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review 2017-07-20 13:58
Martyr by Rory Clements
Martyr - Rory Clements

First of all, let's just take a moment to appreciate that I finally finished a monthly read for More Historical Than Fiction. Yay, me! I know, I know. That's not really applause worthy, but I'm taking my successes where I can get them.  ;-)


This book was a quick, enjoyable read for me. As a fast-paced mystery with a likable protagonist and a skilled creation of the Tudor world, it captivated and held my attention. I liked the fact that even though Queen Elizabeth never appears in a scene, the reader is given a strong impression of her character and heavy hand on events.


"Those who caught her eye lived a life between heaven and hell depending on her moods, which were as changeable as the weather: one moment sunshine and balm, the next thunder and rage."


Digging a little bit deeper, this book has a few flaws. John Shakespeare makes a great first impression, but I began to wonder what it was that he really believed and stood for as the book carried on. He is willing to risk his life to do his job, but why? The religious battle that grips the country seems to matter little to him, and he has no problem arresting one Catholic and sleeping with another.


Yet it wasn't until the odd Mother Davis bit that I took this book out of 5-star contention. I'm not even sure what to say about that strange episode.


The conclusion of the book felt a bit rushed after all the suspense of getting there, but the appearance of Will Shakespeare was a fun way to wrap things up. This is a series that will go on my TBR.

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review 2017-04-19 19:58
The Martyr's Curse by Scott Mariani (SWE/ENG)
The Martyr's Curse (Ben Hope) - Scott Mariani


Den före detta elitsoldaten Ben Hope har dragit sig tillbaka från sitt våldsamma förflutna och äntligen funnit lugnet, vid ett medeltida kloster i franska alperna. Men det dröjer inte länge förrän problemen hinner ikapp honom. När Ben, efter att ha varit borta från klostret i ett dygn, återkommer till ett blodbad – någon har attackerat klostret och avrättat munkarna – väcks hans stridslystnad åter till liv. Han ska finna mördarna och hämnas. Ben ger sig av på en livsfarlig jakt och dras allt längre in i en härva av stulna skatter, bedrägerier, mord och en sjuhundra år gammal förbannelse.

Vad vill egentligen ”De förbereddas armé”, den hänsynslösa grupp som angrep klostret, uppnå? I takt med att Ben hittar fler ledtrådar uppdagas en fasansfull plan som hotar att ödelägga hela världen. Den slutgiltiga katastrofen måste förhindras – och det finns bara en man som kan göra det.



Martyrens förbannelse är den andra boken jag har läst i Ben Hope serien och jag tycker storyn i denna bok är snäppet bättre än i den förra bokne jag läste (Dolda). Men så finner jag begravda hemligheter väldigt fascinerande. Sedan är det så att man kan ju inget annat än tycka synd om Ben Hope som äntligen har funnit den frid han har sökt så länge ska tvingas ta itu med onda människor igen. Denna gång en man som är ute efter något som kan innebära världens undergång. För Ben Hope är detta uppdrag personligt, han är ute efter hämnd. Munkarna som dog var hans vänner och han stoppar inte för något eller något förrän de har fått upprättelse.

Martyrens förbannelse är en snabbläst thriller, perfekt för en mörk vinterdag när man vill tillbringa dagen i soffan under en filt. Jag gillar Ben Hope, han är inte en opersonlig mördarmaskin utan en man som har fått utstå mycket men som nu verkar ha funnit ro. Men så krossas det och än en gång måste han stoppa en galning. Jag fann att handlingen i första halvan av boken tilltalade mig mest, när man ännu inte hade svar på alla frågor. Slutstriden kändes en aning förutsägbar men boken är helt klart underhållande.


Tack HarperCollins Nordic för recensionsexemplaret!



Ex-SAS major Ben Hope has found sanctuary in a remote monastery in the French Alps. But wherever Ben goes, trouble is not far behind.

When a team of merciless killers slaughter the innocent monks Ben’s revenge quest draws him into a bewildering mystery of stolen treasure, deception and murder.

As he works to unravel the clues he is confronted with a terrifying reality that threatens to cruelly reshape the future of humanity. What is the significance of an ancient curse dating back to a heretical burning? What are the real ambitions of the enigmatic ‘Army of the Prepared’?

The race is on to prevent global devastation, and there’s only one man who can do it.

The exhilarating and addictive new thriller by the master bestseller, Scott Mariani.


The Martyr's Curse is the second book I have read in the Ben Hope series and I think the story in this book is slightly better than in the previous book I read (The Forgotten Holocaust). But I find buried secrets very fascinating. I don't you can feel anything but sorry or Ben Hope who has finally found the peace he has sought so long to be forced to deal with evil people again. This time a man who is looking for something that could mean the end of the world. For Ben Hope is this mission personal, he's out for revenge. The monks who died were his friends and he does not stop for anyone or anything until they have been vindicated.
The Martyr's Curse is a fast read thriller, perfect for a dark winter day when you just want to spend the day on the sofa under a blanket. I like Ben Hope, he is not an impersonal killing machine, but a man who has suffered much, but who now seems to have found peace. But then it's crushed and once again he must stop a madman. I found the first half of the book appealed to me the most when you have not yet had all the answers. The final battle felt a little predictable, stil, the book is certainly entertaining.
Thanks to HarperCollins Nordic for the review copy!
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text 2017-03-02 15:23
February Reading Round Up
Martyr - Rory Clements
Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters
For the Most Beautiful - Emily Hauser
The Splendour Falls - Susanna Kearsley

Nobody is more surprised than I am at my start to the reading year. After the way I finished 2016, I thought for sure 2017 was going to be the same struggle. Fortunately I have found some excellent new authors and characters to keep me motivated to read in 2017. February was another month of discoveries and fantastic reading. 


I did not quite meet all of my set February goals but considering I had less reading time, I think I still did pretty well. 


New Characters:

John Shakespeare  

-I have most of Rory Clements' John Shakespeare (Yes, that Shakespeare but not  that  Shakespeare.) in my Kindle library. They tend to come up on monthly deals quite a bit. I may have said this before but I'm going to say it again. Rarely do I really like the first novel in a series. This novel was a rare exception. I'm always on the lookout for something comparable to C.J. Sansom's Shardlake novels. I like Tudor-era mysteries that gloss over the glitz and glamour of court life and immerse the reader in the gritty back alley politics. Clements manages to capture that atmosphere with his slightly naive Shakespeare. I look forward to spending more time getting to know Shakespeare and wandering around in his Elizabethan world. 


 Amelia Peabody 

-I don't even know where to begin with this wonderful Victorian "spinster". From the first few pages where Amelia is referring to typhoid as a disease weak minded people get to the end where she is running around planning on how she is going to get her hands on a pair of pants, Amelia had me in stitches. I am going to need to make space on a bookshelf for more adventures from Amelia and friends. 


New Authors

 Emily Hauser 

- For the Most Beautiful is one of the best books I have read all year. It is going to take some pretty intense competition to bump this book off of my end of the year top 10. Like the title suggests, this book was beautiful. Hauser takes the battle of Troy and tells the story from the perspective of the women on the front lines. I knew within 20 pages, this was a book meant to be devoured in one sitting. By the end I was crying. Crying because of the inevitable fates of many of the characters. Crying because it was over. Crying because I have to wait until June to read any more of Hauser's work. 


 Susanna Kearsley 

-Several of my reading friends have suggested that  The Splendour Falls  is one of Kearsley's weakest novels. If this is what Kearsley's worst looks like, I'm dying to see what her best is like. Again, I think I'm going to need more bookshelf space.


Other Thoughts

-The latest collection of published short stories by J.K. Rowling found its way to my Kindle this month. I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. I am not-so-patiently waiting for the day my girls are finally big enough to have Harry Potter buddy reads with me. Any time J.K. Rowling announces she has released new writing, I am like a kid a Christmas. My excitement really needs to stop. I was terribly disappointed in  The Cursed Child. My levels of disappointment with these short stories was not on that level, but I was disappointed none the less. These stories are advertised as delving deeper into the world of Harry Potter. That might be the case for the casual fan. However, for avid Harry Potter fans, the stories don't really add anything to the existing Harry Potter universe. The one thing I found interesting in these short stories was Rowling's own commentary. I really enjoyed the inside look at what went into Rowling's writing. She didn't just make up words. There was a reason for everything word she wrote. 


Hopefully March provides me with more quality reading! 




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text 2017-02-06 19:39
The Best Laid Plans-February Edition
Martyr - Rory Clements
Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles - Margaret George
Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey - Nicola Tallis
A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith
The Flame Bearer (Saxon Tales) - Bernard Cornwell

I had planned on writing out my reading plans for February last week. Then the flu decided to rear its ugly head and tear through my house like my four olds tore threw Christmas presents. Of course the one time a year I happen to get sick also happens to be the time the other adult in my house decided to have dental work done. If I'm praying to the porcelain god and he's delirious from the pain medication, who exactly is watching our children? A Kindle and some Legos watched my oldest. Twin B was worshiping next to me. Twin A was hanging out outside of the bathroom door crying because we put her twin in quarantine. Where's a grandma when you need one? 


Anyway enough about my problems. Let's talk about my books! I am off to a great start this year. My personal reading goal for the year is 75. That's a bit under last year's goal of 175 but last year I was at home all day, every day with my kids until I decided to start working again in December. I've also recently become part of a crusade to get a referendum passed so my children can go to school in a building that doesn't have condemned classrooms and fungal issues. I've been spending a lot of my spare time consuming massive amounts of wine after explaining to people why they should care about the future of their children's education. Apparently around here we are suppose to care more about the future of old bricks and concrete than the flesh and blood and brains inside said bricks and concrete. Ugh. 


Seriously, I ramble. I can't help it. Those of you who take the time out of your day to stop and read this are the closest thing I get to adult interaction sometimes. I work at an elementary school. Sure there are adults there but who has time to talk to them? 


Anyway. Really this time, I'm going to tell you what I want to read in February.


At the beginning of the month I wanted to finish Martyr by Rory Clements. By the time I've gotten around to writing this post, I've finished. It checks of one of my Monopoly spaces.

-Side note: Over at Goodreads, I'm a member of a Historical Mysteries group. For 2017 we are playing Historical Mystery Monopoly. Want to join us? Come on over! 



This month I also desperately want to finish Mary Queen of Scotland and The Isles by Margaret George. I have been reading this book since the end of August 2016. It's not that I don't like George's work. I loved her novel about Henry VIII. It's just that I have such a hard time with Mary, Queen of Scots. She is just not very bright. I spend a lot of time wanting to throw my books. It's a pretty big book so I should probably avoid throwing it. 


Carrying on with the theme of finishing things, I am also looking to finish Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis. So far it is excellent. At times, I have to remind myself I'm reading non-fiction. I'm pleasantly surprised by the author who is said to have honed her craft at the feet of Alison Weir. 


Finally, I want to finish The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey and The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley.


Hopefully by the time I am done finishing books I will have time for some new books. 

Some of those books I hope to read include:

The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (my next Monopoly square)

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

A Perilous Undertaking by Deana Raybourn

The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell





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text 2017-02-01 15:04
Reading progress update: I've read 15%.
Martyr - Rory Clements

So far I'm finding this book to be dark and gritty. The author creates an atmosphere that oozes back alley intrigue. I must say I find this Walsingham to be rather reminiscent of Geoffrey Rush's portrayal from the movie Elizabeth. A portrayal which is top of the list in my opinion.


I have spent a great deal of time searching for a Tudor era series as compelling as Sansom's Shardlake novels. It appears that with Clement's Shakespeare, I may have finally found something worthy of comparison.  Of course, I'm only 15% of the way into the novel so I'm setting myself up to be slightly disappointed as this a first novel. 

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