Tag Archives: historical

Book Review – Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors

COTCEChronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial China

by Ann Paludan

This is an excellent history book.  It is well organized and a useful reference work for projects and information purposes.  It is also well enough written to be an enjoyable read. It does not pretend to be a general/complete history of Imperial China; instead it covers the emperors (and occasional Empresses) themselves, giving a coherent unbiased picture that is sometimes difficult to get from most traditional histories.  It gives an account of each emperor from Qin Shinuangdi to Puyi.

This book provides a history that acknowledges the reports of historians from all areas (including enemies of China); these are critically analysed for their biases to attempt to give a balanced account.  The author does not blindly accept what either group has to say about emperors who they either demonize or deify. This is a very worthwhile practice, and so overall the book is a very helpful primer for a novice on the subject.

Especially interesting was the family information as well as the timelines, maps and illustrations. This book is concise and complete for its size and also manages to include text sketches of other prominent people of the day as well as each emperor’s most famous construction projects, laws or other interesting tid bits.

The smaller details of imperial titles, etc., are pulled out into handy sidebars where they can be ignored if desired or enjoyed by those who like that sort of thing.

The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of “official” portrait paintings and sketches of most of the emperors as well as the monuments they built. There are also many drawings and plans showing reconstructions of their palaces and monuments.  It is very easy to read and Chinese language concepts are easily explained.  This is an excellent book for author research or school projects.


If you enjoyed this article, get email updates so you don’t miss the next one!



Bored? Cast your eye over these Gems!

Hello Everyone – I hope you are all doing well?

I know I’ve been a little tardy with my book selections and I really have no excuse…..so…..

Here is my list of books to take a look at for March.  I tried to aim for a bit of a mixed bag, but it did not turn out that way.  Two books have a historical bent to them….I’ve been on a bit of an Agatha Christie binge for the last two months, so you will see one make and appearance here.

Enjoy this month’s selection


NB:Genre’s will vary each month depending on what spine catches my eye in my library when I go to chose books….Also depends on my mood, the phase of the moon, and how much sugar and caffeine is in my blood stream 🙂

Just click on the book image to check them out on Amazon.


The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie


“The Mysterious Affair at Styles” is a detective novel by Agatha Christie. It was written in the middle of World War I, in 1916, and first published by John Lane in the United States in October 1920 and in the United Kingdom by The Bodley Head (John Lane’s UK company) on 21 January 1921.

Styles was Christie’s first published novel, introducing Hercule Poirot, Inspector (later, Chief Inspector) Japp, and Arthur Hastings. Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Cavendish, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery. This is also the setting of Curtain, Poirot’s last case.


The Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan

Magician's guild

“We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.”

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders . . . and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.



Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian

Master and Commander

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship’s surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars.

Details of a life aboard a man-of-war are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.



If you enjoyed this article, get email updates so you don’t miss the next one!


Things to Read….My August Book Recommendations

Hello Everyone – I hope you are all doing well?

As well as writing, I absolutely love to read!

Here are some books in various genre’s that I have read and enjoyed.  If you are looking for something to read, then maybe you might find something in this month’s recommendations list 🙂


NB:Genre’s will vary each month depending on what spine catches my eye in my library when I go to chose books….Also depends on my mood, the phase of the moon, and how much sugar and caffeine is in my blood stream 🙂


Myrren’s Gift by Fiona McIntosh


Destined by blood to command the Morgravian army, Wyl Thirsk assumes his awesome responsibility while barely a teenager when his father meets an early death — a duty that calls him to the royal palace of Stoneheart and into the company of the crown prince Celimus. Already a spiteful and cruel despot who delights in the suffering of others, Celimus forces his virtuous new general to bear witness to his depraved “entertainments.” But a kindness to a condemned witch in her final agonizing hours earns young Thirsk a miraculous bequest, at the same time inflaming the wrath of his liege lord.

With dread war looming in the north, Wyl must obey the treacherous dictates of Celimus and embark on a suicidal journey to the court of an ancient enemy — armed with a strange and awesome secret that could prove both boon and curse. For unless he accepts Myrren’s gift, it will surely destroy him . . . and the land he must defend as well.

Thriller/Action/Sci Fi

Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham (I do like my original Australian Release cover much better)

On the eve of America’s greatest victory in the Pacific,
a catastrophic event disrupts the course of World War II, forever changing the rules of combat. . . . 

The impossible has spawned the unthinkable. A military experiment in the year 2021 has thrust an American-led multinational armada back to 1942, right into the middle of the U.S. naval task force speeding toward Midway Atoll—and what was to be the most spectacular U.S. triumph of the entire war.

Thousands died in the chaos, but the ripples had only begun. For these veterans of Pearl Harbor—led by Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, and Spruance—have never seen a helicopter, or a satellite link, or a nuclear weapon. And they’ve never encountered an African American colonel or a British naval commander who was a woman and half-Pakistani. While they embrace the armada’s awesome firepower, they may find the twenty-first century sailors themselves far from acceptable.

Initial jubilation at news the Allies would win the war is quickly doused by the chilling realization that the time travelers themselves—by their very presence—have rendered history null and void. Celebration turns to dread when the possibility arises that other elements of the twenty-first century task force may have also made the trip—and might now be aiding Yamamoto and the Japanese.

What happens next is anybody’s guess—and everybody’s nightmare. . . .


Elizabeth’s Spy Master by Robert Hutchinson (I love anything written by Robert Hutchinson)

Francis Walsingham was the first ‘spymaster’ in the modern sense. His methods anticipated those of MI5 and MI6 and even those of the KGB. He maintained a network of spies across Europe, including double-agents at the highest level in Rome and Spain – the sworn enemies of Queen Elizabeth and her Protestant regime. His entrapment of Mary Queen of Scots is a classic intelligence operation that resulted in her execution. As Robert Hutchinson reveals, his cypher expert’s ability to intercept other peoples’ secret messages and his brilliant forged letters made him a fearsome champion of the young Elizabeth. Yet even this machiavellian schemer eventually fell foul of Elizabeth as her confidence grew (and judgement faded). The rise and fall of Sir Francis Walsingham is a Tudor epic, vividly narrated by a historian with unique access to the surviving documentary evidence.



Don’t forget to sign up for Exploration Rights in my Newsletter to get access to extra goodies, giveaways and contests!

Book Review – Forgotten Roots

Forgotten RootsForgotten Roots – by Roger Whitten Barnes

Forgotten Roots  is a ‘sort of’ murder mystery told through different timelines set in both the modern-day Canadian Province of Ontario and the area of Ohio and Ontario of the 1800’s.  I liked the idea behind this story, but had issues following the three different storylines.  For the first two thirds of the book, the storylines did not really mesh with each other and the time devoted to each was not evenly distributed.  But for the last third of the story, they merged and flowed seamlessly with each other.

The book is basically about a woman finding out the history of her early colonial family when an old barn is demolished on her family property on St Joseph Island.  That is one of the storylines.  The other two are based two hundred years in the past and follow the lives of two people until they converge at one point on St Joseph Island.

I loved the descriptions of the Canadian wilderness and the historical backgrounds behind cities and settlements in Ohio – especially in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas.  (I would never have thought that river piracy was a common crime along the Ohio River).

There are a few aspects of the modern storyline that I would have liked to have seen developed more.  And in the early part of the novel I had a hard time reading through some of the storylines.  There was too much time devoted to certain stories and that gave me a disconnect to what was happening in the others.

Overall, this was still a good novel and an entertaining way of learning a little about the early history of Ohio and Ontario.


Get the book from Amazon here

Don’t forget to sign up for my Newsletter here to get access to extra goodies, giveaways and contests!  This months newsletter will have exclusive access and information to my upcoming book – Winter’s Magic

Howling Vengeance Giveaway

Hello Everyone!

I am having a giveaway on Goodreads, where I am putting two copies of Howling Vengeance up for grabs.

Just click on the link below to enter.  Good luck to everyone who enters 🙂

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Howling Vengeance by H.M. Clarke

Howling Vengeance

by H.M. Clarke

Giveaway ends April 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Book Review – Minding the Manor

Minding the Manor: The Memoir of a 1930s English Kitchen Maid By Mollie Moran

This is a brilliant book, and this is the way memoirs should be written.

The writing flowed from one scene to the next in an engaging writing style and showed a unique view on early twentieth century Britain. Mollie Moran wrote about her time between the Great War and World War Two. Going from her childhood and into domestic service – first as a Scullery Maid and then working her way up to Cook. I liked Mollie (even though she thought she was a bit of a handful) and I love that at the end of every chapter there was a recipe used in the 1930’s along with household tips and tricks.

I give this book 5 stars and  would recommend this book to everyone 🙂


Get it on Kindle here

Get it in Paperback here

Book Review – Chronicle of the Roman Republic

Chronicle of the Roman Republic: The Rulers of Ancient Rome from Romulus to Augustus  by Philip Matyszak

This is a very good quick reference book for those who do not want to wade through huge blocks of history text to get to the stuff you need or are interested in.

The history of the Roman Republic is made through its people and this book goes about telling roman history through it’s consuls and other notables. It has interesting side panels and information bars for explanations of roman traditions, sites and events.

It is very nicely illustrated with both drawings and photographs of people (their marble countenances)and places from around the Roman Republic. I would recommend this book for anyone with a general interest in roman history and for student use for a school project.