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text 2017-04-27 14:54
A Day in the Life of Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York is featured for this month at the excellent website Tudor Times. I am honored to be a guest with an article describing the daily habits and activities of England's first queen. So, what did everyday life look like for the real white princess?


Source: tudortimes.co.uk/guest-articles/a-day-in-the-life-of-elizabeth-of-york
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review 2017-04-25 18:26
Spook Street / Mick Herron
Spook Street (Slough House) - Mick Herron

A shakeup at MI5 and a terrorist attack on British soil set in motion clandestine machinery known to few modern spies. David Cartwright isn't a modern spy, however; he's legend and a bonafide Cold War hero. He's also in his dotage and losing his mind to Alzheimer's. His stories of -stotes- hiding in the bushes, following his every move have been dismissed by friends and family for years. Cartwright may be losing track of reality but he's certain about one thing: Old spooks don't go quietly and neither do the secrets they keep.


Mick Herron has really hit his stride with the fourth book in the Slough House series! River Cartwright is an inspired creation, grandson of an admired British “spook” (that’s a spy to you & me) who has been sabotaged during a training exercise by a frenemy and ended up in Slough House, the place where failed spies go to be punished for their sins.

There’s been a bombing of a shopping centre, plus River is starting to worry about his grandfather’s mental state. He has the same concerns that everyone has about relatives with dementia, plus the added concern that his grandfather may indeed shoot someone who comes to the door, believing that they are out to get him. That spy-paranoia doesn’t just go away just because he is losing his grip on every-day life.

As per usual, Herron provides a complex plot, with plenty of twists & turns to keep the reader on their toes. There are interesting revelations from the past, political machinations of the most vicious & devious kinds, and Herron isn’t afraid to sacrifice a person or two along the way. The ending is also skillfull—I was given enough resolution to satisfy, while still left with enough loose threads that I am happily anticipating the next installment. Well played!

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text 2017-04-24 13:35
What Elizabeth Learned from Mary

I am at the blog of historical fiction author Judith Arnopp today looking at what the favorably remembered Queen Elizabeth I learned from her less loved sister, Queen Mary I.


Source: juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.com/2017/04/what-elizabeth-learned-from-mary.html
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review 2017-04-23 01:19
A first-rate resource on the subject
British Cruisers of World War Two - Alan Raven

Among warships cruisers may lack the power of battleships and the mystery of submarines, but their combination of speed and firepower made them vital components of most major navies for much of the twentieth century. Though ostensibly about the Royal Navy's cruiser force during the Second World War, Alan Raven and John Roberts provide in this book a far more comprehensive compilation, one that begins with the pre-First World War Arethusa class and concludes with the postwar completions of wartime programs. Its coverage is encyclopedic, detailing their design histories, the construction and trials of the warships, and the modifications they underwent over the course of their service lives.


Supplemented by numerous tables and generously illustrated with photographs and line drawings, Raven and Roberts's book is an invaluable technical resource for anyone interested in the subject. Yet where the authors fall short is in detailing the war service of these vessels. Such coverage is actually provided in the early chapters, which describe the cruisers that served in the First World War. This makes the absence of similar coverage for their successors in the Second World War -- the titular focus of the work -- particularly glaring. Readers seeking a more comprehensive analysis would do well to supplement this book with Norman Friedman's more recent British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After which, while not as well supplemented with pictures, nonetheless provides a more useful narrative analysis of its subject.

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review 2017-04-22 21:43
All the Suspense
Scorched Edges (Tales from The Edge Book 6) - L.M. Somerton

The earlier books in this series were erotic romances with added suspense. While there certainly were heartstopping moments in the stories, the main focus was on romance, BDSM, and scorching (pun intended) scenes. Not so Scorched Edges. This book is an ‘edge-of-your-seat’ reading experience from the very beginning. This story starts from the villain’s perspective. Right from the start the reader is left in no doubt that the fire-starter is dangerous, deranged, and determined to get Beau and that knowledge made the book all the more enticing. Not that this meant we lost out on romance or BDSM scenes, far from it, but for me this book had more of a thriller feel than its predecessors had.


Beau and Marty were wonderful characters and very well matched (as all other couples have been). Beau doesn’t waste his time introducing Marty to the delights of BDSM and submission but he doesn’t rush the process either, allowing Marty to find his feet in a new to him world. It goes without saying that the scenes between these two men were ‘scorching’ (sorry, couldn’t help myself) and yes, there may have been some ‘edging’ involved as well. J


I loved Marty’s journey in this book. For a complete and totally innocent newbie to the scene he quickly recognises, accepts and fully embraces his submission to Beau. But, just in case there is still anyone around who thinks that submissive equals weak, Marty is here to disabuse you of any such ideas—when push comes to shove and his Dom is in danger, Marty proves once and for all that there’s nothing weak or indecisive about him. Of course, this contrast only makes the scenes during which he eagerly surrenders to Beau all the more beautiful and powerful.


I was a bit disappointed that the couples from the earlier books mostly made no or only a fleeting appearance in this story. I hadn’t quite realised how addicted I’d become to Olly’s wisecracks or Aiden’s temperament. But, I can’t deny that adding them to or increasing their role in this story probably would have felt forced, so I’m not actually complaining.


It won’t surprise anyone when say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The constant danger lurking in the background made sure I kept on turning the pages while Beau and Marty made sure I was totally engrossed during every other scene too. The only regret I have after finishing this book is that I’m yet another title closer to the end of this series. As much as I look forward to reading the remaining two and a bit books I have to admit I’m going to miss this world and these characters.

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