Sorry kids, no feet.

I'm a reader raising voracious readers. To mock my children, I have recently quit my job so  I can stay at home and read all day. I enjoy caffeinated beverages, short walks to the library, and long walks down aisles of used book stores. 

Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher #7) - Kerry Greenwood

Ruddy Gore - Kerry Greenwood

These books never disappoint. Not only was this book delightful, it was also a quick enough read that it allowed me to finish the long weekend having read more books than my 11 year old. 

 

If you ask her, she'll say my lack of enforced bedtime allowed me to win. That might be true. I still won. 

 

Dates read 1/19/2020-1/20/2020

SPOILER ALERT!

In a Treacherous Court (Horenbout and Paker #1) - Michelle Diener

In a Treacherous Court - Michelle Diener

Apparently I read this book during the outage and forgot to post any updates about it. That should tell you how memorable it was. 

 

The blurb promises a reader a fast paced romp through Tudor England full of intrigue and conspiracy. Both of those things were true. However, at some point the author started to focus less on the mystery at hand and more on when Susanna and Parker were going to end up in bed together. It was obvious from page two that this was the author's end goal. I have zero problems with that considering the duo were actually married at some point in history.

I found the de la Pole story intrigue to be quite good. It definitely held my interest. The minor plot about Henry VIII being a Cesare Borgia devote was a little hard to digest. It was only meant to raise the readers eyebrows. At the end, it was very well done. The author sort of forgot about it and wasn't really able to tie it back in to the rest of the story. 

The constant innuendos and the will they/won't they, would have been tolerable if it weren't for the characters themselves. These characters were flat. Especially the villains. From their greasy hair to their hooked noses, they checked off every box on the stereotype list. Don't even get me started on George Boleyn. I don't understand why he was even introduced if for no reason other than to have the author point out she's not a George Boleyn fan.

A lot of things made sense when I got to the author's note at the end. It would seem the author's only source of research was Alison Weir. Any Weir fans will more than likely enjoy this book as the author's style is much like Weir's but with a little more blood. 

 

There are two and a half other books in this series. I won't be reading any of them. Unless maybe I find them at a used store for 50 cents, which is how I came to own this book.

 

 

Book read 1/8/2020-1/11/2020

 

 

The Crocodile's Last Embrace (Jade del Cameron #6) - Suzanne Arruda

The Crocodile's Last Embrace - Suzanne Arruda

I told my 11 year old I was going to finish more books than her while we are stuck inside. 

 

So far I'm winning.

 

These short blurbs are my way of tracking my 2020 Reading Challenge until BookLikes fixes the tracker. Positive thoughts friends.

 

 

Dates read 1/18/2020-1/19/2020

War of the Wolf (Saxon Stories #11) by Bernard Cornwell

War of the Wolf - Bernard Cornwell

Uhtred is still Uhtred in all his glory. You can still talk me into reading anything he's involved in. However (and I hate to say this), things are getting a little stale. I think it is time to send Uhtred to Valhalla where he belongs. I would not be opposed to having this continue from his son's point of view. 

 

Read 1/7/2020-1/17/2020

To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker

To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

This book was full. Full of detail. Full of characters. Full of buildings. Full of emotions. Full of bad choices. Full of stupid girls. 

 

I'm going to veer off course here just a little bit. Every book I have ever read about the French royal court is full of stupid, stupid women. The only exception seems to be Catherine de Medici. And she's not French. She's Italian. I'm going to go back and check out my reviews of past books. I'm pretty confident in this statement. Women at the French court, no matter the era, were stupid and constantly made head banging choices. A prime example is the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy by Sally Christie. I encourage you to check out my reviews. It's some of my best work. I welcome any book suggestions that will counter my personal theory.

 

Back to this book.I enjoyed the first 30%. Marguerite was an intelligent, hard working woman. She had skills other than bedroom skills and she put them to work. She was not going to take a handout from her rich lover. She understood the importance of being independent. Marguerite had very modern sensibilities. That didn't mean Marguerite didn't make some stupid decisions. She did. In her defense, if I had been forced to live with a woman like Suzanne, I might do some pretty stupid things too. The reader walks through life with Marguerite while she navigates life in the court of the Sun King, has her heart broken, and finds love again. 

 

At the astounding age of 42, Marguerite gives birth to her daughter, Jasmin. Here the book starts to fall apart. Jasmin is spoiled. While Marguerite wants to keep her only child firmly grounded, papa indulges her. I think we all know how that goes. Jasmin makes bad choice after bad choice. Eventually those choices land her married to a vile, abusive, banished Duc. Jasmin's husband is your typical violent drunk. The only thing the author forgot to give him was a curling mustache. At some point, Jasmin has a daughter of her own who she calls Violette. More bad choices follow. All the while we are suppose to believe that Jasmin is actually an intelligent, caring, compassionate woman who cares deeply for the plight of the French common people. All of those things are true but they become hard to swallow when surrounded by all of the other obviously moronic things Jasmin does.

 

We never really get a full Violette story. This is perfectly fine. The little bit of Violette we do get is exasperating. Her choices make her mother's look intelligent.  She exists as an avenue to Rose. Rose is Violette's daughter who ends up being raised by Jasmin. Rose enters the book at about 70%. Honestly, if Rose was the only person featured in this book, that would have been enough for me. Rose's story puts the reader in Marie Antoinette's inner circle as the events of the French Revolution unfold around her. It's dramatic. It's emotional. It had me yelling at my husband to find another room to breath in. There is a scene towards the end that follows the execution of Marie Antoinette that had me full on ugly crying. I would read that section of the book again. Not the rest. Just that part. 

 

I need to veer off course here again. In a time when the average life expectancy of a French citizen was between 25 and 30 years of age, the people in Laker's book managed to live incredibly long lives. Many of the main characters reached at least 70s and in some cases 90s. While I understand that Laker's characters were much better off than most French people of the era, it is incredibly unlikely that so many people would live so long. Smallpox ran wild in France and the vaccination wasn't available until the early 19th century. However, I have seem some evidence that suggests Marie Antoinette introduced the smallpox vaccination to the French court. Some could argue that demographic information from the late 18th century is a little skewed due to the sheer amount of executions that took place during the years of the French Revolution. While that's a valid point, the French government didn't keep accurate data during the Revolution years. Specifically any data pertaining to life expectancy of men. I welcome any thoughts on this. 

 

This got a little longer than I intended it to but I had a lot of book to deal with. 

 

Read from 12/23/2019-1/16/2020

Reading progress update: I've read 71%.

To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

Last daughter! Let's see if she's smarter than mom or grandma. Shouldn't be too hard. The bar isn't very high. 

Reading progress update: I've read 63%.

To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

Can we go back to when it was just Marguerite, please? The new characters are becoming insufferable. Spoiled. Whiny. Ugh. Ugh. 

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

Oh good. A one dimensional, abusive husband whose only purpose is to show our current protagonist how wrong she was about her own mother. 

 

This section is going to be a struggle.  

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

More things-

 

For starters- I didn't realize this book clocked in at over 600 pages. Page count isn't something I generally pay attention to on my Kindle. I was surprised that I'd only completed 6% of the book when I had been reading it for the entire hour I was waiting for my girls to get off the bus. In related news, it's a good thing I bring a book everywhere because they were 45 minutes late today.

 

Secondly- I may need to learn to read book blurbs a little better. I thought this book was exclusively about the Sun King and his ladies. It's not. It's fine. That doesn't change the fact that I'm enjoying this book. 

 

Third - Not really related to this book but related to books in general: I've been temporarily banned from Goodreads. Apparently I made somebody mad. I thought jail was only a Facebook thing. 

When the Internet is Evil

I'm trying to focus on updating a few Booklikes items. I guess if I want to do that, I should close all of my other tabs and focus. Instead I'm squirreling all over the place. I really need to stop because all it's doing is making me want to bang my head against my cheap IKEA desk. 

 

On Facebook, where I'm a member of a book lovers' group, I'm currently engaged in a fight with someone who thinks that high school English teachers who force anyone to read anything are monsters. Seriously?!?! It's an English class. The reading is implied. That would be like me going into a high school math class and telling my teacher "I don't care if this is a math class. You can't make me learn how to solve for x." When I went to college, I did not get a degree that would require an intense math background because I knew I wouldn't be successful. Did that mean I got to avoid taking any math classes at all? Nope. Pretty sure I failed the same math class three times. My desire for the degree was stronger than my hatred of math. If you don't like being told what to do, then school in any form isn't for you. I would recommend home schooling but most places still have requirements that need to be met if you would like any kind of diploma. 

 

On Goodreads, I moderate a group. The group is pretty much the only reason I am active on that site. We decided to give authors a change to spotlight their works. At the risk of offended a few people- I HATE SELF-PUBLISHED/INDY AUTHORS! I know. I know. You aren't all bad. But for fox sake, how hard is it to read directions? And don't yell at me because you can't follow directions? I don't own you anything. I am absolutely not obligated to allow you space to promote your work. I am a volunteer. Instead of arguing with you, I could be doing other things. Like reading. 

 

My e-mail is also open as I am arguing with a show promoter who owes me a significant amount of money. You think the above paragraphs are long, winding rants? Don't even get me started on this lady. 

 

And somewhere in the room, I can hear my phone. My mother has been trying to get a hold of me all morning. Apparently I said something that offended my 33 year old brother. I'm refusing to apologize. 

 

On the bright side, Booklikes is running again. My coffee is hot. My neighbor brought me fresh donuts from the local bakery. And it's snowing again which means I don't have to feel obligated to go anywhere.

 

So what's everyone else been up to?

 

If you've made it to the end of my rant, I thank you for sticking with it. Please, feel free to have a laugh at my expense. I know if I didn't laugh at myself, this IKEA desk would be in more pieces now than it was when I put it together. 

Reading progress update: I've read 34%.

To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

For starters- Good grief Suzanne! You are awful

 

Secondly - Anyone who writes a book about the Sun King should be required to have an appendix with pictures and names of all his mistresses. Additionally, maybe Louis should have found himself some women with different names or surnames that weren't incredibly similar. 

 

Lastly- My hopes for a Hallmark Christmas-movie style ended, have been crushed. Not that I should be surprised. It's not like I don't know what happens to everyone anyway.

Death Ex Machina (Athenian Mysteries #5) - Gary Colby

Death Ex Machina - Gary Corby

I think until the reading challenge tracker is fixed-

 

If I use hopeful language, there will be positives results, right?

 

I'm just going to post a blurb with the dates I read a book. I'm still tracking on Goodreads. I may even have to dust off my Rifle account. I don't want to dust off my Rifle account. That site sucks.

 

January 5, 2020 - January 6, 2020

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart - John Guy

Typically non-fiction takes me months to read. I tend to get so bogged down in the details that I find myself able to only read a chapter at a time. This was not the case with Guy's biography of Mary, Queen of Scots. 

 

I have yet to find a biographical work that doesn't show any bias. Suggestions welcome if you know of any. This book wasn't any different. Guy obvious has a fangirl thing going on with Mary. He things she's smart, beautiful, and cunning. Personally I think one of those two things may be true. To quote some of my favorite preschool teachers, Mary makes a lot of bad choices. 

 

While Guy makes his adoration of Mary no secret, he also makes it perfectly clear that he is not a fan of one William Cecil (later Lord Burghley). Guy seems to believe Cecil is the root of all Mary's problems. Cecil wasn't leading Mary's fan club or even getting the newsletters but let's not get nuts. Mary was a queen in her own right. If Mary was as smart and capable as Guy wants his readers to believe, shouldn't she have been able to outsmart Cecil and survive? 

 

I have Guy's biography of Elizabeth I on my shelf. While I wasn't planning on reading it any time soon, I may have to move it up the list. I'm interested to see what kind of picture Guy paints of the people living on the other side of Mary's fence. I would think his characterization of Cecil would remain consistent. Right?

 

 

Read 1/1/2020- 1/5/2020

Sunday Status

The Vikings won. Maybe I can finish my book now.

 

First I need to find my spot again. It's possible said book went flying out of my lap at some point during the game and my bookmark was lost. I say possible only because I don't want anyone to accuse me of violence against books. 

Reading progress update: I've read 17%.

To Dance with Kings - Rosalind Laker

Romance is not my genre of choice. 

 

However, there is just something about a French mistress. My list of podcasts will back this up. 

 

This book is swoon worthy. Augustin has me all starry eyed. More than The Witcher *sigh*. I almost wish I didn't know how this story was going to end. 

The Daughter of Time (Inspector Alan Grant #5) - Jospehine Tey

The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey

First and foremost, I would just like to point out that I can't stand reading books out of order. I don't care if someone tells me books can be read as stand alone novels. If that were true, why would the book be included in a series to begin with?

 

People who know that I'm an avid historical fiction reader and that my favorite era is the Tudor-era have been telling me for ages that I need to read this book. I've had this book on my TBR for quite some times. However, I had to get around that "I have to read the other four books first" quirk. I have read the first Inspector Grant novel. I was incredibly let down. The idea that I had to read three more Grant novels before getting to the novel I really wanted to read became tiresome. This proved to be one of those times where maybe I just need to listen to people. 

 

Yesterday, Mother Nature was being especially moody in Minnesota. Law enforcement was recommending people stay put. My husband who will drive through the apocalypse even turned around and didn't go to work. That means it was bad. It wasn't the usual December dumping of a foot of snow. It was two to three inches of solid ice that had most of the state turned into a skating rink. There's a rather comical video of a school bus sliding sideways down a hill. 

 

The Daughter of Time was the perfect book to keep me entertained yesterday. My children certainly didn't need me. They got LEGOs for Christmas. I figure I have three more days before they are complaining about being bored. By that time, they should be back in school. 

 

Anyway. I can't remember the last time I finished a book in one sitting. This book was absolutely enthralling. At times it felt more like a play than a novel. I enjoyed the banter Grant had with all the players. I have read a few reviews were people were turned off by his level of snark. I had zero problems with it. It actually made things more enjoyable. His rant about Mary, Queen of Scots had me rolling. 

 

Tey's theory about the fate of the Princes in the Tower was hardly new for me. I still enjoyed the manner in which she presented it. The argument was compelling. If I didn't already have my own thoughts about what happened, I could easily be convinced to join her side. My book also included a hand written afterwords stating that Richard III was actually found innocent in 1984. I did not know that Richard III had ever been brought to "trial". I would have thought if anything, this would have occurred after his remains had been found. For anyone interested in seeing the trial play out, you can watch it here - http://www.josephinetey.net/Trial-of-King-Richard-III.html Minnesotans are being told to stay home again today. At least I have something to do now. 

 

Do I think this was the greatest crime novel every written? No. Mainly because I don't view it as a traditional crime novel. It's more a scholarly debate than anything else. Was it worth breaking my series rule for? 100%. Just don't expect me to make a habit of it. 

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The Singer from Memphis (An Athenian Mystery)
Gary Corby