The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

The one thing I usually don’t like when reading books that are a part of a series is repetition of events. Hearing the same thing over and over doesn’t really appeal to me. However, even though this book covers the same events as The White Queen, I’d hardly call it repetitious. The events are looked at through such different lenses, that at times I forgot I had already read about the history.

The White Queen was written from the view of the York side, from Elizabeth Woodville’s point of view, and I found the contrast between her and Margaret wonderful. Elizabeth isn’t afraid to make her own future, and embraces that. Margaret makes her own future, but refuses to call it that. She’s acting for God, doing what He commands her.

Margaret, as a character, is hard to like. She says she is the most faithful and good girl, serving her God, but she is jealous, prideful, vengeful and even a little vain. Even though I did not like her as a person, I could feel for her. She did not have the easiest life. She wanted to mean something more to the world than just a way to continue the Lancaster line. If she needs to disguise this need as serving God, I can understand that.

This is yet another hit for Gregory and I’ll be anxiously awaiting Elizabeth of York’s story.

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Yet another amazing Gregory book. Her writing makes me think about history and I perform more Google searches when I read her books than at any other time. I love finding more about the people she writes and the places her stories take place. There is so much history that happens in such little time, but Gregory makes it all interesting.

It was fascinating to read about Elizabeth’s life. Gregory wrote her as an ambitious woman who knows what she wants and works to get it. She knows that while men hold the most visible power in the world, the women hold a secret power that can change lives.

Even though we may never know exactly what happened during these times, the motivations of people, or the true emotions involved in their lives, Gregory is able to weave such a wonderful tale, even tying in a magical element which makes it nearly impossible to put this book down.

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I adore Philippa Gregory and will read pretty much anything she writes. She is able to bring such life into the history and brings light to those stories that aren’t very well known in the history books.

This book was wonderful. I had known a bit about the War of the Roses, but this book brought a whole new light to the conflict. I will admit to sitting down and drawing out a chart just so I could keep all the players in this war straight. Add in the touch of magic and I was completely drawn in.

Jacquetta is a strong, smart woman in a time when that was looked down on. She knows she needs to hide the power she has from the important men in the country, but she doesn’t hide so much that she comes across as weak. She knows how to get things she wants using her head and not her body, which is a wonderful change from Gregory’s Tudor series and I think it makes her a better character overall.

Overall, this was a fantastic book and Gregory has yet again drawn me into her writing and I can’t wait to finish the rest of this series.

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

I was up until 2 in the morning finishing this book. Stevens had me glancing at my windows to make sure there wasn’t anyone there, and I’m still a little wary of answering my phone. I was on the edge of my seat at times, and I found myself trying to figure everything out as I read.

Sara’s desire to know who her birth parents are starts a reaction that makes for a fast-paced and thrilling read. Stevens is able to make you feel something for every character, even the bad guy. She creates interesting character relationships where everything may not be as it seems. It’s hard to see the twists and turns coming and I was constantly surprised.

This was a great book and I was so happy I decided to read it. I’m looking forward to reading more of Stevens’ books in the near future.

Light from a Distant Star by Mary McGarry Morris

This was a riveting book and a wonderfully written coming of age story that really highlights the moral struggles of Nellie Peck as she grows up.

Nellie starts the book as a young thirteen year old who’s biggest problem in life is having to be her brother’s caretaker and try to toughen him up. Slowly, as her family’s problem start to come into view (such as her sister’s hunt for her father, her family’s money problems and her parents’ marriage problems); she realizes that the world isn’t as clean as she has viewed it.

When Dolly, the young woman who rents her family’s apartment, is killed, Nellie is the only one who knows what really happens. She has to choose between doing the right thing, and doing what her family wants her to do. She is forced to decide if one life is equal or worth less than another. In the end, Nellie is forced to grow up way beyond her thirteen years of age, making for a wonderful and interesting story.

My only issue with the story was how long it took to get into it. I felt there was a lot of build-up, and while I understood why some of it was necessary, other parts of it just felt a little unnecessary.

Overall, this was a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to tell my friends to read it.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m not sure what emotion can be used to describe how I’m feeling about this book. It was a wonderful book and I loved it, but I still want more.

This book is very legend driven and the romance aspect of it doesn’t get in the way of that, which I enjoyed. I was happy the book focused on the legend instead of trying to devote equal time to both and coming up short in the end.

Would I have liked more Puck and Sean? Sure. However, I never thought the book was going to be about them. I went into the book thinking it was going to be about the Scorpio Race and it was. It was about overcoming the limits other put on you and proving to yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Even the romance plays into this; making the characters realize what they can sacrifice in order to come out in the end with what you need.

The characters are amazingly written as well. I’m sure most people will fall for Sean; however, as much as I liked him, Finn was my favorite character. He is so fiercely loyal to Puck, even when he knows he could lose her. He stays by her side and is there for her always, even though he might disagree with what she is doing.

I only wish there had been a couple more chapters at the end devoted to Puck and Sean and their relationship. As much as the book wasn’t about that, I still wanted a tiny bit more of them

Stiefvater is a great young adult author and I thoroughly enjoyed The Scorpio Races.

The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker

I really loved this book once I sat myself down and just started reading.

The first chapter is absolutely amazing and really sets the rest of the book up. It’s told from Michael’s point of view, in 3rd person, and really shows his life so far. He lives a life filled with worries and doubts and not the life a 5 year old should be having. His parents’ over-protectiveness has started seeping into his own thoughts, but underneath that, there is a small glimpse of that little 5 year old spirit.

The rest of the book jumps between the character’s points of view and tells both the present and past events. It shows each of the character’s connection to each other and gives the reason they act the way they do.

The foreshadowing in this book is simply amazing and I could not give enough praise to Tucker for brilliantly weaving in hints of the future with every page. It kept me guessing at every turn and even when my guesses weren’t correct, I could look back and see how something came about.

This was the first book I have read of Tucker’s and I plan on reading more.