December 5: Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

 

Places I want to visit again:
1) Oxford (All Souls Trilogy) and London, England (Shades of London, All Souls, Tunnel Vision). I loved these places. I can never tire of London and I am rereading the All Souls Trilogy so I want to go on a tour of Oxford with Deborah Harkness. I wish I was there when they were filming the TV show.

All Souls College in Oxford, Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library.

2&3) Paris and Grasse, France (The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni)
Shopping spree!!!!!!!!!

4) Volterra, Italy (Twilight: New Moon)
I wore a green shirt and jeans like Bella did in the movie. It was such a quaint and beautiful town. I’d love to go back and spend more time there than just a few hours. They also had a beautiful alabaster shop. More shopping!

They had a Twilight section in the alabaster shop. I have always regretted not getting these alabaster white queen chess pieces.

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New places:
5) Naboo, which was really Lake Como, Italy.
I hear they have tours of the villa where they shot Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I want to stand on the terrace where Anakin and Padmé were married.

6) NOLA (A Density of Souls, Out of the Easy)
Not during Marti Gras and not during hurricane season. But I would like to see the famous sites.

7) Hawaii (Everything, Everything)
Warm weather, heavenly beaches (and I am not a beach person), and volcanos. I want to go!

8) Salem, Mass. (The Crucible)
It’s my favorite play and the witch trials are a sad part of American history.

9) Scotland (Harry Potter, The Winter Sea)
I want to take a train there from London.

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10) Siracusa, Italy.
I have yet to read Siracusa by Delia Ephron but I won’t say no to Italy.

The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier

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The Outlander series for the YA audience—a debut, full of romance and intrigue, set in early eighteenth-century Scotland.

Saying good-bye to Scotland is the hardest thing that Jenna MacDuff has had to do—until she meets Lord Pembroke. Jenna’s small clan has risked their lives traveling the countryside as masons, secretly drumming up support and arms for the exiled King James Stuart to retake the British throne. But their next job brings them into enemy territory: England.

Jenna’s father repeatedly warns her to trust no one, but when the Duke of Keswick hires the clan to build a garrison on his estate, it seems she cannot hide her capable mind from the duke’s inquisitive son, Lord Alex Pembroke—nor mask her growing attraction to him. But there’s a covert plan behind the building of the garrison, and soon Jenna must struggle not only to keep her newfound friendship with Alex from her father, but also to keep her father’s treason from Alex.

Will Jenna decide to keep her family’s mutinous secrets and assist her clan’s cause, or protect the life of the young noble she’s falling for?

In Shelley Sackier’s lush, vivid historical debut, someone will pay a deadly price no matter which choice Jenna makes.

Picked up an ARC from NYCC 2016.

This story is being advertised as “The Outlander series for the YA audience” and I don’t agree. I never read Outlander, or seen the show, but from what I have heard The Freemason’s Daughter doesn’t have enough romance to earn that comparison. I am not saying I expect sex scenes in a YA novel, but there wasn’t enough heat between Jenna and Alex. Or Jenna and Daniel.

There also was not enough action, conflict, or suspense. Not much happens in the book until the last few chapters, which were rushed and then it ends abruptly. There were some points when I thought it would finally become exciting,

Spoilers!

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Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

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Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

I picked up and ARC at NYCC in October.

I really liked the set up of this alternate reality where those with magical powers (Skill) are the rulers (Equals). Usually the magical beings are in hiding and have their own world separate from those without magic. This turn around makes for an interesting story with power struggles, political maneuvering, and a rebellion that’s going to be a bitch of a time. Some reviewers on Goodreads said it was too political and they couldn’t keep the characters straight. I don’t get what they mean. It’s YA and easy enough to follow.

I was happy that it was told from different POVs in the third person. That really gave the world building a fuller picture and we got to understand both the Equals and the slaves. Some characters got more chapters than others and so their story was better developed, but I hope to see more from Silyen in the next book. He’s so conniving and the most mysterious.

A great starting point for a new trilogy. I’ll be awaiting the next book.

4 out 5 Years of Servitude.

London Day 4 – Monday, August 18, 2014

Itinerary: Windsor Castle, Oxford, and Stonehenge.

This tour was pre-booked a couple a months before our trip. Our coach was leaving Victoria Coach Station and after rushing, getting lost, and running around the confusing, under construction area, we finally found our bus tour!

Our tour guide was Russell and our driver was Ian. Russell was a short man with brown hair and a mustache. He was a stylish dresser with a brown jacket and suspenders.
He noticed my TARDIS necklace and mentioned that the new season would premiere that Saturday. I’d see it when I got home the next week.

Our first stop was Windsor Castle. While we were on the queue to get into the castle Russell took aside those in our group who had the London Pass to bring them to their entrance. With the London Pass you pay a fee, and then you get your own skip-the-line entrance at certain attractions because you already paid.

As he was taking them aside a Windsor Castle employee asked if the group was with Russell. He responded that they were and that they had London Passes. She then proceeded to explain that they could go on ahead. Russell said that they were with him and he was taking them to their separate entrance and he would be back for the rest of the group. There was a back and forth exchange about this and then Russell said, “I’m taking them in.” The Windsor Castle employee was taken back and widened her eyes at his tone.

He was a bit snippy, but that will always be an inside joke between Victoria, Stefan, Daniela and I. Throughout the trip we would periodically say to one another, “I’m taking them in.” LOL

Here are a few small things Russell told us about Windsor Castle. George IV was very vain and built ornate castles. He rebuilt Windsor. It had many styles over the years and the one we see today is from the 1820’s.

George IV was the fattest King of England. Henry VIII was the second fattest. George IV was 350 pounds and had a 54″ waist. This has been disputed by people, but Russell said George IV is the inspiration for the nursery rhyme:

Georgie Porgie, Puddin’ and Pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry,

George IV was a terrible drinker, gambler, lover, and king.

Windsor Castle is the home of the Queen today, when she is not spending the summer in Scotland. The Round Tower is not open to the public because she keeps her archives and private art collection there. She has many drawing from Leonardo da Vinci. I am jealous.

After going through security we went straight to St. George’s Chapel. We needed to be back at the bus by 12:15 so this would be the express tour. On our way to St. George’s Chapel we encountered the changing of the guard. It’s a long ceremony so we just took a few photos, and I took some video.

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