Posts Categorized: Bry’s Reviews

[ARC Review] To Die a Dry Death by Greta Van der Rol

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11 July
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This brutal moment in history had completely escaped me until To Die A Dry Death appeared on my dashboard. Before this book, I had never heard of the Dutch commercial trading ship The Batavia, or its shipwreck in  1629 off the Australian coast. I had never heard the tale of the 300-some survivors, quite literally marooned on deserted islands, and I had certainly never been made aware of the horrifying massacre that would follow, resulting in the deaths of nearly half of these survivors. Obviously, this drew my interest. How could such a thing happen? To Die A Dry Death is a fictionalized,… Read more »

[ARC Review] The King’s Dogge by Nigel Green

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04 July
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The phrase ‘history is written by the winners’ is heartily applicable to the Wars of the Roses, which is why the Tudor household remains nearly a household name, while figures like King Richard III or the ‘Kingmaker’ Earl of Warwick fall to relative obscurity beyond the realm of historians. As a result, there are many unexplored or unanswered questions on the ‘losing’ figures, leaving them open to interpretation. With The King’s Dogge, Nigel Green has stepped into the losing side to give a voice and a sense of humanity to these often overlooked or demonized figures, and successfully inspires his… Read more »

[Review] The Palace by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

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08 June
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From the onset I announced I intended to write a fully biased review of this book, and I will make good on my promise. I simply cannot NOT enjoy a Medici-Florence novel by anyone. Once again, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s attention to detail and dedication to the historical context is stellar. Florence as it was comes alive in her hands, not overly exaggerated for opulent effect, but not undervalued as such a significant and impactful place and time. Such influential and deeply loved individuals as Lorenzo ‘il Magnifico’ and Sandro Botticelli are brought to life with the same respect and reverence –… Read more »

[Author Contribution] Real Talk Real Women!

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15 April
[Author Contribution] Real Talk Real Women!

And now for something entirely new, I’d like to share with you a book I actually helped write! I am a contributing author for Real Talk Real Women, and I was honoured to be among so many brilliant, incredible and inspirational women for this project. Over 100 beautiful life lessons and shared stories of passion, motivation, failures and successes that have made each woman who they are today. If you are looking for an amazing read, and some insight into the minds of very special women, this should be a must on your list! My chapter, chapter 5, is called… Read more »

[Review] The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

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05 April
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Aw, man… this book had me quite pleased, and I was well enjoying it, until the unraveling at the ending. Boo. We begin this book with a young girl, in the flourish of a beautifully described, beautifully constructed Medici Florence, and are treated to wonderfully written aspects of the artistry and ambiance of the magnificent heart of the Renaissance. Our protagonist, Alessandra Cecchi, is a skilled artist and painter in her preadolesence, and comes face to face with the intoxicating intrigue of the art world when her father employs a painter to handle the family chapel – a painter that… Read more »

[ARC Review] The Book of Maggie Bradstreet by Gretchen Gibbs

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25 March
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The Book of Maggie Bradstreet screams ‘Young Adult fiction’ – and that is not a compliment. The book is written from an interesting and new perspective on the retelling of the Salem (and surrounding area) witch trials in the 1690s by constructing the tale in a series of personal diary entries. The diary’s author, young Maggie Bradstreet, is the daughter of a well to do and influential family in the community of Andover, who comes face to face with the horrors of witch hysteria when suspicion and fear overrun town order. At first, Maggie recapitulates the first incidents of arrests… Read more »

[ARC Review] Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements

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20 March
[ARC Review] Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements

The Wars of the Roses is a very difficult topic to cover; considering the countless parties of interests and the constantly changing tenuous loyalties, but here is a book that does it well. Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims is the story of monastic canon Thomas Everingham, and nun Katherine, who are of the same diocese and  meet unexpectedly one night when they are attacked outside cloister walls while attending to their duties. After Thomas defends Katherine and the nun accompanying her, their violent attacker promises retribution, in the form of rape, murder and the destruction of their order. Only a night thereafter,… Read more »

[ARC Review] The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

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14 March
[ARC Review] The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

The concept of The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel Of Suspense excited me tremendously, so much that I joined NetGalley for the sole purpose of obtaining an arc. A Florentine perfumer recruited to anoint women with beautiful scents and to poison troublesome courtiers by the infamous Catherine de Medici, who is also obsessed with the alchemical potential to bring loved ones back to life by capturing their dying breaths? Sign me up! However, I had not signed up for the awkward modern half of the book which was laden with babble of reincarnation, past lives, failed romance, and half hearted… Read more »

[ARC Review] The Red Lily Crown by Elizabeth Loupas

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09 March
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I don’t think there has been a book since Dance with Dragons that I have been as rabidly excited about as I was about discovering The Red Lily Crown. We are talking world-melting levels of excitement. Why? I am a Renaissance historian who specializes in Medici Florence. I love the Medici, in particular Cosimo I, first Grand Duke of Tuscany. And as far as Medici books go, 99% of them are going to be written about Lorenzo the Magnificent, or Catherine de Medici, Queen of France. Both fabulous and interesting, don’t get me wrong, but no one, and I mean no one, is writing fiction… Read more »

[Review] Inferno by Dan Brown

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15 February
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Books like Inferno are my ultimate guilty pleasures — some people read trashy romance novels or watch reality TV, but I geek out HARD to the ‘historical detective: clue solving, traversing Europe using the knowledge of the historian to uncover wondrous things or save the world’, type genre. Throw in my favourite buzzwords – Medici, Florence, Italian Renaissance, Dante – and I am one sold fan-girling historian. In the latest installment of the adventures of symbologist Robert Langdon, we are transported to Florence, Italy – though even Robert does not know why, or how he has arrived. Soon, Robert is… Read more »