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Search tags: Elizabethan
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text 2018-09-20 06:32
Mistress Spy by Pamela Mingle
Mistress Spy - Pamela Mingle

DNF @ 12%

The synopsis made me think of Nikita in the Elizabethan era.

Intriguing, right?

Wrong.

The first chapter was a battle scene, but you couldn't tell. It was all about the heroine, her rage, her need for vengeance and her utter hopelessness as a "soldier". Instead of putting the reader in the thick of things, where you can feel the cold nipping at your skin, where you can smell the blood and sweat of your fellow soldiers, the author spent the best part of the battle inside the heroine's head. And let me tell you, it was a very boring place.

The boredom proceeded with the next few chapters where absolutely nothing happened (no torture, no boiling oil, nothing), but for the heroine to notice just how attractive and gentle her captor was. Foreshadowing much?

So I went and read the last few chapters, to see if it was worth it...It wasn't. The last few chapters were as boring as the first few. The characters were rather bland, the pacing was plodding, and as original as the synopsis sounded, the story was nothing but.

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review 2018-07-26 19:31
Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power - Stephen Greenblatt

Greenblatt's studies on Shakespeare on "must reads" for me.  His discussion of the tyrants throughout Shakespeare's writings are thought-provoking in a way that I don't find anywhere else.  I particularly enjoy the discussion of Coriolanus, since that particular play is less performed and discussed than others.  I teach Coriolanus every year and students really love analyzing him so this book will add depth to our conversations around the motivations and thoughts of Caius Martius.  

Greenblatt makes it clear what his political leanings are and whether you agree with him or not, this study of the nature of tyrannical power is one well worth reading.

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review 2018-04-23 12:15
Across A Moonlit Sea by Marsha Canham
Across a Moonlit Sea - Marsha Canham

Simon Dante, a French count with a British mother, prefers to spend his time on the deck of his ship, Virago, battling the Spanish on the high seas, instead of being a man of leisure in the court of Queen Elizabeth. Then one day, he's betrayed by his fellow sea hawk and left to die in the circle of six Spanish zabras.
Dante and his crew put up a fight, remaining afloat long enough for a merchant ship, Egret, to sail by, captained by Jonas Spence and helmed by the man's daughter, Isabeau "Beau" Spence.

Sparks fly immediately between Dante and Beau, mostly thanks to the "unorthodox" way his crew come to stay on board the Egret, and later due to the palpable attraction between them. But they've both been burned before, so trust doesn't come easily...Even as they sail toward England and embark on a quest to help Sir Francis Drake in ruining King Philip's plans of war.


I love Marsha Canham's books. Simply love them. The narration is evocative, painting incredible vivid pictures of characters and their surroundings no matter which era the story is set in. This one was no different...The sea was brilliantly blue, the storms frighteningly loud, the battles at sea gripping (you could smell the gunpowder and hear the thunderous roar of cannons), and the battle of wits between the two sexes intriguing, engrossing and inspiring even though the outcome was predictable.

The set-up might sound formulaic—Marsha Canham always pits two headstrong leads against one another with the hero always towering over the heroine, at the peak of physical condition, dark, handsome and extremely arrogant and his heroine loving to antagonize him, matching him word for word as they both try to fight the passion and attraction blazing between them—but each story is an entity of its own (even if they're part of series or trilogies) with characters so distinctly different (albeit similar in physical descriptions), and romantic couples never encountering obstacles and woes similar to those before them (except for the fighting against the inevitable part), that the reader notices the initial formula or template, and then promptly forgets about it as they're swept along.

This story was no different. Both Simon and Beau were strong, self-sufficient characters, stubborn and afraid to trust the unknown, but they both became even stronger as a couple. Their verbal battles were amusing and rather arousing as they served as foreplay for what was to come. But even as they succumbed to the inevitable, they never lost those individual character traits that made them tick, keeping up with the battles of wits and words long after their fates were already set.
I loved them separately and I loved them together; the sparring and the loving equally wonderful to read.

Then there was the supporting cast (with an additional romance thrown into the mix) with two motley crews of seamen, friends and confidantes, a father talking to his daughter about itches that might need to be scratched, a hulking Cimaroon with his two gleaming scimitars, a gunman with unsteady sea legs constantly falling in love...And added to all that was Sir Francis freaking Drake.

The action sequences were breathtaking and intense, culminating in the singeing the King of Spain's beard in the port of Cadiz serving as backdrop to a much smaller battle brewing in the peripheral vision since the prologue.

This book offers a remarkable mix of a wonderful cast of characters, intense battle sequences, and a delightfully epic romance.

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review 2017-08-04 22:17
Martyr by Rory Clements
Martyr - Rory Clements

I'm glad to be finally finished. That book felt like it took forever to read. If it hadn't been a More Historical Than Fiction read I probably would have dropped it. Maybe I should have dropped it. Oh well.

 

It's not that it's a bad book or anything; I just couldn't get into it. I'm not sure why I struggled so much with it, but the dialogue seemed stilted and I was kind of bored by it. I know I wasn't supposed to be bored but I just couldn't seem to care about any of it. I also had trouble picturing the climax scene with Herrick. It just didn't make sense, physically, to me.

 

Shakespeare blocks Herrick's blow with his left arm, then brings his right arm around and strikes him on the back of the head with the hilt of his sword. They're of a height, so to accomplish this would require him swing his sword around in such a way as I find terribly inefficient. I just can't get it to work out in my head.

(spoiler show)

 

I feel that based on the subject matter, this should have been a nail-biting, riveting read, and it wasn't.

 

Previous updates:

313 of 384 pages

76 of 384 pages

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text 2017-08-04 03:44
Reading progress update: I've read 313 out of 384 pages.
Martyr - Rory Clements

You don't sew a tapestry, do you? I thought a tapestry had to be woven. 

 

What do you call a large embroidered piece of cloth? 

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