Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Noelle Reviews The Young Jaguar by @ZoeSaadia #Aztecs

Today’s team review comes from Noelle, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle chose to read and review The Young Jaguar by Zoe Saadia


Book Review: The Young Jaguar by Zoe Saadia


The Young Jaguar by Zoe Saadia is the first book in a pre-Aztec trilogy, and introduces us to Atolli, a teenager in the Tepenic Empire of Central America, whose father is Tecpatl, the Chief Warlord. Prior to the rise of the Aztec Empire, this Empire was strong and growing. Tecpatl’s position is very high within the social structure and he is very content, having returned from a series of successful wars, and he loves his family. His wife, Sakuna, followed Tecpatl home when he warred in her native land of the Anasazis, and theirs is a deep and respectful love that has withstood the criticism of the Tepenic elite. Atolli is a hot-headed daredevil, who climbs the walls of the palace with the skill and cunning of a jaguar, just for fun.

The story begins when Atolli, his best friend Mecatl and some other adventurous boys from the warrior school that Atolli attends, roam the palace walls at night, drinking octli, a potent drink reserved for the warriors of the tribe. This is a serious transgression, but an adventure they have taken before. This time, they are discovered and chased and Atolli and Mecatl fall over the wall into one of the palace gardens. There they meet Chictli, the beautiful daughter of the second son of the Emperor, and Atolli is smitten.

His position as Tecpatl’s son saves him from serious punishment, but he has to vow to support Chictli’s father in the future as one of his warriors. At the same time, the Emperor dies, making Tecpatl vow to support his first son as the new Emperor, thus putting him at odds not only with his son, but much of the Tepenic elite. Tecpatl is thus forced to choose between his duty to the new Emperor and his family, which ultimately puts them all in danger. Sakuna uses her skill with herbs and healing to deal with the crisis.

I become completely immersed in Zoe Saadia’s historical novels. The characters come alive; because of her detailed research on everything involved in tribal life – customs, food, clothing , jewelry – the reader feels like they are there, amidst the action. Family dynamics, especially in this book, are very recognizable, even though the tribal dynamics are complex. Zoe makes it clear that people haven’t changed much over the centuries: they are greedy, power-hungry, loving, driven, devious, envious, bored and frustrated. These emotions fuel this story.

I highly recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction but more widely to any reader who likes a barn burner of a story with great characters and lots of action. What’s even better is that you can follow Atolli on his journey to adulthood through the next book in the series, The Jaguar Warrior.

Zoe Saadia is the author of two trilogies and one series (11 full-length novels), all covering the turbulent history of Mesoamerica when the Aztecs were busy coming to power. All are based on more than a decade of research of pre-contact cultures. She is convinced this history of the Americas has been completely overlooked, and she brings it to life through her writing.

She has also written The Peacemaker Series of four books, stories surrounding the creation of the famous Iroquois Confederacy, one of the oldest democracies on earth. I reviewed Two Rivers, one of these books, in a previous post.

When I can fit them into my copious free time, I intend to read all of these!

You can find a copy of this book here from or


Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Amanda Reviews The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham

Today we have a review from team member Amanda, she blogs at


She chose to read and review The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham by Tony Riches.


Wow what a book i really did enjoy it . This is one of the first books by Tony Riches i had read so i was not sure what it would be like . I pick to read because i love history and i was so happy i pick , it a very powerful read . The story will just grip you . I got pulled into the plot by the first few pages . It became a page turner for me .The story is told from the point of view of Eleanor who was the Duchess of Gloucester she was put on trial for witchcraft and treason against Henry VIEleanor was the wife of the duke Humphrey of Gloucester he was one of the richest men in the country i was not sure if i like him what did you think ? He was next in line to the throne so one day Eleanor hoped she would become the Queen of England .
I enjoyed reading about Eleanor interest in astrology and the dark arts but was she into witchcraft you will have to make up your own minds i was not sure ?
what will you think ?

Her husband seem to be a very powerful man but he did a few things that lead to his enemies accuse Eleanor of a plot against the king
She was found guilty of sorcery and witchcraft but for some reason the king Henry VI order her to be imprison for life ,this was for about 10 year normally people were killed or hanged for this crime in them days .
Eleanor was now the kings prisoner she when to the finest palaces i enjoy read about them all tony wrote then in such detail i could see them in my mind .
Leeds castle sounded one of the best but i felt the isle of man was one of the worst .The condition were so bad very basic and so not fit for anyone to be put in .My heart when out to her .She lived a very tough life she had to deal with so much i want to tell you more but i want you all to read
She did have a maid to help her and look after her but were they good to her ?
Did they go behind her back ?
Where did her jewellery go that she sew into her dress ?
I not sure she could trust any one
The book tells you how Eleanor got her writing things her inks and parchment i like how she made her pens from the crows feathers she found in the gardens if she allow to walk around she hid them to use later .

She was very clever and wrote her diary in a code she learn how to write it took a while for her to understand she wrote about her life . The book tell you of her affairs and the love of her life too . The last place she was at was Becunuris Castle on the island of Angley . This was were she hid her box and some year later workmen found her old wooden box hided under the floor broad her parchment had gone yellow it took year to understand what she had wrote it was so well coded that people could not understand

I did feel a connection with the characters i did feel there were all very strong and some were very in dept i did find Eleanor hard to read sometimes but i like that about her she was a very brave lady she must of live thought hell her life was tough i did feel it was a very powerful insight to how she was treated as a prisoner it was just so interesting to read i was gripped .i wanted see what would happen next to her . You just get pulled into the plot you feel like you are there with her .I like that we got hear all her motives and actions and why she did things .I felt the plot was very well research the book a wonderful read .

Tony writing style just so easy to follow you will be addicted to the plot i was.
Tony description are so good and very clear you can see in all in your mind
The book got a lot of real facts in which i like reading this book has made me want to find out more about her as i loved the history of the story
I enjoy that last part of the book were Tony tell how or were he got all his facts from
I got to say i was not sure on this part of history i should have took more notice in school but that did not spoilt the book it just a very well written story you will be hooked on it i was .
I love to recommend you all read
4 dolls
I would like to thank Tony for letting me read his wonderful book

Find a copy here from or

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a historical novel from Anglo-Saxon England. It begins in the year 866AD and follows the trail of Danish invasion of the land. The narrator is a young man captured at a young age by a Danish Lord, who took him in and treated him like a son. Uhtred spends several years of his life crossing sides between the English and the Danes in an attempt to survive and make it back to his rightful lands in Northumbria. There are some wonderful Anglo-Saxon place names through-out the book and we also learn much about the Viking Gods. Ultimately Uhtred’s fate is mixed with that of King Alfred and he must choose where his true loyalty lies.

Find a copy here on Amazon.

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“P” AtoZ Challenge

This is the third and final book by Jean Fullerton on the challenge, Jean has been one of my guest authors and will be taking part in The Very British Blog Tour 2013. During the challenge we are asking everyone to PLEASE leave a comment, thanks.

Jean has given us some behind the scenes material about her book Perhaps Tomorrow;

Perhaps Tomorrow is set in Victorian East London- Jack the Ripper hunting ground. The heroine is Mattie Maguire, a young widow struggling to keep the family coal yard running and raise her young son. Enter Nathanial Tate recently escaped convict from Botany Bay. When he meets Mattie Nathaniel quickly realises the man he seeks Amos Stebbins also threatens Mattie but very soon Nathaniel’s quest to bring Amos Stebbins to justice take on a sinister twist.  Again the story is set in and around the impoverished streets of London’s dockland.

Product Details

Mattie Maguire is a twenty-six-year-old widow with an infant son. Since her husband, Brian, died three years before, she has struggled to keep the family’s East End coal business solvent, as well as taking care of her troubled mother-in-law. But unbeknown to Mattie, life is about to get even tougher. Maguire’s is in the path of the proposed Wapping to Mile End Railway extension that Amos Stebbins is trying to raise capital for, and he has his sights set on the deeds of the coal yard. Outwardly, Amos is a respectably married local benefactor. But he has a darker side and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Nathaniel Tate is the son of a poor farmer who used to be employed by Amos as a clerk, until he was wrongfully convicted of embezzling money that Amos stole. Sent to a penal colony in Botany Bay, Sydney, Nathaniel escaped after receiving the news that his wife and children had died. Now he has returned to London, hell-bent on killing Amos, whom he holds responsible for his family’s destruction. Tracking Amos down to Maguire’s, a desperate and penniless Nathaniel accepts Mattie’s offer of work. But as Nathaniel begins to help Mattie turn around the fortunes of the business, and the pair grow ever closer, he starts to think less of revenge and more of the possibility of a future with Mattie. That is until a furious Amos reveals Nathaniel’s true identity to Mattie – and the police.

Buy Perhaps Tomorrow on Amazon

Here is what one reader thought about the book;

I have been eagerly awaiting this third book by the very talented Jean Fullerton. I loved her first two books, No Cure For Love and A Glimpse at Happiness and this one is even better.
It has all the ingredients of a bestseller. A cracking story, totally authentic and historically accurate setting and her best hero to date. Nathaniel Tate lights up the page; he’s tough,resourceful, intelligent and totally scrumptious. He is an escaped convict (having been sent to Botany Bay)and has returned to seek revenge on the man who sent him there.
This man is Amos Stebbins. Stebbins is everything a villain should be; on the outside a pillar of society but actually totally corrupt.
Mattie Maguire is the perfect match for Nathaniel. She is running the coal yard that Stebbins is trying to obtain by deception, but is barely making ends meet. Nathaniel, of course, helps her turn round the fortunes of the business and the two of them fall in love.There are many exciting twists and turns before the two of them are safe from the machinations of the evil Stebbins.I was captivated from the very first page and sat up late two nights in a row in order to finish the book. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Now there is another long wait until her next book appears.
Here are 5 links to randomly chosen AtoZ Bloggers;

Conqueror by Conn Iggulden

Conqueror (The Conqueror Series, #5)Conqueror by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite a long epic about the life of Kublai Khan, grandson of the great Genghis Khan. Lots of detail of the Mongol Khans and the life styles of the Mongols. It explains their thirst for power and their success in battle. Set in the years between 1244 and 1260 Conn includes a lot of historical data about a nation which made its mark on history.

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