twice about in a long time. She can almost feel the dominance coming off him with how he acts around her. What she thought might scare her off only gets her more excited the longer the meeting goes. Which is then making her second guess herself as she is meant to have her business head on not her libido one. After the meeting he insists on taking her to dinner. She knows the minute she accepts where it will end but she can’t seem to deny him, or herself, as she knows it will be good. And good it is but in a completely new way for her. He might have been able to see her willingness to submit but it’s still raw and intense for her. He likes to have control in all things but can sometimes take it a step too far when trying to mix business and pleasure together.

The Seller:

So thinking his contract has an ulterior motive Naomi high tails it back to Edinburgh thinking to never see Lucas again. Gets a shock when she finds him at her shop door then. Planes trump trains every time it seems. He is willing to do whatever it takes to make her see he wants her alone. He’s going to need to pull out a few stops when his ex Clara makes an appearance because she sure knows how to push peoples buttons.

The Deal:

Seems Naomi can’t catch a break when it comes to Lucas’ ex Clara. Always wanting to make a scene no matter what. The more time she spends with him the more she submits to his will and its fear of losing herself and her goal that makes her want to pull back. Well she might say she wants to leave when things get heated but Lucas can read her so well that he always knows what she really wants. Great at giving it to her too! In the bedroom department – or wherever they might happen to be when horny – they work but outside is where the issues arise. If he wants to keep her he needs to stop trying to control everything and communicate. Otherwise he might lose her forever.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Henrietta Maria’ by Dominic Pearce

Title: Henrietta Maria

Published: 15th November 2015

Publisher: Amberley Publishing

Author: Dominic Pearce

 

Synopsis:

At the heart of the English Civil War stands the wife of Charles I, Henrietta Maria. She came to England in 1625 at the age of fifteen, undermined by her greedy French entourage, blocked by the forceful Duke of Buckingham and weighed down by instructions from the Pope to protect the Catholics of England. She was only a girl, and she had hardly a winning card in her hand; yet fifteen years later she was the terror of Parliament.

We see Henrietta Maria in the portraits of van Dyck, and hear her voice in the letters which she wrote to her husband and many others. She is a historic queen who inherited from her father, the great French statesman Henri IV, undying convictions about royal and divine authority and about just governance. There was always brutal violence in the background of her life from the early moments (her father was assassinated when she was six months old); she lived through civil war both in England and in France (the Fronde); she was tortured by the fate of Charles I; but her spirit – and her family – prevailed. Two of her children sat on the throne of England (Charles II and James II) and three of her grandchildren followed them (William III, Mary II and Anne). Her life is a story of elegance, courage, wit, energy and family devotion on a grand scale.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A History book.

A new and enticing biography of a Queen who has stayed in the background through many discussions on Charles I, their son Charles II and the English Civil war. Dominic takes the reader on a journey through her younger life before she became a player in a much more dangerous royal game in England.

From the start Henrietta Marie’s life was going to be a controversial one with religion and political gain always playing a part in the path she was being led down. At the age of fifteen she was a pawn placed in a high position when she became the wife of Charles I, then Charles, Prince of Wales. The marriage had its set backs from the very beginning with religion being the key player. She was Catholic and he Protestant. Part of her dowry always stated that this was never going to change and this is what sent fear into many a political mind. Their marriage, after a few set backs to being with, well she was just a child and couldn’t speak a word of English, seemed to be a happy one after the birth of their children. She was a very loyal woman and fiercely protective of her children and her husband.

When her husband became king you would think that they would be safe from persecution but the fear many had over her control of the king was great. It wouldn’t take long for whispers of dislike to get louder and have more of a political backing, mainly when they tried to impeach her. Which would soon bring about the start of a civil war. It was at these most difficult times that many would think she would cower and hide but she just stepped forward to help her husband take back control of the country they were losing. She was condemned and attacked at every turn but still carried on to see things through. Having the means to help where she could with other countries. She was a daughter of France so they were always there to help her, just not always as much for her husband. An interesting view on the English Civil War and the part the she played in it, from close up and a distance.

The war would end and the lose was great with the death of her husband but she knew she still had work to do to help her son claim back what was rightfully his. The Scots may have taken him as their King but the rest of the land was something else entirely. No matter the set back she always seemed to have a plan up her sleeve, not always taken though as soon it became clear that her children, most of whom she had not seen in years, were coming into their own and not needing her or her opinions. It was probably why she felt so strongly for her youngest Henrietta Anne, as she was the last one to mould in her own image.

Throughout her life she had many a friend who stayed close no matter the danger, though not all could be saved from it. She outlived most of her children and saw the fall and rise of the English royal reign when her son Charles II took back control. Her cultural influence can be seen today through the architecture designed by her protégé Inigo Jones and the art that was a love of hers. She was a creative creature from the start and seemed to want to please others, though I’d say only when deserved. This was a very interesting insight into a hidden figure of history.

From not knowing anything about her before reading the book I will admit to going back to the family trees at the front of the book from time to time just to remind myself who people were and how they were connected. Can get a little confusing when they all have the same name but that was just something they liked to do at the time so you have to just go with it.

5 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: ‘Radiant Shadows’ by Sarah Baethge

Title: Radiant Shadows

Published: 9th April 2017

Author: Sarah Baethge

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SarahBaethge

Twitter: @22niel

 

Synopsis:

Say there is an official organization to control how vampires and humans interact. What would happen to violators of its ‘laws’? How would the breaking of its rules be fixed? What could even be the motivation for members of this alliance?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book by an author with your first name. Another quick read to get through within the hour, which is a nice break from the all day reads.

A story of three parts with three different POVs to cope with, so something that may have made this easier to go from one part to the next would have been to put the characters name at the top of each part. That way you know whose head you are meant to be in, otherwise you may be reading straight in to the next part and not get what’s going on. Because it is in first person you almost feel like they are telling the story to you while reading, or that they are writing it down to read again later. Part one is Stephen – a human, part two is Marshall – Caroline’s clueless boyfriend who walks right into trouble and part three is Phyllis – the Counts would be daughter, protected by a lot of powerful vampires. They all kind of ‘sound’ the same though so there is not much distinction between them.

Vampires are alive and kicking – well as alive as they can be anyway – but the powers that be on both sides don’t think it is a great idea for everyone to know about them yet. This is how the Human-Vampire Alliance group was formed. A group created for the protection of both kinds. They can hold trials for the other but matters within races need to be dealt with by their own kind. Well unless you have a hunter that is. Someone called in the deal with vampires who have stepped out of line and drawn attention to their kind with their kills. This is what psycho vampire Randy has done and he is who must be stopped.

The Human-Vampire Alliance is called to discuss a way to handle the situation and it is decided that Stephen and Caroline, the huntress who quite frankly should know better, will go to Madame Olivia, a witch. They need her to cast a spell with Angel Blood using its light to make Caroline stronger so she can take on Randy. To pull all the light into her all her darkness would need to be pulled out and given to someone else or a battle will start. Think you can guess who that person is meant to be but in doing so they will have but a few hours before the darkness claims them fully and they die. Well unless they can get a willing vampire to turn them within that time that is. Best-laid plans don’t always go the way you hoped. Seems the Angel Blood calls to some more than others and the moment it does the course of events changes for everyone soon to be involved. Darkness is coming so you need to look to the light.

A few grammar issues throughout so could have done with another cleaner edit. Also calling a group ‘peoples’ didn’t really make sense in relation to what was around it. Instead could have used term like ‘groups’ or ‘kind’ when referencing the difference between humans and vampires, but that’s just me.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Angels and Avalon’ by Catherine Milos

Title: Angels and Avalon (Book One)

Published: 2nd September 2015

Author: Catherine Milos

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CatherineMilosOfficial

Twitter: @CatherineMilos

 

Synopsis:

Fed up with the antics of gods and their wars, the Archangel Gabriel takes refuge in a secret paradise. The only condition, he must protect Goddess’ treasure. Driven by pride and darkness, Lucifer aims to dethrone God. Avalon is the perfect place of power and Adamina is the key. Reincarnated, Adamina and Gabriel desperately try to find each other and stop Lucifer. But a soul can only take so much. Elizabeth McAllistar wants a new life free of Angels and Avalon. Will she be able to overcome the tragedy and the past that haunts her?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set in the future. It starts in a distant past on a world created by Goddess and goes forward in time through reincarnation with the characters. A book of two parts with Avalon and then forward to present day, two very different worlds where only a few of the same people are found in both. Mainly when reincarnated, whether they remember the past lives is another thing entirely.

Goddess has grown tired of the games and politics of all the Others (Fates, Time, Balance, Death, Birth, Darkness, Light, Justice, Hope, Agony and God himself). She longs for a tranquil place to call her own. But to create a new world, as she can so easily do, without the Others is now forbidden. The last time Goddess and God created without them was when the Angels came into existence. Not created by all, so not bound by the same rules. This doesn’t stop her from creating Avalon though. A place made from the very heart and soul of her but a world that must stay hidden. On another of her worlds, one that is dying and will soon cease to exist is a girl, someone who holds a piece of her own light within her. She knows she shouldn’t but can’t stop herself from saving her and taking her to Avalon. Naming her Adamina she enlists the girls love and asks her to become her Priestess and protect Avalon. She now has a calm existence from the terrors she grew up with but is lonely. Connecting with animals and the world around her is one thing but she longs to connect to a person, to have a friend. So Goddess lifts a veil for a ship to sail through and with it brings Pagan.

Pagan is given the same request to worship the Goddess as she would worship a mother. To teach Adamina the ways of people and care for the land with those that came with her, but her own request is what changes Avalon the most. To have the shipping port left open so trade can come and go. The island has stories attached to it to stop people venturing too far inland, well that and a little help from Gabriel. Only those worthy pass and soon a family of women and young children become the Priestesses of Goddess. To honour her whether she is near or far. It’s when she is away that things start to change. Mainly by the arrival of Angels, something she always feared.

Gabriel had grown tired of his existence and longed for a place to retire. He went to his mother, Goddess, and she sent him to Avalon as long as he would keep it secret and watch over Adamina. To protect her as she grows, keeping her safe. He stays hidden from view for many years. Watching and helping along the way until he hears rumours of God sending out Angels to look for Avalon. His time away leaves Avalon and Adamina open to danger. Said danger in the form of Uriel, an Angel so easily manipulated by others. He makes her a deal to keep Avalon safe from other Angels if she will become his wife. A deal she may soon regret when she sees his true nature and finally accepts her true feelings for Gabriel when she meets him. Years pass and with them come children. All gifted in their own way but all girls. Uriel wants a son, someone to mould in his image and it seems willing do whatever it takes to get one, whether it leads to the destruction of Avalon and Adamina in the process.

I think that part two should have started with the most present day reincarnation of them all rather than jumping around others a few hundred years apart. Or had that as a mini part between the two. This second part is like another complete story following Elizabeth, who was Adamina in her past lives. She is still followed closely by those who would seek to use her power – Lucifer being at the top of that list closely followed by Uriel who just turns out to be crazy. Gabriel just wants to find the other part of his soul but even he has his stupid moments where you are like ‘what are you playing at she is your soul mate stop messing about!’ Everyone is still connected and Elizabeth still has power but something hides her true strength. She is going to need that strength again to take down Lucifer before he strikes. His greed for power will be his downfall and Uriel will soon follow suit.

I would have liked to know what happened to all of Adamina’s children. You know they escape but then you just start jumping through time following her and Gabriel. Can they find their way back to each other and if they do will they be stuck in the past or live in the present? Interesting read with creating a wealth of worlds and characters, all interlinking with each other in their own way to get to one final showdown. Good vs. evil lets see who wins.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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