Monday, May 31, 2010

Mailbox Mondays and Happy Memorial Day

In honor of the men and women who have served our country to help give us a better life, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Happy memorial day we do love you!

"Sailor kissing girl in Times Square - by Alfred Eisenstaedt, V-J Day, 1945

Alfred Eisenstaedt of LIFE took the photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse at the Times Square celebration on August 15, 1945, at the end of World War II. The photograph was one of many Eisenstaedt took that day, and he didn�t bother getting the names of anyone. Only after seeing the proofs did he realize that he had captured a decisive moment. On the 50th anniversary of the photograph, the couple was identified as Edith Shain and Carl Muscarello".

In my mailbox this week,  
 "Mistress of the Art of Death" by Ariana Franklin

"In medieval Cambridge, England, Adelia, a female forensics expert, is summoned by King Henry II to investigate a series of gruesome murders that has wrongly implicated the Jewish population, yielding even more tragic results. As Adelia's investigation takes her behind the closed doors of the country's churches, the killer prepares to strike again".

"Had Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael been born a few decades later, he might have found a worthy associate and friend in Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar of Salerno, a short and short-tempered medieval coroner hired in secret by King Henry II to find out who's behind the horrific murders of Christian children in Cambridge, England. Prominent local Jews stand accused; Henry wants them freed, mostly for the sake of their tax revenue. As Adelia examines the children's bodies and gets to know the people of Cambridge, she has no trouble assembling a long list of suspects, but she encounters considerable difficulty trying to narrow it down, a struggle in which the reader gladly joins her. Not all of the plot twists are surprising and the romantic subplot is an unnecessary afterthought, but Franklin (City of Shadows) has developed a skillful blend of historical fact and gruesome fiction that's more than sufficient to keep readers interested and entertained".
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Giveaway, Ten Things I love About You by Julia Quinn

"1.Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2.Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind AND The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3.Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4.Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5.Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6.Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother. shocking, delicious, downright wicked, all of which leads the way to
10. Happily. Ever. After.

Annabel Winslow is a country girl at heart. She’s staying with her grandparents in London for The Season with the intention of finding a husband wealthy enough to save her family from poverty. Annabel dislikes the idea of marrying a man she does not love, but her sense of duty runs deep. She’s smart, expressive, and her figure is constantly compared to that of a “fertility goddess.”

Sebastian Grey is in limbo.  He’s next in line to become the Earl of Newbury unless the current Earl, a despicable, portly man in his 60’s, can find a bride who will bear him a son. Society is not quite sure what to make of Sebastian—on one hand he’s handsome, charming, and may be extremely rich one day. On the other hand, he may wind up poor as a pauper. To complicate matters, the Earl of Newbury despised Sebastian’s father, and consequently hates Sebastian as well.

When Annabel (quite inconveniently) becomes the object of both of their affections, a series of whirlwind events ensues. She knows that marriage to an Earl may be the only thing that will save her family from ruin, but the thought of submitting to Newbury disgusts her. And Sebastian’s tempting touch certainly doesn’t help. It soon becomes clear that Annabel must choose between her family’s livelihood, and her one true love…"

Giveaway Details 

This is for one paperback copy. This giveaway is open to US ONLY. Sorry no international this time guys. Giveaway will end on June 4rd at midnight with the winner posted the next day.

  •     For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
  •     For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.
  •     For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word. 
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Giveaway, The Pearls of the Stone Man by Edward Mooney, Jr.

"Joseph and Anne Marino's idyllic 50-year marriage is rocked in this pedestrian inspirational tearjerker when Anne is diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. Joseph tries to make her last few months as comfortable as possible, but all Anne wants is for Joseph to finish the stone wall he's been promising to build and to make peace with their estranged son. In the process, they also take on wayward teen Shannon, who desperately needs a parental figure. Once Anne dies, Shannon tries to comfort Joseph, who continues to build the stone wall in Anne's memory. The reading experience is nothing short of excruciating: the characters are caricatures, their motivations are simplistic, and the plot is pat and uninteresting. If there's merit here, it's deeply hidden".

The Pearls of the Stone Man is an inspirational novel with plot elements that touch both older and younger generations. Main characters Joseph and Anne Marino are rare. They’re still in love after 53 years of marriage and with little time left, Joseph’s priority becomes finishing the stone wall that Anne requested years ago – a special reminder from her childhood.

Needing the help of someone younger, Joseph turns to his son, estranged for five years, in hopes of rebuilding a severed relationship as well as the wall. Two teenagers also come to Joseph’s aide, and he to theirs, as they all work to finish Joseph’s promise to Anne.

The Pearls of the Stone Man was written in the town in which the book is set: Pine Mountain , California . The settings in the novel are real locations and Edward takes groups of readers there regularly. 

Giveaway Details 

This is for 3 yes I did say THREE paper back copies, which means three people will win copies. This giveaway is open to US and Canada ONLY. Sorry no international this time guys. Giveaway will end on June 3rd at midnight with the winners posted the next day.

  •     For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
  •     For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.
  •     For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word. 

Annie's Letter

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Author Meet and Greet, GIRL IN TRANSLATION by Jean Kwok

"Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, an inspiring debut about an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures.

When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation".

The event was FABULOUS! Nothing ever happens in Oregon but this time when something was going to happen leave to one of my blogger buddies to give me a nudge in the right direction. Thank you Marie I am so glad you did and I hope to get to the lovely copy you got me sometime this summer.

Jean was great! I got there early so I could be front and center because I had no idea how many people would show up. Before it started I wandered every book shelf and made a couple really good finds paid for my stuff including girl in translation and parked it front and center. I was not sure what to expect in the whole meet author thing. She came out and I instantly knew I was going to love her she is tiny, really petite and has the most beautiful hair ever. I recorded the whole first part of the video on the blackberry granted not the best but it so worked.

The most inspiring thing about her was the real story behind the book and her family being first generation immigrants I really felt I could relate to her story my mother in law immigrated here from Korea and her story about her brother really drew a raw nerve on me. Her bother is in the book and one of the characters is loosely based off of him. She spoke about her real brother and told about how good he was in school and how he was able to graduate high school 2 years early and be one of the youngest people ever admitted into MIT. He went on to be a top scientist and would tell people he was "a rocket scientist", sadly her brother passed away last November but before he did, he did read the book.

Another cool story she shared was about her family in real life and their escape from China, they could only get two out and their mom decided the 2 older girls but right when the moment came for them to sneak off across the bridge between China and Hong Kong the eldest one turned back. She had a love she could not leave behind, her high school sweetheart and her got married and stayed behind living out the communist rule in China and 22 years later they were able to get them out and bring them to the states.

Jean's most compelling statement is that with the book she wants people to see the reality that people who speak another language might seem unpleasant in English but in their own native tongue could be a very funny witty person. That after the read you realize that the woman who you though were unpleasant because in reality they did not know the language, could have been her mother in reality and you never would have known.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giveaway Winner of By Fire by Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

The Winner of the finished copy of By Fire by Water is.....

LibraryPat who has followed so diligently and has literally entered in every single giveaway I have had to date. Your patience has finally paid off and it is your turn for the goodies. Congratulations you so deserve it and I hope you love the book!
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Mailbox Mondays

The Confessions of Catherine De Medici, Signed by C.W. Gortner

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici: A Novel"Catherine de Medici uses her natural and supernatural gifts to protect the French throne in Gortner's (The Last Queen) portrait of a queen willing to sacrifice happiness and reputation to fulfill her family's royal destiny. Orphan Catherine has her first vision at age 10, and three years later is betrothed to Henri d' Orleans, brother of the sickly heir to the French throne. She heads to France with a vial of poison hidden among her possessions, and after negotiating an uneasy truce with her husband's mistress, she matures into a powerful court presence, though power, she learns, comes at a price. Three of her sons become king in succession as the widow Catherine wields ever-increasing influence to keep the ambitious de Guise clan at bay and religious adversaries from murdering each other. Gortner's is not the first fictional reinterpretation of a historical villainous—Catherine's role in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, for instance, is recounted in a way sympathetic to her—but hers is remarkably thoughtful in its insight into an unapologetically ruthless queen".
For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick

For the King's Favor"A captivating story of a mother's love stretched to breaking and a knight determined to rebuild his life with the royal mistress, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best. Based on a true story never before told and impeccably researched, this is a testament to the power of sacrifice and the strength of love. When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court to settle an inheritance, he meets Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. In Roger, Ida sees a chance for lasting love, but their decision to marry carries an agonizing price. It's a breathtaking novel of making choices, not giving up, and coping with the terrible shifting whims of the king".

On Historically Obsessed today is the last day to enter for the giveaway of 

On HFBRT today is also the last day to enter for the two C.W. Gortner Giveaways

All winners will be announced tomorrow
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review: I SERVE by Rosanne E Lortz

This read was a refreshing follow up read on the black prince.  Since I fell in love with Karen Harpers “The First Princess of Wales”, I have been on a mission for more good reads like it.  A must for me is that it has to feature the more romantic side of the black prince and Joan of Kent’s tale. I have found in my mission I tend to stick with the more romantic versions of the story and when I found a read lacking in regards to the romance aspect I usually will not finish it. This read has all of the components that a novel set this time frame must have; the back cover could not have put my requirements any better than this quote “ A Tale of Arms, of Death, of Love, and of Honor”.

John Potenhale was a lucky man in my mind; he came from a family of low birth but still made it into the rank of knighthood. His grandfather was the caretaker of an estate of a noble man and the only request his grandfather ever made of his lord was to take the young Potenhale on as his squire. Set during the Hundred Years war it was at the battle of Crecy that John earned the accolade and from that moment forward he was in the service of the black prince as a knight. From the siege of Calais to the French’s attempt to take it back John never left the princes service, he was bound by honor to serve.

John had a story to tell and not just to anybody, specifically it was meant for the French widow Jeanne de Vergy. Jeanne could not fathom why an English knight would come all this way to speak with her. In reality it was not just John’s story but also the intermingled tale of Jeanne’s husband Geoffroi de Charney who Potenhale had taken prisoner during the attempted siege of Calais.

 4/5 This was a unique read; it covered so many events of the Hundred Years War that I cannot even begin to get into the details here. It had it all from disguises, unsatisfied love, fights for honor, and most compelling of all the torments of a mans conscience. All the while the “pestilence” sweeps the land taking almost half the known population with it. My favorite aspects of this read was the prince’s capture of the Bohemian ostrich feathers and latter the shroud of Christ.  Romantic YES, and YES a interesting tale of a knight who is tormented by the gritty details of war. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a bit off the main stream. 

Thank you David for sending me the book I really did enjoy the read. FTC this book came from author.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010


I just have to say that this event was a blast! This was a first time for me being "captain" of an event and though I was not perfect it still went off with out a hitch. Allie and Amy thank you for helping me and being my awesome co-captains, you ladies always swooped in to lend a helping hand which was greatly appreciated when I was unavailable. C.W. Gortner is such a hands on author that I enjoyed reading the comments that he left on every single post for the event. It was a pleasure to work so hard for such a cool author with the greatest ladies I know. If by chance you missed this be sure and check out the groups main page for the beyond cool giveaways that Gortner has offered up for the readers. I am really looking forward to hearing more from Gortner on "The Secret Lion" and "The Princess Isabella", I just have a feeling this one really is going to be interesting. 
Charter Members
...::: Allie of :::... Hist-Fic Chick 
...::: Amy of :::... Passages to the Past 
...::: Arleigh of :::... 
...::: Heather of :::... The Maiden's Court 
...::: Lizzy of :::... Historically Obsessed 
...::: Lucy of :::... Enchanted by Josephine 
...::: Marie of :::... The Burton Review 
...::: Susie of :::... All Things Royal

Both giveaways will end on  the release day of "The Confessions of Catherine De Medici" which is May 25th 2010.

Also in case you missed some of the posts here is the link to the full schedule.

Comming up next month the feature will be "For the King" by Catherine Delors. I have been looking forward to this one. It will be my first Delors read and I want to see it really lives up to all the hype I have heard about here books. I am currently reading it now and what I can only say now is that so far it is really interesting.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today in History, For the love of Anne

All For the love of Anne Boleyn today in history will always be her day in my heart. I drew her in pen and color pencil then scanned her in, added a few backgrounds and a bunch of pretty butterflies. Before I shrunk her down I took a close up below.

Anne's Memorial, breath taking a glass pillow on a pedestal. On the rim of the pedestal are the seven names of the nobility that were beheaded for treason. Anne's name is right next to Margaret Pole some where on there is Jane Grey, Catherine Howard see list below. 

"Seven nobles (five of them ladies) were beheaded privately on Tower Green, inside the complex, and then buried in the "Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula" (Latin for "in chains," making him an appropriate patron saint for prisoners) next to the Green. Some of the nobles who were executed outside the Tower are also buried in that chapel. The names of the seven beheaded on Tower Green for treason alone are:
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Giveaway and Guest Post on By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

"Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor GeneralTomás deTorquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him.
Within the dramatic story lies a subtle, insightful examination of the crisis of faith at the heart of the Spanish Inquisition. Irresolvable conflict rages within the conversos in By Fire, By Water, torn between the religion they left behind and the conversion meant to ensure their safety. In this story of love, God, faith, and torture, fifteenth-century Spain comes to dazzling, engrossing life". 

    * For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you. No Email No Entry.
    * For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.
    * For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word.

 This is for a Finished copy of book from the publisher, the book is a paperback original, and we’ll ship to US/Canada only.

Giveaway will run until May 24th at midnight and I will announce the winner on the 25th of May. Good Luck to All and let the giveaway BEGIN! 

I am proud to announce that in addition to the giveaway please welcome Mitchell James Kaplan to Historically Obsessed. He was gracious enough to write a really cool guest post for my readers.  I hope you all enjoy it and thank you Mitchell for paying a visit. 

What Was The Inquisition?

The term “inquisition” comes from the same root as “to inquire.” Its meaning is similar to the modern word “investigation.” Inquisitions were tribunals (or courts) of the church whose purpose was to purify the Christian world of false religion.

To the modern mind, it may seem aberrant that any organization should care about the private beliefs of its members. The idea of thought control horrifies us. Keep in mind, though, that:

–    In a time when religious doctrine was viewed as absolute truth, deviance from that doctrine constituted the greatest possible danger for any individual, let alone for a society.

–    The divine punishment for heresy, it was believed, was eternal damnation. No conceivable punishment in this world could be as terrible as hell.

–    By eliminating the false beliefs of individuals, the church sought not just to rid its body of a pernicious infection, but more importantly to prevent the spread of that infection.

–    During the medieval period, Europe consisted of many small centers of power, with no unifying authority save the Church of Rome. Local rulers competed violently. Forces from outside Christendom threatened total destruction. The power of the church to hold the Christian world together was limited. From Rome’s point of view, if uniformity of belief was not enforced, the unity of the Christian world was at stake. If unity was lost, that world would crumble.

–    Most of the inhabitants of the medieval world were illiterate and uneducated. Leaders knew well that these people were vulnerable to ideologies which they viewed as absurd and destructive. The church considered itself obligated to educate the citizenry in the most basic and important knowledge available to mankind, the knowledge of God.

Beginning with the inquisition against the Cathars in the 12th century, many distinct tribunals were established in many places. Some of these inquisitions were severe in their methods, employing a wide range of torture machines to extract the truth from the accused and subjecting the guilty to cruel punishments. Others were mild, aiming simply to correct the misguided and send them home.

Using the term “inquisition” globally to refer to the common attributes of these tribunals, it’s important to point out what the inquisition was not:

–    It was not a murder machine, any more than a modern American court of law is a murder machine. Just as a modern court investigates crimes, the inquisition investigated sins of heresy. In some cases, the punishment for those sins was death.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Mailbox Mondays

Since I am sporadic at posting mailbox Monday's it is only fair that I state that this is 2-3 weeks worth of books. 

On another Note Congradulations to...
 Little Tesoro
For winning the giveaway for "Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake" by Sarah Maclean. I hope you enjoy the read!

From Publishers/Authors

For the KingFor the King by Catherine Delors, for HFBRT event
"For her first novel, Mistress of the Revolution, which the Associated Press dubbed one of the "best reads of the year," Catherine Delors earned comparisons to Tracy Chevalier and Philippa Gregory. In For the King, she again demonstrates her matchless ability to illuminate key turning points in history while weaving a gripping story about a man caught between his heart and his integrity.

The Reign of Terror has ended, and Napoléon Bonaparte has seized power, but shifting political loyalties still tear apart families and lovers. On Christmas Eve 1800, a bomb explodes along Bonaparte's route, narrowly missing him but striking dozens of bystanders. Chief Inspector Roch Miquel, a young policeman with a bright future and a beautiful mistress, must arrest the assassins before they attack again. Complicating Miquel's investigation are the maneuverings of his superior, the redoubtable Fouché, the indiscretions of his own father, a former Jacobin, and two intriguing women.

Based on real events and characters and rich with historical detail, For the King takes readers through the dark alleys and glittering salons of post-revolutionary Paris and is a timeless epic of love, betrayal, and redemption".
How to Mellify A Corpse: And Other Human Stories of Ancient Science & SuperstitionHow To Mellify A Corpse by Vicki Leon
"In How to Mellify a Corpse, Vicki León brings her particular hybrid of history and humor to the entwined subjects of science and superstition in the ancient world, from Athens and Rome to Mesopotamia, the Holy Land, Egypt, and Carthage. León covers subjects as diverse as astronomy and astrology, philosophy and practicalities of life and death (including the titular ancient method of embalming), and ancient mechanical engineering. How to Mellify a Corpse of course invokes legendary thinkers (Pythagoras and his discoveries in math and music, Aristotle's books on politics and philosophy, and Archimedes' "Eureka" moment), but it also delves deeply into the lives of everyday people, their understanding and beliefs.
A feast for the curious mind, How to Mellify a Corpse is not only for those with an interest in the experimental: it's for anyone who's inspired by the imagination and ingenuity humanity uses to understand our world".

Stores Used & New
Alice I Have Been: A NovelAlice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin
"Starred Review. Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice's family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold".

Queen Of This Realm by Jean Plaidy
Athenais by Lisa Hilton
Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin
The Courtesan by Susan Carroll
Uppity Women of Ancient Times by Vicki Leon

Uppity Women of Medieval TimesUppity women of Medieval Times by Vicki Leon
"Our age doesn't have a lock on outspoken women, as Vicki Leon proves in this impudent, flippant history of the Middle Ages. In the 1600s, Lady Castlehaven charged her husband with rape and had his connubial rights--and head--removed. Prioress Eglentyne, who appears in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, fell afoul of clerical colleagues by ignoring rules about "dress, dogs, dances" and worse yet, "wandering in the world." And let's not forget Isabel, Queen of Castile, patron of Columbus, and wife to Ferdinand. Her marriage motto was "They rule with equal rights and both excel, Isabel as much as Ferdinand, Ferdinand as much as Isabel."
Library sale
Catherine of Aragon by Jean Plaidy, Hardback Gift for Arleigh
Mozart's women by Jane Glover
The Book of Eleanor by Pamela Kaufman

Girl in TranslationGirl in Translation by Jean Kwok
"A resolute yet naïve Chinese girl confronts poverty and culture shock with equal zeal when she and her mother immigrate to Brooklyn in Kwok's affecting coming-of-age debut. Ah-Kim Chang, or Kimberly as she is known in the U.S., had been a promising student in Hong Kong when her father died. Now she and her mother are indebted to Kimberly's Aunt Paula, who funded their trip from Hong Kong, so they dutifully work for her in a Chinatown clothing factory where they earn barely enough to keep them alive. Despite this, and living in a condemned apartment that is without heat and full of roaches, Kimberly excels at school, perfects her English, and is eventually admitted to an elite, private high school. An obvious outsider, without money for new clothes or undergarments, she deals with added social pressures, only to be comforted by an understanding best friend, Annette, who lends her makeup and hands out American advice. A love interest at the factory leads to a surprising plot line, but it is the portrayal of Kimberly's relationship with her mother that makes this more than just another immigrant story". 
Prima Donna: A NovelPrima Donna by Megan Chance
"At the start of Chance's heady if at times overheated Victorian historical, Sabine Conrad, an ambitious opera singer wounded in a violent encounter whose significance doesn't become clear until later, flees New York City with her jewels. Months later, in February 1878, the by now penniless Sabine reaches Seattle, Washington Territory, where she gets a job as a scrub woman at the Palace, a whore house that provides musical entertainment in the frontier city's red-light district. Sabine, who's adopted the name Margie Olson, helps the Palace's proprietor, Johnny Langford, realize his dream of turning the place into a legitimate theater. Chance (The Spiritualist) deftly explores the hardships the former prima donna endures overseeing Langford's entertainers, even as Sabine yearns to return to the stage herself. Melodramatic excerpts from Sabine's youthful journal chronicling her opera career provide counterpoint in an erotic thriller full of lively period detail".

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIIISix Wives, The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey
"No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. In this remarkable study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer but someone seeking happiness -- and a son. Knowingly or not, he elevated a group of women to extraordinary heights and changed the way a nation was governed.
Six Wives is a masterful work of history that intimately examines the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy, and religion that were part of daily life for women at the Tudor Court. Weaving new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama surrounding Henry's six marriages, David Starkey reveals the central role that the queens played in determining policy. With an equally keen eye for romantic and political intrigue, he brilliantly recaptures the story of Henry's wives and the England they ruled".

Uppity Women of the Renaissance by Vicki Leon
"Introducing some of history's most dangerous, outrageous, and flamboyant women, Uppity Women of the Renaissance introduces readers to ex-nun Catalina de Erauso, who dueled, drank, and cross-dressed her way through Spain and North America; Chiyome, who started a profitable business renting out female ninjas, called "deadly flowers," in 16-century Japan; and Zubayda, an Arab engineer who, when she wasn't busy building aqueducts, roads, or entire cities, found time to throw lavish, Martha Stewart-style parties. Covering wide geographical ground and combining meticulous historical research, period artwork, and a rollicking sense of humor, this latest volume in the Uppity Women series profiles more than 200 heroines, hussies, and harpies of the fourteenth through the 17th centuries".

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Friday, May 14, 2010

HFBRT: Sundays Art: The Huguenot, Pre-Raphaelites 1851-2

To coincide with the HFBRT event of "The Confessions of Catherine De Medici" by C.W. Gortner. I have been saving this one for a loooooong time, this post actually is the very first post I ever made on The Pre-Raphaelites. I was waiting to see how I felt about this painting after my read on Catherine De Medici and it was well worth the wait. This is a moving piece that I have to admit is my favorite of them along with the Highlander.

Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896)

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge.

"It harks back to Paris of 1572, when many hundreds of French Protestants (Huguenots) were massacred by Catholic hoards. It was decreed that all Catholics should wear a white band on one arm and a cross in their hats to avoid the slaughter.

Millais portrays a Catholic woman's desperate attempt to shield her Huguenot lover, and his determined refusal to deny his religion. The crushed red flower at their feet is symbolic of his certain death."

Pre-Confessions thoughts 
I do not have very much background on the St Bartholomew's massacre which leads me to the point that I have no history I can relate this to. One thing that does strike me is not only the longing in the woman's expression but the smile he gives her like this is the right thing to do, I have to be brave and I have to take my stand even if it means my life.

It is reminiscent of another time when a select group of people were excluded in Europe and forced to wear the mark of their religion.

Post-Confessions thoughts
Wow, that was really interesting I really had no idea how much politics was involved in the massacre. Gortner brought light on a very dark time in France for me. I had no idea it was that brutal or brought about in such a conniving way. This just proves that Gortner is far from the typical boring read.

Also please do not forget to get your entries on for the HFBRT 2 book Giveaway & The Catherine De Medici Necklace Giveaway 

In the group schedule for today:
Friday, May 14th – Re-cap of CW Gortner’s books at the HFBRT, “The Woman Behind the Legend,” A Guest Post by CW Gortner at Passages to the Past, Book Review by Allie at Hist-Fic Chick.

Thursday, May 13th - Round Table Discussion Q&A at the HFBRT,  Catherine de Medici’s Gift + Nostradamus Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine, Book Review by Heather at The Maiden’s Court.

Wednesday, May 12th“Two Women, One King,” A Guest Post by CW Gortner at Hist-Fic Chick, Book Review by Amy at Passages to the Past.

Tuesday, May 11thGiveaway: Win Catherine’s Necklace! at the HFBRT, “Nostradamus – Visionary or the Best Fraud Ever” by Heather at The Maiden’s Court, Book Review by Arleigh at

Monday, May 10, 2010


LOVED it! I can finally say I have read something on Catherine De Medici. I gave it a go at “The Devils Queen” but I lost my stomach when it took a really dark and twisted turn. It was the only book in the past two years I was not able to finish. I wanted so desperately to read on Catherine that when I got wind last year of Gortner’s work in progress I figured I would bid my time and patiently wait for the new release. You have to know how hard it was to wait for this read; I really thought about it every other day because it would randomly haunt my thoughts. I am so glad I waited.

The infamous Catherine De Medici has been portrayed as a monstrous character in history.  Referred to as “Madame Serpentine”, during her time she was regularly associated with witchcraft, and scandal. Catherine is one historical fictions leading ladies that should be left to the experts because she did live a very complicated life. C.W. Gortner’s overwhelming craft prove that he is just that expert and he likes to tackle the hard cases. One of Gortner’s premier skills as a writer is that he takes his readers on a 360-degree turn of the whole story, seeing and exploring all the possibilities. I am elated and proud of myself for waiting for my first Catherine read and truly I loved this book. Gortner proves there always are two sides to every story.

Catherine orphaned and hated in Florence Italy by the people because her uncle was the Pope and Florence was fighting his rule when Catherine suffered imprisonment until her uncle could save her. Spiriting her off to Rome her uncle Clement opened up worldwide bids her hand in marriage, but really he was baiting a bigger fish, France. Francis I sought Catherine’s hand for his son the young prince Henri. It was not too long before Catherine was on her way to France to be married to France and Henri.

It was a shame to me that Henri was not so enthused about his marriage to Catherine. His stupid mistress Diane de Ponitiers ruled him long before Catherine arrived and would until the day he died. A bitter rivalry between the two ensued with Catherine always coming out on the loosing end. I HATED Diane the older cougar was twice the young prince’s age and she was his childhood nurse. One aspect of Catherine I respected that Gortner applied to her was the gift of sight, leave it to Gortner to leave in the rumor but add a realist’s version of the truth to the story. Maybe she was what at the times people considered a “witch” but now a days we would not call her a witch but a psychic, in other words not the murdering, blood thirst witch type who brewed a caldron. Okay so maybe there was a little black magic but not her doing one of her minions instead. The visions always related to the core of her whole meaning of her life, her family and France.  I believe completely in the power of a woman’s intuition but throw a mother’s into it and it becomes a strong force in some women that can do extraordinary things.

After completing this read I feel very compassionate towards Catherine and her case. How could you not respect a woman who defied all the odds that were set in her path? A lady so brave in the face adversity that she knew her husband never was really hot on her, lost him early to an older mistress who paraded around in the court as queen herself wearing even the damn crowned jewels. Jezebel in reincarnation! Diane even went as far as to take control of her young children and manipulated them into hating her because she was not the mistress. How could you not respect the fact that she made it through all that with her sanity still intact? I am not sure if I would have faired so well.

Catherine was venerated the day that Henri suddenly died; her day to shine had come. I was shocked when Henry died at about a fourth of the way into the read then I realized that this is just the beginning of Catherine’s rein.  What I expected next I was not sure, all is what I knew was it had to be juicy because there was still three fourths of the book left to read.  I also knew that there was a terrible massacre on St. Bartholomew’s day in France and that many innocent people lost their lives. I am still in shock of what events transpired before and after that dreadful day. I believe I am shocked because it was civil war and religious war; the two strike a person too close to home. Catherine did what Catherine had to do to protect her children, backing a lioness with cubs into a corner is a very dangerous game to play. She never backed down and loved her children even if there was a constant cloud of evil discord that followed the family and her. If I had been in her position I would have been ruthless too if it meant my children’s well being.  When life throws you lemons you make lemonade and Catherine made lemonade.

 5/5 LOVED it, and yes I am so freaking positive not because this is an event but because C.W. Gortner is by far in my selected small pool of favorite authors. I always write my reviews immediately following my reads so that it is fresh in my mind and I stay true to how I really freshly feel after I have finished. This read is unique and a bit dark but it was really a thrilling book to the point when I thought I had it figured out, I was completely wrong, there were so many events I never saw coming. I am shocked by how little knowledge I had on what events were transpiring in France when the lovely Elizabeth was on the throne fighting the Spanish. This book made me love Catherine for her undying love and devotion to her family and country. What today we would call a “ride or die” type of woman who at times took on a super human strength to save her children’s lives and country.

Thank you C.W. for sending me the wonderful Arc I have to say it is very unique for the fact it is the first one I have ever received that is so close to the final copy that the only difference is a seal on the front with the ARC info. It is a beautiful book and I will cherish it forever. Thank you for opening a window to Catherine’s soul.

 HFBRT May Event

Saturday, May 8thTwo-book Giveaway at the HFBRT.

In today's schedule:

Monday, May 10th“An Italian in the Court of France,” a Guest Post by CW Gortner at Enchanted by Josephine, “Quoteables: Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers” by Allie at Hist-Fic Chick

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