Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Borgia Bride

I wanted to like this book.  I really did.  It's not like I hated it, because I didn't, but I really didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to.  It centers around the Borgias!  How could any book centered around them be a bad book?!  Well, I'll tell you.

The main character is Sancha of Aragon, a Neapolitan princess who is eventually wed to the youngest Borgia son, Jofre.  The book follows Sancha from her childhood growing up in Naples to her entry into Rome and the Royal Papal family.  We see Lucrezia, Cesare, and Juan Borgia; and of course, Rodrigo Borgia, the Pope himself, makes appearances throughout the novel.  My biggest problem with this book wasn't the character list (although Kalogridis switches between titles without a thought to the reader, I found myself more often then not completely lost), it was that I was TOLD of great passion without ever feeling it.  I should have cried throughout this novel, I should have been mortified through other parts.  Instead, I felt like a complete outsider to the world, simply being told what was happening instead of being shown.  My other big complaint was that I never knew how old the characters were after their initial introduction into the novel.  Jofre was wed when he was 11? 12? I don't remember.  But by the end of the book I still see him as a very young child even though several years had passed.  Also, foreshadowing can be great, but don't hit me over the head with it.  Not every event that happens needs to be foreshadowed.

Things I did like about the book: I learned a bit more about the Borgias.  I learned some more rumors that surround the family.   But I can't say much else about it.

All in all, I give this book three stars.  It may be for some, but I personally don't like to be told how strong a woman is.  SHOW IT TO ME.  Sancha wasn't a believable character to me.  You can find it on Amazon or your local bookstore.

A Feast For Crows

Once again, I'm behind on posting.  I finished A Feast For Crows several weeks ago.  Life has taken its toll on my reading this month, so I haven't done a lot of what I wanted to :(

A lot of people completely discredited this book as being the weakest of the series and therefore not worth much.  I'll agree it is the weakest of A Song of Ice and Fire, but it still tells important details.  Unfortunately this was supposed to be a much bigger book, but Martin cut it down to only half of the POV's that we have come to love and expect.  In his newest book, we should be seeing the POV's we missed out on this round.  This book is centered around King's Landing and the Southern Kingdoms of Westeros.  All in all, not a bad book, but not my favorite of the series.  I honestly can't wait to read the newest installment due out in July.

You can find the book here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Storm of Swords

I finished this book last week.  This is definitely a favorite for me.  I don't know if I like it more than A Game of Thrones, but I do know that I enjoyed reading it immensely.  It is the third installment in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.  I'm going to keep this review short and sweet.  I don't want to talk much about the plot, because it involves quite a bit of spoilers.  Suffice it to say, Martin's writing in this book is incredible, and he definitely changed my mind about at least one character that I had previously detested.  The detail and thought that Martin has put into this series is absolutely mind boggling.  Between politics and warring, he has covered the scope of a kingdom and has definitely left me wanting more.

You can find A Storm of Swords here, or at your local book retailer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm still here!

Just haven't had time to read as much with school ending.  Now that it has, my time can be dedicated almost solely to reading!  Hurray!!  More reviews to come, have no fear.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings... the second book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.  I must say if his July release date doesn't go through, I'm going to be super upset (as will a lot of other people!!), as I am enjoying this series more than I remember doing so in the past.  This book is much like the first; epic in scale, character development, and battle scenes, it furthers the story that the first one began.  Much of the book is used as a set up for some major battles.  While I enjoy this book immensely, the first one was still better.  However, here it is that we begin to see that some characters aren't really what they seem.  Martin writes with such wonderful skill that I can't wait to start the third installment: A Storm of Swords.  However, since we are still two and a half months (roughly) from the release date of the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, I may slow down a bit.  I can gobble up these books quickly, as the detail is so rich and the story so complex!

Once again, you can find this title here, on Amazon, or at your local bookstore.

P.S.  The HBO series, A Game of Thrones, is so far following the book closer than I had dared to believe. It has been a great treat so far to watch that amazing book come to life!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Well, again, another book I didn't think to finish this week. Sarum was a buddy read over at Goodreads. I'm sorry it took me so long to read it, ladies!! I feel a bit bad giving this book a bad review, because I don't want to hurt the feelings of the person who suggested it to me. But I can't help it. O Edward Ruthefurd, where did you go wrong? Let me count the ways.

First, let me say this book is quite a beast. My version is 1000 some odd pages, some versions are 1400 pages (the print is a bit larger in those, it may have helped). Normally I really like bricks. I enjoy spending lots of time with characters. But this book spans about 10,000 years, so there really isn't one character to fall in love with. Ruthefurd wrote about five families located in Sarum, England. Sarum is located on the Salisbury Plain, the same one where Stonehenge is located (and yes, the building of Stonehenge is talked about in the first half of the book).

Reasons why I didn't like it: While he's writing about families that span generations, he uses the same character type over and over and over and over. If you are going to write a generational novel, you should make the characters similar, yes, but different enough so that they aren't interchangeable with each other. Also, not every generation has a family full of virile sons. Where were all the women in the families?? And when women did show up in his novel, why were they all obsessed with having oodles of children and religion??? I mean, c'mon!! Give the ladies some time in a thousand page novel, please. Only two women really stood out to me, and since this book slightly numbed my brain, I couldn't tell you what families they came from. But I can tell you that they were tomboyish, dressed like men, and wanted to be treated like men, and they were killed off quickly while the male parts of their family survived war and the Plague. Can you tell I wasn't happy with the female representation in this book? Usually I'm not so feministic, but this rubbed me the wrong way throughout this novel. Also, while reviews over on Amazon are full of people saying how awesome it is to learn about history through this novel, Ruthefurd really did a quick gloss of a lot of historical fact. And his biases in the Tudor chapter are still astounding to me.

Reasons why it was still an ok book: I LOVE reading about England, so I enjoyed watching Sarum build up throughout the ages. I liked the chapters about Stonehenge, the Cathedral in Sarum, and the Roman villas being designed. Ruthefurd has some skill in descriptions, and that was the only redeeming factor of this book.

It may seem like I am being harsh on Sarum. A lot of people really love this book, and I say good on them. I am not one of those people. I don't know if I'll read another Ruthefurd book or not. I have so many other authors that I love who write huge novels (anxiously awaiting Wolf Hall's sequel!), that I may put aside Ruthefurd and concentrate on them instead. Good for Ruthefurd for writing such a huge novel. I just wish the novel didn't make me fall asleep.
For reviews and buying purposes, the book can be found here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Game of Thrones

Well, I thought I wasn't going to be finishing this book tonight, but lo and behold, once again I couldn't put it down. I think it speaks in favor of the book when you have read it four times and still can't put it down. I first picked up George R. R. Martin's masterpiece when I was a sophomore in high school. I didn't know then that there were more books to the series, and I didn't realize that most of them at that point hadn't been written. Nonetheless, I read it quickly and enjoyed it then, much like I did now. Unfortunately, the series is still not finished, with the fifth book slated to come out July 15th of this year. However, that being said, most books in the hopefully seven book series are 900+ pages, so I don't expect Martin to punch out a new one every year. In fact, I think I'd be a bit disappointed if he did. Martin creates a beautiful world, the Seven Kingdoms, Asshai beyond the Shadow, the Dothraki Lands, Pentos, Myr, Braavos, etc. This series is classified as fantasy, and it definitely is, with legends of dragons and the Others, dead beings who rise at night beyond the Wall. But it is a medieval fantasy, which is probably one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. Roughly based off of The War of the Roses, the Hundred Years War, and a little bit of Tudor circa Henry VIII, it's no wonder why I love this book. Martin is a fantastic writer, and I wish I had a tenth of his skill with a pen. I'm waxing poetic on this author, I realize, but this book really is great. Probably one of the best things about him is that he actually writes believable women characters, something I find super rare even from some women authors. He manages to have a woman or two in power in a medieval world, which I love. And the others aren't so worried about getting married and having kids, and finding the "one" etc. Yes, there are girly girls in the novel, but thankfully, most are not so idealistic.
A word of caution to those with more delicate sensibilities: there is sex in this book, not always "nice" sex either. There is a huge secret, that I can't say here (no spoilers, I promise!!), but it might offend some. There is some swearing. And of course, since it's a medieval fantasy, there is a lot of violence and battle scenes. If you can see passed that, it is a great book! And watch for Tyrion's ever present humor. I am off, to be swept away in the second novel of this great series (the second book is A clash of Kings, the series is called A Song of Ice and Fire). HBO has turned this novel into a mini series starting this Sunday (the 17th), so this book will be available probably everywhere (and the cover is a picture of Sean Bean!). However, if you are like me and like to read reviews etc before buying the book, Amazon has it here. And remember, Winter Is Coming.