Thursday, June 1, 2017

THE LOST SYMBOL



"The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling–a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths… all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object–artfully encoded with five symbols–is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation… one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon–a prominent Mason and philanthropist–is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations–all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth."

I've taken this summary from the official site, and after reading it, I thought about how the book impacted myself. I must confess I have come back to my reading routine after quite a long gap, and being my 2nd book, this year, I must confess I enjoyed it. I read The Da Vinci Code many years ago, and I literally read it in two days. 
I have always been a fan of Masonic literature, and an avid reader of the Saint Grail theories, the royal blood, and the crusaders. With that been said, you can infer I did enjoy the book.
It's easy reading, short chapters which encouraged me to keep on reading and the storytelling technique Brown's has, made me forget all I had around me. I was immersed in Langdon's nightmare. The villain was so well depicted that made me have a real hideous, terrifying picture in my mind. 
Many people may have not liked the book but as I said, if you like stories of Masons, hidden treasures, symbols and linked with real settings, that's your book.

ORDER OF DARKNESS



When I ordered the trilogy, I did it blindfolded, Philippa Gregory was enough for me. I am afraid I was wrong. I started reading Book #1, and the writing did not sound me "right", frequently sloppy, set in Rome 1450"s, after the fall of Constantinople, and one character says: "What the heck". It was not the language I expected from Gregory after reading the White Queen. 
Due to my lack of knowledge and research, I was not aware it was her first Teen novel. Then everything made sense.
The story is nice, if I put my shoes into a teen, some fantasy, witchcraft, old beliefs, but that's it. It's hard to think that this plot comes from such an amazing author.
Anyway, I will read the other two, to finish my commitment, but I am looking forward to continuing reading "the cousins' war".

THE RED QUEEN



The Red Queen tells the story of Margaret Beaufort, a member of the member of the House of Lancaster and, most famously, the grandmother of Henry VIII. At the age of twelve Margaret is married to Edmund Tudor in an effort to create a royal Lancaster heir and help secure the throne. Though Edmund dies shortly into their marriage, he leaves Margaret with a son named Henry, whom she swears to put on the throne as the rightful Lancaster heir. Caught up in a dangerous civil war between the houses of Lancaster and York, Margaret must navigate ever-changing court politics and carefully plot to get her son on the throne.
I have read the White Queen first and it is very interesting to see the contrast between Margaret and Elizabeth Woodville, the York Queen. In the White Queen, we see Elizabeth strongly attached to her mother, to her mysticism and witch-like superstitions.
Margaret on the other hand is a strict religious woman, believing she is a British version of Joan of Arc. she spends her entire life devoted to make his son the King of England as she believes it is God's will.
The two women are also completely different in their physical appearance: Elizabeth tall, blonde and beautifully charming whereas Margaret is described as short, dark haired and a modest look.
Though many of the events described in the Red Queen, also are depicted in the White Queen, it is very interesting to see the War of the Roses in two different perspectives.
One through the eyes of the York and the other through the Lancaster’s.

Sometimes I found the reading a bit slow, especially the moments when Margaret was taking orders and made other take charge of her life. Once Margaret takes control and plays political games in favor of her son, the story becomes interesting.

There are many moments that you can despise Margaret, especially for her resent and desire of revenge against the York. She even mentions her sin of ambition and greed of fighting to take what she believes her rightful place.
Gregory description of Medieval England, is enjoyable and readers will also see a clear picture of how the characters especially Margaret evolved throughout the story.
Fans of Historical fiction like me, will be delighted with this novel.

THE WHITE QUEEN




The War of the Roses is one of the bloodiest English wars, where cousins fought for only one prize: the Throne on England. Among these cruel battles we witness the life of powerful women, who not only had to sacrifice their happiness but their loved ones as well.
The White Queen tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman of extraordinary beauty who in a moment of financial difficult met the King of England, fell in love and married in secret. From then on her life was changed radically. Her strength and commitment to her family made her fight for the success of the House of York to be the only and truly bloodline to the English throne.

I have read many negative reviews about this novel, which even made me doubt of reading it. Luckily, my love for History was stronger, I read it and I did not regret it. 
At first Elizabeth and all her adventures reminded me of Jane Austen’s works. Those young girls looking to find a wealthy husband and live happily ever after. To that been said, Elizabeth’s life though at the beginning , it looked like a fairy tale, marrying the king in secret, having children with him, and after fierce battles, his true love came to her door. But then I saw how a woman fought desperately for the safety of her children, and keeping the throne for her family. Despite so many changes in the world, women are still trying to find happiness, manage their children, seeking advantages, and being an influential role in their relationships.
At first knowing it is a historical fiction, I did not know how much facts I will find in the story, to my surprise, reading an interview to Philippa Gregory, I learned that most of the story is based on real events. Magic, dark, enchanted elements can also be found in History. 
Of course some elements were added by the writer to make the story more interesting and poetic but even the Melusina’s myth is true. Elizabeth and her mother believed that they were descendants from this goddesses. They also believed in witchcraft.
The disappearance of the princes is also a real fact which is still a mystery. 
I believe that this quote from the book resumes it all: 
“Ambition, power, even the throne itself that cost our family so dear: at the end he knew it was all meaningless”
The War of the Roses is about battles, chivalry and knights. In the “White Queen” you will find the history of women who have been an essential part in these male leaders' life.
Highly recommended.

ENCHANTED READING - COZY READINGS






I've just finished the series of the Waverleys' Sisters. These books are amazing! They depict the story of a family with enchanting gifts. 
Claire is a chef which special ingredients  are wildflowers from her  garden.
Sydney has come a long way, coming back home after a sad bumpy story from out state. 
The books are about the journey of these sisters, how to start a new life together, living in a heartwarming town in North Carolina.
The Southern friendly atmosphere is present in every chapter.
It's magical, beautiful and it will have a special place in your heart. Warm, comforting and loving!