The True Book Addict

An avid reader, since early childhood, and book collector, my home library numbers at over 3000 books, with fiction at 2000+. I'm a used book/library sale junkie! A major history buff, I have a great passion for historical fiction. I'm also a major fan of the horror and fantasy genres, but you will often find me reading just about anything, except perhaps erotica or books strong on romance.

A Tainted Dawn: The Great War (1792-1815) Book I

A Tainted Dawn: The Great War - B.N. Peacock I found myself captivated early on by Peacock's portrayal of the era. I really felt as if I was present in the story. However, it's when we arrive at the seagoing portion of the story where Peacock really hits her stride. A very interesting and often disturbing look at what life must have been like on the ships of the 18th century. No thank you, I say!In all, the story of the three boys...Jemmy, Edward and Louis...makes for very interesting historical fiction. This being the first book in a planned series, I'm looking forward to reading the next installment. A promising debut for this author.

The Forgotten Queen

The Forgotten Queen - What a fantastic historical novel! I enjoyed every minute of it. Part of it was due to the fact that I have never read much historically about Margaret Tudor and the rest was because of Bogdan's masterful storytelling.Margaret Tudor is portrayed here as a multifaceted figure. She sets out to become queen of Scotland at the tender age of fourteen and yet she overcomes her doubts and proves herself to be a strong and proud woman--very much a queen. And yet, in her steadfast quest to see her son crowned, she seems to cast others aside along the way, unknowing in her own way, but realizing too late what she has lost. Despite her faults, I found myself endeared to Margaret. I shed tears several times throughout the book. As she faced the many sorrowful events in her life, I faced them with her. Much of the trials Margaret faces are largely due to her status as a woman. Women did not have many options or much power in those days. Perhaps Margaret best summed it up herself when she reflected, "The world did not belong to women, except for what they could do to further their men." Margaret's life was very much tied up in furthering men, often with heartbreaking consequences.Another aspect of the novel I enjoyed was Bogdan's portrayal of Henry VIII, Margaret's younger brother. The way he is depicted in this book is very much how I imagined he would have behaved from what I've learned of him in previous readings. Margaret says about him, "Well, Henry has a code of conduct for the rest of the world to follow, then a separate code for himself." Spot on!In the author's note, Bogdan explains that this work, like her others, is a "dramatic interpretation meant to entertain." That being said, I never felt the entertaining aspect of the book took away from a feel of historical authenticity. As she did with The Sumerton Women, Bogdan has once again written a fine historical novel.


Persuasion - Jane Austen, Gillian Beer I'm not going to write a long review here because we were reading along over at Wallace's (Unputdownables) and I already did a fair amount of discussion over there so I decided to share edited versions of my discussion comments as my review. Hope it flows okay. ;O)I felt very sorry for Anne. I hated the way she was treated by her family. It infuriated me. I had to keep reminding myself that they were different times, but I don’t know if I could have held my tongue if I was Anne. We do get a glimpse of the rules of society and why Anne was discouraged from marrying Wentworth, but what was the consequence? Anne losing her “bloom” and seeming to be generally unhappy. Not good.Maybe it’s because I’m a big fan of Wuthering Heights and that twisted, pining love that I find this book and Anne and Capt. Wentworth incredibly romantic (I don’t like twisted romance in real life, mind you). I remember watching the more recent Masterpiece (I guess BBC) adaptation a few years back and thinking the same thing. It’s absolutely excruciating though…waiting around for them to finally recognize that they are only for each other.There is no end to my dislike for Anne’s sisters and her father; so incredibly shallow. But Jane always must have the comic relief of these annoying characters. It makes the story more fun.This was an enjoyable read, but I still much prefer Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. That being said, I really like Anne Elliott. I appreciate her steadfast nature. Persuasion proves that sometimes good things do come to those who wait. I still can’t quite reconcile the fact that she is a sibling of Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is just a first class B (which, ending up alone in the end, she gets her just desserts) and Mary is such an impetuous whiner. I love how she was happy for Anne in the end because she would be able to boast of Anne’s fortune to make herself look good, yet still wanted to prevent Wentworth from obtaining his Baronetcy so her status would remain higher. Talk about only being out for yourself! In all, Jane Austen’s work here was quite enjoyable, as always. Her observant take on people and their inner workings are often spot on and always comical. Looking forward to reading the rest of her novels.

North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus

North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus - Candace Jane Kringle A book with a TON of Christmas spirit, from the sights, smells, and tastes to the sentiments, North Pole High is the perfect Christmas read for young adults. We are taken on a journey into the life of Santa Claus's daughter, Candycane. We get to learn all the secrets of the North Pole and we get to see that despite all the Christmas wrapping, they are just like you and me...sort of. Candycane has all the normal angst of your average teenage girl; boys, overprotective fathers, jealous best friends. Despite all that, Candycane still keeps the Christmas spirit. How could she not...she is Santa's daughter after all. The best way to describe how wonderful her spirit is would be to share her quote about Christmas trees from the book:"Rudy, a Christmas tree by itself is just a tree...Each soul who hangs a bauble from its bough, or threads a string of lights through its needles, or tops it with a shining star, is teaching it to sing its own unique song of joy. A Christmas tree, when it's finished and all lit up, with lots of presents cuddled underneath it, reflects the magic inside each person who trimmed it."Wonderful, isn't it!? Candycane's unrelenting spirit is like that throughout the book which makes it whimsical and lovely for anyone who loves Christmas. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Christmas, but will remind that it is best suited to the young adult audience.

The Hobbit (Deluxe Collector's Edition)

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien Another book that deserves more justice, but no time so just a few thoughts. This was actually a reread for me. I read it when I was a girl. What a difference 30 something years makes. This is such a wonderful adventure, which I remember, but reading it at this age made me really appreciate it more and appreciate the genius of Tolkien's writing. It also brought me back to Middle-Earth. I've been missing it. It has been about 10 years since I read The Lord of the Rings. A reread will be in order for it someday, I think. On a side note, I did see the film, "The Hobbit" and it was so great. I will be seeing it again when it comes to the discount theater. I got so nostalgic, I watched the entire LOTR trilogy the following weekend!

Cupid's Christmas

Cupid's Christmas - Bette Lee Crosby What a sweet book! I really enjoyed reading it so much. What a clever idea to have Cupid telling some of the story and about his involvement in the inner workings of romantic relationships. And I really enjoyed the characters in the book. I started getting emotionally invested in them and when Cupid started talking about Life Management (they're the ones that make all the bad things happen in life like accidents, mishaps, etc.) meddling in the characters' lives, I was on the edge of my seat. I simply did not want anything bad to happen to them. Bette has told a heartwarming story here and even worked in a rescue dog being sought by one of the characters (a Bichon Frise who resembles Bette's own rescued Bichon, Katie). I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story to warm the heart during the holidays.


Breed - What a book! Review coming soon...

The Hallowed Ones

The Hallowed Ones - Laura Bickle Simply put, this book is amazing! As a true lover of horror and the like, I think I love the end of the world, dystopian zombie/vampire tales the most. It has been done many times...probably not much better than Matheson's I AM LEGEND, but let me tell you...THE HALLOWED ONES ranks pretty high, in my opinion. What made it so good was introducing the phenomenon from the Amish community's point of view. Bickle has done a terrific job introducing the reader to the Amish world and then illustrating how they might react if something terrible did happen in the English (what they call us) world. And then she goes one better by creating some of the most creepy and frightening creatures I've read in awhile. As I was reading, I kept trying to visualize what they would look like. Every horrifying image I've ever seen in movies or read in books came to mind, but I still couldn't quite settle on the terrifying image my mind was seeing. Not only do we get all of this from the book, but we get a well-written book to boot. No cliche or run of the mill stereotyping. Also, the characters, namely Katie, are wonderful. When Katie goes against the Elders to help a young English man who is injured or ventures into town--alone--to get medicine and supplies, it's not hard to believe. Early on we learn that Katie is head strong and of her own mind. A girl on the verge of Rumspringa (a time when Amish teens get to go off and experience life in the English world), she is ready to explore and set out on her own. She just didn't intend for it to occur in quite the way it did.I am so pleased with this book. It's not often that I come across a book in this genre (meaning horror/dystopian, although it is classified as YA) that is so well constructed and exciting and engaging as well. I highly recommend it.

Tales from Frewyn: The Reporter from Marridon

Tales from Frewyn: The Reporter from Marridon - Michelle Franklin Michelle Franklin's Tales from Frewyn never fail to entertain and The Reporter from Marridon is no exception. It's a short story/novella that packs in a lot of fun.I don't think I'll ever grow accustomed to how Rautu treats the Commander. I'm kind of a feminist so it is mildly irritating how he expects her to be at his service in all aspects, if you catch my drift. But I realize that it is part of his culture and his character so I will definitely not hold it against the story. Somehow I can't help but be reminded of Conan the Barbarian. Rautu conjures images of him when I'm reading. I realize Conan is not a giant, but the general mannerisms and attitude towards women (again, I know it's part of his culture, in both cases). I think what I love most about Rautu is his love of chocolate. I hear you, dude! And I'm totally in agreement with his dislike of white chocolate. I mean, white chocolate is okay, but in no way does it measure up to the real thing...good, old-fashioned medium to dark chocolate. (Okay, where's my Hershey's with Almonds?)What I really enjoyed in this story was the apparent tie to our present situation with the paparazzi. Michelle does a nice job of projecting a reporter who does not care about anything but getting the story (not saying that all reporters are like that). The manner in which he is finally dealt with is especially satisfying.Michelle has built a wonderful world with Frewyn and has created fun and interesting characters. I always enjoy reading her stories.

White Lies

White Lies - Jeremy Bates There's an important lesson learned from this book. Telling white lies can come back and bite you in the a huge way. At first, I didn't know what to think when I started reading. I thought it was going to just be a book about a woman being stalked by a guy she told a little fib too, which enraged him and turned him into a stalking psychopath. Man, was I ever wrong. Instead, the plot became a miasma of white lies snowballing one right after another. I can't go into much detail because I don't want to give away major plot points, but let's just say that in this book, seemingly harmless lies led to big, big trouble.Now let's talk about Katrina, the female protagonist/main character. I have seen a couple of reviews that stated something along the lines of, "How could Katrina let herself be such a victim?" and other statements along those lines. While I did find myself scratching my head over a couple of decisions she made, I can't say that she didn't react and behave like any woman would have. She lost her beloved fiance and had been alone for two years. I could totally understand her wanting to move on with her life. That she plunged into her new affair with Jack so quickly not knowing anything about him might seem strange, but how many of us run background checks on potential boyfriends. Not many, I would guess. The point is, the entire premise of this book was Katrina's telling a white lie and the subsequent things that happened as a result of it. When a person is constantly trying to cover a lie they told, they're certainly not going to be making very clear or smart decisions.In the end, I think what White Lies is trying to point out is that Katrina's white lies, told in naivety and as some kind of protection, were far different from the lies told by others in the book, with malice and deceit behind them. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a very engaging thriller. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

Beneath the Slashings

Beneath the Slashings (Divided Decade Trilogy, #3) - Michelle Isenhoff As I was reading this book, I was reminded of my love of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Beneath the Slashings is similar to those books, as it is set around the same era and it's told from a young girl's point of view. Grace is a girl to admire. Having lost her mother when she was six years old and then been separated from her father for three years while he served in the Civil War, she has had a lot of sorrow in her life and reasons to be afraid. When her Pa returns from the war, she learns that they will be leaving the comfort and safety of home to live and work in a lumber camp. Her fears multiply and an animosity toward her father, not present before, develops. The book has a nice little mystery to keep the reader guessing, but it's Grace who really steals the show. As she lives and works among all the men of the camp, she learns to be more trusting. She also learns to do many things she never thought she could when she meets an old Ottawa woman. Ultimately, Grace grows up a lot in her time at the camp and her life is better for it.Beneath the Slashings was a great read for me, not only because of what I said above, but because it is set in my beloved home state of Michigan. Hearing mention of Saginaw county, Manistee, and Grand Rapids brings me back to what I loved learning about Michigan when I was a child. In all, this book is a great coming of age story for the middle grades that teaches the reader about courage and friendship.

Twenty-Two Faces: Inside the Extraordinary Life of Jenny Hill and Her Twenty-Two Multiple Personalities

Twenty-Two Faces - Judy Byington To say that this book was a difficult read would be putting it mildly. When I was offered a spot on the tour, after I read the synopsis, it reminded me of another multiple personality book I read years ago called "Sybil" by Flora Rheta Schreiber. The only thing similar about the two books is that both women were abused at a young age and both developed multiple personalities to cope and protect themselves from the abuse. Not to discount the trauma that Sybil suffered, I have to say that the abuse Jenny Hill was subjected to was far, far worse. I know it really shouldn't shock me that things like this occur, and have occurred, in our society for years, but I'm still in a state of disbelief that anyone, including a child's own father, could sexually abuse a child beginning at infancy. What comes into the equation in Jenny's story is something called Satanic Ritual Abuse. Of course, we've all heard stories and accounts of the practice in the news and such, but it always seems like a horror movie. Not real. Unfortunately, it is real, or was. The level of abuse--emotional, sexual, physical--that Jenny was subjected to was horrific. Not only the horrendous abuse, but also the witnessing of the murders of animals and another child. It's a miracle that Jenny survived.As I said, an extremely difficult read. I found myself in tears many times as I was reading. But this is an important read because we need to be aware that things like this go on in our world. It reminds us to be aware and watchful of children who may be showing signs that something is wrong. Don't just overlook it. It's also a cautionary tale for parents. Know what your children are doing and where they are going. Of course, back in the 60s, parents weren't as careful or aware of what could happen to young children, but it's still hard to believe that Jenny's mother did not think it was strange that her six year old daughter was gone all the time or that she returned home looking ravaged. That her mother was indifferent and mean to her daughter is just another layer of abuse that Jenny suffered, not to mention that she probably knew that her husband was sexually abusing Jenny, but instead of reacting and taking action, she only expressed jealousy.Ultimately, "Twenty Two Faces" is a story of survival. Jenny did survive and went on to live a somewhat "normal" life, if it's possible after what she went through. She lived to tell her story and by doing so, she may just succeed in helping others and perhaps preventing abuse like this happening to others.

The Sundered

The Sundered - Ruthanne Reid I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to join the tour for this book. Before I read the synopsis, I had visions of a horror strewn blood bath. That was before I looked up the meaning of sundered. (sunder--to separate; part; divide; sever) As I began reading, the name made sense. The Sundered Ones in the story are separate from the humans in physical appearance and in power. And as the author stated in her guest post, Harry doesn't really know what their powers human really does. And not knowing what you're truly dealing with is dangerous.It would be difficult to go into too much detail about the story because that would give far too much away so I'm going to focus on what I did like. I enjoyed the easy, laid back flow of the characters and their dialogue. There was no stiffness that I have found in other SciFi books I've read. Harry is a riot with his internal monologue. I love when he calls the professor at the Academy a douche (in his head). That's not the only funny thing he says or thinks. Harry is just a riot. His interaction with the Sundered One he claims, Aakesh, is priceless.Which brings me to the claiming of the Sundered Ones. It seems the humans can "claim" them. To me, it almost seems like slavery. It was never more evident than when Harry is reciting a rhyme they learned to keep track of the tiers of Sundered Ones. It goes like this:Fifth-tier's strong and lifts big blocks, not too bright but strong as ox.Fourth-tier's fine with clever fingers, painting, sculptures, make good singers.Third-tier's quiet, good for play, safe for children every day.Second-tier's wild, feral, free, eats everyone, but works for me.Claim the rest with little work, but they die soon, so best not shirk.Aakesh's reaction to this is to say to Harry, "You do not see how degrading it is?" It's obvious that the Sundered Ones do have negative feelings about their place in society, if you can call it that. There really isn't much society in this book because the world has become so surrounded by the black water. Land is few and far between and the cites are brown and dirty. The dystopian elements kept reminding me of that Kevin Costner movie that everyone hated, "Waterworld" (I actually liked it). But it is excellent world building. I could really see in my mind's eye what the author was describing. The black water reminded me of that bog area in Lord of the Rings, I can't remember if it was in The Two Towers or The Return of the King. You know the one with all the dead people in it and it tries to drag Frodo down into it. Creepy. I am really impressed that this is Reid's first novel. She really knows how to tell a story. I recommend The Sundered to anyone who enjoys the speculative fiction genre.

The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile

The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile - C.W. Gortner I could not put this book down! As he did with Juana of Castile in The Last Queen, Gortner has once again taken a historical queen and made her as interesting and exciting as any modern day heroine. It's interesting to me how little I knew of Isabella of Spain; one who was so instrumental in allowing Columbus to open the way for the future settlement of what would become America. Of course, that is what we were taught when I was in elementary school so many years ago. The implications of what came after Columbus's discovery is entirely another story. And yes, this is a fictional depiction of a historical figure, but there is no denying the historical accuracy here. Gortner does his research well.Isabella rose to power in a tumultuous time in Spain. To say that she was a steadfast and determined woman is saying little. The conventions of the time did not allow a princess to choose their own husband and yet she did. Spurred by her own will and her strong Catholic faith, Isabella was a force to be reckoned with. Her marriage to a prince of Aragon was a love match, yes, but also a strategic move for the uniting of Spain. Together they brought about the change of many conventions in Spain.However, her reign was not without its blemishes. The Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews are two events that have brought much negativity to history's portrayal of Isabella. However, Gortner has succeeded in depicting a possible reason for her decisions by giving us a multifaceted woman who believed in compassion and yet was driven by a faith that had no tolerance for other religions. To truly judge a person's actions, we would need to know more about the real person and yet we must rely on the history books. Gortner has done a good job of giving us a very human woman who truly felt her actions were for the good of her kingdom.I have now been inspired to read more about the history of Spain and its ruling class. Once again, historical fiction has done its very important job; that of leading us to further learning about history. Something only a well written book can do. This is that book.Note: There is an excellent author's note at the end of the book with further resources for reading about Isabella and her times. Also, a special note about a cause dear to my heart. The plight of Spanish greyhounds. Be sure to check it out.

The King Must Die

The King Must Die - N. Gemini Sasson I'm going to refer back to Gemini's terrific guest post ( in this review. I too was struck by the film, Braveheart. It is my favorite film and probably always will be. And, as Gemini also felt, it was this film that led to my obsession and further investigation into the personages portrayed in the movie. I immediately did a lot of non-fiction reading on William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. In addition, I was very curious about Edward I (Longshanks), Edward II, and Isabella and so, did more reading on them as well. Since then, I have been intrigued to read historical fiction that features these people who held such interest for me. The King Must Die is one of those books. I've said this before and I'll say it again. Good historical fiction, whether completely accurate or not, will (should) invoke such passion in the reader that he/she can't help but go off on a quest for more information on the subject matter and/or the historical figures depicted there. Whether this quest comes in the form of reading more historical fiction portrayals of the subject, as to get different points of view, or taking it a step (or two) further and devouring every non-fiction source a person can get their hands on, for it to occur at all is a bow to the genre. Gemini has made her characters so real and interesting, I certainly can't help but want to read more about them. Especially in the case of Edward III. I found him so interesting as he grew from a 14 year old boy into a king, husband, and father. I also like that she explored a different avenue than the portrayal of Isabelle as an evil witch who wanted her husband dead. Another great aspect of historical fiction novels is to read the differing points of view of the authors who write them.I recommend The King Must Die to all lovers of historical fiction. It is written by an author who is clearly passionate about her subject matter and it shines through in every word on the page. I look forward to reading her future (and past) works.Note: Be sure to read the excellent author's note at the end of the book which sheds some light on the historical facts behind the story.

The Queen's Pleasure: The Future of a Kingdom Is in Her Hands

The Queen's Pleasure - Brandy Purdy I always find it interesting to read a historical novel told from the point of view of a historical figure about which very little is known. It gives a fresh perspective to a story that, even for those of us who are in love with the Tudors, can grow tiresome at times. Brandy Purdy has done this for us in this wonderful book and has done it very well.In The Queen's Pleasure, we get to experience the lives and love of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley through the eyes of Amy Robsart Dudley, and we learn of her life with Dudley as well. Amy is a colorful character who at the same time is very tragic. She is swept up in a life that she thought was going to be very different and all because of politics and power play. Such were the times in Tudor England. Not many were safe from its ill effects. Though Elizabeth's reign was a good and strong one, the constant jockeying for her hand in marriage was ever present and Robert Dudley was right at the center of it. When his ambition took flight, there really was no hope for poor Amy, his wife.All the above aside, what I really want to touch on is Purdy's descriptive and flowing prose. As I was reading, I felt that I was right there experiencing everything along with the characters, especially in the parts that Amy tells. To many, Amy may seem a bit too downtrodden, but I saw more. Purdy has given Amy Robsart life...has given us more than just a woman who was Dudley's wife and who died a suspicious death. We now see that Amy was once a living, breathing person who loved and believed in her husband and ended up betrayed in the end. How many women have been led to believe in a dream, only to be tragically disappointed in the end? Amy speaks for all of those women throughout history.Although my favorite queen, and probably favorite historical figure of all time, is a character here, Amy Robsart is the true star of this book. This is my first read by Ms. Purdy and it will not be my last. Read this book if you love the Tudors, but also read it if you feel for the sad plight of all women through the ages. This is their story, as well as Amy's.

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