The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney

The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara CooneyRating: 3 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 14th October 2014
Book Depository | Goodreads

Hatshepsut was born into a privileged position in the royal household, and she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimise the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king.

Hatshepsut successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her monuments were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her unprecedented rule. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

This book is fascinating but it is also extremely frustrating. The author concedes that we do not have much information about Hatshepust. We know very little about her personality, her political manoeuvring and her relationships with her father, Thutmose I, her brother and husband, Thutmose II, and her nephew and co-regent, Thutmose III. The author makes liberal use of words like “perhaps” and “maybe”, she poses numerous questions asking what Hatshepust might have thought or how she felt. But of course we can’t know the answers to these questions as the records simply do not exist. So the author makes assumptions of what the thoughts and feelings of Hatshepsut may have been.

I think it is important to learn about Hatshepsut. As the author puts it:

The challenges Hatshepsut faced and the sacrifices she made are familiar to powerful women of the twenty-first century: balancing the personal and the political, overcoming stereotypes of hysterical and unbalanced femininity, and making compromises never asked of powerful men. For Hatshepsut, her unprecedented success was rewarded with a short memory, while the failures of other female leaders from antiquity will be forever immortalised in our cultural consciousness.

However with all the speculation and guessing in this book I can’t help but feel there may be a better way of learning about Hatshepsut.

Buy The Woman Who Would Be King on Book Depository

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

*I received a copy of this book from Crown Publishing in exchange for a honest review.

2015 Book Releases

This year I read a grand total of 2 books that were published in 2014. This is something I want to change in the new year so I’ve been doing some research and here are some books being released in 2015 that I think could be quite interesting.

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally HepworthThe Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
Release Date: 10th February 2015
Book Depository, Goodreads

The Secrets of Midwives tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible.

Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Release Date: 12th February 2015
Book Depository, Goodreads

Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they’ve been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month’s time, they plan to commit suicide – together.

Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn’t equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can’t figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all….and why he’s even more determined than she is.

With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman – a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all – but is Aysel in so deep she can’t turn back?

Soil by Jamie KornegaySoil by Jamie Kornegay
Release Date: 12th March 2015
Book Depository, Goodreads

An idealistic environmental scientist moves his wife and young son off the grid, to a stretch of river bottom farmland in the Mississippi hills, hoping to position himself at the forefront of a revolution in agriculture.

Within a year, he is ruined.

When a corpse appears on his family’s property, the farmer is convinced he’s being set up. And so begins a journey into a maze of misperceptions and personal obsessions, as the farmer, his now-estranged wife, a predatory deputy, and a wandering criminal, all try to uphold a personal sense of honour.

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie ThorneThe Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Release Date: 17th March 2015
Book Depository, Goodreads

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all.

Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives.

This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Release Date: 9th June 2015
Book Depository, Goodreads

When seventeen-year-old Minnow stumbles out of the woods one winter morning, she is haunted and handless and covered in someone else’s blood. She has just escaped the strict religious commune run by a cruel man named the Prophet. In exchange for freedom, she leaves behind her family, her home, and Jude–an outsider boy who changed everything.

But the real world isn’t the sanctuary Minnow imagined. Soon, she gets arrested and placed in juvenile detention. Now, Minnow is being questioned by an FBI psychiatrist about the night she escaped, the same night the Prophet was burned to death in his own home—a murder Minnow may be responsible for.

Armada by Ernest ClineArmada by Ernest Cline
Release Date: 28th July 2015
Book Depository, Goodreads

Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming.

But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

Currently Reading #12

The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin

The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin.

In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe …and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru – the most famous of the city’s Gatherers – must question everything he knows…

I loved this book. I’ve never read a fantasy quite like it. The country it is set in is supposed to be like ancient Egypt, I was reading a book about ancient Egypt at the same time as this and it was interesting to see how accurate it was. But there isn’t much I can say about this book apart from if you like fantasy read this book.

I did have a few tiny problems with it however, there was no map (I’m just nitpicking now) I checked the authors blog and apparently she has a thing about maps. I also found some of the names were very foreign and hard to remember. I originally bought this in January and put it down because I couldn’t remember who was who. But thats probably just my bad memory again. After the first 50 pages it is much easier to remember the characters names. So basically all I can say is read this book.

And if I haven’t convinced you to buy this yet you should know I bought the sequel; The Shadowed Sun when I was only 100 pages into this book.

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

Our Zoo by June Mottershead

Our Zoo by June Mottershead Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Format: Hardcover
Published: 9th October 2014
Book Depository | Goodreads

June Mottershead was four when her father, George, moved his family to Upton, two miles from Chester, to begin the process of turning his dream into a reality. With no other children around to play with – her sister Muriel was ten years older – June’s friends became the animals. Her closest friends became the animals. Her closest companion was an orphaned chimpanzee which she hand reared, and for six years the two were inseparable.

June soon became the poster girl for Chester Zoo and photographs of her cuddling lion cubs soon graced the front pages of British newspapers. She was 13 when war was declared in 1939 and, with the backbone of the staff headed to the front, it fell to June to take over as head keeper.

June is now in her eighties, is the guardian of her families legacy and in Our Zoo, she tells the fascinating story of a working class family with a very unusual home. This story of how her father set out to build a zoo without bars was turned into a six-part drama series currently airing on the BBC.

Stories about animals are basically my kryptonite and this book had many of them. There are plenty stories of hand-reared wild animals and the photographs of chimpanzees helping to build their own enclosure will melt your heart. This is a fascinating story of the every-day struggles and make-do attitude by the entire Mottershead family.

The story was told in chronological order with a few anecdotes outwith the timeline which was slightly confusing. I did feel that the story ended very abruptly and I turned the page expecting there would be more. But overall I loved this story and the only problem I had with it was the length. I would have quite happily read another 100 pages.

If you like these sorts of books I would also recommend Jeremy and Amy by Jeremy Keeling. This is the true story of a zoo keeper, an orangutan and one mans dream of turning a derelict pig farm in Dorset into a cageless sanctuary for primates.

Buy Our Zoo on Book Depository

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

*I received a copy of this book from Headline in exchange for an honest review.

My Favourite Books of 2014

There are still 3 weeks left in the year which is lots of time for more reading. But I have decided to post my favourite books of 2014 now. Note: these are just my favourite books out of what I have read this year. Most of them were not actually published in 2014.

My Favourite Books of 2014 |

1. World War Z by Max Brooks (review). It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality.

2. The Forever Watch by David Ramirez (review). The Noah: a city-sized ship, half-way through an eight-hundred-year voyage to another planet. In a world where deeds, and even thoughts, cannot be kept secret, a man is murdered; his body so ruined that his identity must be established from DNA evidence. Within hours, all trace of the crime is swept away, hidden as though it never happened.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

4. Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a Web-design drone and serendipity coupled with sheer curiosity has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. And it doesn’t take long for Clay to realize that the quiet, dusty book emporium is even more curious than the name suggests. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes and what they discover is an ancient secret that can only be solved by modern means, and a global-conspiracy guarded by Mr. Penumbra himself…who has mysteriously disappeared.

5. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (review). When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

My Favourite Books of 2014 |

1. Harry Potter: Page to Screen (review). From the acquisition of the film rights to the casting of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the assembly of the creative team, Harry Potter: Page to Screen is a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most popular film series in cinema history, as told by the people who made the magic real.

2. A Zeal of Zebras. An embarrassment of pandas, a galaxy of starfish, a shiver of sharks…these are all collective nouns – terms used to describe a group. Woop Studios has illustrated these quirky phrases, creating a series of truly stunning art that has been collected here for the first time. The colourful introduction to animals and the alphabet is accessible for young children, while the whimsical art and clever word play make it perfect for design-savvy parents and hip gift givers.

3. An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield (review). Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ in space. The secret to Chris Hadfield’s success – and survival – is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst – and enjoy every moment of it.

4. This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl (review). A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends help to tell Esther’s story, along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

5. The Heretics: Adventures With The Enemies of Science by Will Storr. Will Storr has travelled across the world to meet an extraordinary cast of modern heretics in order to answer this question. He goes on a tour of Holocaust sites with David Irving and a band of neo-Nazis, experiences his own murder during ‘past-life regression’ hypnosis, takes part in a mass homeopathic overdose, and investigates a new disease affecting tens of thousands of people – a disease that doesn’t actually exist.

Special Mention:
My Favourite Books of 2014 |

This year I have been slowly working through the reading list on wellread40. These are the three books I found most interesting out of what I read this year, however I couldn’t decide if they belonged in fiction or non-fiction so they get a special section.

Gilgamesh and The Five Books of Moses are both really fascinating in a historical sense. Someone once told me that you should read the Bible at some point in your life and after reading The Five Books of Moses I realised they were right.

The Dhammapada is also a fascinating read. This is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form. The really interesting thing about this book is you see that Buddhism is more a way of thinking than it is a religion. This book really helped my anxiety problem in a there’s no point worrying about stuff you can’t change sort of way.

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,566 other followers