Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Gentle Knight

The Gentle Knight by Ashley York  
Print Length: 246 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: March 23, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00V48GXA8

A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won't be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger? 

Padraig MacNaughton's death bed decree rips his daughter from the shelter of her protective Clan. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, Brighit finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she's ever wanted? 

Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness? 


Peter - He is the hero, and gentle as the title suggests. He carries around a lot of grief, and sexual tension, which isn't a bad thing. He is a manly man. The kind one can sink their teeth into. He does have self control though, which makes him more alluring, and honorable.

Brighit - She is the heroine. She is very kind, and innocent. I think her character seemed a little too mousy for my likes, but I prefer heroines who have brass and take charge of what befalls them. I would have liked to have seen her more ambitious, or with a little more dimension.

The plot is fair. It was predictable, and less than fulfilling. Although based on history, there wasn't much of it to speak of. As far as romance, not enough tug between the characters. It didn't pull at my heart strings, or leave me feeling enamored with any of the characters. It was dry, with very little conflict or tension. I was hoping the end would wow me, but it didn't. Having the hero spill out a sad story, and the heroine comfort him like a mama bear, and then the story ended, I felt agitated and cheated. My manly man disappeared and became a little too human. lol

The author is a solid writer as far as the flow of the story, and the number of characters introduced. The novel was a good length, and I only spotted a few errors in spelling and such. The dialogue was easy to understand, and within the correct time period. I love the cover, and think it attracts the proper readers. I would probably read another book by this author. I read it in six hours. 

This book was given as a copy to review by NetGalley, my review is written with honesty and without any ties to the author. I did not receive any monetary gain from doing so.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

In Bed with the Tudors

In Bed with the Tudors by Amy Licence  
Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley; Reprint edition (March 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445614758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445614755

Illegitimate children, adulterous queens, impotent kings, and a whole dynasty resting on their shoulders. Sex and childbirth were quite literally a matter of life or death for the Tudors – Elizabeth of York died in childbirth, two of Henry VIII’s queens were beheaded for infidelity and Elizabeth I’s elective virginity signaled the demise of a dynasty.

Amy Licence guides the reader through the births of Elizabeth of York’s two sons, Arthur and Henry, Catherine of Aragon’s subsequent marriages to both of these men, Henry VIII’s other five wives and his mistresses, and the sex lives of his daughters. 

This book details the experiences of all these women, from fertility, conception and pregnancy through to the delivery chamber, on to maternal and infant mortality. Each woman’s story is a blend of specific personal circumstances, set against their historical moment: for some the joys were brief; for others it was a question that ultimately determined their fates.

Let me start by saying that this author is by far one of my favorite authors of non-fiction. She is truly gifted and paints a vivid picture of the time period that she is writing about.  

Every chapter is filled with bite size morsels of any detail that one would think of in terms of what goes on in the medieval bedroom. I have been reading about Tudor history for a few years now, and was surprised to find out new facts that I didn't know. It is in chronological order, from Henry VII on down the Tudor line, so it is easy to find what you are looking for if you want to skim through it. I thought at first I might do that, but once I started reading, I couldn't stop. 

I especially liked that Amy tells about Henry VIII's other sexual encounters outside of his marriages, and how they were viewed during his time. It told what was appropriate, and what was not. Of course there was always a double standard, but interesting nonetheless. Some of the names of illegitimate children that Henry was said to have fathered were also mentioned, as well as known mistresses. This is especially interesting to me because I had a distant cousin (Anne Bassett) who was said to be one of them.

This book goes into great depths, and is very well researched. The author remains unbiased, providing all angles of theories mentioned. She uses a variety of sources of the time to find silly superstitions that will make you laugh, as well as stories of other less known women of the time and their experiences, giving life to the book and filling in where there might otherwise be gaps. 

She also tells where fictional writers have taken liberties in their story-lines, and helps the reader to see what can be, and can't be proved, so that they won't be without knowledge of the truth. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudors. It's an exceptional read.

This book was given as a copy to review by Amberley Publishing, my review is written with honesty and without any ties to the author. I did not receive any monetary gain from doing so.

Lady of the Loch

Lady of the Loch by John C. Ryan 
Print Length: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Cobblestone Press (August 16, 2015)
  • Publication Date: August 16, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B013T6L3MU

Grateful to be rescued from a watery grave, yet mortified she lay naked in a strange man’s arms, Paden can’t believe her savior is none other than the notorious Black Knight—a man accused of murdering his twin brother to secure his lairdship. 

Determined there is more to the story, she steals away with him instead of marrying the man of her father’s choosing, and helps her Black Knight try to prove his innocence. 

Battles wage, blood is shed, and secrets are a matter of life and death. 

Will he be sent to the gallows, or will their love, and her belief in him, prevail?

I was reading along, and all seemed well until I got 25% into it, and suddenly after knowing one another for like a day, the hero and heroine were in love and pledging to marry one another. (This would be more acceptable if it were a very short book), but it isn't. It's not credible enough. I wanted to like it. The cover is awesome. I have no desire to continue reading it.

This book was given as a copy to review by NetGalley, my review is written with honesty and without any ties to the author. I did not receive any monetary gain from doing so.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Defiant Heart

The Defiant Heart (Heart Series, Book 2)
by Kathleen Kirkwood  
Print Length: 374 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: ByDand Publishing (June 12, 2013)
  • Publication Date: June 12, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DDU23HC

A maiden of Ireland enslaved . . . 
Seized during a brutal attack on her homeland, Ailinn vows to remain forever defiant against her Norse captors, no matter the future that awaits her—or the handsome Dane with snow-bright hair who suddenly appears in her life. 

A shining warrior of the North . . . 
When Lyting Atlison encounters the autumn-fire beauty in shackles, he vows to free her. Discovering the fate his kinsmen intend for the maid, he undertakes a private mission in order to join the fleet that will bear her to distant lands. 

Now as the Norse host sets sail for the lands of the Rus and the glittering courts of Byzantium, untold perils await . . . as does a journey of passion and discovery . . . and a love no chains can bind.

Lyting is back! I was so incredibly excited to read more about Lyting, and have him as the hero of this book. He captivated me in book one, and again in book two. He is so honorable and deserving to find love. He is the picture perfect Viking in my whirling dreams. He is very masculine, and clever as a fox. Although covered in the harshness of his environment, he is still gentle and kind to the people that he loves. He melted my heart with his care toward protecting his kin, as well as the woman that he loves. Keep in mind he is a Christian man, so he does hold back his passions for as long as possible. 

Ailinn is a lovely character. She is very likable. Although a bit timid, she has spirit. If I were to describe her in one word, I would probably say she is "sweet." I can see why Lyting took notice of her. 

Rihannan - I would have liked to have smacked that girl, and hard. But every story needs a bad girl, right? She is Ailinn's stepcousin. 

Deira - Oh, goodness, that poor girl. Her nervousness made me want to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth myself! She is the other stepcousin to Ailinn. 

I chose to read this book because Lyting was the hero. I read the first book with his brother as the hero and really thought Lyting himself would play a captivating lead role, and he did. 

The first book had me raging in fits at the end of it. You can read more here. But after I simmered for about a year, filling my time reading a bunch of other books of similar genre, I was more than willing to come back to this author for a second chance. 

The truth is, Kathleen is truly brilliant with coming up with plots. She fills every page with marvelous detail and action. Her characters are well rounded, and easy to relate to on a personal level. 

Almost every book that I read after Valiant Heart, left me with an unfilled desire to find another book that would provoke such deep emotions in me. The others were just flat. I read them, reviewed them, and didn't think about them again. But Valiant Heart stayed with me. So too will Defiant Heart. 

What I like better with this second book is that it didn't actually rip my heart from my chest and leave me sobbing uncontrollably, then patch me back up only to do it again and again. This one actually let me feel just the right amount of attachment & turmoil without over doing it. I was very pleased for that.

I will warn you that Kathleen's writing will keep your attention up until the very last page. She has a way of letting you think the ending is near, and then throwing in another surprise or two. 

Only one small issue I have with the book, but I got used to it quickly is the jumping from a present moment into a past moment. I can see why it is necessary, but she gives little warning that it's going to happen. It might throw you off a bit if you aren't used to it. 

The plot was well thought out. The history very well researched. The ending, satisfying. There is a third book in the series that I will be adding to my list.

I did get overwhelmed with emotion once, but only once. And that's okay with me. :)

I highly recommend this book, and this author. It truly beats some of the quick self-published garbage that is being marketed these days in the Viking Romance genre. It has 366 pages of excellence.