Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession (Six Tudor Queens) by Alison Weir

An intense, refreshing and intriguing account of life as Anne Boleyn

Expected publication: 18 May 2017

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession takes on a new intense, sympathetic perspective on Anne Boleyn’s life. In particular, the author explored a refreshing feminist perspective where Anne was a heroine in her own right – using her powers to influence social policies of the day and using her charm and wit to gain the favour of Henry VIII. What I enjoyed most about this novel is that whilst the story is overall sympathetic to Anne Boleyn, it was told in a believable way. The author added layers to her personality by showing that Anne Boleyn was an imperfect, ambitious woman who is also fragile and insecure throughout her life as mistress and then Queen of Henry VIII. This book chronologically accounts Anne Boleyn’s life from the glamorous French Court where she served as lady in waiting, to her time in the English Court where she ensnared the lust and obsession of Henry VIII. It accounts all her struggles against Queen Katherine (Henry VIII’s first wife) and daughter Mary, the harrowing path to become the new but much hated Queen of England and ending with her well-known downfall. Overall, it’s a long but intriguing read about what life would have been like as Anne Boleyn who was portrayed as a progressive and spirited woman. A woman who had to choose between love and power, faith and desire, passion and duty. There was substantial research done by the author to make this book an authentic read. I recommend this book for historical fiction lovers!

– NJ

Read3r’z Re-Vu Mother’s Day Special

In Australia, Sunday 14 May 2017 is Mother’s Day.
For a day that should be celebrated everyday, Read3r’z Re-Vu wanted to take this time to wish our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers out there a wonderful day!!!

This special is a selection of recommendations for all of the mothers who love to read and the mothers who are looking for their next book to read to their children…

-featured photo of Tulip brooch handmade by Curio Boutique, a Read3r’z Re-Vu major sponsor-


An oldie but a goldie.. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This was my introduction to the classics and the regency period in books. I love how it teaches you that first impressions are not always accurate. I am recommending this for Mother’s Day as I find there are a few (or a lot of) reasons to recommend Pride and Prejudice to the mothers who love reading and are looking for a story that can apply to different people. The characters are multi layered and have their own faults.
-Meredith


The Wave in the Mind: Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader & the Imagination (About Writing)
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Overview: Ursula K. Le Guin explores a broad array of subjects, ranging from Tolstoy, Twain, and Tolkien to women’s shoes, beauty, and family life. With her customary wit, intelligence, and literary craftsmanship, she offers a diverse and highly engaging set of readings. 

Thoughtful, profound and inspiring. I found Le Guin’s voice to be refreshing, present and ever so relevant in today’s society for authors and readers alike. Topics explored include (but not limited to): imagination, life, society, oppression, feminism, reading and writing. Le Guin’s progressive and well thought-out perspectives and critiques are insightful, honest, delightful and empowering to read. Highly recommended for those who is after an interesting, inspiring and provocative read.
-NJ


Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
This recommendation is for all the mothers who love Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction – especially stories with an Arabian Nights Inspiration!!! This is the sequel to the epic debut: Rebel of the Sands, where the story isn’t about blood or love now it’s about treason and takes place approximately 1 year after the first book. Like the debut, this sequel was amazing! And I’m not just saying that because I love Arabian nights inspired stories. From start to finish the story really kept me turning the page as there was always something happening, always some action and plot twists, especially on the very last chapter – left me gaping and yearning to know what happens next! The plot and the setting really grabbed me, I found the plot progresses really well it’s not an info dump you follow the story as it progresses, you have insight into Arabian nights stories that form as part of the main plot, insightful backstories that paint a clear picture of the current plot and I felt this time I got to know the characters better than the first book and really want to continue with their story. If you haven’t yet read Rebel of the Sands, read it so you can read Traitor to the Throne!
Many thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie


Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester
This is a story about a brave young woman who is chasing her dream in the face of society’s disapproval.
Recommended to mothers who enjoy Historical Fiction, this story is set in 3 different eras: 1918 England, 1920’s and takes you through to the 1930’s. At a time of celebration, tragedy strikes and this story takes you through a woman’s struggle and strength that leaves you asking.. can you guess her mother’s secret? Beautifully and elegantly written, you can also see the work and effort that was put into this book for historical accuracy that is intertwined with the fictional plot. Beautiful read.
Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie



Blackwater Moon by B. Michael Radburn
Andy Walker knows tragedy is only ever a heartbeat away. When an inmate escapes from the prison farm upriver and abducts Nathan, a child Andy has vowed to protect after losing his own son years before, Andy discovers that the escapee is a dark figure from his past, the devil who changed his life and the man who introduced him to ‘The Game’
I really enjoyed this book and it really wasn’t what I was expecting. At first I was expecting the story to be similar to a domestic violence scenario where the woman is the victim but I was wrong. I really felt the emotion of the main character, Andy, to the point I cried and I even had to put the book down for a few hours but to have that sort of emotional reaction to the book just proves the author did a top job in conveying such a powerful story. The story does take you to a dark place which hits you to the core, it is heavy reading but I am a mother and I recommend this to mothers who love reading books that set your heart pounding but can handle heavy content. It really is worth the read.
Many thanks to Pantera Press who provided me with this book at the Read3r’z Re-Vu Mini Conference: 2016.
Many thanks to Read3r’z Re-Vu for having me on here as a special guest reviewer.

-Bec


Play by Jez Alborough
This is a recommended read for young mummies who love reading to their young kiddies or babies.
What can I say? This book was just TOO CUTE!!! Beautifully illustrated that tells such a cute and funny story in very few words. Play is about a little monkey who just wants to play.. play, play, play – even when Mummy says stay, he wants to play – and of course he wanders off like little kids do – so it’s an adventure to try and get home to his Mummy. The ending was adorable. Highly recommend this as a great kids picture book.
Many thanks to Walker Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie


My Mum is Fantastic by Nick Butterworth
Regardless of age – this is the perfect Mother’s Day Gift!!!
A picture book that is suitable to toddlers reading their first books, it’s a beautiful way that explores all the wonderful things our mothers do for us and we take for granted. My mum is fantastic is that one book that captures how great our mothers are and giving this to your mother will tell her how much you love her!!
Wonderfully illustrated and large print – very suitable for the little tikes.

Many thanks to Walker Publishers for providing me with a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

Read3r’z Re-Vu wishes our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers a wonderful and Happy Mother’s Day!!!

(photo credit: Pink roses gratitude ring by Curio Boutique)

A Letter from Italy by Pamela Hart

 War is a terrible part of the worlds history but it’s a story that needed to be told. 
A beautiful heartbreaking story about the heroes of the war, the men and women who supported behind the scenes and the brave who reported it.
During a time when women’s rights were still a foreign concept in Italy Rebecca Quinn faced it all and all without her husband (who left her with little to no notice to go off chasing a story). I felt for her and cringed while she faced judgement from the men who still believed that women should just go tend their houses, my heart cried out for Sandro who I loved right until the final pages, my anger at Jack for leaving Rebecca to become so incredibly independent in a world that rejected such independence didn’t sit well with me and his betrayal of her trust was just the last straw. Rebecca showed that despite the fear and rejection she faced that she could still hold it together when it counted and could be courageous in the face of dangers that most women today wouldn’t imagine leaving themselves in a position to experience.
 An incredibly inspiring character and a story that melted my heart and gave me a new opinion of war themed books.
Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for the opportunity to read this Advanced Review Copy.
-Crystal

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

The thrilling sequel to Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club
– 5 Stars –

It is June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen is now disowned by her uncle and now a full member of The Dark Days Club. The stakes are even higher now as Lady Helen struggles to become the warrior she is expected her to be for the club.

 In participating in a read along with a friend, I have to say I wish I was able to finish this sooner!

I found this sequel to be more gripping that the first one – an intricate story full of plot twists you don’t see coming then just as you feel you have closure towards the end, the plot thickens and you will yearn for more.. In book one, we learn all about the status of women and how Lady Helen was quite unique and challenges the status quo. There were times my feminist streak would take over and I wanted to talk to some of the misogynist characters with my fist!!! In discovering the Dark Days Club in book 1, this book takes us through an insight of how the Dark Days Club operated and Lady Helen going into training to become a “Reclaimer” We also find that dark forces are within the Pact and one mystery that kept the story alive was the unsolved issues about Lord Carlston.
Both book 1 and 2 are written extremely well and book 2 really holds you to the end!!
I really need book 3 now!!!

Many thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

Ten Letters to Delacroix’s Tomb by Clare Rolfe and Exclusive Interview!!

Clare Rolfe is a member of Read3r’z Re-Vu and she has just published her very first novel!!! Feeling privileged to be among the first to read this awesome debut, Read3r’z Re-Vu committee members Crystal and Annie are in conversation with Clare for an exclusive blog interview!!!

-Retaining a 4.5 star Rating-

Ten Letters to Delacroix’s Tomb

Jenna flees her life of slavery to fulfil one last desire to re-unite with her beloved Gabriel in the timeless city of Paris. During her journey she is hunted by the relentless Purgers and must confront a dying world bereft of its own history. In her heart lies the fragile hope that Gabriel is still alive after 40 years since they were torn away from each other by the implacable masters, urging her on through crippling doubts and the haunting demons of her past.

Review and Thoughts by Crystal
A great debut novel by Clare whom I am honoured to call a friend. The only way to describe this book is “A heart breaking tale that reaches the soul and will have you still thinking about it long after it’s done” I absolutely love books that keep me thinking even after I’ve put them down and this was definitely one of them. I also absolutely loved how the 10 letters were given in reverse and written in such a way that I could not even guess what would happen (and normally I am really good at guessing endings). When I read this book I found myself thinking about Jenna and her journey even while doing mundane tasks like my dishes (which is normally a time I crave the distraction of YouTube). It was a nice change to just allow my mind to ponder the story and where Jenna’s journey would be taking her. I read the final chapters in great anticipation to discover what it was that she had hidden inside her clothing that was so important that she had to kept so close to her chest (an item that is not revealed until the final chapter of course).

Exclusive Interview by Annie and Crystal

  1. What was it like writing the scene with Jenna and her confrontation with the Ocean? Did you experience similar emotions while writing it?
    This chapter and the last were the most thoughtful as I couldnt rely on plot to maintain  the momentum of the story.  The ocean was the stage of the journey where Jenna had to leave things to chance rather than previously she had strategised how she would make it back to Gabriel. Hence the language is prayer like and desperate ie when all else is gone there is only hope….. It required me to delve more deeply  for the words …make the emotions live on the page….I felt I was with her as I do all the characters I create otherwise its like  taking a photo using words.

  2. Can you tell us a bit more about the purgers and how you came to choose these characters?
    The Purgers are genetically engineered soldiers. They are not robots as they are flesh but are formed to be the perfect soldier who arose out of previous generations of war and attempts to control limited resources. Ultimately they are used to plan the escape from the earth by the bond masters when they know the date of the death of the sun. They were chosen more as a crafting tool who represent the unforgiving world around Jenna . In a time when resources are so scarce  everything has to be controlled and the way to do this was a system of policing that was incorruptible to its purpose. It also explains the rigid partitioned society where it is predetermined which class you will belong to ie master or slave…
  3. Did you have any particular real life inspirations that helped to shape this book or influence the world and time it was set it?
    Visiting Paris and Europe old civilisation meeting modern world ….Pere La Chaise cemetary in Paris is where Eugene Delacroix ‘s tomb is located ….the sense of history , time passing as well as the magnificent gravestones cobbled paths made me think of our brief existance and the mark we leave…..in terms of climate environment…drought here at home  ….. mostly it is a philiosophical novel hence the lack of explanation in terms of Purgers or the density of details that a sci fi novel may contain. I wanted to present  a surreal feel ….a sense of disconnection which comes from not understanding what is happening around you yet trying to live through it.
  4. Was it a hard decision to present the ten letters in reverse? Can you tell us what that process was like?
    Not as difficult as it may seem. The letters and book are almost two separate  story lines so each was written independant of the other with some tweaking to make it flow.
  5. Can we expect a prequel or another book like this soon?
    Probably not like this one. Ten Letters is part of a triptych which includes another  novella and 3 short stories based in current times…they explore absurdist philosophy and have art and Paris in common ..I may at some point write a story about the wars of attrition briefly mentioned in Ten Letters. My next project is a trilogy fantasy which I am reviewing currently. That was completed a few years ago. I feel ready to tackle it again.
  6. What inspired you to write and why this particular book as your first novel?
    Reading inspired me to write. I have dabbled in poetry for a long time but writing stories is what I enjoy the most. I decided to be more serious about 7-8 years ago for no other reason than its now or never. Ten letters just felt right….Dystopian themes are prevalent with concerns about climate change also where is technology headed …are we losing something as tech begins to order and compartmentalise our lives do we lose the diversity and vulnerability that the creative side of our natures ie art culture brings…also with AI on the horizon I wonder where do humans fit on the scale of things…how in control are we if ultimately the sun dies so do we…you know normal everyday questions one may ponder while enjoying some vegemite on toast ….so why not throw all that into a love story with Paris in the background!!

  7. Did you experience writer’s block? How did you overcome it?
    Not in terms of a story line but choosing the right words. Writing requires patience & persistence so if Im stuck I step away or work on something else…Poetry is a great salve for many things…

  8. Which author inspires you? Why?
    For story and adventure in fantastical worlds Tolkien and Herbert (Dune) For exploring philosophical themes Dostoesvky and Camus. Ten Letters dystopian setting  and brevity was inspired in part by the Road by Cormac  McCarthy …every word infiltrated my mind in an explosive manner ..I hadnt felt such a strong impact from a piece of fiction for a long time….

  9. When you’re not reading what could we find you doing?
    I like coffee catch up with friends …art exhibits…occasional poetry gigs…. I work as well so that fills up the week and pays for the travelling. Writing in between.

  10. What was the best piece of advice you were given as an author?
    Find the middle voice keep writing….and review review review!!!

ten-letters-to-delacroix-tomb-by-clare-rolfe-0994638922

Congratulations Clare on this wonderful achievement!!! Read3r’z Re-Vu are so excited and proud of your work, we hope to continue seeing you at our sessions and wish you all the very best for your next chapter!!!

-Blog/Interview Duet by Annie and Crystal

On the Blue Train by Kristell Thornell

What really did happen to Agatha Christie during her mysterious eleven-day disappearance just as she was on the cusp of fame?

“Yes, she said, finally. Breaks are important. There are times when it’s wiser to get away. From it all.”

“On The Blue Train” is an interesting interpretation into the disappearance of Agatha Christie on 4 December, 1926 who took on a different identity. Escaping her past, Teresa decides to take a break away from it all and becomes a resident of the spa hotel named Harrogate Hydro. It is here she meets and becomes friends with another resident of the hotel, Harry McKenna who shows her how to dance and enjoy life again. This is a novel about white lies to protect ourselves and truths be known. It is a dark and brooding novel which moves from France to England taking us on a ride through Agatha Christie’s twelve day disappearance and what could have happened.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I rated it 4 out of 5 stars – special thanks to Allen and Unwin Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review. I really recommend this book!!!

-Carolyn

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

4.5 stars – A riveting and imaginative story of enchantments, love and death duel.
Special Blog Trio: NJ, Annie and Amanda

Just finished this book, my first thoughts were: it’s so imaginative and I wish magic actually exists in our world. When I picked up this book, I was pondering what could be more badass than an enchanter and an enchantress battling an ancient magical duel (to the death) for the position of Imperial Enchanter? It did not disappoint. With a heart pounding love story thrown in, it was the perfect concoction and intoxicating mix of magic, illusions, passion, betrayals and enchantments. Let’s face it, the battle is not simply one of magic, but of each characters’ internal battle for what they meant to do versus what is right for them. I loved all the creative elements, the otherworldliness of alternate Russia. I also liked Vika, Nicholas and Pasha’s internal conflict and choices. The story has just enough foreshadowing for it make sense and stay unpredictable, setting up for the next book. The ending was unexpected but kept me at the edge of my seat. It’s an unputdownable, enchanting read.
– NJ

This book was amazing from start to finish I really could not put this book down!!! Such a magical read and very well written, this book is set in alternate Russia where there is only room for one enchanter, as such, The Crown’s Game was founded in order for eligible enchanters to engage in a magical duel to the death where only one enchanter remains and victorious, becomes the Crown’s magical advisor. However, it wasn’t all about casting spells to kill the other, I loved how enchantments could be cast to develop an island and give the opponent illusions you wouldn’t think possible. Yes, there was a bit of romance thrown in there however it was so cleverly weaved into the story line that didn’t have me rolling my eyes.. This book was bombshells galore, just when you thought you were onto something – bam – something else is thrown at you.. This had me on the edge of my seat – a real page turner – by the end it was all “the feels”… I still have unanswered questions and I look forward to the next instalment!!! 5 stars.. 10/10.. such a GREAT read!!!
-Annie

The Crown’s Game is a magical duel between two enchanters set in an alternate historical Russia. The magic and the premise of the duel and the premise of the duel had me intrigued from the beginning. Waiting to see how the enchanters would one-up each other by displaying their magical skill was the highlight for me. I also really enjoyed the two main characters: Vika and Nikolai. I found they were both interesting and I wasn’t sure who I want to win the duel. I didn’t really enjoy the romantic storylines in this novel though as I am not a fan of insta-love – where characters fall in love too soon and you don’t buy it because there wasn’t enough development. I found all of the romantic relationships in this story were insta-love – some like insta-love, some like me aren’t big fans of it. However, overall, I highly recommend this story due to the intriguing magical duel. The alternate Russia created was a really fun world to escape into.
-Amanda

Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending us an Advance Review Copy in exchange for our honest review