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text 2014-07-01 17:51
Read in June
Home Work - Kaje Harper
The Queen's Exiles - Barbara Kyle
The Way Through The Woods - Colin Dexter

Yeah...I got a lot of reading done this month. And sadly none of it were terribly impressive. Home Work was nice fluff but the first two in the series were much better, The Queen's Exiles was mainly dull and The Way Through The Woods was...well full of too much unfortunate sexism.


Next on the list: working on my currently reading-list which is...long. I haven't even added all of it to booklikes, yet because...because I'm lazy and watch too much football. There's also  Mord in Metropolis a crime-novel about a murder during the filming of Fritz Lang's Metropolis which is unfortunately not even half as awesome as it sounds, a non-fiction on the Bloody Sunday campaign which is interesting but somehow I feel that they expect is a bit too much pre-existing knowledge from the reader and a book by a German journalist about the Troubles. It's from the late 80s so somewhat out of date but still interesting.


(And I have no idea how all the Northern Irish on my currently reading shelf happened)

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review 2014-06-19 00:00
The King's Daughter
The King's Daughter - Barbara Kyle I have said it before and I will say it again, Goodreads needs half stars! I don't really want to give this book three stars but finishing a nearly 500 page book means it was better than two stars.

This book is the second of the novels featuring the Thornleigh family. I wasn't head over heels in love with the first novel, but I didn't hate it either. I felt it was a good place to start a series. The second book let me down, big time. Maybe it was because this novel takes place 20 years after the first. Maybe it was because Isabel just isn't Honor. Maybe it was because I had figured out what was going to happen about 100 pages into the book. The blurb on one of the next books talks about Isabel and her future husband Carlos. Another blurb talks about Honor and Richard working for Princess Elizabeth. This makes is pretty obvious, Honor's gunshot doesn't kill her. Richards escapades through various prisons don't kill him. Isabel doesn't get married to Martin. Carlos isn't as bad as he wants us to believe he is. There just wasn't an real sense of mystery to the book.

There was a scene which was described as other reviews as deplorable, disgusting, difficult to stomach, etc. I glanced over the scene. I didn't think it required as much detail as was given. A father watched his jailer go to town on his daughter in exchange for the father's release for prison. I think it's safe to assume the father is going to be pretty upset watching this. The detail used to describe the rape wasn't really necessary to the story. I can see where people were possibly offended by it but I really wasn't. I have definitely read worse. However, as I said, I didn't really think it was necessary.

I did find Kyle's descriptions of the conditions of English prisons to be well done. I especially appreciated the details about gentleman's prison versus everyone else's prison.

I don't think I'm going to continue reading the Thornleigh series right this moment. I have a lot of other books I want to read and frankly, this one just doesn't make me want to continue one in the series right now. I will more than likely come back to the series as some point. If I do pick up the next book it will be because Isabel isn't mentioned as a major player. I just didn't like Isabel. For a person who her peers describe as intelligent, she certainly wasn't. Her decision making was highly questionable and there were various times when common sense seemed to escape her entirely. You're going to trust a Spanish mercenary you just helped escape from prison? Probably not the best idea. You are going to sneak around London prisons unattended? Again, not the best decision. . The whole "you really are your mother's daughter" thing just got to be too much. I didn't think Isabel was much like her mother at all. Honor's motives felt more genuine. Isabel's felt a little selfish, more teen angst driven. It was pretty clear Isabel was a spoiled child. Her solution to a fair amount of her problems was to throw money at it.
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review 2014-06-04 18:01
Review: The Queen's Exiles
The Queen's Exiles - Barbara Kyle

The blurb made it sound like a historical novel with some romance in the background but it is very much a straightforward historical romance that includes some of my pet-peeves in the genre: the 'there is no life without you' one and the 'nothing compares to you'-one.

Especially in the first half Adam and Fernella barely could stop thinking about each other, Even if they were separated they thought about the awesome hotness of the other every couple of pages. Don't worry...I did not forget that you were in love.

The other thing was that they really had to hammer it in, that the other one was special and nobody else ever gave them the same feeeeels. Even Fernella, who at the beginning talks about how much she loved her dead husband suddenly changes her tune to 'he was the best husband a woman could wish for but he never made her feel like Adam did'.

Yeah...I get it. Twu luv forever and ever.


However: unlike in many romances the designated couple's happiness is not the only thing at stake. The book is set in the Netherlands during the Spanish occupation and both Adam and Fernella have a price on their heads.

They are in danger. Constantly.

As are people close to them. Also pretty much constantly.

They are also pretty stupid. So they get in more danger. Constantly.

The book is pretty much a long succession of either of them (or their friends) getting shot at, (almost) captured, tortured, shot at again, attacked by assassins, (almost) captured again...rinse and repeat.

It was just too much. About halfway through I just didn't care anymore. In the course of two chapters somebody is getting tortured, another person gets his ear cut of and a child gets his throat slit?

Yeah. Whatever.


If there is constant violence, gore and bloodshed in your novels your readers won't be constantly on the edge, biting their nails, they'll just get bored.


It's a shame because there is potential. The story is set in a place and time-period I didn't know much about (OK...I didn't know anything about) and - as far as I'm aware - isn't a setting that is terribly popular with writers of historical fiction. Sadly, as mentioned, that setting is mainly used for the blood and shock-value. 

Fernella has also the potential to be a great character. Even though the book can't avoid some other tropes it does spare us the pure virgin heroine. Fernella wasn't only married before she met Adam she also earned money with prostitution before that marriage and it's treated as non-issue. She had no other choice and she feels no shame about it. (Though when she goes undercover in a brothel for plot-reason she desperately tries to avoid to have sex with anybody there which suggests to me that she did not think that plan through). But apart from that she stays somewhat colourless. As do all other characters. They're all either good or evil with little shades inbetween and you can smell the 'sacrificial lambs' that are going to die so that Fernella can angst about it from miles away.




ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review

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text 2014-05-29 18:30
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
The Queen's Exiles - Barbara Kyle

I just realized I know zero about Dutch history except having already heard the name William of Orange. So thank you book for that nice introduction...without it I would have been lost.

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review 2014-05-28 00:00
The Queen's Lady
The Queen's Lady - Barbara Kyle This book was so close to five stars. A few things kept it from being five stars. The first was the author's characterization of Thomas More. The idea of the man as some sick pervert just did not work for me. To argue what Thomas More experienced in the course of the story was lust, not perversion, does not appeal to me. In my opinion, the author characterized him as a pervert and I cannot get on board with that particular interpretation. My second issue with the book came in the author's notes. I know, it hardly seems fair to take issue with the author's notes as they don't really have anything to do with the actual story. In the author's notes, Ms. Kyle uses the phrase "Flanders mare" to describe Anne of Cleeves. No one during Henry VIII's reign used that term. That is a contemporary term. Henry VIII told Cromwell "I like her not". I am not going to list all of the sources that support the above statements. A Google search will confirm the above. Of course if you would like, a Google search will also tell you my statements are incorrect. Ah...the internet. I would just like to point this out because I'm starting to get more than a little annoyed with authors of historical fiction who express a desire to be historically accurate as much as possible but then throw out things like "Flanders mare" (or Anne Boleyn miscarrying the Satan spawn of her brother)

Aside from those few things I found this book to be very enjoyable. I thought it painted a vivid pictures of life in England during the time of Henry VIII. The heroine was likable and I look forward to reading the next book in the series which I see focuses on the next generation of Thornleighs. I have read my fair share of historical fiction and I am coming to find that some of my favorite reads are those about fictional characters instead of historical characters. This book is no different. My favorite characters were the fictional characters. Can there be a stand alone novel about Pieter? I adored that little boy!
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