...making decisions on the basis of what seems best instead of following some single doctrine or style.
Me in a nutshell!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Winner of the Other Queen Giveaway...

Is The Book Vixen! Congratulations to you!!!
chosen by

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gothic Friday...

What is your favorite Gothic Novel/Story?

Last night my daughter and I sat down to watch Masterpiece Theatre's 2008 Wuthering Heights with Thomas Hardy and Charlotte Riley. I have to say of all the film adaptations of this story that I have seen so far this has been my favorite. Thomas Hardy is the quintessential Heathcliff. I think if Miss Bronte could tell us now 200 years later who she would visualize Heathcliff to be she would choose Mr. Hardy. No doubt a ruggedly handsome young man, but one fine actor. He really captured the character. Same can be said for Charlotte Riley playing Kathy. There was no holding back in this adaptation, there was passion, jealousy, envy, revenge and of course true love. The scenes were perfect and panoramic on Yorkshire Moors. Truly Gothic at it's best. I still haven't seen the adaptation with Ralph Finnes and Juliette Binoche. It looks very good as well. I am very fond of both Mr. Finnes and Ms. Binoche as actors.

Wuthering Heights is a classic. There is good reason for it. The story is timeless it will not grow old or out of date for generations to come if ever. If you haven't read this book, it's in your library for sure or for sale cheap at your local book seller. It's the kind of book that will stay with you for a long time after finished. I love this story, it is a true Gothic Romance at it's best. I am always amazed that a young, isolated woman such as Emily Bronte could write with such breath of emotion. She really was gifted and I am so sorry that she died at such a young age that we do not have more of her to read.

Please share with us your favorite Gothic Novel/Story and why. I would love to have more recommendations.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Tudor Grandmother Elizabeth Brooke Giveaway!!

The best is saved for last. My day 5 HF Roundtable Event Giveaway!

My family vine reaches back through thousands of years, through Kings and Emperor's, but one of my most fascinating ancestors is by far my 11th great grandmother Elizabeth Brooke born in Cobhamhall, Kent England 1503 the daughter of Thomas Brooke the 8th Earl of Cobhamhall. She married my 11th great grandfather Sir Thomas Wyatt the poet who was madly in love with Anne Boleyn and wrote sonnets for her. This is of course while he was married to Elizabeth. Thomas and Elizabeth had two children a daughter Anne and my 10th great grand father Sir Thomas Wyatt the rebel who led the rebellion against Queen Mary advocating to put Jane Gray back in power as queen. He was later executed with Jane's father Henry.

Wyatt picture will link you to previous post about Thomas Wyatt and his sonnet for Anne.

Elizabeth and Thomas had marital problems from the very beginning. I would largely suspect it had much to do with my great grandfathers roving eye, and love for Anne Boleyn. Thomas filed for a legal separation on the grounds of Elizabeth being "an adulteress" funny thing was that he could never produce any specific man that she was having an affair with. Nevertheless he kicked her out in 1537 forcing Elizabeth to live with her brother, Lord Cobham, refusing to pay support for his adulteress wife. Funny isn't it that he was still carrying on his affair with Elizabeth Darrell. In 1541 Wyatt was arrested and his properties all confiscated. The Brooke family took advantage of this state of affairs and forced a reconciliation as a condition of Wyatt's pardon. Apparently Lord Cobham had a lot of clout with King Henry. It doesn't appear that Elizabeth ever went back to her home with Thomas. He would die in 1542. It was early in 1542 that Lady Wyatt's (Elizabeth) name crops up in Spanish dispatches as one of the three ladies in whom Henry VIII was said to be interested as a possible sixth wife. Any candidate had to be a direct descendant of Edward III. Elizabeth had an impeccable pedigree one that was even more princely than the King. However after his 5th wife Catherine Howard it was of up most importance that the King marry himself a wife with a spotless reputation. The scandal surrounding Elizabeth and Thomas caused the King to look elsewhere. Thank goodness for small miracles!!!!

Following Wyatt's death Elizabeth would marry Edward Warner, Lord Lieutenant of the Tower. She died at the Tower in August 1560 and buried there within it's precincts. Elizabeth was Anne Boleyn's 2nd cousin, her grandmother would be Anne's Aunt. I have to wonder what she felt about Anne and her husbands attachment to her. Did she hate her? Was this the reason she found herself a lover? I do not believe that Thomas, her husband ever wrote any sonnets for her.

I love this woman, my great grandmother. What a life she led. She was right there in the middle of it all, married to one of Anne's lovers, cousin to the queen, losing her son on the Tower Green.

According to Kelly Hart in her book Mistress's of Henry VIII she is listed as one of his short term mistresses. The portrait shown here is a drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger labeled " Anna Bollein Queen", his only portrait of a woman in informal dress has been long argued to actually be Elizabeth Brooke, Lady Wyatt. Who knows, but it could be.

In honor of my great grand mother Elizabeth Brooke I am offering a give away of Henry VIII The Early Tudors 12 4x6 portrait postcards and booklet put out by London's National Gallery, purchased at Hampton Court (Anne's home while married to Henry). It's a beautiful set. The portrait cards are gorgeous and frame-able. They come in a lovely case included with it is a 12 page booklet with explanations on all the portraits. The pictures here do not do justice.

This contest will run until midnight October 2nd.

  • Open Worldwide

  • 1 entry for following my blog(leave email)

  • 5 entries for commenting about Elizabeth and Anne's relationship. What do you think?

  • 2 entries for posting on your blog(please leave link)

  • 2 for twittering

  • If you are already follower please indicate (please leave email)

Front of case

back of the case showing the portraits included

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Historical Fiction Round Table Day 4 Giveaway...

The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory brand new hardback edition:

From BooklistUsing the multiple-viewpoint technique that worked well in The Boleyn Inheritance (2006), Gregory fictionalizes a little-explored episode in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1568, after fleeing rebellious Scottish lords, Mary is placed into the custody of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick. This turns their Derbyshire estate into a hotbed of intrigue and possible treason. George, normally loyal to a fault, falls in love with Mary; Bess secretly reports to William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, while fretting about her foolish husband and the continual draining of their funds; Mary plays them against one another while plotting to escape, with Cecil noting her every move. Gregory skillfully evokes the suspenseful atmosphere—it was never certain that the 1569 Rising of the North in favor of Catholic Mary would fail—but the protagonists’ inner thoughts, as presented in short alternating chapters, are unnecessarily repetitive. Although this isn’t her best work, Gregory’s writing is sharpest toward the end, as the unavoidable consequences of Mary’s long imprisonment are finally felt by all. --Sarah Johnson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Contest Rules:

  • Open worldwide

  • Become a follower = 1 entry

  • Post email about Mary Stuart = 2 entries

  • Post Giveaway on your blog or twitter = 2 entries

  • Total 5 entries possible

  • Please indicate if you are already a follower

  • Please leave link for blog or twitter posting

Thank-you~ Contest ends midnight September 25!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW Interview Swap with Keira from Love Romance Passion...

All across book blogger land interviews are being shared with readers about their favorite book bloggers and maybe even introducing new bloggers to them. This is because we just started Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Keira from Loves Romance and Passion. She’s been reading romance since she was a teenager and began blogging about romance so she could share her passion for her favorite genre. She loves reading paranormal, Regency, historical America, and highlander most of all, and completely adores blind and wounded heroes. She has a very comprehensive blog. She's put a tremendous amount of work into it and for those of you who enjoy a good Romance Keira's Blog is the stop for you. Check it out. Please welcome her today to my blog, it's an honor to have this opporunity. Enjoy!

Susie: What is your favorite part about blogging? Why did you start?

Keira: When I first started blogging I was doing it for myself – getting my thoughts down on digital paper. It was a way to keep track of books that I read, but also it was my own space to mold into what I thought others would like to play on. My readers and fellow bloggers are my favorite part about blogging and a reason why I continue to pursue it so passionately. I never thought I’d make friends when I started, but I have and it’s more amazing than I can put into words.

Susie: What book are you currently reading and why are you reading it?

Keira: You caught me between books. I just finished Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi, a recommendation by A.M. Hartnett over Twitter. So we’ll skip down one question.

Susie: Which book do you plan to read next?

Keira: I plan to read Sorcery & Cecelia: The Enchanted Chocolate Pot due to the recommendation of the vlogbrothers (time 2:02). Hank Green said it was a cross between Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice. How could I go wrong with that?!

Susie: How big is your TBR pile?

A good 30-70 books. I haven’t done an exact count, but I’ve been collecting recommendations from other bloggers and getting to them when I can find the time. Because they’re all recommendations its hard to decide which one to start next!

Susie: Which do you like more: finishing a book or starting a new one?

Keira: Starting a new one 90% of the time. New worlds, new characters, new stories!

Susie: What makes you pick up a book and buy it without question?

The cover; if it’s pretty and the back blurb reads like something I’d enjoy, I’d buy it without questioning the decision.

Susie: Who is your favorite author?

Some of my favorite romance authors include but are not limited to: Lisa Kleypas, LaVryle Spencer, and.

Susie: What are three books you’d recommend to new readers of your genre?

Keira: Romance is such a huge genre. All recommendations would have to be tailored to the individual. Do they like paranormal or historical? Are they a fan of blind heroes or into cowboys? Are they more comfortable/interested in chaste inspirational romances or erotica? I set my blog up to be very organized to help aid in the search of books readers love most to read.

Susie: Which reading format do you like best: print, audio, digital?

Print and audio. I have yet to jump on the digital bandwagon. I have read some digital books but I really love holding a physical book. Audio is great for driving, walking, exercising, cleaning house, etc. It gives your mind something interesting to focus on while keeping your hands/body free to do work.

Susie: For fun share two truths and one false fact about yourself.

Keira: I hate foreign films and Bollywood movies. All those subtitles and the dancing! Too much!
I’m listening to Artemis Fowl every chance I get. I have book 5 and 6 waiting for me but am waiting on book 4 from the library.
I’ve traveled to 18 countries across five continents and took at least a dozen books with me each time I packed.

Susie: What was the last book you bought, borrowed, donated/gave away, and traded?

Bought: 4 Harlequin novels in the reader service Historical line.
Borrowed: Artemis Fowl- The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer.
Lent: Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi.
Donated/Gave away: 18 books of awesome to my friends Susan and Isabel.
Traded: Always a Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch.
Susie: What advice would you give to brand new book bloggers?

: I would tell new bloggers to check out the other blogs in their genre to see what’s happening. I would also advise them to write several blog posts before posting one article or review. You don’t want to start and then suddenly feel like you’re behind!

Susie: What tips would you give to readers who want to read more books?

I have a whole blog post on that! Check it: 16 Ways to Read More Books!

Susie: Anything you want to add?

Keira: Thank you so much for having me today Susie! Come visit me on my blog or twitter. In the meantime, happy readings everyone!
You are so welcome Keira~it has been a pleasure.
If my followers would like to read my interview on Keira's blog go to:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Royal Book Review...

Finally finished The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I really enjoyed this Victorian Novel. It was an ambitious undertaking. There were many side stories, but they all linked to the protagonist Fiona Finnegan. Fiona grows up in Whitechapel, London an area well known for crime, and poverty. Her parents are Irish immigrants trying to feed their family on a dock workers wages.
The story begins when Fiona is a teenage in love with the boy next door, Joe Bristowe. Fiona and Joe have big plans, they are saving to one day open a shop together. They scrimp and save what they can after their contributions to the family budget. The year is 1888 a time of workers unrest and the birth of Unions. Things are heating up all over the place in Whitechapel with the strikes, mobs and Jack the Ripper preying on poor prostitutes. Fiona begins to feel that her life isn't as secure as she thought. In a matter of months she loses both parents, her elder brother and even the love of her life Joe to another woman. One night she overhears a brutal secret putting her life in serious danger. She must flee with her younger brother to America to live with her Uncle. On her voyage across the ocean she meets a young man who is also fleeing England and his family. They develop a life long friendship and together they begin their lives in a new country with new identities. Fiona grows into a beautiful, savvy, and tough woman. No one is going to mess with her or her family. She is determined to bring justice to those who hurt her family, she will do all in her power to achieve this. She never forgets about Joe Bristowe, even in the arms of a handsome, brilliant man worth millions who adores her.

The story goes back and forth between London and New York. Just when you thought you figured it out you are in for a surprise. If you loved Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford you will love Tea Rose. It's a big book but a fast read.
The week link in the story was Jack the Ripper, in my opinion that part could of been totally left out and no one would have missed it. I am not a fan of re-writing historical events. There are other ways of incorporating the facts. Other than that it was a great read, not really thought provoking, but very entertaining and romantic. I look forward to reading the sequel Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.

I give this book 4 royal crowns out of 5.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let Us Never, Never, Forget 9/11...

As a tribute to those who died and those who lost in 9/11, let us thank God for, and treasure what we hold dear.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gigi Loves Paris...

This looks like a good upcoming blogger Gigi Loves Paris. She has a really good review on a book from an author I have never heard of. The Strangely
Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber. Check out her review sounds like a great book. She has some other interesting posts as well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Afternoon Tea...

One thing I loved about going to England was the TEA! Tea time was wonderful, I looked forward to it every afternoon. We had tea at the Orangery, at Jane Austen's Tea Room in Bath, Tea in Cornwall and Stafford Upon Avon. Yummy sandwiches, little cakes and scones with a big pot of aromatic tea. Wish I was there now! So I guess it wouldn't be any surprise that I was attracted to this book Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I was browsing around Amy's Passage's of the Past and found this recommendation. Looked so good I ordered it from B&N. Haven't been able to put it down since it arrived. I'm about 1/2 through now and looking forward to reading the sequel Winter Rose.

It's not about royalty, but it is about Whitechapel, London in 1888 at the time of Jack the Ripper. Victorian mystery type of tale. It reminds me a great deal of Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford except with a younger mysterious twist. Fiona Finnegan and Joe Bristowe fall in love as children in the slums of Whitechapel. They grow-up with dreams of one day owning their own shop. A Tea Shoppe with the best tea in London. Fiona works for a Tea Broker and Joe is a grocer. They save their money in a little tin hidden under the bed. All is going very well until a series of tragic events takes place, illness, betrayal, murder, death and even Jack the Ripper.

Fiona and Joe's life are changed forever. A wonderful dream has now turned into a nightmare with an ocean separating them.

Whitechapel District in London during the Victorian Era has always been fascinating. The foggy mists from the Thames, the corrupt cops, dock workers, prostitutes, work houses, etc. The era of Sherlock Holmes. Whitechapel is still not a place I would want to visit after dark. Not so much the slum it used to be, but some rough looking characters to be sure.

One of the most famous Victorian characters from Whitechapel was Jack the Ripper. Who hasn't heard of him. Since reading Tea Rose I have been doing some research on the guy and came across this website: Very interesting facts about Jack. You can read the newspaper articles written in 1888 about the murders. Bio's of the victims and the suspects are all on there. Even maps showing where the murders happened. It is very interesting reading the website author has done an amazing job of research and chronicling the events. I didn't know much about him but I do now. I will warn you there are some very graphic photos of the victims so beware of that. After researching the site I was a little disappointed that the author of Tea Rose, Ms. Donnelly didn't use one of the actual victims in her book, instead she created a new one and that was kind of a weak link, but not enough for me not to enjoy the book thoroughly.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Needed a new look...

I couldn't figure out why I was avoiding blogging lately. I really do love it and then I figured out that I was in need of some blog over haul, especially with Blogger Book Week coming up. My blog seemed so formal and I really am not a formal person. With this in mind I decided to go with a little sassy pink for awhile. This will be so much more fun. I really did like my royal look, but let's face it most of my royals were not such a stately lot in the first place. Most of them had hot tempers, a spicy love life and devious minds. :-).
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