May’s Book of the Month: Three Sisters, Three Queens

Book by Philippa Gregory_ThreeSistersThreeQueens_RockinRandomMom

I am so excited to finally write my take on one of my favorite Authors, Philippa Gregory. Three Sisters, Three Queens isn’t her latest book but it is the most recent that I have read. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you on this book. I love reading about the Tudors. As I have mentioned in past posts, they fascinate me. Even though this is historical fiction, I loved it all the same.

So What’s this book about?

Three Sisters, Three Queens is about the two sisters and the first wife of King Henry VIII. It is written from the point of view of Margaret, who becomes the Queen of Scotland.  I’m going to leave the description on the back of the book because it does the best at describing what this book conveys to the reader:

As sisters they share an everlasting bond; As queens they can break each other’s hearts…

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister, Mary – to a unique sisterhood. The three sisters will become the Queens of England, Scotland, and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. But as they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

What’s my take on the book?

It’s really hard not to be a bit biased when it comes to Philippa Gregory’s books. I have been a fan for a long time. Each new book I read makes me more of a fan than before. Three Sisters, Three Queens is no exception. I really enjoyed reading this book from the point of view of a woman who I, and most people, know very little about. Philippa Gregory has an amazing way of transforming these unknown women from just another mysterious historical figure to a human being with thoughts, emotions and real experiences that are completely relatable.

At first, I didn’t like Margaret. She starts off as a young spoiled little princess raised for one purpose: To become a pawn in a dangerous battle between kings. To her though, becoming queen is her birthright. She sees and knows nothing else. However, as I saw her evolve and grow I related to her more throughout the book.

I also learned more about Katherine of Aragon and the youngest Tudor sister, Mary. Even though they are queens, I found it hard not to relate to them in various parts of the book.

Why I think you should read this book:

Three Sisters, Three Queens is hands down, one of my favorite books. While I love reading about Queen Elizabeth I, who is my favorite Tudor, I also love getting to know these other fascinating and complicated people from the famous family through Philippa Gregory’s books. This book prompted me to do some research on Margaret and her sister. Very little is known about Margaret but I feel I have gotten to know her all the same.

Even though this is historical fiction – and because of that no one can really know what was in the hearts and minds of these women – I learned a great deal. So if you love historical fiction or if you love History, this is the book for you. Margaret, Mary, and Katherine were all women who were Queens yet they were nothing more than pawns in the game of political warfare between men who did not value them.

So, if you are interested, dive into the world of Kings and Queens and discover the danger, the passion and the loss of these three Queens.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Book of The Month – April: The Asylum Tour

cartoon girl sitting on bench reading a book_book of the month_the asylum tour_rockinrandommom

I am dedicating April’s Book of the Month to my friend and fellow blogger Debbie Stansil. Her new book just came out. The Asylum Tour is a hauntingly entertaining book about, you guessed it, a haunted asylum. I love scary stories! This is more than just a good ghost story though. There is an underlining social justice/injustice tone which really drew me in and made me feel very connected with some of the characters.

So what’s this book about?

The book starts us off in the prologue at Riley Asylum in 1953. It’s a brief but alluring description of what starts this fascinating ghost story. One of the main characters is Jeanie, who is a reporter at The Daily Chronicle newspaper. She also happens to have a personal connection to the Asylum. You’ll have to read it to find out how.

Anyway, the gist is a mysterious billionaire has bought the old abandoned asylum and turned it into a tourist attraction. Only thing is, it’s opening on Halloween night and it’s by invitation only. How this person decides who gets an invite is a story within itself. Jeannie does a lot of digging and finds the very sinister reason behind this tour and that the people invited are in serious danger.

The Asylum Tour is more than just a bunch of people walking through a scary old building for a few scares. Unbeknownst to them they’ve been hand picked to die, but why? You’ll have to read it to find out.

long empty hospital hallway_theasylumtour_bookcover_rockinrandommom

What’s my take on the book?

The Asylum Tour is definitely a book I would have on my shelf. I really enjoyed it but not just because it’s a scary ghost story. I love how Deborah changes between the characters by labeling each section with the name and date. I thought that was an interesting touch and made the story very easy to read. I also love the humanity behind the history of some of the characters all while showing the inhumanity of many others.

There is definitely some evil characters in this book but what I love is how the good characters are written. They are honest, filled with self-doubt and scared but they stay true to themselves. You don’t see much of that in the world anymore and I can’t remember the last time I saw a ghost story with flawed but truly good characters at the front of it.

Why I think you should read this book:

The Asylum Tour gives you, the reader, a good ghost story to follow that is really riveting in my opinion. It also gives you really good characters to fall in love with and a few good characters to absolutely loathe. When I first started reading this book I thought of the movie, House on Haunted Hill.

I don’t know if anyone is familiar with it but there is the original version and then there is the 90’s version. The 1959 version starred one of the best horror movie actors, Vincent Price.

But as I read the book further, I realized the original story to it. While Deborah brings to light the barbaric treatment of the mentally ill back in the 50’s, it’s the personal stories that I was drawn to the most.  I really felt for two of the characters at Riley Asylum.

So give this book a look and see if this is the kind of story you would read over and over again. Download your Kindle copy today! Amazon Kindle

Thanks so much for reading!

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Book of the Month of March: Irish Fairy and Folk Tales

cartoon girl sitting on bench reading a book_ book of the month_march_irishfairyandfolktales_rockinrandommom

For the Month of March I thought what better book to read than a good ole’ fashioned Irish book. I love St. Patrick’s Day. Until two years ago I had no idea I had any real Irish blood in me but as it turns out – I have a bit. Yay! I’ve always wanted to be Irish. Not that it matters really because here in America during the month of March, everyone gets to be Irish. So I read Irish Tales and Folk Tales.

So What’s this book about?

Well, I’ll tell ya. Irish Tales and Folk Tales are a collection of old stories put togehter in this volume by 19th century literary scholars as a way to save these old tales in a time when oral telling of these tales has become all but obsolete. To better explain it, I’ll insert some of the introduction below:

These stories that passed down through the ages, virtually unaltered in their telling. To the sophisticated, they were a record of long-held superstitions and quaint folk beliefs of the Irish peasantry. But to those who told and listened to them, they were not at all far-fetched; rather, these stories expressed something fundamental about their culture and way of life.

Book_Irish Fairy and Folk Tales_sitting besides two candles_ rockinrandommom

There are 13 different tales collected in this book. Starting with one simply titled, The Fairies and ending with a tale in poem format called The Leprechaun, Or, Fairy Shoemaker.

What’s My take on the book?

I love these old tales! There is something about listening to or reading old folk tales, no matter the culture, that makes my imagination soar. I remember way back in elementary school reading the Aesop Fables. I loved those tales because at the end of it, it always taught you some sort of lesson. The Irish Fairy and Folk Tales collection does the same thing. There is always a lesson to be learned.

I also learned many other things though, like the word pooka. No lie, there is a tale in the book called The Pooka. It’s, from what I am understanding of it, is a sort of goblin. Right under the title is a quote:

Goblins haunt from fire or fen.

Or mine, or flood, to the walks of men.

                                             -Collins

You’ll have to read the tale to understand.

One of my favorite tales though was the tale of Three Wishes. It’s about a rogue scoundrel named Billy Dawson who tricks the devil. Seriously, this guy actually tricks the devil and he doesn’t just do it once. He does it several times throughout the story. I actually got to the point where I felt sorry for Satan. Who does that? But Billy sort of gets his in the end but I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

Many stories were a little familiar simply because of the creature the tale was talking about. The Bunworth Banshee and The Changeling are familiar creatures to me. I remember the first time I heard about the banshee. I was about 9 or 10 and my aunt had borrowed from the video store, Darby O’Gill and the Little People.

Does anyone remember that movie? It is one of Sean Connery’s earliest works. You have romance, leprechauns and of course, the banshee. I remember she scared the crap out of me. I really need to look for that movie now. I would love to watch it again. Anyway, so yeah. Give this book a read this St. Patrick’s Day.

So what do you think of these old Irish tales? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Book Review #4: Lacey Patrick and the Wizard of Darkness

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For my fourth book review, I am writing about a slightly different kind of book. My friend Deborah over at My Random Musings is on fire with her novels! She continues to surprise me with her writing as she tries new genres and pushes the boundaries of her own style. This time she has delved into the fantasy genre with her latest book, Lacey Patrick and the Wizard of Darkness.

When Lacey Patrick dreams of a hot stranger, her whole world turns upside down.

What she learns fill her with dread – not only must she process her whole new identity, but she must also find a way to save herself and her loved ones from a dark force that is stronger than anyone has seen before.

Who can she trust? How can she stop someone so powerful?

Time is running out and Lacey has to find the answers to those questions, and quickly – before it’s too late.

That’s the blurb from Deborah Stansil’s latest book. Sounds pretty interesting right? I thought so which is why I volunteered to read it for this review. She didn’t let me down either. First, I loved the change in the genre. It is refreshing to read a fantasy book for a change.

What Lacey Patrick and the Wizard of Darkness is about:

Different from the usual horror and psychological thrillers I’ve gotten used to reading by my friend Deborah Stansil, this book goes in a different direction, aiming at the young adult fantasy genre. Even though it’s YA, I think adults will also thoroughly enjoy this book.

Ms. Stansil takes us on a journey of a young witch, who doesn’t know she’s a witch until that hot stranger arrives in her life. From there, Lacey will have to navigate finding a dark wizard among her classmates while navigating high school, new love, and finding out who her true friends are.

What I think of the book:

I loved this fresh take on a high school fantasy and I loved this unique look at witches and wizards. Lacey isn’t part of an “in” crowd so to speak but she isn’t entirely an outsider either. I don’t read many books with the middle guy/girl as the main character.

There are several different characters that I, personally, liked very much while others were a bit stand offish. For me, Lacey’s best friend, Kiera wasn’t my favorite character and Lacey’s feelings towards her friend in the end I completely identified with.

There is some predictability with a few of the characters but the end was a bit unpredictable in the way of Deborah’s writing. You’ll have to read it to know what I mean. I like the predictability though because I didn’t have to think too much. While I do love a good book to challenge me, I also love books that I can just sit back and relax with. This book did that for me.bookreview_laceypatrick_rockinrandommom

This book is great for reading while taking a hot bath or for reading at the beach. Now that it’s Autumn, though I can also see myself reading this during a quiet evening to myself with a glass of wine while sitting under some stringed lights and scented candles nearby.

In my line of work where self-care is essential after counseling those with trauma histories, reading a light-hearted fantasy book like this is perfect. It gets me out of my head and transports me to another world entirely. This is a great self-care activity that I enjoy and this book is going to be on my book shelf for a long time.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy but also to anyone looking for a new book to read. Are you ready to try something new? Try this book! Deborah’s book was just released this past Friday on November 11, 2017. So hop on over to Amazon and purchase her Kindle book today!

Thank you for reading my book review. I hope you enjoyed it!

I have two links below. One for America and the other for UK/Europe:

Amazon: U.S

Amazon: UK

Thanks so much for reading!

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