Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Clash Of Spheres - Sir Robert Carey mystery~ PF Chisholm ~ Out this week!

"It's late August, 1592. Sir Robert Carey, cousin to Queen Elizabeth from the wrong side of Henry VIII's blanket, remains at his post on the Borders at Carlisle. He has at last been confirmed by his monarch as Deputy Warden and is still deeply in love with Lady Elizabeth Widdrington while despising her elderly, abusive husband (will the man never die?). Carey remains estranged from his dour but lethal henchman, Henry Dodd"


The story is  intriguing but perhaps a bit too intricate, as events are presented in vignettes that go back and forth in time, winter and then the previous summer and back again. The intricacy is my only problem with the book, whose characters I adore and  an author I admire.

Henry Dodd did not really want to have Robert Carey killed, but the thread of the book goes there more than once. Janet his wife does want a child to secure Dodd's land but at what expense? 

The complicated plot against the Scots King James is because Elizabeth will die soon ( see the book the Duke of York) and bring the Spanish and English under James' control. 

Lady Elizabeth is still with her " her elderly, abusive husband" but I know that will end also and she will be with Robert Carey ( Duke of York book). Did Henry Dodd really die at the end? I am not sure but since we are left with that impression a sequel will be in order.


I suggest reader start with Book # 1 of the series ( there is a special price for that) and get to this point..Well worth every one!! I give it 4.5 for the hard to follow parts ( a paper book which is NOT an ARC might be easier to go backwards with) 


Feast of Sorrow - A Novel of Ancient Rome- Crystal King ~ A fine first novel

I received an ARC from NetGalley which I saw on Twitter for an honest review. It was an era I enjoy a lot so I requested it.I give it more than 4 stars maybe 4.25- 4.5 which is great for a first novel.

The story devolves around Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Gourmand, who a real person that we know a fair amount about. Thrassius, his kitchen slave, the main character was fictional, as are his contemporaries. Passia,his love who he eventually marries and Sotas, his long time friend were fictional also. Will there be any sequel? That would be very fine - if so I am sure that the fictional characters will acquire more depth.

Apicius and Apicata ( who possibly was not his daughter but this version makes it so) were real characters we heard about in other Roman Annals like Seneca. Tacitus said that Sejanus, also real "Disposed of his virtue at a price to Apicius, a rich man"

The author is fond of cooking ( which I'm not, sorry) and mentions that Sally Grainger's "Cooking With Apicius" a 2006, is a favorite of hers. Food lovers will like this book! I am a lover of Ancient Rome and I liked it quite well, and look forward to the author's next outing.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Watergate - A Muirteach MacPhee Novelette - Susan McDuffie - A treat!!

4.5 stars. Nice little novella although I usually prefer a longer book. It took about a third of it for me to orient myself as to why Muirteach McPhee was in that place, as well as where that place was located.

The water-horse is a mythical creature which could be Nessie, as of course Muirteach was at Loch Ness. The beast or water horse or kelpie, as Muirteach said spoke with Uisdean's voice "or perhaps I heard the words in my mind. "

However or whatever it was, you see, had killed Dubhglas and his wife Sorcha. Celtic monsters are said to be still seen in lakes in Scotland, as well as actual vicious fish off the coasts.

A delightful small book. I recommend Susan McDuffie's characters. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Year of Ravens - Anthology with Ruth Downie - What a read ~


Britannia: land of mist and magic clinging to the western edge of the Roman Empire.

Sometimes getting into a novel written by a group of authors, even excellent authors does not work for me. However this one was different and I just loved it!

Ruth Downie writes so wonderfully about Roman Britain, and I could not get enough of Ria! This one is Ria - "A neglected slave girl seizes her own courage as Boudica calls for war" - she is the daughter of Prasutagus king of the Iceni.

"A conflicted young warrior finds himself torn between loyalties to tribe and to Rome." Andecarus who had been fostered in a Roman family but was son of Boudica's war chief and dies at his side.

I am very much hoping to see this same team of authors come back with a sequel, if that is possible. At least the half sisters Keena daughter of Boudica the Queen and Ria daughter of a slave. Hoping ~

The Rainbow Comes and Goes - A Mother and Son on Life, Love and Loss~


I borrowed this on my kindle from the library and it was good if not spectacular. I did not know a lot about Gloria Vanderbilt and it was an eye opening read, although I thought I read one about her young years.

Her life was not a particularly pleasant one, although she definitely had good years. Apparently both she and son Anderson Cooper are and always have been on good terms. The book ends with this quote.
"I know her. She knows me. She is my mother. I am her son. The rainbow comes and goes"
That sums it up fairly well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Brotherly Love - Lorna Peel - a fine historical romance about 19th Century Ireland~

4.5 Stars ( which does not show so am making it 5)

I really enjoyed this book about rural Ireland and Lorna Peel's historical facts were excellent. I am not a romance reader although have made exceptions for historical romances, and am glad I did for this one.

I said this while reading:"an amazing read! I am of Irish descent and know about this period but not faction fighting etc. " and the book blog indicated:"Ireland, 1835. Faction fighting has left the parish of Doon divided between the followers of the Bradys and the Donnellans. Caitriona Brady is the widow of John, the Brady champion, killed two years ago. Matched with John aged eighteen, Caitriona didn’t love him and can’t mourn him. Now John’s mother is dead, too, and Caitriona is free to marry again.
Michael Warner is handsome, loves her, and he hasn’t allied himself with either faction. But what secret is he keeping from her? Is he too good to be true?"

Some of my ancestors in Tipperary were said to have been part of the 18th century "Whiteboys", a retaliatory movement  by the rural poor against an oppressive class structure. However my own immigrant ancestor  from that area was in the British Army and in a local Barracks charged with keeping the peace. The "Ribbonmen" in Peel's tale is the 19th century version and the Constabulary  who invaded were maybe similar to some of the local barracks charged with "peacekeeping".

I was thrilled to read this book and will hope there will be a sequel. The characters could use a bit more development, same for dialogue, but it was well done overall.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Queen's Midwife - Lozania Prole - Lives and Loves of the Royals 2 ~ Pleasant Read




Alice is a young girl of uncertain background, who was placed by her aunt in a noble home, to be a seamstress. Due to her aunt's occupation as a healer, Alice eventually becomes a young midwife in King Henry VIII's court. Henry's wives repeated failures to produce living children gives Alice a number of years of employment.

This is story which explores the reign of King Henry superimposed on Alice's life. It is a unique way to tell both the story of Henry's marital and personal failures and the life of Alice. The ending is a nice twist, which left this reader happy for the main character. I plan to read Book 1 now. Enjoy!