Sunday, May 29, 2011

In My Mailbox 5/29/11

"In My Mailbox" is a fun weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren where we get to see what goodies everyone has gotten the past week.  The books shared can be ones that were bought, borrowed, won, or received to review.
It's been a few weeks since I have posted an IMM, so I am trying to add them all here....  As you can tell I LOVE historical fiction  :)  All links go to Goodreads.

still missingsins of borgiarose for the crownnever knowing

id know you anywhereif i stayhummingbirds daughterhidden diary of marie antoinette

game of thronesdevlin diarydaughters of romedaughter of siena

So I think that's enough to keep me busy for a few weeks.  So what did you get lately????? 

Friday, May 27, 2011

On My Wishlist: 5/28/11

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - 
I haven't done an OMW in some time now but I won't overload this post.......too much :)
All synopsis from Goodreads:

confessions of cdm 

The truth is, none of us are innocent. We all have sins to confess.

So reveals Catherine de Medici in this brilliantly imagined novel about one of history’s most powerful and controversial women. To some she was the ruthless queen who led France into an era of savage violence. To others she was the passionate savior of the French monarchy. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter into the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protect her family’s throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power.

 The last legitimate descendant of the illustrious Medici line, Catherine suffers the expulsion of her family from her native Florence and narrowly escapes death at the hands of an enraged mob. While still a teenager, she is betrothed to Henri, son of François I of France, and sent from Italy to an unfamiliar realm where she is overshadowed and humiliated by her husband’s lifelong mistress. Ever resilient, Catherine strives to create a role for herself through her patronage of the famous clairvoyant Nostradamus and her own innate gift as a seer. But in her fortieth year, Catherine is widowed, left alone with six young children as regent of a kingdom torn apart by religious discord and the ambitions of a treacherous nobility.

Relying on her tenacity, wit, and uncanny gift for compromise, Catherine seizes power, intent on securing the throne for her sons. She allies herself with the enigmatic Protestant leader Coligny, with whom she shares an intimate secret, and implacably carves a path toward peace, unaware that her own dark fate looms before her—a fate that, if she is to save France, will demand the sacrifice of her ideals, her reputation, and the passion of her embattled heart.

From the fairy-tale châteaux of the Loire Valley to the battlefields of the wars of religion to the mob-filled streets of Paris, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici is the extraordinary untold journey of one of the most maligned and misunderstood women ever to be queen.


name of the windThe story revolves around Kvothe, an enigmatic red-haired innkeeper who, as he shares his incredible life story with a renowned scribe, turns out to be much more than he appears. Born into a family of nomadic court performers, Kvothe's unconventional education was broadened by spending time with fellow travelers like Abenthy, an elderly arcanist whose knowledge included, among other things, knowing the name of the wind. After his parents are brutally murdered by mythical beings known as the Chandrian, Kvothe vows to learn more about the godlike group, and after suffering through years of homelessness, he finally gets his chance when he is admitted into the prestigious University. But the pursuit of arcane knowledge brings with it unforeseen dangers, as the young student quickly learns.

With the release of his first novel, Rothfuss (who has already been compared to the likes of Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, and George R. R. Martin) is poised to be crowned the new king of epic fantasy. The Name of the Wind won't just impress longtime fantasy fans; it will absolutely blow them away -- an unprecedented, utterly breathtaking storytelling tour de force. Paul Goat Allen


night of many dreams

As World War II threatens their comfortable life in Hong Kong, young Joan and Emma Lew escape with their family to spend the war years in Macao. When they return home, Emma develops a deep interest in travel and sets her sights on an artistic life in San Francisco, while Joan turns to movies and thoughts of romance to escape the pressures of her real life. As the girls become women, each follows a path different from what her family expects. But through periods of great happiness and sorrow, the sisters learn that their complicated ties to each other--and to the other members of their close-knit family-are a source of strength as they pursue their separate dreams.


noise in my head 

"I've been mythicized, Mick-icized, eulogized and fooligized, I've been Cole-Portered and farmer's-daughtered, I've been Led Zepped and 12-stepped. I'm a rhyming fool and so cool that me, Fritz the Cat, and Mohair Sam are the baddest cats that am. I have so many outrageous stories, too many, and I'm gonna tell 'em all. All the unexpurgated, brain-jangling tales of debauchery, sex & drugs, transcendence & chemical dependence you will ever want to hear."

The son of a classical pianist straight out of the Bronx of old Archie comics, Steven Tyler was born to be a rock star. Weaned on Cole Porter, Nat King Cole, Mick—and his beloved Janis Joplin—Tyler began tearing up the streets and the stage as a teenager before finally meeting his "mutant twin" and legendary partner Joe Perry. In this addictively readable memoir, told in the playful, poetic voice that is uniquely his own, Tyler unabashedly recounts the meteoric rise, fall, and rise of Aerosmith over the last three decades and riffs on the music that gives it all meaning.

Tyler tells what it's like to be a living legend and the frontman of one of the world's most revered and infamous bands—the debauchery, the money, the notoriety, the fights, the motels and hotels, the elevators, limos, buses and jets, the rehab. He reveals the spiritual side that "gets lost behind the stereotype of the Sex Guy, the Drug Guy, the Demon of Screamin', the Terror of the Tropicana." And he talks about his epic romantic life and his relationship with his four children. As dazzling, bold, and out-on-the-edge as the man himself, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? is an all-access backstage pass into this extraordinary showman's life

Review: The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici

the devil's queen 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
Catherine de Medici is one of the most maligned monarchs in history: blamed for the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in which hundreds of innocents died. What motivated this Renaissance woman who was born of Florence's most powerful family, and one day came to rule France?

In her latest historical fiction bestseller, Jeanne Kalogridis tells the story of Caterina, a tender young girl, destined to be a pawn in Machiavellian games. Left a fabulously rich heiress, imprisoned and threatened by her family's enemies, she was finally married off to a handsome prince of France. Overshadowed by her husband's mistress, the conniving Diane de Poitiers, and now consort to a King, Catherine resorted to sorcery to win his love, enhance her fertility and foil her enemies. Against the lavish and decadent backdrop of the French court, and Catherine's visions induced by the black arts, Kalogoris reveals the great love and desire Catherine bore for her husband Henry, and her stark determination to keep her sons on the throne.

My Review: 

I have read many historical fiction books, but I had never ventured into royal history until this book. With that being said, I didn't know much about Catherine de Medici going into it. This is also my first time reading a book by the will not be my last of either.

Catherine de Medici was born an Italian who would later become Queen of France. Throughout the book we are given the backdrop of what made her the person that she was. As a child, she was orphaned, sent to live in a convent, imprisoned and wanted dead. All of this before she was the age of 14. At the age of 14 she married Prince Henry, who would later become King Henry II of France. She had 10 children, 3 of which went on to become Kings of France.

This story is told from Catherine's point of view. You can see a different side of the things she is blamed for, the things that she did and the person that she was. It shows the betrayal from the people she loved most, the "black magic" she was involved in, the sometimes horrific dreams she has that all came true.

I was surprised by the power and education that Catherine had, as in those times, women had neither. The book is dark at times involving certain rituals and murder but I think that it added to the element. It also showed what some people will do to maintain power and protect themselves and family.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Paradise General

Paradise General: Riding the Surge at a Combat Hospital in IraqParadise General: Riding the Surge at a Combat Hospital in Iraq by Dave Hnida

This is the story of an American physician who volunteers for two tours in Iraq. The story touches on his first tour and then goes deeper into his second tour where he is an ER physician working "just another day in Paradise".

Some would think that because this is a book about a war and a memoir that it will be dull and boring, it is anything but. Dr. Hnida shares his thoughts about his dad, his practice in Littleton, CO, his daughter and the sights he saw while on tour.

I love how he brought humor into an otherwise dark situation. He details the accounts of injuries to soldiers, who were the age of his children, from car and road side bombs, gunshot wounds and assaults and at the same time having to treat the very people who did the bombing, shooting and the assaulting. All physicians take an oath "to first do no harm", some who are not in the medical field may not realize how hard that oath is to keep at times. Dr. Hnida shows that he is truly a man who cares about humans and takes that oath seriously.

The story also shows how complete strangers, the physicians and other medical staff, formed a great bond, were able to lean on each other during the dark times, and laugh during the good times even while in the midst of some unfortunate circumstances. I highly recommend this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: The Soldier's Wife

The Soldier's WifeThe Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

4.5 stars

Have you ever wondered how far you would go to protect the ones that you love? What if you fell in love with the enemy?

In this story, our main character Vivienne, her two girls and her ailing mother in law live on the island of Guernsey. Her husband has been called to serve in the war and she has to decide whether or not to leave the island she calls home. This decision comes because of the rumors that the Germans are to occupy their island.

Through the book we are shown the daily life of Vivienne, her best friend, and her children. Soon not only the island, but the house next door are occupied by the enemy Germans. Vivienne tries to avoid the soldier's next door but soon they become part of her life....she soon falls in love with one of them.

Even though Vivienne eventually sees the harsh realities of war, from the work camps, starving prisoners, the rationing of food, the story is one that shows you never really know someone, no matter how close you are to them. It also shows that the ones you think are the worst, are actually some of the best.

I loved the writing in this story. Some things were predictable and you could see them coming, but there were many more surprises than predictions. This isn't really a book about a war, but the lives of people who the war affects and how they will never be the same.

Thank you to Voice: Hyperion for the chance to read this!