First Line Fridays 38: Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

/ September 21, 2018



Still working through my Kindle backlog in between reading newer books. I just finished Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. You can read my review of that book here

I've just downloaded this book from my Library. It's a novel about a 5th century Irish Saint named Brigid. The book was first published by monarch books several years back, but has been republished with two sequels about other figures in Irish history. 

In 5th-century pagan-dominated Ireland, Brigid is born a slave to her own father and is separated from her mother. 
Desperately seeking love and acceptance, Brigid becomes a believer in Christ. Knowing how the Irish people cling to superstitions and fears, can Brigid overcome them? 

Will her hatred for her father and a scheming evil sorcerer destroy her faith? Set in the era of St. Patrick, this fantasy-filled novel will captivate readers as Brigid must choose between God’s will and the desire to save her family.

I have picked my First Line today from Chapter One instead of the Prologue. 

"Brigid would never forget that day. Yet the memory of her mother's face and the sound of her voice were fading like the sun-bleached pebbles she plucked from the water's edge" 

Don't forget to click the Meme to see what the other members are reading, and comment with your own First Line

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/tag/first-line-fridays/
 



Still working through my Kindle backlog in between reading newer books. I just finished Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. You can read my review of that book here

I've just downloaded this book from my Library. It's a novel about a 5th century Irish Saint named Brigid. The book was first published by monarch books several years back, but has been republished with two sequels about other figures in Irish history. 

In 5th-century pagan-dominated Ireland, Brigid is born a slave to her own father and is separated from her mother. 
Desperately seeking love and acceptance, Brigid becomes a believer in Christ. Knowing how the Irish people cling to superstitions and fears, can Brigid overcome them? 

Will her hatred for her father and a scheming evil sorcerer destroy her faith? Set in the era of St. Patrick, this fantasy-filled novel will captivate readers as Brigid must choose between God’s will and the desire to save her family.

I have picked my First Line today from Chapter One instead of the Prologue. 

"Brigid would never forget that day. Yet the memory of her mother's face and the sound of her voice were fading like the sun-bleached pebbles she plucked from the water's edge" 

Don't forget to click the Meme to see what the other members are reading, and comment with your own First Line

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/tag/first-line-fridays/
 
Continue Reading
36576048
 Thomas Nelson, July 10th 2018 
448 Pages, Hardback and Audio

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fantasy 
Setting: Fantasy Version of 17th century Britain, primarily London. 

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death. But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


'Fawkes' took an extremely interesting idea and concept: weaving a well-known historical event with fantasy elements to create a whole new and intriguing world for readers. I had sort of mixed feelings towards this story at the beginning, but ended up liking it quite a lot.

It was well written, used excellent world-building, and presented the struggle of the two teenage protagonists struggling to find acceptance and their place in the world very well. I felt it also conveyed some of the undercurrents of political unrest and mistrust of the time well. Only instead of Catholics and Protestants, the conflict is between two groups called 'Keepers' and 'Igniters' with opposing views of the system of magic/colour power underlying the fantasy setting. Although its kinda more like an allegorical representation of those two group's approach to God in a way. 

However: this I can accept this story might not be according to everyone's taste and there were a few things which grated on me. First of all was the some of the modern language and Americanisms. Sorry had to mention them. For the most part, thy weren't very noticeable but I occasionally found myself jarred right out of the story with words like 'swell': and not used in the noun or verb form.

Given that this was Historical Fantasy, I think the reader can be forgiving in terms of historical accuracy and realism. However, there were one or two slip ups that kind of stood out. In one scene, when Thomas and his father were standing outside the Houses of Parliament, (also known as the Palace of Westminster), it is referred to as the House of Lords.

I think the author has conflated the House of Lords, which is an institution , with the Houses of Parliament, which is a building. Sort of like referring to the US Capitol building as the 'Senate'.
Also, the characters seemed to be under the impression that Parliament consisted of the Lords and the King: it has actually consisted of two Houses since its foundation in Medieval times.
The Lords and the Commons. Both of whom meet in the Houses of Parliament in two separate Chambers. Maybe I'm just verging on the pedantic though as a Brit who likes to see our governing institution accurately represented. 

Although that said, the geography of 17th century England is more accurately represented here than it is in some other novels, and this is fantasy! That building on the front cover is the Tower of London though, in case readers wondered.

All in all though, I enjoyed Fawkes more than I thought I might. Its a good choice, perhaps for those who don't want straight out fantasy or are relatively new to the fantasy genre. I would certainly check out more books by this author.

I requested this title from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.


Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

by on September 20, 2018
 Thomas Nelson, July 10th 2018  448 Pages, Hardback and Audio Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fantasy  Setting: Fantasy Version of 17...
Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #11 
 August 24th 2018, 224 Pages, Lion Fiction/Kregel 
Print and Ebook 

Master Hugh won the Black Prince’s favour when he helped ease the prince’s illness. Now, in the autumn of 1372, the prince is suffering a relapse and sends to Bampton for Master Hugh to attend him.
While at dinner in Kennington Palace, Sir Giles, the knight who escorted Hugh to London, is stricken and dies. Poison! Sir Giles is not popular, and there are many who would gladly see the fellow done away with… except for Prince Edward. 

The Black Prince feels a debt to the slain man because of his heroic behaviour at the Battle of Crecy, where the knight stood firm with the prince when the fight seemed of uncertain outcome.
Despite caring little for Sir Giles, Master Hugh must once again place himself in jeopardy and seek to uncover the perpetrator of the crime...

 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

The Eleventh installment in this ongoing Medieval Mystery series delivers everything that readers have come to love. A detailed account of everyday life and living in late 14th century England, for one. Only this one is set in London instead of rural Oxfordshire, as is usual. Specifically, its set in a place called Kennington palace, once a Medieval royal residence, favoured by the Black Prince, the famous son of Edward III.
Although, as the author says, he was not known as the Black Prince in his lifetime, and is referred to instead as the Duke of Cornwall.

There are also some good details about Medieval surgery and Medicine. The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton would be sadly lacking without Hugh performing at least one operation in each book. I think the audience would complain! Don't let that put you off though, the surgeries are not described a gruesome or disgusting way. More in a sort of clinical manner one might expect from a medical professional. Yes, they had them in the Middle Ages!
Hugh also comes into conflict with a physician, which leads to some interesting discussion about the differences between surgeons and physicians, and a small helping of acerbic wit from Hugh, and one time even the Prince.

The mystery itself, at the heart of the story seems simple at first, but becomes more complicated as time progressed. I found myself a little confused, towards the end in fact. Needing to give a couple of passages a re-read. I tend to find that I don't read this series primarily for the mystery, but mysteries they are, and its kind of central to the story. I did not predict the culprit or the motive, so that's probably good, although something which could have been done earlier and better.

Recommended as always for all fans of this series. For the people who say they want vivid, accurate and well researched Medieval Fiction WHY haven't you read this series? There's more than enough to keep people interested who aren't normally into mysteries. Just reading the glossary can be really informative and fascinating.

Thanks to Lion Fiction for my copy of this book. I was not required to write a review, or a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.


Today I am sharing the First Line from a title I just started listening to as an audio version. Of course, I am a major Julie Klassen fan. This book is a little different because its her only one that was not Published by Bethany House. 
Lady, Maybe was instead published by Berkley Books, a division of the general market publisher Penguin Random House in 2015. 

However, like all her other novels, it is still a Regency Romance. 

One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…

Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.

But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.

 The First Line Reads:

Bath, England 1819

 "Lady Marianna Mayfield sat at her dressing table- clothed, curled and powdered." 



That's all from me this week. Don't forget to click the meme to see what others are reading, or comment with your own First Line. 


https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/




I have not posted in two weeks. But I have an excuse. Last week there was camp: we did not get to the destination until 9:30 pm. That morning I had a dental appointment, and then we got a puncture and so I almost did not get to my friends for the drive to Devon. Yeah, I have a good excuse.

So today, I'm finally back, and sharing a book I've been wanting to read for a long while. I heard about this title about the time it first came out in 2015, and I think I was offered the chance to review it, but declined.
Then a couple years down the line, I looked for it again, and the book seemed to have gone out of print,  but now its been republished and its back on Kindle Unlimited so I borrowed it. Introducing:

The Holy Lance: The English Templars 1 by Andrew A. Latham
 The year is 1191. A daring counterattack against the Saracens’ last-ditch effort to relieve the besieged city of Acre has not only saved the Third Crusade from a fatal defeat; it has also brought the leader of that counterattack, English Templar Michael Fitz Alan, to the attention of King Richard the Lionheart.
In the days that follow, the king charges Fitz Alan with a life-or-death mission – to recover the long-lost Holy Lance, a religious relic widely believed to be responsible for the near-miraculous success of the First Crusade.


The ensuing quest leads Fitz Alan and a hand-picked band of Templars on a journey deep into enemy territory, where they battle Saracens, Assassins, hostile Christians and even a traitor within their own ranks as they seek to return the Holy Lance to Christian hands and thereby ensure the liberation of Jerusalem and the success of the crusade

The first line reads: 

11th July 1191 

"Brother Michael Fitz Alan could not see the Saracen army, but he could hear both the rhythmic beating of its massive war drums and the unmistakable clamour of its warriors assembling in anticipation of the day's slaughter"

So, that's my contribution for this week. Don't forget to click the Meme to see what everyone else is reading, and comment with your own first line . 


https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/
July 21st 2018, 416 Pages, Revell Books
Print, Ebook and Audio
 

A lonely young heiress becomes the poorest wealthy woman in Victorian England when her father dies without telling anyone where he hid his fortune. Can Tressa and the no-nonsense estate manager find the fortune before the greedy relatives get to it first? Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family.

He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it.
It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences.

Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune-before someone else finds it first.Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


On one level, I liked this book better than Lady Jayne Disappears. The setting was atmospheric, and I liked the way that the family vineyard was used as a basis for moral and spiritual lessons. It was certainly a well-written story full of family drama and mystery, with plenty of twists and turns.

I also liked the central story line about a young woman who loved her distant father and her home, and only sets about finding the rumoured ancestral treasure to save it. She never expects to be confronted with some apparently shocking revelations about her father, and desires above all else to clear his name, so her image of him will not be shattered. Through the search, she learns to trust her Heavenly Father as well, and what real treasure means.

Maybe the hero was a little too perfect, and even Tressa at times. Another reviewer mentioned there were times when she wanted to shake her. Don't think I did at the time, but looking back, she was bit silly on occasion.

So why the lower rating? A couple of reasons. One was some apparent contradictions. Early in the story, I'm fairly sure it said Tressa and her mother had returned home after a long sojourn 'abroad': but afterwards it said they had simply been in London.
The constant Americanisms also contribute to it. The characters used the American 'trunk' and the British term 'chest' to describe wooden box believed to contain the family fortune interchangeably, sometimes in the same sentence.
Also, the characters sometimes referred to an area of the castle/stately home Tressa grew up in as a 'Hall Block'. I have no idea what that is. Is it a made up term? Never heard of anything called that before in a castle, or manor house, or any building, whatever its meant to be. The audiobook narrator was good though. Liked her West Country accent. 

I requested this title from Netgalley, and purchased the Audible version of my own volition. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.


This week I am sharing the first line not from the book I am currently reading, but from a book I received recently, and hope to start reading soon. I'm going away next weekend, and this book is going to be coming with me. 

Prince Edward's Warrant is the latest installment in the ongoing medieval mystery series, The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. Its the eleventh title in the series, and actually is not due for release in the UK the 24th August but thanks to the lovely team at Lion Fiction, I was sent a copy a couple of weeks early. 

The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton are literally one of my favourite series- ever. I'll happily gush about the books, and receiving the latest title in August or September has become one of the highlights of my reading year.
The series recounts the adventures Hugh, youngest son of a knight who becomes a  surgeon and bailiff in late 14th century Oxfordshire. Although two of the most recent stories have expanded the scope of the series to outside the county: one was set in France, and this one is set in London I think. 

Master Hugh won the Black Prince’s* favour when he helped ease the prince’s illness. Now, in the autumn of 1372, the prince is suffering a relapse and sends to Bampton for Master Hugh to attend him. While at dinner in Kennington Palace, Sir Giles, the knight who escorted Hugh to London, is stricken and dies. Poison! Sir Giles is not popular, and there are many who would gladly see the fellow done away with… except for Prince Edward.

The Black Prince feels a debt to the slain man because of his heroic behaviour at the Battle of Crecy, where the knight stood firm with the prince when the fight seemed of uncertain outcome. Despite caring little for Sir Giles, Master Hugh must once again place himself in jeopardy and seek to uncover the perpetrator of the crime…

I have another little Meme for today's first line:



 Remember to click the meme to see what the other members of the group are reading: or comment with your own First Line

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/category/first-line-fridays/