Thursday, January 31, 2008

Books Are Like Gold

Many people in the world are sitting around waiting to win the lottery, but while that would be nice, I have found a way to feel like I have won the lottery on a daily basis. There is something about checking the mailbox and seeing your name on a package that makes me very excited. Even if I know what book is waiting for me, there is still that moment of anticipation as I rip open the package and find what is hiding for me inside. The package does not even have to be all that eye-catching because, in many cases, it is what it contains that sparks my interest. I am the sort of person that has a list of all the books that are coming out in 2008 that I want to read. Then, I either pre-order a batch of them or am at the bookstore on the day that they are released to have them in my hands. I get excited everytime a favourite author releases a new book. So, it might not be a million dollars, but many people that win that much money have a lot of problems handling it. At least with a book you are transported somewhere while you are in the pages, and then when you close it you are left with the characters running around in your mind, but you can ignore them if you want to.

Since January was a terrible reading month, I thought I would show off my mini-goldmines. The books that have arrived in my mailbox that have gave me moments of excitement. I of course want to read them right away, but I have just had a hard time finding time for them in January. Hopefully February I can visit with old friends and new ones.

Right now I am putting everything aside to read Ariana Franklin's The Serpent's Tale. The sequel to Mistress of the Art of Death, it is one that I know several people have been looking forward to this year.
Ariana Franklin combines the best of modern forensic thrillers with the drama of historical fiction in the enthralling second novel in the Mistress of the Art of Death series, featuring medieval heroine Adelia Aguilar.

Rosamund Clifford, the mistress of King Henry II, has died an agonizing death by poison-and the king's estranged queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, is the prime suspect. Henry suspects that Rosamund's murder is probably the first move in Eleanor's long-simmering plot to overthrow him. If Eleanor is guilty, the result could be civil war. The king must once again summon Adelia Aguilar, mistress of the art of death, to uncover the truth.

Adelia is not happy to be called out of retirement. She has been living contentedly in the countryside, caring for her infant daughter, Allie. But Henry's summons cannot be ignored, and Adelia must again join forces with the king's trusted fixer, Rowley Picot, the Bishop of St. Albans, who is also her baby's father.

Adelia and Rowley travel to the murdered courtesan's home, in a tower within a walled labyrinth-a strange and sinister place from the outside, but far more so on the inside, where a bizarre and gruesome discovery awaits them. But Adelia's investigation is cut short by the appearance of Rosamund's rival: Queen Eleanor. Adelia, Rowley, and the other members of her small party are taken captive by Eleanor's henchmen and held in the nunnery of Godstow, where Eleanor is holed up for the winter with her band of mercenaries, awaiting the right moment to launch their rebellion.

Isolated and trapped inside the nunnery by the snow and cold, Adelia and Rowley watch as dead bodies begin piling up. Adelia knows that there may be more than one killer at work, and she must unveil their true identities before England is once again plunged into civil war . . .
Some other books that I really want to read that came out this year, and that I own, are:

The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue:

Based on the details of a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a provocative historical drama that is strangely relevant to modern issues surrounding women, marriage, rights and roles.

Miss Emily "Fido" Faithfull is a "woman of business" and a spinster pioneer of the British women's movement, independent of mind but naively trusting of heart. Distracted from her beloved cause by the sudden return of her once-dear friend, the unhappily wed Helen Codrington, Fido is swept up in the intimate details of Helen's failing marriage to the stodgy Admiral Harry Codrington. What begins as a loyal effort to help a friend explodes into a courtroom drama more sensational than any Hollywood tabloid could invent - with stained clothing, accusations of adultery, counterclaims of rape and a mysterious letter that could destroy more than one life.

HarperCollins is proud to deliver Emma Donoghue's internationally celebrated work into the hands of discerning fiction readers in this, her first Canadian publication. The Sealed Letter is the perfect book to mark this milestone event - a masterpiece that brings the force of a life that changed our world into captivating view.
I have an Advanced Reading Copy of this one. It will be available in stores on April 4, 2008.

Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland:
The author of the internationally acclaimed Josephine B. trilogy returns with another deeply enchanting historical novel, this one based on the life of an extraordinary horsewoman, Louise de la Vallière, the brave and spirited child of minor nobility who, against all odds, grows up to become one of the most mysterious consorts of France's King Louis XIV, the charismatic Sun King.

Set against the magnificent decadence of the 17th-century court of the Sun King, Mistress of the Sun begins when the eccentric young Louise falls in love with a wild white stallion and uses ancient magic to tame him. This one desperate action of youth shadows her throughout her life, changing it in ways she could never imagine.

Unmarriageable and too poor to join a convent, she enters the court of the Sun King as a maid of honour, where she captures - and then tragically loses - the King's heart. Mistress of the Sun illuminates, through the resurrection of a fascinating female figure from the dark corners of history, both the power of true love and the rash actions we take to capture and tame it.

Sandra Gulland's previous work brought Josephine Bonaparte magnificently to life in three immediately addictive bestselling novels. Beginning with The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., Gulland established an entirely new gold standard for the art of historical fiction. Mistress of the Sun - a riveting love story with a captivating mystery at its centre - is a welcome reward for all those who have waited so patiently for its arrival.
This book will be out on February 7, 2008, and then my Advanced Reading Copy will not really be so advanced! This is what happens when you have a bad reading month.

Lastly, I received an email today saying that Colleen Gleason's new book is on its way to me. It is called The Bleeding Dusk. The third book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles.
To gain access to the secrets of a legendary alchemist, Rome's vampires have allied themselves with creatures as evil and bloodthirsty as they are. The new leader of the city's vampire hunters-Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy-reluctantly turns to the enigmatic Sebastian Vioget for help, just as Maximilian Pesaro arrives to aid his fellow slayers, no matter what the sacrifice. Desire puts her at the mercy of Sebastian, while loyalty binds her to Max, but she does not know if she can trust either. Especially when a seductive vampire begins luring her into the shadows...
There are others that I am looking forward to coming out, but these are four of the new releases that are calling to me from the shelves.


  1. Yay! ;-)

    I don't think any of those books are available here yet! So disappointing!

  2. That sucks! It is not like I have taken time to read them, anyways, but still!

  3. Looking forward to the Sandra Gulland Book! La Valliere is my favorite royal mistress!