Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Read a Phrase Challenge

Ok, so I found this little challenge that I just had to join over at Books, Crafts, & Life in General. It was inspired by the read your name challenge although rather than using your name you, yes I said you, get to chose the phrase you wish to read.

The Rules:

--As the name of the challenge implies, your choice must be a phrase.(Phrase=A sequence of words intended to have meaning.)

--Any genre of fiction is allowed. Either print or ebooks. Any release date. The only two conditions are that you haven’t read the book before (this will help that TBR mountain I know you all have), and it should be at least 100 pages.

--You don’t have to select your books ahead of time. Even if you do, you can change your books as you go. Your books can crossover with other challenges.

My Phrase:

Mo aisteach agus iontach léann. The phrase that I chose is an Irish Gaelic phrase that translates into “my weird and wonderful reads”. I grew up in a Celtic family and my Great-Grandfather would always say that you must do something both aisteach agus iontach (weird and wonderful) everyday to prove that you are living right and it soon became something that I adopted into my reading life. I though that this phrase fit this challenge perfectly.

Why Am I Joining This Challenge?

I need to start thinning out my TBR pile as well as books from my own personal library and this is the perfect challenge to do that in.

Want to join this challenge? You may do so HERE


What I Intend to Read:

(books will be added as I find one that corresponds with the letters )



A- Agony of the Leaves by Lara Childs

I-India Black by Carol K. Carr


T-The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield















H -






I will add a link to the reviews once they have been posted!

Until We Meet Again,

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday & My Weekly Update!



Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

January Host: Alyce @ At Home With Books

Here is a list of books that I have received this week:

For Review:


Mariana by Susanna Kearsley


Agony of the Leaves by Laura Childs


Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo


Restoration by Olaf Olafsson


Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown

Books that I purchased:


Wild Decembers by Edna O’Brien


Mr. Knightley’s Diary by Amanda Grange


Scourge of the Seas by Angus Konstam

This is what’s on my TBR shelf for this week:

The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield- I started reading this one over the weekend and only have a few chapters left.

Wild Decembers by Edna O’Brien-  This one caught my eye because it was compared to Wuthering Heights and I am eager to know if it truly shares the same qualities. I plan to start this one once I finish The Thirteen Tale.

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley- I started reading this book as soon as I pulled it from the envelope.

Legacy of Eden by Lindsay Sweeting- I am reading this one as part of a blog tour that will be held during the third week of February.

The Tory Widow & The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins- I absolutely loved her first novel, The Midwife of the Blue Ridge, so I am eager to start these books. 


Books that I have finished:

Scrumptious by Amanda Usen-Giveaway

Miss Hilary’s School for Scoundrels by Samantha Grace- I will post the review for this one on Royal Reviews during the month of February.  

To Die For; a novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd

Aristocrats; Power, Grace, and Decadence: Britain’s Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present by Lawrence James- I finally finished this book.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mailbox Monday




Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks and audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

This month Mailbox Monday is Hosted by Alyce @ At Home With Books.

Here is what I found in my Mailbox this week. What did you find in yours?

the crown 

The Crown by Nancy Bilveau


A Keeper of the King’s Secrets by Michelle Diener


The Women of the Cousins' War by Philippa Gregory


Needle in the Blood – Sarah Bower


A Rural Affair – Catherine Alliott


The Wolf Who Loved Me by Lydia Dare


The Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men by Jack Caldwell


Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly


This is what’s on my TBR shelf this week:

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells-I only have about 20 pages left.

Six of One; A Tudor Riff by JoAnn Spears-A very different take on the Tudors which has thoroughly entertained me, I should be done with this one by the end of the day.

Aristocrats; Power, Grace, and Decadence: Britain’s Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present by Lawrence James-I started this one about a week or so ago and have now just started the chapter pertaining to the War of the Roses. While the book is both informative and entertaining I am wondering if it should have been a biography on the Earl of Warwick rather than a look into the Aristocrats because he has been talked about on every page.

I plan to start The Women of the Cousins' War once I have finished Aristocrats.

The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield- I love it when I accidentally stumble upon certain books. In the case of this book, I happened to be passing through a town that looked as though I had stepped back into the early 1800’s complete with cobblestone streets. As I was looking through the shops I came across a bookshop housed in a small cottage named “The Garden of Readin”. Of course I had to take a look and I happened to stumble upon this book.

Books that I finished:

Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl you may find my review & giveaway HERE

Midwife Of The Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Sins of the Highlander by Connie Mason & Mia Marlowe

The Lure of Song & Magic by Patricia Rice

Until We Meet Again,

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Snapshot


To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ At Home With Books


I live a few houses down from the Methodist church that was built in late 1800’s. It’s a beautifully built stone church that has the feel of Gothic architecture and it has quickly become one of my favorite places to photograph.



If you look closely you can see the Celtic Cross in between the two windows.






The view at night from my back patio.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This Time by Joan Szechtman

this time

Title: This Time; a Novel of Richard III

Author: Joan Szechtman

Publisher: Basset Books

Pages: 341 including author’s notes

Release Date: 2009


This Time starts moments before Richard III loses to Henry Tudor on Bosworth Field near Leicester, England on August 22, 1485, when a team of Ricardians substitute an armor clad corpse for the king and bring him into Portland, Oregon. Richard awakens August 21, 2004 to an alien world where even the English he speaks is different.


The story follows two parallel paths: the present where Richard must learn how to adjust to not only the technological advancements but also the more difficult cultural differences; and looking back at the past to solve some of the mysteries that have haunted and maligned his image for over 500 years.

(blurb from amazon)


My Thoughts:


The premise of this novel is promising-Richard III is transported into the present by a team of Ricardians bent on discovering the truth behind the disappearance of his nephews.  Acclimating to a new way of life whilst grieving for his deceased wife and son, he must question everything that he has been taught all the while trying to stay alive once he is no longer needed by the man who pulled him from the past.


The Plot:


I so wanted this novel to live up to its potential, sadly it did not. I must say that it wasn’t a horrid novel; in fact, I rather enjoyed the book- it just wasn’t everything that it could have been. The content seemed to be repetitive and often glossed over things that should have been included (i.e. Richards first experience on an airplane) while placing in things that had previously been dealt with and had no real significance to the story.


The Characters:

 This Time had several characters that popped in and out of the novel, some of which seemed to be space fillers (i.e. Fortas) that were used to fill in gaps in the plot.

As for the main characters, I felt that they were strong yet could have used some improvement. For instance the character of Richard III seemed a little too meek and a little too willing to relinquish power. While I do not subscribe to the theory that Richard III was a tyrant, he was still King of England who was accustomed to having total control and I believe that this mild/meek character with a willingness to conform was a bit there in left field. Not only did he adjust to the modern world he did so in an amazingly short amount of time which gave the novel a generic feel to it.

We then have three potential love interests for Richard which seems to muddy up the flow of the book. Once you think Richard gets settled with one person, the plot switches. If the love interest would have been established firmly from the beginning it would have aided in the flow of the plot.

The Time Travel Aspect:


This is where time travel novels often get tricky. If the method of time travel is too outlandish the novel, despite how well-crafted the plot is, fails. The method of time travel in this novel actually seemed plausible and while there was occasional science related jargon the book wasn’t overly wrought with it. 


Why Do I Feel This Novel Failed To Live Up To Its Potential?

A time travel novel with Ricardian sympathies has potential to be a grand novel. This Time was bogged down with repetitive actions, unneeded secondary plots, unneeded secondary characters, and triple love interest while much needed aspects were glossed over.

Overall Opinion:

 Overall, I did like book, it’s a plotline that is not often done which made me eager to read it. Some parts of the novel had me constantly turning the page and when the book ended I still had a desire to read the second part, it’s just not the type of desire that would make me place the second installment on top of my TBR list.

The thing that kind of irked me most about the novel was the questions that were asked to Richard. The sole purpose of bringing him into the present was to question him about the disappearance of his nephews once he provided that information they were ready to kill him off. I believe that the author could have made the questions more interesting, after all the sky was her limit.


Noteworthy Items:



This book does have a bit of battle-related violence as the novel opens with scenes from Bosworth; it also has someone being shot. There are also several mentions of scientific cadavers being used as a decoy body when they pulled Richard into this time.


I didn’t find the romance to be explicit in this novel, but there is mention of sexual encounters.


There were a lot of four letter words flying about in this novel, in my opinion they were over used. Some may feel that the language is inappropriate.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tudor Reading Challenge




· All book formats are allowed for this challenge as long as they have an ISBN number or the equivalent. Both fiction and non-fiction are allowed as well. Re-reads ARE allowed but your review must be a new one. Crossovers from other reading challenges DO count!

· All the books read for this challenge must be Tudor related. Books that feature any Tudor from Henry VII to Elizabeth I and any spouses, lovers, close family members, or themes count. There are a lot out there, so no worries!

· Each month visit The Musings of ALMYBNENR and add your link to your Tudor-related reviews. You do not have to have a blog to participate, you may post wherever you review, i.e. Goodreads, Library Things, Selfari.


•Henry VII (Creator of a dynasty): 5 books

•Henry VIII (Larger than life): 10 books

•Mary I (The first queen of England): 15 books

•Elizabeth I (Gloriana & the Golden Age): 20 books


1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012

Host: The Musings of ALMYBNENR


My Goal:

Elizabeth I (Gloriana & the Golden Age): 20 books

Why am I doing this challenge?

I am a Tudor fanatic. Sadly, my Tudor-related reading declined last year, so I thought that this would be the perfect way to get back into the Tudor-reading groove! Plus, I need to tackle Tudor-To-Be-Read Pile, which is pictured below!


(My T.T.B.R continues to grow!)

Books I intend to read, in no particular order:


1- In A Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener

2- Keeper of the King’s Secrets by Michelle Diener

3- The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson

4- Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson

5- By Royal Decree by Kate Emerson

6- At The King’s Pleasure by Kate Emerson

7- The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

8- To Die For by Sandra Byrd

9- His Last Letter by Jeane Westin

10- The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

11- The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

12- The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

13- Honor In The Dust by Gilbert Morris

14- The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson

Non-Fiction Books

15- Elizabeth & Leicester by Sarah Gristwood

16- Death and The Virgin Queen by Chris Skidmore

17- The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir

18- The Lady In the Tower by Alison Weir

19- The Children of Henry VIII

20- The Tudor Age by Jasper Ridley

21- The Other Tudors by Philippa Jones

22- The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser

To find out more about this challenge you may do so HERE


Best Wishes,

Angela Renee

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wuthering Height- A Classics Challenge Prompt


This is the first posting prompt for the Classics Challenge and it will focus on the author of the novel.

Here is the rules according to the challenge host Katherine @ November‘s Autumn:

To clarify how this will work: I'll post various questions, don't feel obliged to answer all of them. Some may require a little research but you can be creative in how you answer. Participants have the full month to post and share their answers. The different levels are based on how far into the book you are.

Here are the levels:

Level 1
Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they've written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

Level 2
What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there a particular quote that has stood out to you?

Level 3
Why do you think they wrote this novel? How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

Level 1 Answers:

The Author:

Emily Jane Brontë

Pen Name: Ellis Bell

July 30, 1818 

Where she lived:

Haworth Parsonage

(This photo was taken shortly after the death of her father, Patrick Bronte)


Haworth Parsonage is now called The Brontë Parsonage Museum, located in Haworth, West Yorkshire, England and is maintained by the Brontë Society.



diry1pic emily
This page is from the joint journal of Emily and Anne Bronte. You can see that this page is written in Emily’s hand and it contains information about Anne.




Wuthering Heights was Emily’s only novel although she did amass a collection of poetry.


Interesting and random fact about her life:

At the age of 17, Emily attended the Roe Head girls school where her sister, Charlotte was a teacher, although she only remained three months before becoming homesick. She returned home where she and Anne opened their own school. Her refusal to look people in the eyes and her anxiety when away from home leads many people to believe that she had Aspergers, a form of autism that often enhances creativity. 

Level 2 Answers:

Writing Style:

Emily’s writing style in Wuthering Heights has a gothic feel to it, which surprisingly varies greatly from her poetry, although both , her poetry and novel contain that connection to nature. Wuthering Heights is filled with emotion, anger, passion, the supernatural, and violence and to help portray those feelings Emily mirrored the weather to match the feeling of the scene which greatly improved the atmosphere of the novel.

Emily’s writing style depended heavily on emotions and atmosphere , which made her writing style a little less plot-orientated than the works of her sister Charlotte.

What do I like about it? What would have made you more inclined to like it?

The emotional tug of the novel is amazing and allows you to feel what the characters are feeling. Emily chose to focus on her characters raw emotions rather than where her characters were headed and how the plot was going to unfold and it fit the novel well. She also focused on the atmosphere of the novel-by using the wild vastness of the windswept Yorkshire moors, she incorporates the turbulence and instability of both the characters and the landscape.

I liked Wuthering Heights the way it is and do not believe it could or should be changed. It also may come as a shock that I felt bad for Heathcliff and hated Cathy.

Is there a particular quote that has stood out to you?

The following quotes were the ones that stood out to me and best characterized the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff.

“I was only going to say that heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy. That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I’ve no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there has not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn’t have thought it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself that I am whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; Linton’s is as different as a moonbeam from lightning or frost from a fire…

…My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath; a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff.
-Chapter 9

“May she wake in torment!” he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion, “Why, she’s a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there-not in heaven-not perished-where? Oh! You said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer-I repeat it till my tongue stiffen-Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you-haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murders, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always-take any form-drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
-Chapter 16

This last quote is my absolute favorite.

“I disturbed nobody, Nelly.”, he replied, “and I gave some ease to myself. I shall be a great deal more comfortable now; and you’ll have a better chance of keeping me underground, when I get there. Disturbed her? No! She has disturbed me, night and day, through eighteen years’-incessantly-remorselessly.”
-Chapter 29

Why do I think Emily Bronte wrote this novel?

As the daughter of a clergyman, Emily was constantly taught the themes she included in Wuthering Heights. Love and hate; crime and punishment; good verses evil; class structure, revenge, the ills of obsession and lust and I believe that she wanted to show what would happen when you entwine these elements with a complex love. I also believe that she wanted to push the bounds of writing.

Emily must have loved the characters that she created as finalized a sequel. Sadly, the manuscript was lost after her death.

How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

Many early reviews are the same as they are today, they either loved it or hated it. While most critics recognized the power and creativity of this novel, many found it unlikable and ambiguous.

The Atlas review called it a "strange, inartistic story", but commented that every chapter seems to contain a "sort of rugged power

The Graham's Lady Magazine critique bluntly stated "How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors."

The Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper critique was more positive, yet still shocked at the novel's raw depictions, noting "In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance, and anon come passages of powerful testimony to the supreme power of love—even over demons in the human form. The women in the book are of a strange fiendish-angelic nature, tantalising, and terrible, and the men are indescribable out of the book itself". However the review also emphasized the "great power" of the novel and its provocative qualities; it said that it was a "strange sort of book—baffling all regular criticism" and that "[it is] impossible to lay it aside afterwards and say nothing about it".

Although the Examiner agreed on the strangeness, it saw the book as "wild, confused; disjointed and improbable".

The Britannia review mirrored those comments made on the unpleasant characters, arguing that it would have been a "far better romance" if the characters were not "nearly as violent and destructive as [Heathcliff]". The unidentified review was less critical, considering it a "work of great ability" and that "it is not every day that so good a novel makes its appearance".


Until We Meet Again,

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Time Travel Reading Challenge



*Challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31st, 2012. *You can join anytime.
*Books from other challenges count as long as they are about time travel.
*Books can be children's, middle-grade, YA or adult fiction.

*Surprise Trip: 1 to 3 time travel books.
*Great Adventure: 4 to 6 time travel books.
*Fantastic Journey: 7 to 9 time travel books
*Mind-boggling Voyage: 10 to 12 time travel books.

Timeframe: Jan. 1st 2012, to Dec. 31st 2012

Host: Library of Clean Reads

My Goal:
Fantastic Journey: 7 to 9 time travel books.

Why am I doing this challenge?
This is a relatively new genre for me, normally I prefer Historical Fiction. Then last year I read Legacy & Catriona, both by Janette Baker as well as The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. After reading those books, I found that I loved the time-travel aspect and now I have found this challenge, which hopefully will encourage me to explore more of this genre.

Books I intend to read, in no particular order:

1. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley  Date read: 
2. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells Date read:
3. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma Date read:
4. Whispers In The Sand by Barbara Erksine  Date read:
5. An Echo In The Bone by Diana Gabaldon  Date read:
6. Nell by Janette Baker Date read:
7. This Time by Joan Szechtman Date read: January 14,2012 Review

To find out more about this challenge you may do so HERE