Tag Archive: England



The Witchfinder's SisterThe Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this book. It was one of those books I think everyone should read.

We know what happened, Salem Witch Trials and all. As a human being, this topic should make you sick. As a woman, you should see all the warnings of letting anyone think they know better for you than you know for yourself. As a religious person, you should be wary of folks that don’t read the whole book and think they are hand in hand with the deities. This whole subject screams that scripture that should most be used “Judge not lest Ye be judged.” And in the case of most of these thumpers of parts and not other parts of the Holy book, my dad quoted better than anyone. ‘The Bible is God’s Word. SO “Judas hung himself.” “Go Ye and do likewise.”‘ Too bad he wasn’t around to speak his mind to people like the brother in this book.

As much as I think this is a good book for everyone to read, it is so HARD to read. It wasn’t the fault of the author. She did a fine job with her research on the subject and kept the story moving. I loved her ability to give the old English feel to the story without making it boring. You knew what was going to happen virtually hiding your eyes because you don’t want to see, but still wanted to see how the author was going to pull it off. She didn’t disappoint.

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The ShipThe Ship by Antonia Honeywell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great idea for a story. Irritating main character.

I was lucky to get this book free from NetGalley. Thank you! It was well worth the read.

London is now part of a dystopian world and survival seems near impossible for this family, even though it is a well to do family. Must really suck for those with less.

But the spoiled daughter of these particular parents has no clue what is happening in the real world outside her house. They have tried to spare their child the worst of it. That seems a big mistake as this poor girl just doesn’t know how to live once she isn’t in her sheltered life.

Father, in hopes of saving many people, has obtained a ship. Eventually, the small family must join the rest of the people he has attempted to save.

The process of the story before the ship is interesting. But gets quite exciting when they move aboard. I don’t want to put in any spoilers so I won’t tell you any more of the plot. But I would assume one could call this a coming of age for this main character–I hope so. I didn’t see enough growth in her by the end of the book to make me want to read anymore. She moans, complains and mourns the whole book. Yet her father and everyone onboard try their best to help her.

Maybe it is because I am not the target audience for this book, but I do love a good dystopia, and those elements are there. Maybe resolve is coming as this was only book one. I might want to read the next. Not sure if I want to put up with the brat anymore.

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Victoria: From the creator of the ITV television seriesVictoria: From the creator of the ITV television series by Daisy Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this edition from NetGalley to read and review. It is an Uncorrected Digital Galley copy. Yet, these eyes didn’t see any mistakes.

This was very interesting. I thought at first that I wouldn’t like it. I neither like history books nor Romance novels. There is both ‘herstory’ and romance in this book. But not a lot. This is more a queen’s coming of age story. In that, I thought it well done and an interesting read.

I loved watching this young person, in her teens, deal with the angst we all have gone through with our parents and breaking out into our own lives. Except, most of us don’t have to assume the responsibilities of the throne and a whole nation while going through these growing pains.

In the acknowledgments at the end of the book, the author mentions she wrote this while making the television (I think it was) show. I will be looking it up to see it. I think it could be done well.

Though not the best book I’ve read, I think you will find this an interesting read.

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Simon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true storySimon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true story by Jacky Donovan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It hasn’t been that long ago that I got a phone call while I was at my writers’ meeting that my Panda, a beautiful tuxedo cat, had passed away while playing with his cat mate. Must have been a heart attack, we had decided, but we miss him lots. So when I saw the cover of this book with a near twin to Panda, I had to pick it up. It didn’t hurt that it was free. (Now it is $3.99)

What a great way to teach a historical event, through the eyes of the cat, and sometimes the dog. These two pets are on a ship that is in the war. This is not from an American point of view but rather from the British side. That is a part of history not taught in our US schools so this is a cool way to teach about ship and the war and how it might have felt to be a cat with bombs and guns going off. Poor little creatures can’t understand yet they do their best for the nice people who take care of them.

Often I found the narrative from the cat’s mind seemed either too smart or not smart enough. In other words, in my life with cats this point of view often didn’t ring true. But then again, who knows what those furry friends think anyway? It’s worth the read, and I think sailors would love it even more.

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Three Sisters (Emily Castles Mysteries)Three Sisters by Helen Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I was given this book for an honest review.

I started reading this just before going to sleep. I finished at a decent bedtime. I had to read it with the text-to-speech turned on as I found it going rather slowly. I didn’t care for Emily, the main character. She seemed like a nosey neighbor more than anything.

Beware of the spoiler, the title of the book. That took all the mystery out of the story. Most of the time I found I was feeling left out. That the author just gave it all to me. And yet… Would you believe it? I still have no real idea whodunit. Since I don’t like short stories, and I don’t much like mysteries, this didn’t feed me anything. Even the chance that I could travel to England and learn something new about the country or her people, fell flat.

Okay, there seems to be a lot of higher star ratings, so it may just be me. I don’t feel at all compelled to see what happens to Emily next. But I wish the author well and that you all will find me wrong.

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The Paying GuestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I have found my favorite author, Sarah Waters. I was so thrilled with Fingersmith that I couldn’t wait to read something else by her. The Paying Guest lived up to my expectations. Too bad Ms. Waters wasn’t one of the required reading homework of my high school. She is a classical writer. I think she could rewrite ANY of the old classics and make them so much more relatable.

Juliet Stevenson narrated this story with class and character. I could listen to her reading forever. She added depth to my experience; giving each character a tone and feel so you knew who was talking or whose point of view you were in.

There is so much intrigue in this book. I couldn’t stop reading. I just wanted to know what happens next. That was why I didn’t do much else yesterday but read. I want to say other things, but I don’t want to be spoiling the story for others. Just amazing! That’s all I can say. Amazing!

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The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series was so much fun that I wish I could go back and read it again, right now! I miss the characters and the wonderful voice of Jennifer Ikeda. This series is best read with the narration. The experience is over the top!

Anyone who knows me knows I am not into vampires. Okay, I watched Vampire Diary for a while but it was because of the witch more than anything else. So had this not started with A Discovery of Witches, and had my cousin not recommended it, I might not have gotten into this series. And the witches sure do kick b*** in this series, so I wasn’t let down.

Even writing this is giving me a sense of remorse that it is over. Gosh, what a sentimental mush brain, huh? But how else can I tell you how good this series is?

I do have a complaint about the whispersync of this book. For some reason, it would skip over the bottom of each paragraph. But that didn’t stop me. I just signed onto my Audible and played the story from there and read it on my tablet. Yeah, I had to turn pages, but I hardly noticed as the story moved me forward.

I noticed that there were the slightest threads left undone. Nothing drastic, but it had me hoping there would be more to this series. Oh, and the last couple chapters felt rather anticlimactic, but I wasn’t complaining. It just gave me more time with the family. This was the perfect read for the Halloween season, but it would hold its own over any other set of days too.

Do read it! I think you’ll enjoy it, too!

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Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After a bit of research I realized that I read the first book, A Discovery of Witches, in 2011. That reading was a result of a recommendation by my cousin. I loved that book. Yet, I just took the quiz and found I only got 3 questions right out of 10. So maybe I should have read it again before reading this second book, Shadow of Night. I did feel lost at times, but the story kept me engaged and I didn’t want to leave the past to review the first book. Also, on my research I found that I didn’t have the Kindle version of the first book. I must have borrowed the hardback from the library. But I do have the Audible version of the book that I had listened to alongside the hardback.

With both books of the series, I was delighted by the narrator, Jennifer Ikeda. Her voice is exquisite, I love the way she can vary according to each character. I feel she could read the phonebook and make it exciting. But Deborah Harkness’s writing needs no help. Several times I’d have a sleepless night and want to read. I hated donning my headset just for a few minutes of reading. Those few moments lasted for sometimes hours. So yes, I know how well the writing is. With the duo of writer and narrator this story comes to life. And that is when Elizabeth I is queen.

I love time travel stories, but this was different in that it was due to witchcraft that made it happened. And that by a witch who doesn’t understand her craft. Okay, I won’t tell you any more about the story. Needless to say, it is worth the read. The characters alone can grab you. They are well developed, as is the plot. So much so that I couldn’t wait to get the next book and get involved. I highly recommend this series.

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The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2)The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a delightful series! I am sorry to be finished with book 2. I do hope there will be more. For the young adult this widens the world to seek out life beyond the comfort zone. For those of us that are older and for whatever reason bound to our situation of home and hearth, this lets out our wanderlust. We travel with Ginny and her friends to fulfill the requests of her belated Aunt Peg’s ‘scavenger hunt’ listed in her 13 blue envelopes.
For me, it was during a couple weeks of the summer when I chose to watch over other walls than my usual four. I was house sitting for relatives and friends. It would still be me sitting somewhere. But it got me out of my bed and on other sofas. Meanwhile, reading this special book, I felt I was really traveling, after all. packing and unpacking was involved. So though my real life was spent doing my usual within the same city I live in, I was in London, England, Amsterdam, and Paris.
I read finished reading this over a week ago, already returned the book to the library. But I loved it so much that I think when I feel the wanderlust, I will look this series up again. It was that much fun.

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Review: Safe Haven


Safe Haven

Safe Haven by Margaret McGaffey Fisk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all, I need to say that the author is a member of the writing group I belong to, and I consider her a friend. That said, I want to be as objective and honest as I can. But Margaret need not worry. I was impressed!

I must admit that at the beginning I felt the story a bit formulaic. I started reading once and got sidetracked by other books. But I got back in and put on my text-to-speech on fast to help me get engaged into the story. Once I was, I didn’t want to leave.

Lily, the main character, is a sweet, lovable soul who became real to me. Her sister, Sam, is cute as a button. Both are now orphans. Worse… they hide a secret from everyone. Even the law. Sam is a Natural. Naturals are against the law and put in an asylum.

At first I was confused by what being a Natural meant. But as I understand it now, a Natural is a person who can make and repair things made of metal gears and steam, seemingly as if by magic. To make matters worse, Lily finds herself falling for the local cop, Henry.

I was so sad to see the story end, even with a satisfying finish. Luckily, it seems there will be more to the story. I can hardly wait. Meanwhile, I have Ms. McGaffey Fisk’s other books on my Kindle shelves and ready to read. Great job, Margaret!

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