Sunday, 15 July 2018

Carole's Sunday Review: The Romanov Empress

Author: CW Gortner
Title: The Romanov Empress
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
Published: July 10 2018
Where I Got It: My shelf (Netgalley)

Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.
Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to  England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to his reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.
Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.
From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it. 

I really enjoy this author's work. I have read a few and there are more I want to read. This one landed on my lap and I've been drooling over this book for weeks. I wanted to wait until after or near its publication. 

The story follows Minnie/Maria who is Tsar Nicholas' mother. We all know the tale of the fall of Nicholas, his family, and Imperial Russia. However, how many people can they really know his mother? I know I know very little of this force of nature. In this tale, we get to see her young, newly married, become the empress, become a mother, and see her lose everything. So sad, so very sad. I cannot imagine seeing everything fall away and never really, truly knowing what happened to part of your family. She lost so many of her family members during the fall of the monarchy. 

If only those stubborn men had listened to her!! That darn Russian pride was the downfall. If they had listened to her and followed through on her father-in-law's plan to follow in England's footsteps ALL OF THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. But no. The stubbornness of males caused so many needless deaths. They could have avoided the fall of a great country. 

The story was told wonderfully. I enjoyed every moment. There were a couple of slow moments, but they did not last long. Maria had very time to rest. Lots to do especially with all those kids and constant issues popping up. 

Yes, she was a stubborn woman and could be harsh, but I was on her side pretty much for everything especially Nicholas' wife. Yes, let Nicky marry her...but I really feel that Alexandra was a huge factor in the fall of the monarchy especially with her fascination with that man. 

I liked Sasha too, but in the end, he was a stubborn male who didn't realize the people give power NOT god. England learned this and some other countries did too THUS why their royalty got to keep their place. A pity indeed. 

The ending was so sad, of course. I did get some tears especially thinking how monstrous revolutionaries can be. THE CHILDREN! They did nothing. UGH!!!!! So sad. My heart broke for Maria. She lost everything and pretty much everyone; such a tragic story. I loved it though. This was real and I felt the author really brought the characters to life. Splendid, indeed. 

In the end, this is a must-read for anyone who likes historical fictions. Heck. For anyone who likes a good people story. The author is such a good storyteller and knows how to bring historical people to life! Just note...there is no HEA in this one. Very sad. I'll stamp this with 5 stars. :3

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Saturday Movie: Churchill

1h 45min | Biography, Drama, History 

96 hours before the World War II invasion of Normandy, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill struggles with his severe reservations with Operation Overlord and his increasingly marginalized role in the war effort.

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer: Alex von Tunzelmann
Stars: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery 

My thoughts:
Yes I watched another CHurchill movie, yes I believe none of you have watched this one. And that is why I am here, watching the movies you all have not, so that you do not have to... ;)

But, it was not that bad. Ok so it was not good, but it was not bad. It was better than the movie Carole and I watched, but Oldman was a greater actor, nothing beats him.

This takes places before D Day and he feels they are making a huge mistake that will get people killed. I saw another side to him here. The war had taken its' toll, and he did not want more death.

Great actors, though why they have his wife running around when she does not really bring anything to the story I do not know. Give her a bigger part!

It was rather interesting.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Audio: Daggerspell - Katherine Kerr

My thoughts:

I loved this series long ago, though I never did finish it cos the library never did get them all. I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook to get back into this world. I did not remember everything (srsly it was years ago, I read them in Swedish so I had to be like 11-13.) I loved Rhodri and I wanted him and Jill to be together foreeeever. That is all I know.

In the present we have Nevyn, an 400 year old "mage" who travels the land trying to right a wrong. This time (being older and all), I really got Nevyn. All he wanted was to finally after so long get it right. But every time something comes in his way. Poor old guy. 

Then there is Jill who grows up on the road with her father Cullyn, a silverdagger (merc). Jill, I did see issues with her this time around. In her past lives everyone just falls for her. But, no, she is not perfect. I kept wondering why they can't find their own soulmates instead. I do like Jill, she was naive in a good way. Sweet and strong.

Then there is Rhodry, man, I bookcrushed on him in the olden days. Being older and wiser I see him in a different light. A spoiled lordling who likes to fool around with the lasses. But he does grow in the book and I respect him at the end.  And you can not fight destiny.

Oh and then there is Cullyn...what on earth did I think about him in the olden days? *cringes* *past lives horrors* Here he is a good man, but yeah, you have to read it. This past life stuff does take dark turns.

They all come together at one point when the fighting begins. Something is rotten in the state of Deverry.

Then there are the past lives. In this book we get two. The story that started it all. A brother and sister, both engaged, then everything starts to unravel and there will be death. I always liked this story. It is dark and yes the prince is to blame, or is he. I do feel like the blame could be put on another ahole and not the one one would think.

The other past lives takes place after this one. Everyone is reborn and the souls are still angry...

Sometimes I think the past lives drama are the most interesting. Cos there is drama, passion and death.

One thing missing in the audiobook is the who was who. I did miss that. I remember constantly checking when I read them.

Awww, it was so lovely re'reading this book in a way. Re'listening. I felt happy getting to know them all again. It may be over 30 years old but it still works.

Narrator: Ruth Urquhart
I do like her! She fits really well and her accent works in this "Celtic " fantasy. I like how young she made Jill be. And everyone else too

Even as a young girl, Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible realm. Little did she know her extraordinary friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past and a fateful future. Four hundred years—and many lifetimes—ago, one selfish young lord caused the death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he vowed never to rest until he'd rightened that wrong—and laid the foundation for the lives of Jill and all those whom she would hold dear: her father, the mercenary soldier Cullyn; the exiled berserker Rhodry Maelwaedd; and the ancient and powerful herbman Nevyn, all bound in a struggle against darkness . . . and a quest to fulfill the destinies determined centuries ago.

Audio CD15 pagesPublished June 26th 2018 by Tantor Audio (first published 1986)Series : Deverry #1FantasyFor review

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Audio: Cowboy Seal Redemption - Nicole Helm

My thoughts:
These titles are a mouthful! But hey I love my cowboys, in any form.

Now it's Jack's turn to find love. He suffers from ptsd, but has taken steps to get better. His life on the ranch, talking to people, and of course his therapist. All things that is making him better. And I liked seeing how he got better. He is such a sweet guy. But drama will find him as his family is coming for a visit. And grrrrr, we learned in book 1 that his fiance slept with his brother and they are not married and have a kid. Who wouldn't be angry!

In comes Rose, oh woman, she was trouble. I was so mad at her at times. But then at the end I felt sorry for her. She has issues, ISSUES. She thinks she is so strong and in control. But she has wounds that wont let her open up. I wanted to shake her and scream that he loves her and she loves him. But, this is how it was meant to be. Some people are really scarred and it takes time. I was still mad at her though cos she was so blind. 

They start a fake relationship that obviously blossoms into more.
But first they have to deal with his family. And he has to learn to talk, and she has to learn to be loved. There will be drama, slow drama, and there will be romance. It's all very bittersweet.

A sweet lovestory with thorns

Narrator: Remy Nordlinger
I like her voices for everyone and she really fits this genre.


Jack Armstrong's been slowly piecing his life back together after a career-ending injury bounced him from the SEALs. The only trouble is, his family's on their way to his new haven in Montana . . . and Jack refuses to let them know he's still hurting. Desperate, he makes a deal with local bad girl Rose Rogers: in exchange for some extra security, she'll play the perfect loving girlfriend. Rose doesn't trust any man, much less some tough-as-nails former SEAL. But the more they settle into their ruse, the more things start to feel real, and the more Rose's true fear surfaces-that she'll never be good enough for love. But Jack isn't about to lose Rose. He's done running when things get tough, and he's determined to prove-once and for all-that even the most troubled hearts can find their way to redemption.

Info:Audio CD, 10 h
Published June 19th 2018 by Tantor Audio (first published June 5th 2018)
Navy SEAL Cowboys #2
Contemporary romance
For review


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