A Royal Pain


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A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #2)A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: A Royal Spyness Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: July 7, 2009
Category: Romantic Mystery
Setting: England
Author Website: http://rhysbowen.com/

About series:

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is 34th in line for the throne of England and she is flat broke. All she has is family honor and a distant relationship with the Queen of England. Set in 1930’s England, Victoria moonlights as a maid and when called upon by the Queen of England looks in on things that the Queen wants looked into by someone she trusts. That might put Victoria in harms way, but there is often a handsome man or two available to help her out when some muscle is required. One of those men is her grandfather from the other side of the family, a former bobby who walked the beat in some of London’s more unsavory neighborhoods.

About this book:

A good friend gifted me with this second book in the series and based on her recommendation I’d not wait to get the first and dove right in to the Royal Spyness Series. As I starting reading it I first I thought this series might have been the inspiration for the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries that I’ve been recently watching on Netflix. It was the right time period, but I soon realized that Victoria was not of the same extroverted character that Miss Fisher is and looked further to discover that that TV series was actually based on books written by Kerry Greenwood.

That being said, I found Victoria a delightful character who doesn’t take herself too seriously and yet is smart enough not to give away all her charms for free. She is a good girl in the fast times of pre-World War II. I’m not sure why, but I found that incredibly courageous of Victoria. Maybe I’m getting old? Or maybe Ryhs Bowen has just written a truly delightful mystery story. I’m looking forward to hearing how Victoria pursues her love interest, Darcy O’Mara, and maintains her moral stance to save herself for marriage in an age where it seems every girl is throwing away her virginity for a good Jazz tune. Or maybe it is going to be more interesting to see how he pursues her. I’m sure that their romance will be surrounded by more murders and mystery and I’m looking forward to reading about those as well.

Victoria is the Mary Tyler Moore of her generation trying to make it on her own. And I can see her twirling in the middle of Belgrave Square and tossing her hat into the air with the closure of each successful case. Victoria hasn’t set out to be a female detective but neither is she afraid to pursue the opportunities that life gives her. And that is probably the lesson that she is trying to teach all of us. Seize the day. Whatever the day may bring. Be it love, laughter or murder.

Learn about other books in this series:

Masked Ball at Broxley Manor (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #0.5)
Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #1)
Royal Flush (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #3)
Royal Blood (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #4)
Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #5)
The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #6)
Heirs and Graces (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #7)
Queen of Hearts (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #8)

Miss Phryne Fisher Series by Kerry Greenwood:

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)
Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2)
Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)
Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)
The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)
Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)
Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher, #7)
Urn Burial (Phryne Fisher, #8)
Raisins and Almonds (Phryne Fisher, #9)
Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher, #10)
Away With the Fairies
Murder in Montparnasse (Phryne Fisher, #12)
The Castlemaine Murders (Phryne Fisher, #13)
Queen of the Flowers (Phryne Fisher, #14)
Death by Water (Phryne Fisher, #15)
Murder in the Dark (Phryne Fisher, #16)
Murder on a Midsummer Night (Phryne Fisher, #17)
Dead Man’s Chest (Phryne Fisher, #18)
Unnatural Habits (Phryne Fisher #19)
Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher #20)

Learn about Mary Tyler Moore TV series:

Games of Thrones


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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series:     A Song of Ice and Fire
Publisher:    Bantam Spectra
Release Date:    August 6, 1996
Category:   Sci-fi
Setting:   Fantasy Land
Author Website:   http://www.georgerrmartin.com/

About series:


This is an epic novel following several ruling families or houses in a fantasy land where summer lasts for decades and winters can last a lifetime. There is a mixture of magic, science fiction, and paranormal.  Plus a dose of romance and plenty of battle scenes to keep the men happy and interested.


About this book:


A long time ago in this amazing fantasy land, the House of Targaryen ruled. Their animal to call was the dragon which followed them into the battlefield and won them the kingdom. But all the dragons died. And their king was overthrown and the last of the Dragonstones fled across the seas.


Now the king is from the House of Baratheon, but he is a drinking womanizing king who let’s others run his kingdom. Mostly working behind the King is his wife’s family from the House of Lannister. The king’s brother-in-law is actually called the kingslayer – which would make me nervous as a king – but he is the one who killed the Targaryen and won them the throne. The king though relies on his best friend who is the head of the House of Stark. This household is the main focus of this book. We are told the story through the eyes of the Stark family whose symbol is a direwolf (a bigger than normal wolf that scares everyone.) The Starks motto is “Winter is coming” and this is a haunting threat that follows us through the book.


There are other houses in play as well, such as Lady Stark’s sister who married into the House of Arryn. Their castle is way up in the sky and the loneliness of it has driven Lady Arryn a bit mad and she has brought up her son in her crazy image. She won’t even come to the aid of her father and brother at the House of Tully.


It’s the combination of all these other houses which makes this novel truly a masterpiece of woven stories.


  • I love the characters and world building of this novel.
  •  I love how the stories intertwine.


But this novel is about more than that. There is a paranormal side to this storyline. In this first book, it is all about one house fighting against another, but soon – maybe when ‘winter comes’ – they will need to band together and fight a worse enemy… the zombies.  I hate zombies. I don’t know if I can continue to read the series when the zombies reach the Wall. But in the meantime, I want to see what happens to the Stark children as they travel their own paths. I want to see the evil get their punishments and innocent be protected. And maybe what makes all this so enjoyable is that there is this threat of winter coming hanging over our heads.


Learn about other books in this series:


About this series on HBO:

The Library: A World History



The Library: A World HistoryThe Library: A World History by James W.P. Campbell

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:    University Of Chicago Press
Release Date:    October 14, 2013
Category:   Art, History, Reference 



About this book:


Okay, I admit it. I didn’t read every word of this book but I got it mostly for the pictures. I love books and therefore I’m equally in love with the places that house books. From the ancient stone libraries to the modern steel stacks, libraries help keep the love of books alive and so I frequent my library as much as possible. What I fear most is the book warehouse such as the Bodleian Storage in Swindon, UK that houses the overflow of the Oxford Library. Books stored away where no one can see it is a sad life for a book. A book should be available where people can pull it down off the shelf by inspiration, flip through the pages, and learn just a tidbit before putting it back on the shelf for the next person to discover.


I may never be able to see these libraries in real life but some of my favorites from this book are: