July 19, 2010

Adding to Mt. TBR thanks to Bloggers, Part 2

This is part 2 of Adding to Mt. TBR. To see part 1, click here.

Book: To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker
Recommended by: Amy @ Passages to the Past
Synopsis:
On a May morning in 1664, in the small village of Versailles, as hundreds of young aristocrats are coming to pay court to King Louis XIV, a peasant fan-maker gives birth to her first and only child, Marguerite. Determined to give her daughter a better life than the one she herself has lived, the young mother vows to break the newborn’s bonds of poverty and ensure that she fulfills her destiny—to dance with kings. Purely by chance, a drunken nobleman witnesses the birth and makes a reckless promise to return for Marguerite in seventeen years. With those fateful words, events are set into motion that will span three monarchies, affecting the lives of four generations of women.

Marguerite becomes part of the royal court of the Sun King, but her fairy-tale existence is torn out from under her by a change of political winds. Jasmin, Marguerite’s daughter, is born to the life of privilege her grandmother dreamed of, but tempts fate by daring to catch the eye of the king. Violette, Marguerite’s granddaughter, is drawn to the nefarious side of life among the nobles at Versailles. And Rose, Violette’s daughter, becomes a lady-in-waiting and confidante to Marie Antoinette. Through Rose, a love lost generations before will come full circle, even as the ground beneath Versailles begins to rumble with the chaos of the coming revolution.

An epic generational tale of loves lost, promises kept, dreams broken, and monarchies shattered, To Dance with Kings is a story of passion and privilege, humble beginnings and limitless ambition.

Book: Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn
Recommended by: Amy @ Passages to the Past
Synopsis:
A.D. 69. The Roman Empire is up for the taking. The Year of Four Emperors will change everything—especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome.
Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister Marcella is more aloof, content to witness history rather than make it. But when a bloody coup turns their world upside-down, both women must maneuver carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor…and one Empress.

Book: Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
Recommended by: Amy @ Passages to the Past
Synopsis:
To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene’s parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother’s dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win—or die?

Book: The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
Recommended by: Amy @ Passages to the Past
Synopsis:
SYNOPSIS: In a city-state known for magnificence, where love affairs and conspiracies play out amidst brilliant painters, poets and musicians, the powerful and ambitious Alfonso d’Este, duke of Ferrara, takes a new bride. Half of Europe is certain he murdered his first wife, Lucrezia, the luminous child of the Medici. But no one dares accuse him, and no one has proof—least of all his second duchess, the far less beautiful but delightfully clever Barbara of Austria. At first determined to ignore the rumors about her new husband, Barbara embraces the pleasures of the Ferrarese court. Yet wherever she turns she hears whispers of the first duchess’s wayward life and mysterious death. Barbara asks questions—a dangerous mistake for a duchess of Ferrara. Suddenly, to save her own life, Barbara has no choice but to risk the duke’s terrifying displeasure and discover the truth of Lucrezia’s death—or she will share her fate.

Book: The Scarlet Contessa by Jeanne Kalogridis
Recommended by: Jen @ Devourer of Books
She says:
“The Scarlet Contessa” confirmed what I thought after reading “The Devil’s Queen,” that Kalogridis is a very skilled author. Her particular talent is taking characters who should be unsympathetic due to their actions and making the reader care about what happens to them. Not every author can do that, and many books have left me cold because I could not care less about the protagonist. Kalogridis, though, examines the complex motivations behind some very unsympathetic actions. Not to mention she is a great storyteller, one who knows how to captivate her audience. Highly recommended.

Book: Day for Night by Frederick Reiken
Recommended by: Jen @ Devourer of Books
She says:
“Day for Night” is unlike any other book I’ve read, in that it is essentially a series of short stories that are somewhat but not entirely interconnected. And yet it was also a sort of novel. Instead of giving the depth of its story as experienced by a few characters like most novels, it instead gave the breadth of the story by focusing on a different set of characters whose lives interacted with one another in each of ten stories.

Book: Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran
Recommended by: Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric
She says:
Despite some predictability, Watermark is a captivating novel about the power of words. The beautiful writing, with a strong female lead and a cast of interesting secondary characters living in a frightening period when beliefs that do not conform to the status quo can lead to death, makes it one of my favorite reads of 2010.

Book: Hitler's Canary by Sandi Toksvig
Recommended by: Anna @ Diary of an Eccentric
She says:
Hitler’s Canary is told in the first person from Bamse’s point of view, and Toksvig does a great job showing his internal conflicts, as he is torn between obeying his parents and working for the Resistance and not always knowing who is good and who shouldn’t be trusted. There was more telling than showing in several chapters, and Bamse probably was the only well developed character, but that didn’t keep me from getting lost in the story. Bamse’s mother, the actress, was a very interesting character, and her acting abilities took center stage in a nail-biting scene involving Bamse’s shady uncle, some hidden Jews, and the Gestapo.

Book: Heresy by S.J. Parris Recommended by: Jen @ A Garden Carried in the Pocket
She says:
In 1583, Elizabeth I is on the throne of England and trying to keep the political and religious turmoil in check. Her Secretary of State (and spymaster), Sir Francis Walsingham handled both espionage and domestic security. He had close ties with Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, and his son-in-law was Sir Philip Sidney. Among his reported "intelligencers" were Christopher Marlowe and Giordano Bruno. All but Marlowe play a role in this historical mystery.

The fictional version of Giordano Bruno finds himself recruited by Walsingham and is to accompany his friend Sir Philip Sidney to Oxford, ostensibly to take part in a debate, but also on a mission to uncover secret Catholics suspected of plotting treason. Bruno finds himself trying to solve a gruesome murder that may or may not have to do with those involved in treason. When another murder is discovered, Bruno is under even greater pressure to solve the mystery, stop the murderer, and prevent the treasonous plot.

Book: Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood
Recommended by: Alyce @ At Home with Books
She says:
Lucky Girl is the story of Mei-Ling Hopgood's reunion with her birth relatives. There are a few chapters devoted to her early life - how she came to be adopted, and what her relationship with her adopted parents was like. The rest of the book though, is about how she met her Chinese relatives and developed relationships of varying degrees of closeness with them. Beyond the emotions of reuniting with unknown relatives, the aspect that I found most interesting was how cultural differences affected family dynamics.

Book: Market Day by James Sturm
Recommended by: Aarti @ Booklust
She says:
This was a short book with a quiet theme, but one that I think resonates with anyone who has had to prioritize certain things above others. It is like one of those moments when you realize that you've lost your idealism- that you no longer believe that if you just do your best work, you will be rewarded. It's a hard lesson to learn, but Sturm describes that moment wonderfully in this novella.

Lots of books to add to the list, right? Which ones do you want to add to your TBR?

6 comments:

  1. I would like to add all of course but prioritize prioritize I keep telling myself. Then it would be Market Day and Watermark. tough choices!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Reading blogs can be dangerous for those of us with book addictions!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad I tempted you with Market Day! I really enjoyed it- I hope you are able to get it soon :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. So many interesting books and awesome covers! I hope you get a chance to read Lucky Girl!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a cool post idea - to share the books you've found to read, credit the sources of your discoveries, and give a snippet of what they had to say. Love it! But you are right - this can become dangerous ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like all of the ones you listed!!! Whew...I'm not part of the guilty crew this week!! LOL!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting! Leave a comment and share your thoughts with me!