THE WINNERS! #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT Bookreview team presents: The Gold & Silver 2016 Book Awards

The Winners!#RBRT Rosie’s Book Review Team presents: The Gold & Silver Rose Awards 2016

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*Cough* … On behalf of my team, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up in the #RBRT 2016 book awards!

Books were selected from the several hundred submitted to our team for review over the past year, with the 24 finalists voted for by the reviewing team. These finalists were then offered up to the public for voting. Congratulations to the 8 winners and runners up!

A click of the book’s title will take you to Goodreads, where you can see reviews, and also leads to the Amazon, etc, buy links.

 

Fantasy / SciFi/ Horror

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Winner: The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

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Runner-up: Passing Notes by D G Driver

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Historical Fiction

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Winner: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

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Runner-Up: Back Home by Tom Williams

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Mystery Thriller

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Winner: On Lucky Shores by Kerry J Donovan

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Runner-Up: Rack & Ruin (previously titled Murder & Mayhem) by Carol Hedges

Contemporary

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Winner: The Disobedient Wife by Annika M Stanley

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Runner-Up: Scotch On The Rocks by Lizzie Lamb

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Congratulations to all the following finalists:

The Black Orchid by Celine Jean-Jean

Blood Of The Sixth by K R Rowe

Flesh by Dylan J Morgan

The Final Virus by Carol Hedges

La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence

When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

Jasper by Tony Riches

The Code For Killing by William Savage

Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley

Wings Of Mayhem by Sue Coletta

Murder at the Lighthouse by Frances Evesham

Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

The Bad Girl by L Donsky-Levine

Silent Water by Jan Ruth

The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell

LA PETITE BOULAIN by G Lawrence @TudorTweep #HistFic the early years of Anne Boleyn #Tudors

La Petite Boulain (Above all Others; The Lady Anne #1)La Petite Boulain by G. Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four point five stars
La Petite Boulain is historical fiction about the young years of the life of Anne Boleyn. The book opens in 1536 with adult Anne held prisoner in the Tower of London awaiting the final judgement on her life. Queen for only three years she is the scapegoat taking the blame for the fall of Katherine of Aragon, the fate of the princess Mary, the church reforms and the dissolution of the monasteries.

Surrounded by the eyes and ears of her enemy Anne looks back on her life, to where it all began. 1505 Hever castle, home of the Boleyn family. The family were well thought of at court. Henry VIII is crowned King and there is rejoicing at the birth of a baby Prince. But when the child dies a great sadness befalls the country.

Anne is sent abroad to the court of Burgundy to continue her education and perfect her courtly graces. First for Margaret of Austria, then as a lady in waiting for the Princess Mary Tudor when she is Queen of France and then for Claude, another Queen of France. Anne makes many friends in these courts and discovers the works of Martin Luther and many other authors who write about church reforms.

Anne meets King Henry of several occasions in her court roles, one most memorable was The Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 when the kings of England and France met to form treaties. Soon after this Anne’s father demands she return to England and the story continues on the second book in the series.

The writing style is filled with rich descriptions of the era and Anne’s life immersing the reader in the Tudor period, which I enjoy reading about. We get to see Anne’s very thoughts and feelings towards her king from humble childhood beginnings to adolescent stirrings and admiration. But don’t think Anne only ever had eyes just for Henry, the ways of court life spun many admirers and potential lovers in intricate webs around her. It was down to her education in court ways and her personal beliefs which made her the woman she was to become. Everyone knows about Henry’s six wives but few perhaps know more about Anne than simple details gleaned from history lessons. This book offers a great incite into how she became the women we know as Henry’s second wife.

Book Description

May 1536, London… a fallen queen sits waiting in the Tower of London, condemned to death by her husband. As Death looms before her, Anne Boleyn, second queen of Henry VIII looks back on her life…from the very beginning. 
Daughter of a courtier, servant to queens… she rose higher than any thought possible, and fell lower than any could imagine. 
Following the path of the young Mistress Boleyn, or La Petite Boulain, through the events of the first years of the reign of Henry VIII, to the glittering courts of Burgundy and France, Book One of “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” tracks the life of the young Lady Anne, showing how she became the scintillating woman who eventually, would capture the heart of a king. 
La Petite Boulain is the first book in the series “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” on the life of Anne Boleyn by G.Lawrence.
 

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com also available free from Kindle Unlimited

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LADY ANNE by G Lawrence @TudorTweep #Tudors #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading The Lady Anne by G Lawrence

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Book Review: The Lady Anne by Gemma Lawrence @TudorTweep for #RBRT #historical fiction

The Lady Anne is the second book in the Above All Others series about the life of Anne Boleyn by Gemma Lawrence. The first book, La Petite Boulain, which I also reviewed, concerns the early years of Anne’s life, beginning with her happy childhood at Hever Castle in Kent and her education in the courts of France. This volume concerns Anne’s life and loves from her return home to when she falls in love with Henry VIII.

When Anne returns to England on the orders of her father, she is scheduled to become a lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine, wife of Henry VIII. During her first days at her family home at Hever, acclimatizing to a land she hardly knows, she meets Thomas Wyatt, a neighbor whom she played with as a child. Thomas is an accomplished poet and a close friend of King Henry and falls in love with the talented, accomplished and stylish Anne. However, he is married, and Anne rejects him, wanting to be his friend, but the rejection is taken badly and it shapes some aspects of her life at court. At court she meets the young Henry Percy, with whom she falls in love, projecting onto him some of the innocence she still feels. Their intended engagement is thwarted, and from there the inevitable unwinds when Henry notices her and becomes besotted.

As with the first book, I liked the exceptional historical detail, from the food to the clothing to courtly romance, and the minutiae of life in that age – even to the way members of court and others smelled. Courtiers bathed more than most, but the fact the Queen often wore a hair shirt and how that led to her musky and repulsive odor was something new that wrinkled my nose! The politics of Henry’s royal courts, which defined everyone’s life and fate, is laid out in detail in terms of how it affected Anne and her family.

I also found that more than with La Petite Boulain, Anne becomes a rounded character, petty and venal, but also thoughtful and caring. The multiple sides of her personality made her real – not always likeable, but very human.

Above all, The Lady Anne is a love story, one that is hard to ignore. As the attraction between Henry and Anne grows, this reader found herself shaking her head at Anne’s determination to guard her honor and not become the King’s mistress, as her sister had been, worrying at what Henry would do in response to her audaciousness. Even though I knew how it would turn out. Such is the power of the author’s writing.

The Lady Anne is heavy in exposition, and particularly noticeable are the dialogue dumps – conversation from one side that last a page or more. There are also repetitions of facts and ideas. I will freely admit I skipped over the repetitions and skimmed the overlong conversations.

Nevertheless, the story has a fascination, especially so for this Tudor fan, that holds one’s attention. I was immersed in Anne’s life more than with the first volume, and I look forward to reading the third.

I purchased this book and reviewed it as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT LA PETITE BOULAIN by @TudorTweep #Tudors #HistFic

Today’s Team Review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence

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The story begins in the Tower of London where Anne Boleyn awaits her fate, contemplating those who died in the manner that now lies ahead for her. In return for Henry VIII’s promise of protection for her daughter, Anne signs her life away, admitting to all she is falsely accused of. Sleepless, determined not to panic and to die with dignity, Anne lets her thoughts wander back to her happy and carefree childhood at Hever Castle.

It’s longer than I care to remember since I read a book about Anne Boleyn so I was looking forward to this one. It was a refreshing change to read the account from Anne’s perspective, giving a different slant altogether on her story and making her more ‘real’ than the impression I had from other books.

In La Petite Boulain Anne’s early years are illustrated comprehensively and we see hints of the intelligence and insight which would become very evident as she learned more of the world and her place in it. But initially Anne’s days were filled with lessons as she and her elder sister, Mary were educated in languages, music, hunting, deportment and how to conduct themselves in society.

When she was twelve Anne, along with Mary and their younger brother, George, left home to complete their education within other households. Anne was placed with Margaret of Austria at the Court of Burgundy, where she learned the ways of a courtier as well as keeping up with her studies. It was here Anne began to question the authority and reliability of the clergy, who were only fallible men, after all. As we follow Anne from Margaret’s court to that of Princess Mary Tudor, the impact and influence these high-born ladies have upon her colour her view of court etiquette and the hypocritical politics, which becomes more apparent, along with Anne’s growing appreciation that the way these are observed can make or break a reputation and have the potential to ruin a life.

The historical aspects, including clothing, food and manners, are detailed exceptionally well, as is the role and treatment of women. No matter their station in life, women are just there, it seems, to further the ambitions of men and are used accordingly, a commodity to be bartered, bought and sold.

I would have preferred a little more dialogue to break up the descriptive passages which, on occasion, were a little overpowering but that said, I enjoyed this excellent book very much. It gives a rounded picture of a determined, complex and intelligent woman whose high moral standards possibly hold the potential to aid in her downfall.

Book Description

May 1536, London… a fallen queen sits waiting in the Tower of London, condemned to death by her husband. As Death looms before her, Anne Boleyn, second queen of Henry VIII looks back on her life…from the very beginning. 
Daughter of a courtier, servant to queens… she rose higher than any thought possible, and fell lower than any could imagine. 
Following the path of the young Mistress Boleyn, or La Petite Boulain, through the events of the first years of the reign of Henry VIII, to the glittering courts of Burgundy and France, Book One of “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” tracks the life of the young Lady Anne, showing how she became the scintillating woman who eventually, would capture the heart of a king. 
La Petite Boulain is the first book in the series “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” on the life of Anne Boleyn by G.Lawrence.

About The Author

G. Lawrence

I am an independently published author, and proud to be so. Living in a little cottage in Cornwall in the UK, I love where I live as much as I love to write.
The age of the Tudors has been an obsession for me since I was a child, and many of my upcoming books will center on that time, but I also pen the odd dystopian fiction or historical fiction from other time periods. I will be releasing all my titles on amazon, for kindle and then hopefully for print later. 
I studied Literature (with a capital L) at University and usually have twenty or more books I’m currently reading. Reading and writing are about mood for me, and I haven’t found a genre I didn’t enjoy something about so far… 

Twitter @TudorTweep

Find a copy of La Petite Boulain here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com also available free from Kindle Unlimited

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT LA PETITE BOULAIN by @TudorTweep #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s Team Review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence

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La Petite Boulain is the first of a series of novels that will follow the life of Anne Boleyn (this is Above all Others; The Lady Anne Book 1) by Gemma Lawrence, author of The Bastard Princess and The Heretic Heir, both about the daughter of Henry VIII who would become Queen Elizabeth.

Anne Boleyn has been the subject of many books, either about her or about the Tudors. I counted 45 on Goodreads alone, by some impressive historical fiction authors such as Antonia Frasier, Philippa Gregory, Jean Plaidy, and Nora Lofts, to name a few. Many of them I have read because I am in love with the Tudor story, so I looked forward to this book.

In La Petite Boulain, the early years of Anne’s life are explored in depth, beginning with her happy childhood at Hever Castle in Kent with her sister Mary and her parents, who were courtiers to both Henry VII and Henry the VIII. While still very young, Anne sees Henry VIII and is infatuated with him, even from a distance. Women in those times were always used as pawns by their parents to enable the family to rise in the ranks. Anne is no exception and at the age of twelve is sent to is sent to the Court of Burgundy to be tutored in court ways and manners by Margaret of Austria. An intelligent girl, Anne not only learns the various arts and language necessary for a courtier, but becomes an astute observer of court life and politics. As a polished young woman, she is sent to the court of France to be a lady-in-waiting to the Princess Mary Tudor, Henry’s sister, who was to wed the aged Louis XII, king of France. Eventually, she is recalled to England by her father, following the death of the Duke of Buckingham. The reader is reminded of her fate, as the story is bookended by her thoughts and observances during her time in the Tower of London, awaiting her possible execution.

What I liked about this book: The author did an exception and detailed job with the historical detail, from the food to the clothing. I loved being immersed in the minutiae of life in that age. The politics of the royal courts, which defines everyone’s life and fate, are laid out crisply and understandably. Religion becomes a part of this, as Martin Luther teachings took root in the Christianity of the commoners. The reader becomes drawn into Anne’s life and sees through her observations and thoughts the fate and treatment of women during that time. It also becomes clear why Henry would become so infatuated with her, as she learns well the lesson of enticing men with beauty, talent and intelligence, but never succumbing to their entreaties and wants. This prompts the question of whether Anne was really in love with Henry, or simply playing the political role of desirable courtier to advance her family. The next book may provide an answer!

What I did not like: The book is very heavy in exposition, mainly very lengthy descriptions of Anne’s thoughts. The dialogue that interspersed these long passages was well-imagined and a relief. Also, Anne’s constant wonderment and delight in the beauty and magnificence of the royal courts and nobility was somewhat overwhelming and at times slightly tedious. I deliberately read The Heretic Heir right after completing this book, to see if this were the author’s writing style. It is, but The Heretic Heir, in my limited opinion, is somewhat better.

All in all, I do recommend La Petite Boulain. I came away with a clearer picture of Anne herself and the time in which she lived. She became a real person, and even those who are not rabid fans of the Tudors will love the historical detail and reach an understanding of this complicated woman. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence @TudorTweep #Histfic #fridayreads

Today’s Team Review is from Olga, she blog at http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Olga has been reading La Petite Boulain by G. Lawrence

My review:

I write this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber and to Gemma Lawrence for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’ve been reading more historical novels of recent and I appreciate the mix of skills their authors require. There has to be a lot of research for the novel to be grounded sufficiently in the era and not seem a total flight of fancy. But ensuring that this research is seamlessly weaved into the story and avoiding the risk of turning it into a textbook requires talent, inspiration, art and a passion for the topic. And La Petite Boulain has all those and more.

I’m Spanish and although I’ve lived in the UK for many years I wouldn’t say that my knowledge of English history is deep or detailed. Like most people the entire world over, I’m more familiar with the Tudors and their historical period than with any others, thanks to the fascination they have always held for historians, writers, and movie and television scriptwriters. I would guess that most of us have read or watched something about Henry VIII and Elizabeth I at the very least. And we’ve heard of Anne Boleyn. We might even have an opinion about her.

Since I started writing reviews and blogging about books I’ve come across many books about Anne Boleyn. What prompted me to read this one was a recommendation by one of the reviewers in Rosie’s team that I know is very knowledgeable on the subject (thanks once more, Terry http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/) and the fact that this book looks at Anne not solely regarding her relationship with Henry VIII. The story is told in the first person, by Anne, who is waiting at the Tower to be beheaded (I’m sure this is no spoiler for anybody), and as a way of keeping calm and passing away the time without falling into despair (more so as she’s surrounded by hostile women sent to spy on her), she goes back in time and remembers her life from childhood. This is the first book in the series, and it takes us from childhood to the time when Anne returns back to England after spending several years away, most recently at the French court, when she’s already a young woman.

The book is beautifully written, with detailed (but not boring or drawn-out) descriptions of clothing, places, people and customs. The language and expressions are appropriate to the era without being overcomplicated or slowing down the story. We see Anne as she sees herself, a lucky girl who’s been born into a good family, with a caring, affectionate and accomplished mother, a father somewhat distant and cold, more interested in politics and the advancement of the family’s fortunes than in the feelings of their members, an older sister (Mary) who is the prettiest one, but less clever and freer with her morals (she’s a more sensuous creature), and a younger brother, George, whom she has much in common with.

We follow her amazement and wonder at historical events, such as the coronation of Henry VIII, when she takes a fancy to the young king, and see her education, first at home, and then at different European Courts, initially at Mechelen and then in France. The book captures well the innocence of a young girl arrived at a European court, who thinks everybody is beautiful, clever and brilliant, although even at that age she is a keen observer and a quick learner. She’s also good at noticing the power relations and getting closer to influencers and people who can teach her the most.

As she grows, she starts to notice and observe the underbelly and the hypocrisy of the society she lives in, and she also becomes a critical thinker, questioning organised religion and reading what were at the time considered dangerous tracks (Martin Luther). She is shocked by some behaviours she sees, including those of her family members, and by the clear difference in the way women are treated in comparison to the men, no matter how high their position in life, but she is determined to absorb knowledge and learn as much as she can, to ensure that she will not just be at the whim of those around her.

I enjoyed the historical detail, the reflections on events and historical figures of the era, but above all, the way the story is told, that takes the readers into Anne’s confidence and makes them experience with her both wonderful and terrible events, helping make her a real and understandable human being, rather than a cardboard figurine out of historical volume . La petite Boulain is an absolute pleasure to read, and despite knowing the story, I can’t wait to for the next book in the series.

La Petite Boulain is the first book in the series “Above All Others; The Lady Anne” on the life of Anne Boleyn by G.Lawrence.

https://www.amazon.com/Petite-Boulain-Above-Others-Lady-ebook/dp/B01CXCHPAU/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Petite-Boulain-Above-Others-Lady-ebook/dp/B01CXCHPAU/