Friday, January 28, 2011

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner

This is probably one of the best historical fiction novels I have read in awhile. I loved it! The author gives the reader an inside view of what may have been going on inside Juana "la loca's" head. I had always heard that she was crazy, that she dragged her dead husband's body around Spain, that she was psycho and possessive of her husband when he was alive, but this gave me a new perspective. The author showed Juana as an intelligent woman who was deceived by the people who she loved and trusted the most. Her husband, father, and son. She was forced to go along with things she did not believe in simply b/c the men in her life willed it so. In this novel she is shown in a new light, where the reader respects her as well as feels sorry for her. A lot of the book is based on facts, which I always appreciate in a historical novel! I had trouble putting this book down. It was the first novel I've read about Juana. I've read a few novels that included stories about her, but they all portrayed her as completely nutty, so it was refreshing to read a novel that made her out to be a heroine, and not just some crazy chic who lived 500 years ago!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A completely amazing book! I never thought I would like anything that had to do w/ fantasy, but this novel mixed fantasy AND therefore I loved it! It took me a little bit to get into the book, but as soon as I got a few chapters in and shit started to get crazy, I couldn't put it down! I just finished reading it for a second time recently, and it was even better the second time! The first time I read it, it was so hard to get used to all of the crazy names and different characters, but the second time I read it I was able to really follow along and understand it. It's in a series of 4 books (so far), and hopefully the fifth will be coming out soon. I'm re-reading the first four books, so that I'm up to date for the fifth b/c it's been awhile since I've read the whole series. And, they created a show for HBO that is beginning in April! I cannot wait for it to start! i got HBO just so that I'll be able to watch the show!
So, if you like a book that has magic, sex, war, murder, and where you never know what will happen next, then this series is perfect!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Bell Jar-Sylvia Plath

The one, the ONLY, Sylvia Plath. How could a book written by her, that is pretty much about her, be bad? Well, it can't! Obviously this really isn't considered "historical fiction," but sometimes I come out of my little box, and read books that are actually relevant to the classes which I must teach as a good English teacher. I went on a kick where I bought a bunch of books that I might teach. Mind you, staying away from evil novels such as; ANYTHING by Dickens! Yes, I'm a hater. But, Plath's book = amazing. First of all, it's pretty much based on her life, and well, the lady killed herself by sticking her head in an oven, so obviously she's nuts, and no one writes a better book than a crazy lady! It's full of inner angst, and suicidal thoughts, as well as an attempted suicide. It definitely kept me reading. It's an easy read, only took me like two days to finish, but then I might be considered an abnormally fast reader? I would definitely recommend reading it though, especially if you like her poetry (which is awesome!)
Oh, and if you are suicidal, you might want to wait until you're a little more stable before reading this book, because I suppose it could be considered "triggering."

I suppose I really had no need to even talk about this book, since it's been reviewed/discussed a million times, but since it's my NEW YEARS RESOLUTION to keep track of the books I read this year, I felt the need to throw it in here!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton

Book One of 2011:

So far this year I have read; The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton. I wasn't very impressed. It was like a historical romance gone wrong, very wrong. Sister Eustace (Juliana) is forced into marriage by Eleanor of Aquitaine. She either has to wed, or lose her inheritance. She marries the typical bad-boy, rogue of that time period, and of course they hate each other. Most historical romances get to the good stuff (i.e. the sex) much earlier in the novel. This one drug out the romance until the very end, when of course Juliana realizes that she's in love w/ him, and that he's in love with her, and they almost lose each other....blah, blah, blah. I had to force myself to finish this one. I just wasn't really drawn in to the book, and the way it was set up as a historical fiction book, but with the undertones of a historical romance novel, just didn't appeal to me. I mean, either be a good historical novel, with a good writing style, and some exciting action and a little romance, OR be a full blown historical romance novel with all the detailed sex scenes. I guess this book was just boring. There was nothing in it that kept me on the edge of my seat (well, in my case, bed), and the writing style seemed to drag along, and by the time I was done with the novel, I hadn't learned anything new or exciting about the time period the book had even taken place in.
I definitely wouldn't recommend this book, and it will not be joining my library...I'll be selling it back on as soon as some sad sap is silly like me and buys the damn thing! This book is why I sometimes have trouble trying out a new author. I have my set of historical fiction authors that I know that whatever book they put out, I'm going to love it. I obviously try to give new authors a chance, because there's always the chance I'll find one that I love to add to the other authors I adore, but sorry Norton, this book definitely didn't do it for me.

Might as well begin!

I've had this blog forever, because I had to create it for a educational technology course while studying for my Masters. I've never used it, until now. I discovered all of the amazing blogs dealing with historical fiction that I was able to follow through the blog, so I decided it was time to figure out what to do with MY blog!
One of my new years resolutions is to keep track of the books I read every year. I wish I had been doing this for years, because I've read hundreds and hundreds of books, but I have no clue the names or authors of most of them! So, I'm going to use this blog as a way to keep track of the books that I read, and also to write down a little review, so that I can look back and refresh my memory. Hopefully this is something I keep up with, because reading is something that is so enjoyable to me, and I'd love to remember more about the amazing books that I read!