Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins’ War #3) by Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War, #3)

The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins’ War #3)

Hardcover, 502 pages
Published September 15th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Ltd
Rating:4/5 Stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory weaves witchcraft, passion, and adventure into the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the War of the Roses.Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta has always had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she meets his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and recognizes her own power in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the “wheel of fortune” before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.Married to the Duke of Bedford, English Regent of France, Jacquetta is introduced by him to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the Duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the Duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

Drawing on years of research, Philippa Gregory tells the story of the Woodvilles who achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty of the House of York.

Jacquetta fights for her King, her Queen, and for her daughter Elizabeth Woodville, a young woman married to a neighbor for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.

A sweeping, powerful story based on history and rich in passion and legend, The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of the real-life mother to the White Queen. Philippa Gregory is writing at the height of her talent.


Philippa Gregory takes a step back farther in time with The Lady of the Rivers; after exploring the lives of the various Tudor women in a succession of novels, she now dives into the rich and complicated history of the Wars of the Roses. This was a period in the 1400s where two branches of the Plantagenet royal family struggled for power over England (and various bits of France).

The protagonist in The Lady of the Rivers is Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who is not generally a well-known historical figure. The story covers Jacquetta’s life from adolescence to middle age, and Gregory fans will realize that it ends with the beginning of Gregory’s 2009 novel The White Queen.

I’ve been critical of Gregory’s kings-and-queens novels in the past, mostly because I would like to see more pure fiction from her, but I enjoyed The Lady of the Rivers. As usual, though, I did not find the protagonist particularly interesting; I felt that she was an observer of history rather than being a participant in it. Of course, in those days a noblewoman’s role was to run the house and lands while the men fought (Jacquetta does plenty of that) and produce children (Jacquetta had sixteen). So maybe the impression of passivity that I received was due to the necessity of sticking fairly close to historical fact. The bits of white magic that all of Gregory’s heroines inevitably indulge in do not come across as exciting enough to compensate me for the lack of action.

And yet there were some definite improvements over recent novels in the series. For one thing, Jacquetta gets to travel around quite a bit, and even though she’s not in the battles I did get a better sense of being near to the action than I usually do. And the supporting cast was good; I particularly liked Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI’s queen, and I found the account of Henry VI’s mental illness compelling. There were several other memorable characters; in fact, I now understand the Wars of the Roses a whole lot better. So if you read historical fiction for the history, you’ll be satisfied.

I’m not going to say much about Gregory’s writing idiosyncracies here, since what I was reading was a galley (which had not even been edited for capitalization and paragraph layout; that surprised me). I desperately want to send her the gift of a big bag of semicolons, though. Gregory is the undisputed queen of the comma splice.

One last comment; I have been reading Gregory for years, and am fascinated to note that the novels are getting less sensual as time goes on. This one was PG-rated.

Overall impression: a good Gregory, and recommended for lovers of English history.

-Cassandra @ SoManyBooksSoLittleTime
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Friend Reviews


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Waiting On Wednesday: Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire

Waiting on Wednesday. This is aweekly event hosted by Crystal Walker, Ana Carter, Shannon Medeiros, Cassandra Livingston, Chennel Lee, and Sophia Carter that spotlites upcoming new releases that we’re highly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2)

Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2)
by Jamie McGuire
Paperback, 432 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2013 by Atria Books
Beautiful Disaster told in Travis point of view.

How much is too much to love?

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. Just when he thought he was invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Jamie McGuire’s New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

What are you waiting on?

Link me up!!! :)


Quote of the Week!

“Fortune is not on the side of the faint-hearted.” 
― Sophocles
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Quotes


The Red Queen (The Cousins’ War #2) by Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen (The Cousins' War, #2)
The Red Queen (The Cousins’ War #2)
by Philippa Gregory
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Touchstone
Rating: 4/5 Stars
The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Two royal houses, each thinking that they are the rightful heir to the throne can only mean one thing: War. The Red Queen is the second novel in the Cousins’ War series (the first being The White Queen) and it tells the story of Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the red rose of the House of Lancaster. Forced into marriage at the age of 12 and a mother and a widow by age 13, Margaret is determined to take her destiny into her own hands and to place her son on the throne of England, as it is God’s will. This is the story of the woman who united the House of Lancaster and the House of York and who founded the Tudor dynasty in England.

Not one of Gregory’s best novels but I still really enjoyed it. Didn’t really like Margaret Beaufort, but I get the impression that not too many people really liked her in real life either based on the views of the other characters. Once again, Gregory was able to bring the characters to life with her gripping battle scenes and amazing details. Even though this is a part of a series, it can stand on its own as well. I would recommend this novel to fans of Philippa Gregory and to those who are interested in reading about a powerful woman who has been largely ignored in the genre of Historical Fiction.

-Cassandra @ SoManyBooksSoLittleTime



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Exposed (Just One Night #2) by Kyra Davis

Exposed (Just One Night, Part 2)

Exposed (Just One Night #2)

ebook, 128 pages
Published March 18th 2013 by Pocket Star
Rating:5/5 Stars
Exposed (Just One Night, Part 2)


Part 2 of the Just One Night series. One passionate night with a stranger turned Kasie’s world upside down, and just when she thought she was getting the hang of things, her fiancé finds out… 

You should sleep with a stranger —those words whispered in her ear by her best friend became a challenge Kasie took to heart. Suddenly, the man who gave her the most shocking pleasure in that upscale Vegas hotel —a man whose name she never bothered to find out —is her company’s biggest client.

As this unknown man becomes Mr. Dade at the office, and Mr. Dade becomes Robert in the bedroom, Kasie’s passion won’t let her deny him anything he wants. But when her fiancé, Dave, finds out, there’s no telling what he will do to keep her, or what Robert will do to steal her away once and for all.


**ARC was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review**
There is sooooo much going on here it’s crazy!
So this novel started off where the first novel ended when Kasie’s boyfriend Dave has discovered her infidelity and she has returned to him. She has flown too close to the intense brilliance of the sun that is Robert Dade, her wings are severely burnt and now Dave has returned her to the gilded cage she found so constricting before and he holds all the cards. He uses emotional blackmail to force her to stay and his anger verges on abuse. She is trapped, saddened, and imprisoned – only her mind is soaring free as she indulges in a rich fantasy world involving Robert Dade and everything he can do to her to make her body sing.
I admired Kasie’s bravery and intelligence. She did what she needed to do in a classy way, a behavior I can only praise. I just hope she is strong enough to face Robert and not yield to his demands.
Robert surprised me in this book. He is very intense, dominant and sexy in a scary kinda way. I didn’t know he had such a dark side and we get a true glimpse of it before the book ends. I don’t know how I feel about this though. I am sure we will learn more about him in the next book but right now I am still amazed about this new side of him.
The ending of Exposed left me with a feeling of foreboding. It doesn’t have the sexually-charged romance between Kasie and Robert dominating the storyline like part one. The ugliness of betrayal and revenge casts a dark shadow in this book. This is a story about revenge and power. Everything is how to one up the other. But by the end you see who holds everyone’s cards. This book did not go the way I thought it would. I cannot even predict where part three will take us and leave us. I’m still absolutely captivated by the writing style and this is definitely very edgy erotic romance, although there’s not actually much in the way of romance in this one. It’s most definitely a bit of a departure from the path most erotic romances take and I think it’s safe to say that part two is NOT going to be what you expect!
I am eagerly awaiting the third installment!!

Book 3:

Binding Agreement (Just One Night, Part 3)

Binding Agreement (Just One Night, Part 3)    


Check out my review of the first novel:

The Stranger (Just One Night #1) by Kyra Davis (
-Ana @SoManyBooksSoLittleTime
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in ARC


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer Johnson, Bridget&Britney Darwin, Ana&Sophia&Stephi Carter, Cassandra Livingston, Crystal&Nicole Walker at So Many Books So Little Time.This is where book bloggers gather to talk about what books they read and/or reviewed last week, what books they’re currently reading and what books they’re planning to read. This is a great way for us to plan our reading week/month, and to take a sneak peek at what others are reading. Usually Posted on Monday’s.

Read/Reviewed Over the Last Few Weeks:

Book Titles are linked to the Book Review:
Honor and Obey (Honor Series #3) Honor Thy Teacher (Honor, #2) Honor Student (Honor Series, #1) Release Me (Stark Trilogy, #1)
Honor and Obey (Honor #3) by Teresa Mummert
Honor Thy Teacher (Honor #2) by Teresa Mummert
Honor Student (Honor #1) by Teresa Mummert
Release Me (Stark Trilogy #1) by J. Kenner

A Duke's Promise: A Forgotten Castles Novel The Reluctant Countess The Righteous and Very Real Housewives of Utah County


A Duke’s Promise: A Forgotten Castles Novel (Forgotten Castles #3) by Jamie Carie
The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella
The Righteous and Very Real Housewives of Utah County by Miguel Santana

Betrayals (Strange Angels, #2) Season of the Wolf Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3) Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)

Betrayals (Strange Angels #2) by Lili St. Crow, Lilith Saintcrow
Season of the Wolf by Jeffrey J. Mariotte 
Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore
Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3) by Kristin Cashore

Currently Reading:  

 Neferet's Curse (House of Night Novellas, #3)

Neferet’s Curse by P.C. and Kristen Cast

Neferet's Curse (House of Night Novellas, #3)         

What Are You Reading?


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The White Queen (The Cousins’ War #1) by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1)

The White Queen (The Cousins’ War #1)

Hardcover, 408 pages
Published August 18th 2009 by Touchstone (first published 2009)
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Philippa Gregory presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author.

Review:After showcasing as many Tudor royals as any one reader can comfortably stomach, Philippa Gregory strives to show us another English Royal family as equally interesting. The White Queen launches her War of the Roses trilogy, and focuses on Elizabeth Woodville. Gregory’s Woodville falls instantly in love with the King, and she ascends the throne at a dangerous time of civil war. An incredibly cut throat period in which each claimant to the throne has a much right as the next, and the alliances of the Great Families of England are always shifting. We soon learn that no one, especially your own family can be trusted in noble England. Elizabeth and Edward’s union makes instant enemies, and the entirety of their marriage will be spent on defending the throne.

In my opinion, while this novel is good, it is not as good as either Boleyn book chiefly because I felt that I understood those characters. In The White Queen, Elizabeth is painted as complacent and dutiful wife during the first half of the novel, and ambitious shrew during the second. Towards the end it becomes a Woodville on the throne at any cost which may have been historically accurate, but it didn’t fit with Elizabeth’s established persona up until then. Elizabeth also believes she is the descendent from a water goddess from a fairy tale which Gregory interrupts literally, and that tale is interspersed with Elizabeth’s tale although they don’t quite connect. The tenses also shift from Elizabeth’s first person to assumedly Elizabeth’s first person describing battle details as they happen which doesn’t make sense and is jarring.

However, the book is still one of Gregory’s best. As always the story is instantly gripping. You are immediately immersed in the Woodville family, and their struggles to advance their family while ensuring security for Edward’s reign. Gregory does a great job of fleshing out a family that has been villanized by history, and presenting their side of the story. And even those who know the inevitable outcome will be surprised by Gregory’s take. Gregory doesn’t attempt to pander for sympathy to Elizabeth’s plight and instead gives us as even a portrayal of Elizabeth as the historical records afford. And Elizabeth’s relationship to her own daughter (also Elizabeth) is easily my favorite element of the novel, this relationship is almost portrayed as Elizabeth wrestling with her own conscience which is not only brilliant but expertly builds interest for the next two books in the series.

-Cassandra @ SoManyBooksSoLittleTime
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Friend Reviews


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