Saturday, November 25, 2017

Review: The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 by Robert Lacey

Title: The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1

Author: Robert Lacey
Publication Date:  October 17th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Source: from BloggingForBooks
The official companion to the critically acclaimed Netflix drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown by Peter Morgan, featuring additional historical background and exclusive images.

Starring Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, Netflix's original series The Crown, created by Peter Morgan and growing out of his Oscar-winning movie The Queen starring Helen Mirren, paints a unique and intimate portrait of Britain's longest-reigning monarch. This official companion to the show's first season is an in-depth exploration of the early years of Elizabeth II's time as Queen, complete with extensive research, additional material, and exclusive, beautifully reproduced images.

One of the show's most powerful themes is that royals do not choose their duty; it is thrust upon them. Princess Elizabeth never expected her father to die so suddenly, so young, leaving her not only a throne to fill but a global institution to govern. Crowned at twenty-five, already a wife and mother, follow the journey of a woman learning to become a queen while facing her own challenges within her own family. This is the story of how Elizabeth II drew on every ounce of strength and British reserve to deal with crises not only on the continent but at home as well.

Written by bestselling historical biographer Robert Lacey, who also serves as the show's historical consultant, this official companion provides an in-depth exploration from behind the palace gates. Relive the majesty of the first season of the hit show, with behind-the-scenes photos, meticulously researched images from the time, and more.

Let me be clear that this book is really only for fans of the Netflix show. This book is the background into the show and making of this portrayal of the iconic life of Queen Elizabeth. I've always had an interest in the lives of the royal family and the Netflix show is just another way to appease my interest. I loved getting the background information in this story and seeing the story unfold in yet another medium. I look forward to reading future companions as the show progresses to other seasons and years in her majesty's reign. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: As Red as Blood

Title: As Red as Blood
Publication Date:  January 17th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: from BloggingForBooks

Lumikki Andersson has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. She knows all too well that trouble comes to those who stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. But Lumikki’s rule is put to the test when she uncovers thousands of washed Euro notes hung to dry in her school’s darkroom and three of her classmates with blood on their hands. Literally.

A web of lies and deception now has Lumikki on the run from those determined to get the money back—no matter the cost. At the center of the chaos: Polar Bear, the mythical drug lord who has managed to remain anonymous despite hosting lavish parties and having a notorious reputation. If Lumikki hopes to make it out alive, she’ll have to uncover the entire operation.

Even the cold Finnish winter can’t hide a culprit determined to stain the streets red.
This was an incredibly disappointing read. I do not have much to say about it since I ended up skimming the last third or so of the book.

Going into this book, I was expecting a thrilling edge of my seat mystery. I have read quite a few adult mystery books and was expecting something similar with this book. However, that is not what I got. This book was anything but thrilling. This is an incredibly short book and it still took me way too long to get through. I ended up skimming the last bit of this book just because I did not find it interesting at all. I never really connected with the characters and cared about what happened to them.
*Copy provided by BloggingForBooks for review*

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning

Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Publication Date:  September 20th, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Source: from BloggingForBooks
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

Henrietta can burst into flames.

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s named the first female sorcerer in hundreds of years and invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the prophesied one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta is not the chosen one.

As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?
This book took me a bit to get into. When I first started I really struggled to immerse myself in the world and really start to care about the story and the characters. I do not know if this was due to poor writing at first or just a general lack of interest on my part. But once the story started to unfold and I got further into the book, I really started to love this book and start to theorize about what was coming next.

This book has a very unique magic system that I really enjoyed learning about as Henrietta does. I personally tend to enjoy books more when I get to learn about magic at the same time as the protagonist rather than it being already established for them. The whole idea of controlling the elements with your stave (wooden wand-like object) and working to master those abilities to get approval by the queen was fascinating to me.

This book left me with many questions about Henrietta, the ancients, the Magicians versus the Sorcerers, and what is to come next. I have many theories about Henrietta's origin and what her connection to magic really is and I cannot wait for the series to continue to see what the truth is.

This book was definitely female empowerment even in a Victorian time period. Henrietta always stood up for herself and protected those under her even if she was told not to. I really enjoyed the banter she had with countless secondary characters who were trying to tell her what to do or how to behave. The many love interests kind of irked me especially given the time period and Henrietta's upbringing. Jessica Cluess definitely set it up that it could be one of at least three characters. But she did not make romance a huge part of this book, it was there but not a focus. This story was more about Henrietta's journey finding out about her abilities and planning her fight against the ancients.

I really enjoyed Jessica Cluess's take on the chosen one's story and am really intrigued by what is to come in future books!

*Copy provided by BloggingForBooks for review*