Tag Archives: new books

What I’m Reading and Summer High Read-a-Thon News! #HSreadathon

*UPDATE: FINAL WRAP-UP INSERTED 07/23-12*
I am just adding a paragraph as my final update to the report I blogged the other day about the High Summer Read-a-Thon since pretty much I had rounded up my week already in the update below. I spent time with my family on Saturday, since they were here from Kansas and went to Cleveland (an hour from me) on Sunday to see Deborah Harkess speak.  I didn’t really spend much time reading and the little bit I did, I read more of Evil Eternal by Hunter Shea which I was in the middle of at my report.

My friend Michelle from True Book Addict has been hosting a High Summer Read-a-Thon (RAT) since Monday. Of course, I signed-up right away, but the week has completely went by without me even realizing it for many different reasons. I’ve read, just not posted. Sorry Michelle!

You had to join by tonight (Friday, 11:59 CST) to participate (I joined at the beginning of the week) so I can’t promote for you to do the read-a-thon, but you CAN follow along with what everyone is reading or check out the Twitter discussion by using the hashtag #HSreadathon. I know lots of other bloggers are participating and trying kick a few off their TBR list.

This week I read Submerged, by Dani Pettrey, which had been sent to me by Bethany House for review. It’s a christian suspense mystery with some light romance. It was a good light read for me since I’ve had a lot on my mind this week. I liked the element of russian history in Alaska that was featured in it. I finished that Thursday night and will review that soon.

I’ve also been reading Evil Eternal by Hunter Shea this week. Hunter is published by the Samhain Horror line-up of awesome writers and has been waiting patiently for me to review this. It was great to have a light read (Submerged) for the late night when I can’t sleep, since I have been reading this during the day and evening sporadically. It’s horror and though gruesome, the carnage isn’t bothering me too much. I am loving his trident wielding priest and the history that goes along with him. The pace is fast and detailed and I’m moving right along. I have it half done already.

Last night I came home smiles from our library book sale, with books like Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour and a John Saul book (after my author friend Brian Moreland recommended him as an author). However, I won’t get to any of those this week. I still have a massive TBR pile and though kid’s books aren’t allowed in this read-a-thon (WHY NOT?) I am reading PLENTY to my 5-year-old for her summer reading program list. And by the way, all the kids came home with a pile from the library sale too. Don’t you just love those older Charlie Brown Encyclopedias??

I digress.

I will keep reading Evil Eternal and also choose a new one. Some family is in town this weekend from out-of-state and on Sunday, DRUM ROLL PLEASE….I am going to go see Deborah Harkness, best-selling author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, in Cleveland and get my book signed, listen to her talk, and then I’ll report back on my blog!!! I am super excited!!

Have a great weekend and best wishes on your reads this weekend. What are you reading?? What’s good?

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C.W. Gortner’s “The Tudor Secret” a Must Read for Intrigue Fans

The Tudor Secret, by C.W. Gortner, was an amazing cache of intrigue and suspicion!! It’s one of the BEST books I’ve read in a very long time. If you think the Tudor era is overdone and all has been said, THINK AGAIN! 

Though plenty of books about Elizabeth I or Henry the VIII line the shelves of many bookstores and libraries, Gortner’s work of historical fiction spins an original yarn about an orphan boy, Brendan Prescott, who has a birthmark which supports that he has possible royal lineage. Does he?  Is he being used as a pawn to the advancement of others?

Court life is brutal and Prescott is about to find that out when he becomes a servant in the Dudley household.  Before he knows it, he is a double spy and reeling with the fact that he is on a mission for Elizabeth I, the intelligent sister of the young Edward VI.  Strangled with the urge to know his own family secret, he agrees to being eyes and ears at court for William Cecil, Elizabeth’s protector, in exchange for Cecil helping him to unravel his past.

He discovers that whispers and secrets abound at court, during this turbulent time after Henry VIII’s death, and no one can be trusted. At times in the novel, Prescott  is uncertain who he is even spying for, yet his own heart is always true to Elizabeth I and her safety.

The Tudor Secret is so full of suspense that pages will turn like they are on FIRE. Your finger will refuse to let you stop turning pages. You won’t want to put this book down for fear you will miss something. When you do put it down, it will still have you wondering so much about its twists and turns that you’ll want to pick it back up again and read until you know the secret!

The book gives superb insight into the personalities of Elizabeth and Mary Tudor in their younger years surrounding the time of their brother, King Edward VI’s, death in 1553.  The inner-family struggle for the crown, the religious turmoil and fracturing, the struggle of the people of England, the love/hate relationship of Elizabeth and Robert Dudley (son to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland) and the conniving ways of the court all lend to this tale as the author is a master at presenting us espionage and intrigue.

Gortner’s historical novel is the first book in his new Elizabeth I spymaster chronicles. The book ends with the secret known to only the Prescott character, and a few others, and is set-up for readers to be ready to delve into more spies, lies, and espionage in the next book as Prescott becomes a spy in Mary I’s court.

If a book doesn’t grab me in the first 10 pages, I won’t read it, but this one certainly DID have my full attention. I thoroughly enjoyed the guessing game this book laid out for me from the beginning. It made me remember how much I LOVE this era of English history.

This has been one of my favorite books of the last 10 years and I can’t wait for more to come in this series. Gortner has to be considered one of the TOP historical fiction novelists of the century.

Bio of C.W. Gortner, Author of The Tudor Secret~

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. His novels have garnered international praise and been translated into thirteen languages to date. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues.

He’s currently at work on his third novel, about Isabella of Castile, and the second novel in his Tudor series,The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles (US) or Elizabeth’s Spymaster (UK).

Half-Spanish by birth, C.W. lives in Northern California.  You can contact him at: cwgortner[at]earthlink.net and across many social networking channels.  For more information about this book and author, you can go to the author’s website at www.cwgortner.com.  Gortner enjoys talking to book groups and will even chat via speaker phone or Skype.

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I’m taking the 2011 Stephen King Challenge, You?

It’s a new year and time for goals!! Though I generally do read a lot of Stephen King, I am going to take this challenge offered by Book Chick City. You can see more information here: http://www.bookchickcity.com/2010/12/sign-up-2011-stephen-king-challenge.html.  You have to read 6 to 12 books by him in 2011 and I’m sure 6 is what I’ll do just for the mere fact that many of his books are sooo long. I read Under the Dome last year and that was a huge book with over 1,000 pages!   I have a few new ones to read, like his newly published short story compilation called Full Dark, No Stars, but I have some I may re-read that I read in my early years also such as Dead Zone.

I’m supposed to put the button and link to the Stephen King Challenge (scary little IT clown picture…yikes!) on my sidebar, you can either go above to the link I provided to learn how to sign-up or click on the sidebar button. You can look for my reviews here on my new book blog!

My favorite Stephen King book is one from more recent years, Duma Key, that I read last year. I LOVE how he made the art really come to life in such a gripping way.   I also really like Rose Madder, which hit home with me when a woman runs away from her abusive cop husband and starts a new life.  However, a painting she buys lures her in to another world. Again, art taking life.  What is your favorite Stephen King book? 

In the meantime, while I am reading, be sure to also check out my other blog at www.breathebeautyartandphotography.wordpress.com, if you like photography, art, doing things with your kids, baking, and musing on life.

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Welcome fellow book nuts!

I am NUTS about books. Not just novels for my age, but also books for all ages of children. I collect picture books and I love reading young adult books just for fun. I hope this blog shares new and old titles of children and young adult books for you, suggested titles of all books, reviews of all types of books, talk about my new children book series I’m diving into for 2011 (I hope you’ll be my sounding board and critics), and let you in on what I’m reading right now. I can’t wait to throw out the bookmark and jump in!

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