Friday, August 28, 2009


Today I thought I would write a little about another favorite book of mine; Courtesan by Diane Haeger. I had never heard of Diane Haeger before I read Courtesan even though I think she had two other books out before Courtesan. I remember walking around Barnes and Noble one rainy Friday looking for my next book fix. Most of the time when book browsing I mentally take in titles I might be interested in and then go home and look them up on Amazon to see how good they were. As it happens though that rainy Friday I had a coupon (a rarity for Barnes and Noble which is why when Borders and their weekly coupons moved in next door I quickly switched allegiances) that was going to expire so as I wandered the bookshelves I came across Courtesan. After a brief skim of the back which stated this romance became legendary in France I snatched it up and dashed home eager to start. I did not know much about French history at the time as I mostly focused on England and the Tudor era when reading so I was keen to learn more about this legendary couple. As it was I was swept away into the court of King Francois (the contemporary of King Henry VIII ) and into the lives of his courtiers and children. His second son Henri (named after said English king) was a lonely, angry teenage boy outcast in his father's court by both his father and brothers. Years ago when King Francois waged war against Charles V and lost Henri and his older brother Francois were taken hostage. Those years in a Spanish prison colored Henri's feelings for his father and his bitterness and anger toward his father made life at court difficult from him. At the beginning of the book a woman named Diane de Poitiers is making her way back to court after a long period away. Diane is different from the other courtiers of the time disliking Francois' open and liberal court. Upon her arrival Diane finds herself at odds with the King's mistress, Anne d'Heilly, who sees her as a rival for the King's affection and works to make her life more difficult at court. An unlikely protector arrives in the form of young Henri and a love story is born.
Haeger does a masterful job of making both Henri and Diane and their love come to life. Through circumstances greater then themselves they find each other and share a love that is tender, raw, and encompassing of their worlds. Henri is transformed from a bitter petulant boy to a caring, sweet, gentlemen who lives for Diane's happiness. Its not hard to get swept away in their love and I have been in love with both Henri and Diane and their story ever since.

This transitions nicely into another book I read recently called The Devil's Queen by Jeanne Kalogridis
which is about Catherine Medici, Henri's wife for political reasons. Since reading Courtesan I have been desperately looking for other books that involve these two fascinating people (I also read The Serpent and the Moon which is an non-fiction book about Diane and Catherine written by Princess Michael Kent a direct descendant of both women) so I was over the moon excited for the release of The Devil's Queen. While I knew that the book was about Catherine and would be told through her eyes I still eagerly wanted to see Henri and Diane even if it was through her eyes. The Devil's Queen is certainly a more sympathetic book toward Catherine who has a notorious reputation (Madame Serpent they called her) as a Queen and regent through her sons after Henri's death. I enjoyed seeing Catherine's youth as I had heard it was a difficult one and it was interesting to see how the children of Henri ruled on after him. One big issues I did have though with the book was that Kalogridid omitted a daughter (Claude) and a son (Hercules) which I didn't really understand. Overall the book was interesting enough especially the events leading up to the St Bartholomew Massacre and the relationship Catherine had with her sons. especially her younger son in the book Edouard. I was disappointed through as the relationship I had grown to love in Courtesan between Henri and Diane was not portrayed the same as I had hoped which I guess was something I should have expected considering the book was through Catherine's eyes. In the end it was still a good read through nothing compared to Courtesan. Still I will always be on the hunt for more books that tell the story of Henri and Diane so I am still glad I read this one.

Friday Finds

I met with my book club (me and a friend from college who share the same love for historical fiction, pretty book covers, and romantic stories as well as the same birthday!) on Wednesday and as we were perusing around Barnes and Noble trying to pick out our next month's book (we choose Luxe which is why you see it waiting in the wings) we stumbled upon this baby. The book is called Fairest of All by Serena Valentino and its based on the Wicked Queen of the Snow White legend. Its suppose to let you understand what drove the Queen to attempt the murder of a sweet innocent young girl. My friend and I were both drawn instantly to the cover as we recognized the woman (we both agree though that face however resembles Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty more then the Wicked Queen of Snow White) My love of fractured fairy tales was instantly awaken at the idea of seeing this story from the Queen's point of view. We noticed that this book came out from Disney Press so we are both wondering (and hoping with crossed fingers) that they will continue this idea and create a series based on all the famous Disney villians. I am definitely adding this to my list. If you are looking for this one in your local bookseller its in the young adult section and is a very small square book, about 250 pages long.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday asks "Whats the lightest. most "fluff" kind of book you read recently"

I recently read Love the One Your With by Emily Giffin one of my favorite "chick lit fluff writer" books. She is also the author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof all of which I have read and enjoyed. All of her books are light and easy and for the most part stand alone (Something Borrowed and Something Blue are connected with the same characters ) so quick and easy to pick up and read. I love Giffin's style of writing as she writes almost the exact way I feel I think and talk (and even write at times) slipping in and out of little tangents and side stories and minute details but still managing to create and effortless read. Since I had read her three other books before I felt like I knew what to expect going in but I have to say Love the One Your With hit me unexpectledly in a good way. The story is essentially about a woman, newly married to a wonderful husband, when she runs into her ex randomly on the streets of NY. The ex that broke her heart and still might even have some of it. For me the experience, without going into too much personal detail, hit home in many parts as I too have struggled in the early years of my marriage wondering about decisions and the idea of happily ever after. Needless to say to see many similities in thoughts and emotions from my own life come to life in the pages made me feel like maybe I wasn't alone in my own fears and doubts and at the end of the book the message I took from the book matched the conclusion that I myself had come to during these last few years of marriage. In the end the book felt very satisfying to me and yes it did make me cry so it won even more points in my book for that. So while I was expecting a very light fast read with this one I was pleasantly surprised at how much this book made me think, experience, and learn.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I received my very first blog award from my wonderful friend Lizzy over at Historically Obsessed (the blog that started me on my own bookie blog) Lizzy is such a wonderful friend and I love going to her blog and seeing all the wonderful historical fiction news she posts. Thank you so much Lizzy for this special honor!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Today, as it happens ,is my 3rd wedding anniversary.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wuthering Heights

Today I thought I would start up my book reviews starting with Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights is my favorite book of all time. I first read it as a junior in high school and was so enthralled by the story that I ended up writing both my junior and senior paper on the book and the author. Since high school I have reread the book countless times and still love it as much as I did the first time I read it. Whenever I tell people Wuthering Heights is my favorite book I usually get a strange reaction. Most people who have tried the book have a hard time getting into it as Wuthering Heights is a narrative within a narrative so it does take about fifty or so pages in before you get to the crux of the story, Heathcliff and Catherine. Once people manage to get through to the heart of the story they often talk about how Heathcliff is a vile and horrible man and its impossible to like him or the book because of this nature. Heathcliff is indeed a person that is hard to love but for me Wuthering Heights is absolutely a love story in every way. While Heathcliff and Catherine share a love that is neither conventional or one that we might ourselves want to be in they are obviously madly in love with one another. Heathcliff and Catherine are both characters that are very flawed; Catherine is selfish and spoiled, Heathcliff angry and vengeful but even they at their worst deserve to receive love. It makes me think that even though no one on earth is perfect and we all have bad sides that we all deserve to experience love and happiness too. Wuthering Heights, for me, embodies all the things that love should be, blindingly passionate, maddening at times, and something you can not live without. Many years ago when Britney Spears first started dating Kevin Federline and the world did a double take it made me think of Wuthering Heights. While we on the outside could not understand the appeal of their love and we deemed it as crazy at the pace they were moving I saw two people who were so swept up in their emotions and passions that nothing else mattered to them. Like all consuming loves it burned as quickly as it came and the ending fizzled out as we know it now. Still I feel envious of it as I feel in our everyday lives we miss out on these feelings because life gets in the wayas evryday life's constraints don't allow us to be as free as we would like. Only those who have the means to live the way they want can truly have the luxury to be able to move on the whim of an emotion. Most likely if Catherine and Heathcliff were given the opportunity to live their lives together they too would have burned each other out and separated but because they were never given that chance their fire still burned and as we saw in Heathcliff it never left him until the day he was finally reunited with his soul. When I read Wuthering Heights I am reminded of that yearning and fervor. I hope that everyone gets to experience that kind of maddening passion at least once in their life. For me it is the essence of being alive..

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Finds

Should Be Reading asks for new book finds.

In my first week of book blogging I found the most curious book of all to share with you all. The title is Jasmyn by Alex Bell, which despite the difference in spelling is my own name, so naturally it captured my attention. I read a summary about it only to be struck by some strange parallels in my own life. The title character Jasmyn is 27 years old (I am 27), a young newlywed (I am coming up on my 3rd anniversary with my husband so still newlyweds in my mind though in the book Jasmyn has only been married for a year), a widow (thankfully not me), with a brother in law named Ben (which I have!). After that the similarities end but still some mightily close coincidences wouldn't you say? From what I gather from the summary I read the book lends itself to be somewhat of a fractured fairy tale with strange magical events and characters which I must say is right up my alley. I have adored fairy tales since I was a child (my love of reading was born at a young age) and absolutely love readi
ng about stories I loved as a child in a different more adult way. Though I am not into horror I have to say I do have a penance for things that are tweaked ever so subtly toward the darker side. (Think Coraline or The Looking Glass War stories based on Alice in Wonderland) Needless to say with the fairy tale element as well as the character similarities this is one book I have to get my hands on!Even the cover reminds me a bit of a Sleeping Beauty's castle in a macabre kind of way.

Another find this week is a book that I have walked by many a time at Border's. The cover itself alone was enough to draw my attention though after reading the back cover the story was also quite appealing. The book is Luxe by Anna Godbersen. After reading a All Things Royal's review about it I promptly added it to my list. As a fan of the show Gossip Girl I have a feeling this book will be combing my love of Gossip Girl and historical fiction and I cant wait to see how it turns out.


Since deciding to start this blog I decided I would try my hand at writing reviews. Like I stated in my introduction my reviews will more likely be musings of the story and how I felt about it rather then a summary of the entire book. I decided to start this off my reviewing my favorite ten books listed below. I will dedicate a time to write about each book over the next few weeks.

Jasmine's Favorite Books in no particular order save the first book which is my absolute favorite book of all time

-Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
-The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
-Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
-Queen of Camelot by Nancy Mckenzie
-Courtesan by Diane Haeger
-The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
-Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
-The Cider House Rules by John Irving
-Twilight by Stephenie Meyers
-The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George

All of these books have touched me in a special way and most of them I have re-read several times because of the emotion and joy I get from reliving the stories again.

A special mention goes out to 2 series, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Shopaholics Series by Sophie Kinsella, and one children's book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick that also are very special to me and if I find reviewing to be fun and worthwhile endeavor I will review as well.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I have been reading some other book blogs recently and came across a few giveaways that I thought others might be interested in.

Historically Obsessed is giving away The White Queen by the fabulous Philippa Gregory ending August 15th

Jo-Jo Loves to Read is giving away The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd ending August

Historical Fiction is having 2 giveaways! One is for The Red Tent by Anita Diamant ending August 27th and possibly with more then one winner. The other is The Queen of Shadows by Edith Felber ending August 20th.

Hist-fic Chick is giving away a signed copy of The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran ending September 1st.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away Twenties Something Girl by Sophie Kinsella ending August 22nd.


Welcome to my little book nook on the Internet. My name is Jasmine. I go by enchantingdragon online so naturally a book blog for me would be Literary Dragon =)

This blog was born so I could have a place to keep track of all the books I have read, plan to read, and want to read as well as a way of keeping track on new releases and book blogs that I subscribe to. I love reading as well as hearing about other people's reactions to things I have read so feel free to email me to discuss, I welcome the insight and friendship. I might right reviews here from time to time but I must say I review books differently then most. When I review books I mostly talk about how I view the story and characters within it. I rarely summarize the story rather reflect on the emotions or lack thereof the book evokes from my persons which is why I love to hear how books I read affect others in the same way as well as things that others might have noticed or got from a particular character, scene, imagery, etc. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and mainly read those though I do dapple over to the classics (my favorite book is Wuthering Heights), chick lit (love the Shopaholic sereies), regular fiction (Cider House rules is one of my favorites as well), and of course non-fiction about cute cuddly animals (Marley and Me & Dewey both had me in tears). I also have a love for re-made fairy tales/mythical legends. I am always out searching for my next book (which is why my TBR pile is miles high )so if you have any recommendations please feel free to share though I must add I rarely read non-ficiton and I can not abide horror.