Review: Game of Crowns by Christopher Andersen

Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne
by Christopher Andersen

Game of Crowns

Copyright: 2016

Pages: 299

Read: July 11-22, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: One has been famous longer than anyone on the planet – a wily stateswoman and an enduring symbol of grace, power, and a bygone age. One is the great-granddaughter of a king’s mistress and a celebrated home wrecker who survived a firestorm of scorn to marry her lover and replace her archival, a beloved twentieth-century figure. One is a beautiful commoner, the university-educated daughter of a self-made entrepreneur, a fashion idol, wife of one future king and mother of another.

Master biographer Christopher Andersen takes readers behind palace walls to examine the surprising similarities and stark differences among three remarkable women – Queen Elizabeth; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Princess Kate. Andersen reveals what transpires within the royal family away from the public’s prying eyes; how the women actually feel about each other; how they differ as lovers, wives, and mothers; and how they are reshaping the landscape of the monarchy in this addictive read that will shock even those who are spellbound by the royal palace.


Review: When I first saw this book I was so excited and quickly placed it on my Paperbackswap wishlist. I was amazed at how quickly I snagged a copy! So when it arrived I jumped at the opportunity to start it immediately. And I will say it was an easy read. But there were some things that I didn’t really like about it.

I hated the way that Mr. Andersen portrayed Kate Middleton and her family. He made her look like she was planning from an early age to marry into the royal family. And I’m sure growing up over in England it was a common dream of all the young that they would grow up to marry Prince William (or Harry) – I remember being a teenage girl and having a rather large crush on Prince Harry. But when Mr. Andersen finally brought Kate Middleton into the book, he portrayed her and her mother in what I would consider a very negative light. He made her mother look like she just pushed her daughter toward William while scheming in the background in order to snag the future king. Now it may have indeed happened that way, but I prefer to look at Kate in a more positive light and can’t imagine her really scheming that hard just to become a royal. But what do I know? I also didn’t like how it seemed he sneered at Carole Middleton being a flight attendant turned business owner – what’s so wrong with a woman being a flight attendant or a business owner? I just really didn’t like how he portrayed the whole Middleton family.

I got the distinct feeling that Mr. Andersen really doesn’t like the royal family. And I thought that was weird, because I have read numerous other books he has written on the royal family, and I don’t ever remember getting that feeling before. But I will say it was a little gossipy in places. Some parts of it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

So while it wasn’t necessarily a terrible book, you could probably find all this information in the gossip magazines. Just an “eh” book for me – and that leaves me a little disappointed since I’ve always enjoyed Mr. Andersen’s books before.

Review: Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up
by Janet Evanovich

Seven Up
Copyright: 2001

Pages: 337

Read: July 15-21, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Used book store

 

 

Blurb: All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he’s still got a knack for slipping out of sight – and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-riddled corpse in Eddie’s garden? Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie’s friends suddenly vanished? For answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He’ll give Stephanie all the help she needs – if she gives him everything he wants…

As if things weren’t complicated enough, Stephanie’s just discovered her Grandma Mazur’s own unmentionable alliance with Eddie. Add a series of unnerving break-ins, not to mention the bombshell revelation leveled by Stephanie’s estranged sister, and Stephanie’s ready for some good news. Unfortunately, a marriage proposal from Joe Morelli, the love of her life, isn’t quite cutting it. And now – murder, a randy paramour, a wily mobster, death threats, extortion, and a triple kidnapping aside – Stephanie’s really got the urge to run for her life…


Review: I picked this one up to fulfill a Goodreads challenge. I have read books 4-7 so far this year and for the most part have really enjoyed them. They are fun, easy reads. I’m constantly surprised by the messes Stephanie finds herself in. I love the humor in these books, it definitely lightens things up.

Overall, I throughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the eighth installment.

Review: A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal

A Front Page Affair
by Radha Vatsal

 

A Front Page AffairCopyright: 2016

Pages: 312

Read: July 8-11, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Publicist for review

 

 

Blurb: Intelligent, well-traveled, and well-bred, Capability “Kitty” Weeks never expected to find herself reporting on fashion trends and society gossip, but every aspiring journalist has to start somewhere, and Kitty finds her “in” to the world of newspapers on the New York Sentinel Ladies’ Page. Meanwhile, news headlines buzz about a shooting at J.P. Morgan’s mansion and the sinking of the Lusitania. It seems that Kitty will never have a chance to get the scoop on a big story – until a man is murdered at a high society picnic on her beat.

Determined to prove herself as a journalist and break away from the Ladies’ Page once and for all, Kitty digs deeper into the circumstances behind the murder. She soon finds herself plunged into the midst of a wartime conspiracy that threatens to derail the United States’s attempt to remain neutral – and to disrupt the privileged life she has always known.


Review: I was immediately intrigued by the description of this book when it was first pitched to me. I’m not taking on a whole lot of review books, so a book has to really stick out for me to accept it for review consideration. But there was something about this book that really sucked me in and made me want to read it. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I figured reading about a character in New York City in 1915 wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I took it on my train ride to Chicago, knowing that I would have 5+ hours each way to enjoy some good quality reading time. I’m definitely glad that I took this book because I read the first half of it on the way up and the second half on the way back home. This book was such a fun, enjoyable, easy read that it was just perfect for what I needed at the moment.

I liked Kitty’s character. She was interesting and fresh. I am excited to see that this is the first in a planned series (you know I love series books!) because I cannot wait to see what Kitty finds herself in going forward with women’s suffrage right around the corner for her. Kitty’s character definitely breaks the mold of the average woman in the early 1900s and I think that’s what really drew me to her. The author has really set up a great background for some really interesting books going forward with a character like Kitty.

The writing of this book was extremely good. It was very upfront and not bogged down with a lot of what I call flowery descriptions. It made it a lot more easier for me to read than a typical historical fiction.  It was packed with just enough historical background that the scene was easily imagined. I also enjoyed the fact that this was a very believable book. Kitty ran into numerous roadblocks but she persevered in each and every one of those. I especially enjoyed one moment when one of the newspaper’s higher-ups questioned Kitty as to how she gained entrance to somewhere she had no business being and she simply responded that she got in because she asked. It was such an easy, simple response, and yet it really made me realize how much women were ignored for the most part during those times.

Overall, I really think this is a great book. It’s definitely a great start to a new series that has left me eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. I can’t say enough good things about this book … just read it for yourself!

*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Review: Vicious by Kevin O’Brien

Vicious
by Kevin O’Brien

Vicious

Copyright: 2010

Pages: 406

Read: July 1-7, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchased at used book store

 

 

Blurb: For more than two years, he held Seattle in a terror grip. A cold-blooded killer who abducted young mothers right in front of their sons and murdered them execution style. Then as suddenly as the killings began, they seemed to stop.

Susan Blanchette is looking forward to a relaxing weekend getaway with her fiancé, Allen, and young son, Matthew. But something about the remote lake house doesn’t feel right. A woman vanished from the area a year ago, and now Susan thinks she’s spotted someone lurking around the property. And when Allen disappears, her fear grows…

A psychopath has returned, ready to strike again. Someone who can’t resist the urge to kill, who derives pleasure form others’ pain, and who is drawing nearer to Susan as each minute of the weekend ticks by. But she’s just one pawn at the heart of a killer’s deadly game. A killer who is unrelenting, unstoppable, and absolutely vicious…


Review: I haven’t read a book by Kevin O’Brien in years and I have to admit that I picked this one up now because it fit multiple challenge slots on my Goodreads groups. But I remember that Mr. O’Brien had very rarely let me down in the past so I was definitely excited about reading it.

This one is kind of gruesome. Kind of scary. Kind of exciting. And full of lots of twists and turns to keep you reading all night. It sucked me in and didn’t spit me back out until I reached the end. I really enjoyed it.

This is definitely a book that I would recommend to thriller lovers everywhere.

Review: The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key
by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 513

Read: June 19-30, 2016

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

 

Blurb: Four presidents of the United States have been assassinated – in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963 – each murder seemingly unrelated. But what if those presidents were all killed for the same shocking reason: a clause contained in the United States Constitution? This is the question faced by former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone. When President Danny Daniels is nearly killed in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the murder – only to find himself at odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. Racing across the nation and taking to the high seas, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt must break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves – one powerful enough to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.


Review: The last Cotton Malone book in this series is actually one I ended up not finishing. It revolved around a Chinese storyline of some sort and I vaguely remember being heavily pregnant with Katelyn and just not interested. So I DNF’ed it. Seeing as how my daughter is over a year old now, it’s obviously been a while since I last met up with Cotton. I obviously missed something in the previous book (how Cotton and Cassiopeia ended up a couple), but overall that wasn’t really a big surprise.

So what did I think about this book? Well this is the first time Mr. Berry has set Cotton primarily in the United States. And I loved it. My one and only complaint is that it was over 500 pages – common for these books – but definitely tough on me personally as a reader these days. And while this is the 7th in the series, it stands well on its own, but I do highly recommend meeting Cotton from the beginning!

So overall … a good book, if rather long. Definitely recommended.

Review: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon
by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon

Copyright: 2001

Pages: 401

Read: June 9-18, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work – magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses – and the first two don’t count…


Review: So I read the first book in the Harry Dresden series, Storm Front, a full two years ago. I knew going into this one I might have some problems remembering who was who and what was what. Honestly, I really didn’t have much trouble jumping back in with Harry and his friends.

Overall I suppose this is just an average book. It was just an okay book for me. I want to like paranormal books, but I still have a lot of trouble accepting these crazy happenings. I don’t know, it’s hard for me to explain. I suppose I just have trouble suspending my beliefs long enough and accepting that I’m reading about wizards and werewolves.

So while this book wasn’t bad, it probably won’t be very memorable down the road for me. However, I can say that I’m more than willing to give Harry another chance … maybe in a couple of years😉