August Review

August 31, 2012

The end of the month is on me again. August went by in a blur for me. Anyway, it was a pretty good month for reading, even with everything that I had going on.

I started off the month with a couple of new releases, the first being Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. This is the second book in the All Souls Triology. I liked this one better then the first book, The Discovery of Witches. There was a lot of historical background in this story. It's all set in Elizabethan England. This story isn't for everyone, but it is a good read. To read!

Second book of the month was The Second Empress by Michelle Moran. This is the other new release I read. I typically like Michelle Moran's books, and this one didn't disappoint. This book was during the time of the emperor Napolian and the short stint he ruled over France and the surrounded countries. I honestly didn't know much about that time in history, so this was a very interesting book. To read!

Third for the month was another book by Michelle Moran, Cleopatra's Daughter. I think this was either the third or fourth re-read for me. Cleopatra's Daughter is about that, Cleopatra's daughter, her only daughter, taken by Caesar Augustus back to Rome as part of his triumph over Egypt, Cleopatra and Antony. The story follows Selene from the time she is 11 till right before her marriage. Michelle Moran captures Rome during this time vividly. It's enjoyable. To read!

For my fourth and final book for the month, I kind of stuck to the Roman theme. The Last Disciple by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer. This is the first book in the series set during the time of Nero. Christians are being persecuted and the Disciple John has spread his text of Revelation to the believers. Arguments are flying around if Jesus was a false prophet or the true messiah. People are waiting to see if his final prophecy is to be fulfilled, the fall of the temple in Judea. To read!

All in all, it's been a good month of reading. I've knocked 4 book out of the way. My book count now stands at 34 for the year. I've come to the decision to lower my goal down to 50 at this time, if I was to still shoot for 75, I would need to read about 10 a month. That just isn't going to happen at this time. So, 50 it is and that now leaves me 16 to read to reach that goal, 4 a month. That is doable. :-)

The Last Disciple

I'm continuing on with the Roman theme and started a new series. The Last Disciple is the first book in The Last Disciple series buy Hank Hanergraaff and Sigmund Brouwer. I finished this a couple of nights ago, and again I was a little to tired to write about it. I've already started reading the second book in the series.

The Last Disciple takes place during the rein of Nero after the great fire. Nero has started his persecution of the Christians, using them as the scapegoat for the fire that had happened. During this time, the Christians believed they were going through the great tribulation that was written down by John while on Patmos. The authors also helped this book go down that route as well. A lot of scholars believe that the great tribulation is coming, however, looking at in the way the the new Christians dealt with it in the beginning, makes it seem like it was going on then. It is an interesting spin on the text.

As the book title says, The Last Disciple, it has the disciple John in it. He is the last with the rest of the disciple having died before. He isn't a main character in this book. He is very much a small role. His text on the other hand plays a big part. The fight between the Jews and the new Christan's, along with the Jewish converts to Christianity is on full display. The battle of trying to prove Jesus as a false prophet. People unbelieving to the fall of the temple in Judea. The unrest in Judea amongst the Romans and the Jews. Most of this is seen through the eyes of Vitas, a former Roman general, who is one of Nero's advisers. He doesn't approve of the cruelty going on, and tries to help out the victims when possible, even if it means standing up to Nero.

You follow Vitas in his travels through Roman, Symaria, and Judea. It is very rich in the descriptions. The use of Latin through out the book I liked. It is a very good thought out story. The research shows in the story. The only negative thing I saw in the story was the frequent jumping from one character to another. The most times at one point was every page and a half for one chapter. It was little hard to keep up with, but it leveled out. Other then that small part, it's a to read!

Cleopatra's Daughter

August 27, 2012

I finished Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran a couple of days ago, but I was to tired to write about it. It's been a crazy week.

Anyway, I've read this book many times before. I love reading about Ancient Rome. This story takes place right after Augustus (Octavian) Caesar defeats Cleopatra and Antony in Egypt. Antony and Cleopatra kill themselves, Caesarion has been killed by Octavian, along with one of Antony's sons. The children on Cleopatra and Antony are the only ones left alive. The twins, Selene and Alexander and their little brother Ptolemy. Only the twins make it back to Rome with Octavian and his generals. Ptolemy dies during the voyage from and illness.

The book follows Selene and her twin through their childhood when they are 11 till 15, all the way to Selene's marriage. The back drop of Rome during this time is written in a way, that it flows. You can tell that Michelle Moran, has taken her time to study and get to know the culture of this time. Men were in charge, women, married or not, women were always subjected to their father's rule and used as pawns in their political ladder climb. It is different, but yet similar to our time with the way Rome was ruled.

Michelle Moran does acknowledge adding to the history in the book. There is one sub plot that isn't any where in history, but it did help progress the story and tie it together nicely. I will that Greeks had tragedy in their plays, Romans had it in their lives. After reading this book, I went on to study some of the lives of these people, what a depressing life they lead. It is a to read!

The Second Empress

August 17, 2012

I just finished reading The Second Empress by Michelle Moran tonight. It just came out this past Tuesday, I was very excited about this book. I have liked all but one of Michelle Moran's books and I was looking forward to this one. It didn't disappoint.

This book takes place after Napoleon has battled his way to Emperor of France and his wife Josephine can not bare him any children to be his heir, so he divorces her and sets off to look for a new bride that can give him the heir he craves and the royal blood he desperately wants.

He chooses for his bride Maria-Lucia, the great niece of Marie Antoinette, from Austria. She is a Hapsburg, from 800 years of royalty. Maria-Lucia agrees to the marriage at the age of 18, not out of love for the emperor, but to save her father's crown and to keep Austria out of war.

The book covers the five years that Maria-Lucia and Napoleon are married. Unlike the other books by Michelle Moran, this book has many different perspectives. It focused between Maria-Lucia, Pauline Bonaparte, and Paul, Paulette's chamberlain. It did seem though that there was more from Pauline and Paul then Maria-Lucia. It gave the story a little more in depth look into the Bonaparte life and the creepy relationship that was suspected between Napoleon and Pauline, but it would have been nice to see more from the actual empress.

All and all, it was a good read, a lot of history in the story. It was interesting to read about the time after Marie Antoinette and the bloody revolution, only to go back under an even more ostentatious ruler. To read!

Shadow of Night

August 10, 2012

I just finished Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (for some reason, I mix up Deborah with Diana, the character in the book) last night. This is the second book in the All Souls Trilogy, the first being A Discovery of Witches, which came out last year.

This is a new book, so there will be some spoilers. You have been warned.

Shadow of Night picks up exactly where A Discovery of Witches left off. There is no back story in the beginning, which I enjoyed. It hadn't been a long time since I read ADOW, so I was able to remember who each character was with out a refresher.

Diana and Matthew (witch and vampire) time walk back to the Elizabethan era of England. There is a lot of History in this book from this time. You travel from England, to France, back to England, to Prague, then finally back to England. There is a lot of information in this book, but it doesn't beat you over the head with it. It was paced well and the flash forwards helped out as well to keep track of the characters that were left in the present.

Diana and Matthew time walk back in time so that she can find a witch that can help her understand her ability, since she has been spell bound as a child, she has no proper knowledge of magic. She and Matthew also want to find a manuscript that may hold answers to how where vampires, witches, and daemons come from. However, there time in past extends longer then they want and get involved more and more into the past and what is going on in history and soon anomalies start happening in the present.

I will say that this book isn't for every one, but I did enjoy it. I actually liked it more then the first. I thought A Discovery of Witches was a more mature and educated version of Twilight for a time. Wealthy, good looking vampire interested by an ordinary girl, or so he thinks and can't shake her from his mind. He proceeds to stalk her, they bicker, then fall in love even with adversaries closing in. This book however moved past that thought for me. The ending did leave me with questions, in particular to one character that was in the present. The flash forwards didn't give us much insight to the people left behind. To read!

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