Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review-Captive Queen, by Alison Weir

Alison Weir, Ballantine Books, August 2010, $26.00,HC,512p, 978-0-345-51187-4.

When Eleanor meets Henry of Anjou, the young and sensual son of the Count of Anjou,
to say he took her breath away, would be an understatement. She was entranced, and stirred physically, drawn by his powerful presence, muscular and solid, boldly handsome, with a glorious mane of red and arousing grey eyes. She knew she had to have him, yet she had also known his father, Count Geoffrey, who was here today to pay obeisance to the King, her husband Louis. Eleanor did not love Louis, he barely came to her, and when he did his loving was lackluster and a chore. She ached for love, real love and now looking at Henry, she knew she had found a man who would love her.

Alison Weir wastes no time captivating her audience as the story of her Captive Queen
unfolds. Immediately, you are whisked to the fairy tale drama of the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry of Anjou lusts for Eleanor, and vows that he must have her permanently, for his wife, for his kingdom and to control. She is also mesmerized with love and true passion with her future path so clear to her. She plots to convince Louise, King of France to grant her an annulment. Without knowing her true plans, Louise agrees and when the church accepts the plea, she dashes off to meet the young Henry of Anjou with spirit and audacity. And so, does she live happily ever after?

The fire that began between Henry and Eleanor becomes more a battle of wills and power as it drives Henry to fight for his kingdoms and pursue lusty liaisons. A wedge of mistrust is driven between the couple and with a feeling of melancholy you hope for reconciliation. Eleanor is imprisoned in a wretched hole when her decision to promote and protect her sons, over honoring her husband, causes Henry to become enraged. His anger is unmatched and unlikely that he will ever forgive her. Alison Weir shapes the characters of Eleanor and Henry with compassion, understanding and objectivity. King Henry, the vengeful, lustful and power driven male. Queen Eleanor, the courageous, patient, loving and naive woman. Both looking for forgiveness neither without sin. Captive Queen is a ruminative read with romantic resplendence that should be savored.

Disclosure: This ARC release was sent to me by the publisher.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mailbox Monday, August 30, 2010

(The pic is from The National Postal Museum, 1907)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from The Printed Page where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox
Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit.

This week I am so excited about the three books I received. I'm also very late with my post, but I had to present a workshop to teachers today and I went into work very early to set up. Now I'm chilling with the dogs. They are so tired and had a long day too.

The first book came to me all wrapped up with some lemon candy drops complements of Reagan Arthur Books. I love these candies as they remind me of my mom. What a nice surprise! It's like getting flowers out of the blue and it made me smile.
The book is : 13 rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro.

From Sourcebooks I received The Forever Queen, by Helen Hollick

From Internet Review of Books and Viking Press I received

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Salon-August 29, 2010

The Sunday Salon.com

It's been a crazy busy week for me. School officially starts tomorrow, for the teachers and our students arrive on Thursday. For those of you teachers out there, you know how it is having to get back in to your rooms ahead of school to get everything ready. I am a library/media specialist and teach 23 classes on a variety of subjects incorporating 21st century skills: media literacy, information literacy, social media, bullying, internet safety, research, website evaluation. I also have younger classes, with an emphasis on story time with exposure to different authors and series. They learn how to locate books independently and expand their reading choices.

Along with the daily management of the media center, I also collaborate with teachers to help them integrate technology and 21st century skills within their lessons. Sometimes I help teachers with new software or a new technology initiative or equipment that is being rolled out. This year our school system has adopted Google Apps for our school system, so tomorrow, yes tomorrow, day one, I will be teaching an aspect of Google Mail. Over the summer our school system converted to Google Mail, so tomorrow I will be reviewing the different uses and how to's for Google Calendar. We have thirty-four teachers and many paraprofessionals, so the day will be busy for me, but I'm looking forward to it.

The first week of school is always, always nerve racking. It doesn't matter how long you have been teaching, it is just a charged week of energy all around. I love it though and I had a wonderful summer of reading and relaxing. I am fortunate and grateful for a job that I really love. Yes, I will have less time to read, and less time for my blog, so I hope everyone understands. Obviously, my job has to come first...or I wouldn't be able to have a blog. Sadly, I say goodbye to my summer vacation, but look forward to a fabulous school year.

My plans for today are to finish reading For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick. This book is so good....so good...really, you have to read something by Elizabeth Chadwick if you never have. She is a phenomenal historical fiction writer. When I say..can't put this down. Truly....my hands seem to be glued to this paperback. Great cover too isn't it?

Then, I need to get serious and ready for tomorrow. The first day back to school...review my notes for the class I'm teaching to the staff....chores...more planning...take care of the dogs...a little anxiety here and there...and hopefully a good night's sleep. What is going on in your life today?

Oh I forgot...the kids might want to take a walk today in their favorite new place. Look at those ears.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Thursday, August 26, 2010


by Margaret Irwin
Sourcebooks Landmark
Historical Fiction
March 1, 2010
First published 1944
Book Origin:Purchase
400 pages


As the story begins, Young Bess is sailing on the royal flagship in the company of Tom Seymour, the Admiral of the Fleet, she is twelve. He is exceedingly handsome and quite the lady’s man. Elizabeth is called “the little bastard”, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. She has a sharp witty tongue, amusing for some, yet often too vitriolic. One day her carefree remarks exceed her father’s tolerance and she is banished from his court. When Henry dies, his fragile son Edward takes the throne, but due to his age, Edward Seymour assumes the role as The Protector. Elizabeth is sent to live with Katherine Parr, the king’s widow and her new husband, Tom Seymour. Impropriety and ignominy follow Tom as he continues to pursue Elizabeth, a girl he has always wanted, and would have preferred to marry over Katherine. When Tom is arrested and taken to the infamous Tower, his life and Elizabeth’s reputation are jeopardized. Neither of the pair take it seriously.

I truly loved Elizabeth in this novel, but I am biased as my adoration for her is high. Comparisons are often made to her mother, the infamous Nan Bullen (Anne Boleyn). Irwin shows her naivete as a young girl. Her relationship with Seymour takes place in this first book leaving questions that will never be answered. Does she love Tom Seymour? Is she a tempting vixen, or an innocent impressionable young girl infatuated by the attention paid to her by an attractive man? A significant moment occurs for Elizabeth when she is told by Katherine that her fate may someday be Queen of England. That she never expected or imagined herself as Queen of England until her teens is surprising to me and an interesting twist in this story. Suddenly, her life has purpose beyond the blithe and silly behavior that has up till know generated scandalous gossip. She pursues a plan to buff her tarnished image and emerges a royal princess of charm and grace. I felt sorry for Elizabeth as she was brought up by four different stepmothers, and didn’t know her own mother. The fact that she was compared to her mother so often, couldn’t have been good for her self esteem, yet she is determined to triumph. She seems vulnerable yet her clever insight and resolve is always impressive.
The story is very good, the characters are fully realized and who wouldn’t like reading about Young Bess. The story is somewhat wordy and I found myself rereading passages for clarity. Much of the book is devoted to the Seymour brothers. Edward is portrayed as annoying and greedy, Tom is a shameless flirt and clueless about his brother’s ambition. Edward, the young king is a pawn on a chess board, easily manipulated by black and white to suit their own position. The book didn’t really turn around for me until almost half way through. The fact that I enjoy reading about Queen Elizabeth and look forward to the entire trilogy saved me from abandoning this one early.

What were they thinking.....

Elizabeth on marriage, speaking to Tom Seymour

“I won’t marry you, or anyone. I’ll not be tied and bound. A wedding ring is a yoke ring.”

“...I have not the slightest intention of being married, and if ever I should think of it (which I do not believe is possible) you would be the first to whom I should make known my resolution.” (275)

“I’ve learnt about marriage from my stepmothers,’ she said, sliding a look at him.”

“Seriously, my Lord, my first stepmother, Jane, died in childbed, and so was the only past wife he spoke of with respect; my second, big Anne Cleves, he shoved out of the way for my pretty cousin Cat Howard, whom he beheaded-and my last one gave me a step-stepfather,’ she finished, and this time she did not look at him.”(275)

King Henry VIII about Elizabeth:

“He blinked down the table at the girl, as lithe and whippy as a greyhound puppy, and the light glinting on her red-gold hair. ‘Nan Bullen’s brat!’ he muttered to himself, ‘a wheyfaced scrap of a thing like her mother, a green apple, a codling,’ he drooled on, regarding her with a fixed and menacing eye.” (50)

This book was read for the ABC Historical Fiction Challenge, hosted by Historical Tapestry.

Disclosure: Book Purchase

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bookish Mad Libs

I saw this meme posted on Bookgirl's Nightstand and then I saw it over at The Bookworm. It was so fun reading their responses, so I thought I would see what I came up with.

In school I was: The Language of Secrets

People might be surprised I’m: Lady of the Butterflies

I will never be: The King's Mistress

My fantasy job is: Breakfast in Bed

At the end of a long day I need: The Sundance Kid

I hate it when: Making Rounds With Oscar

Wish I had: A Cottage by the Sea (Same as Iliana)

My family reunions are: A Fierce Radiance

At a party you’d find me with: The Heretic Queen

I’ve never been to: Heartbroke Bay

A happy day includes: Pieces of Sky

Motto I live by: a map of true places

On my bucket list: Diamond Ruby

In my next life, I want to be: All That is Beautiful

I enjoyed completing this meme. How about you? What would you say?

Teaser Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme,
hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along!

This week my teaser comes from:

Lessons in Disaster, by Gordon M. Goldstein, a fascinating non-fiction book about the Vietnam War and the role the U. S. national security adviser McGeorge Bundy played.

"Kennedy didn't want to be dumb," he said. "Johnson didn't want to be a coward." McGeorge Bundy(page 3)

Book Origin:Personal Copy

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mailbox Monday, August 23, 2010

(The pic is from The National Postal Museum, 1907)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from The Printed Page where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox
Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit.

This week I had another fantastic mailbox. I also broke down and visited a bookstore and purchased online. I have kept out of the bookstores all summer, so I think I deserve a break. It is so hard to stay away from the places that give you so much joy and entertainment. Love those booksellers.

I want to thank all the publishers and authors who sent new books to the Bookworm Dinner's Mailbox.

The Power, by Rhonda Byrne (Purchase)

The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, by Stieg Larsson (Purchase)

Lessons in Disaster, by Gordon M. Goldstein (Purchase-Vietnam Challenge)

The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall (Purchase for Book Club)

Extraordinary, by Nancy Werlin (Picnic Review)

The Lacuna, by Barbara Kinsolver (Harper-Blog Tour)

To Account For Murder, by William C. Whitbeck (ARC-Permanent Press)
The Dissemblers, by Liza Campbell (ARC-Permanent Press)

War and Music, by Max Evans (ARC-HNR Review)

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know, by Heather Sellers (Won-Shelf Awareness)

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Slipped Past Me Saturday-The Unchaste Life

by Anne Cato
Publisher: Lyon-Rampant Publishing (August 2006)

I subscribe to Foreword Reviews and as my summer vacation is always rather randomly and carefree, I didn't get to read this month's issue until this week. I also read the online version, which is where I discovered this historical fiction book about Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII. ForeWord's review was glowing rating it 5 out of 5 stars. I was curious to see how the reviews stacked up elsewhere. On Library Thing, the average rating was 3.63 on their 1-5 point scale. Only 12 members own this book. Amazon had three reviews with a range of 3-5 stars.

Obviously, this did not generate a lot of enthusiasm or interest when it was published in 2006. However, after reading ForeWord Reviews article, I am adding this to my wish list. I think I'll take a trip to my local Indiebound bookstore and order it this weekend. Sound's too good to pass up and, the ABC Historical Fiction Challenge is now on the letter "Q".
I'll let you know what I think.

How about you? What books have you read about that have you thinking..hmmmm, sounds too good to pass by.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Friday, August 20, 2010

Review-Darcy's Voyage, by Kara Louise

DARCY’S VOYAGE: A Tale of Uncharted Love On the Open Seas
by Kara Louise
Sourcebooks Landmark
Historical Fiction
September 2010
$14.99/$17.99/£7.99 UK
505 pages

Elizabeth Bennet is off to America to visit her aunt and uncle. Her father, is loathe for her to go, but after placing her in the care of the competent captain, he acquiesces and waves goodbye from the docks. Elizabeth is sailing in steerage on Pemberley’s Promise, and soon discovers that the dark and close quarters are undesirable. She walks on deck in the early morning to breathe the clean air. She gives up her bed to a woman with sick children, leaving her only place left to sleep on the floor. The handsome and aloof Mr. Darcy, sailing in one of the most elegant cabins, has taken notice of the unconventional and attractive Elizabeth. In true Pride and Prejudice style the characters of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet banter back and forth as they stroll the boards of the ship. They met once before several years ago in a carriage ride. It was clear then as now their social circles were completely opposite, yet drawn to each other. This is the story of the marriage, between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy that occurred while on board the ship. A marriage on paper only, for propriety’s sake, as they both agree to a future annulment upon Darcy’s return to London.


With the countless retells of Pride and Prejudice on the shelves these days, I was not sure I wanted to sit down for another version. With welcomed delight, this one is full of life, honors the memory of the original and offers a scenario of happenstance that works. I did notice that this Elizabeth is a little more agreeable, with a little less of an edge to her colorful conversations. Her personality is softer in the beginning, than the original Elizabeth, but perhaps she is characterized this way on purpose. Traveling alone without the security of family surrounding her, she is more vulnerable. I fell in love with Mr. Darcy all over again and it is painful to read his despair upon losing Elizabeth in America. In fact their separation caused me frequent anxiety reading the story, hastening my pace to find out how it all works out. The love between the two is prideful and the prejudice still remains. As they once again appear to be star-crossed, these memorable lovers from historical literature are presented by Kara Louise with endearment. Darcy’s Voyage takes you beyond the continent and back, and with her responsible portrayal, you still feel the depth of their passion, their desire and their need for one another. Loved it!

What were they thinking.....

Mr. Darcy
Wrought with anxiety, he paced back and forth up on the deck for some time, compelled to rush into his room and declare his love, and yet held back by the apprehension of how she would receive it. Those little voices with whom he had argued earlier surfaced again, but this time more meekly, and he was able to rid his mind of them. He knew he could not live without her, and it was worth it to take the risk: the risk of what his family would say, what his friends would say, and most importantly, what she would say.”(Chapter 12)

Elizabeth Bennet
“She sat still, fervently keeping an eye to the door, wondering when he would return. She absently fingered the coverlet that lay on her bed, sketching in her mind what she would say to him wondering what she should say to him. As each minute ticked away she could not decide if she more greatly feared his prompt return or desired it.” (Chapter 13)

Disclosure: I am an Indiebound Affiliate. I received this review copy from Sourcebooks for free.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Its All About Children Thursday-Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

This week on All About Children Thursday, I have the much talked about Young Adult book, Shiver.

by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Paperback (June 2010)© 2009
400 pages
Young Adult

As a young girl, Grace was attacked by a pack of wolves in her back yard in Mercy Falls. She was saved by one wolf with yellow eyes. She has never forgotten her wolf and often she sees them gather on the fringe of her woods. She thinks of them often with curious interest. Sam lives his life in two forms. Part of the year, when the temperature is cold he is wolf. When the warm weather returns he is Sam again. When Grace meets Sam, she is convinced he is the wolf who saved her for his eyes give him away. Grace is drawn to Sam and they fall in love, but the cold weather is coming and life will change for both of them when Sam must return to his pack.

This paranormal romance held my interest and I was curious enough to breeze through the story. It reminds me of Beauty of the Beast meets Twilight, a fairy tale without a castle and forbidden love, or rather what seems an impossible love. Grace and Sam share a precious young romance that is sweet and you want everything to work out. There are strangely no parental obstacles, because Grace is independent, her parents oblivious to her daily routines. The challenge the two face is Sam’s physiological dilemma and the occasional questions from classmates. It is difficult to review this with enough depth without giving out spoilers, but I liked this book. As a young adult book, I know this will draw an audience. Stiefvater has written an engaging story full of your typical teenage drama of love, with a paranormal dimension. A host of questions to answer and a problem to solve keep the pace moving forward. I will leave the ending a mystery for the readers. I won’t tell. Meanwhile, sitting on my nightstand is Linger. This sequel is a story I am anxious to continue as Shiver was an entertaining read.

What were they thinking.....
“I glanced out the window at the woods, the pale lines of the trees phantoms against the dark. If my wolf was out there, I couldn’t see him. “Mom, you’re the one who told me over and over and over again: Wolves are usually peaceful.” Wolves are peaceful creatures. This had been Mom’s refrain for years. I think the only way she could keep living in this house was by convincing herself of the wolves’ relative harmlessness and insisting that my attack was a one-time event. I don’t know if she really believed that they were peaceful, but I did.” (Chapter 5)

“I could still smell her on my fur. It clung to me, a memory of another world.” “The smell of summer on her skin, the half-recalled cadence of her voice, the sensation of her fingers on my fur. Every bit of me sang with the memory of her closeness. Too close. I couldn’t stay away.” (Chapter 7)

Author’s Website

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme,
hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along!

This week my teaser comes from:

Darcy's Voyage, by Kara Louise
(This quote is from an uncorrected advance copy)

Synopsis from the cover:

In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Benet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley's Promise. She's prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down.

"It is amazing, is it not, Darcy, how a violent storm can rise up out of calm, idle waters so unexpectedly? I am always surprised but never caught off guard. We can be travelling through what we think are tranquil waters, believing everything is going exactly as planned, heading in the exact direction we want, when in the blink of an eye, everything around us is jostled, tossed around and completely shaken up. When it has passed, we are not at all where we thought we would be when we first set out."
(page 178) Captain Wendell speaking to Mr. Darcy

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mailbox Monday, August 16, 2010

(The pic is from The National Postal Museum, 1907)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from The Printed Page where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox
Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit.

This week I had an abundant mailbox some expected and some surprises. I want to thank all the publishers and authors who sent new books to the Bookworm Dinner's Mailbox.

, by Praline Tangerine ( sent by Picnic Basket). This one is hysterical so far. You can just tell by the pic that this one that Buddy Zooka is a hoot. Well, it is a YA, but honestly it is a book for everyone. More on this one later.

MAPS AND SHADOWS, by Krysia Jopek ( sent by Aquila Polonica)

THE CAILIFFS OF BAGDAD, GEORGIA, by Mary Helen Stefniak (Library Thing Early Reviewer)

HEARTBROKE BAY, by Lynn D'Urso (Berkley Trade for HNR)

CURRICULUM 21, Essential Education for a Changing World, by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

DEWEY'S NINE LIVES, by Vicki Myron (Dutton)

LITTLE PRINCES, One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, by Conor Grennan (William Morrow)

I am an IndieBound Affiliate and by purchasing any of these books through my link, I will make a very small percentage.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Salon-Meet & Greet for the Greyhounds

The Sunday Salon.com

Yesterday, I was helping out at a Meet and Greet for Greyhound Adoption. Greyhound Rescue and Rehabilitation is a non-profit organization located in the Cross River, NY, dedicated to saving retired greyhound racers. Most of you know I have three and recently lost my dear Webster. In any case, Meet and Greet events provide a perfect opportunity to visit and get to know the breed. Many people have never seen a greyhound up close. These dogs bask in the affection and enjoy all the attention they get at these gatherings. I have never seen an unhappy greyhound here..all happy tail times. :)

Normally, there are ambassa-dogs who are the old pros and have settled in to pet life with new homes. For instance, I took Wizard yesterday and he was there to show his gentle, quiet and loving personality. Poor Lion, left at home with Mystery, was really mad he couldn't go. Just to show how unhappy he was, he left me a little present on the floor that I discovered upon my return. He would never do this, just never soils the house. How they know about these things, I'll never know, but Lion is my normal Meet and Greet dog. I didn't want to take him yesterday, because of his sore shoulder. So, like a brat, he showed me in his way just how upset he was. Brat, brat, brat!!!

The purpose of the Meet and Greet is to showcase some of the foster dogs, raise awareness by answering question about the breed and raise a little money for the organization. We normally raise more awareness than money, but that's okay. We always have an abundant backlog of available greyhounds.

Here are some pics of the event:

Lorna..off the track 2 weeks is available! Isn't she a sweetheart?

Our booth at Petco

Strider...adopted last year

Sara Lee meets an Italian Greyhound shopping in the store.

McBride and Annie Wait to Greet Shoppers

Today, I hope to finish Russian Winter and start Darcy's Voyage by Kara Louise. It looks a bit overcast in Connecticut, but I'm happy for a quite reading day. Wizard is still shot from his long day at work yesterday, but I know he likes this job more than running after a bunny at a track. LOL

Hope you enjoy your Sunday! What are you planning for the day?