Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

I'm a big fan of Willig's Pink Carnation series, and I'm finding her other books enjoyable, as well. Her writing flows very well, and her characters are engaging and full of surprises.

The Other Daughter looks like another story about the Bright Young Things of the 1920s, all parties and frivolity and such. However, this book, while starting out as so, slowly peels back the layers of the facade, showing the ugliness underneath.

The drama and secrets made The Other Daughter gripping for me, because I wasn't interested in another story set in the 1920s about young people causing trouble with no consequences. I wanted to see what was underneath the shininess.

The Other Daughter is not a long book, and was a speedy read. There is a slight romance, but it's not really what the story is about, which is another thing I was pleased with. It was about a young woman finding herself, and that was good enough.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

This biography is to Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley what The Brontës by Juliet Barker is to Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë. Meaning: if there is one book you want to read on the two Marys, this is the one.

One unique thing about the book was the alternate chapters. Instead of talking about both women in a chapter, Gordon instead would dedicate one chapter to each woman at a period in her life. We literally go back and forth between the two.

Wollstonecraft, unfortunately, did not have as long a life as her daughter. Because of this we 'spend more time' with her in order for the chapters to remain even. We're more focused on certain periods of her life, whilst with Mary Shelley it's more spread out.

While a tome, it was very readable. I never felt bored or felt that there was a bunch of information being thrown at me. A great biography about two incredible and revolutionary women.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

Another great novel from Deanna Raybourn! I just love her style, which is breezy and engaging.

Like her previous novel City Of Jasmine, Night of a Thousand Stars takes us to the Middle East for another adventure. And we see characters from Raybourn's previous books pop up, and there's even a connection to her Lady Julia books!

The opening chapters grab you immediately: a runaway bride who is helped in her getaway by a curate. I am already wondering about this gutsy heroine, who is already making a pretty bold decision.

Finding herself seeking a purpose after ditching her fiance at the altar, with her newly obtained ladies maid, she goes out in search of said purpose. And in trying to find her curate to thank him, she finds more than her purpose, she find a life-altering adventure.

Like I implied at the beginning, the writing flows easily. If you liked Raybourn's other books, especially her recent ones, you'll like this just as much.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

First of all, I highly recommend reading the prequel to this novel: Whisper of Jasmine. It shows how Evie and Gabriel met, and gives good insight into the beginning of their relationship.

That being said, City of Jasmine takes place in 1920 Syria, and seeing as how I didn't know a whole lot of what was going on in that area then, I learned a lot. Evie and Gabriel were thrown into lots of adventures and came across a lot of suspicious characters, some dangerous, some just shady. The descriptions and seeing the area through the eyes of Evie totally brought the country to life. The descriptions were not overdone, but were the right amount.

While I miss the Lady Julia books, I'm just happy to have another book by Deanna Raybourn. Her style and feisty, independent heroines are still strong in books like City of Jasmine.

I couldn't put this down! Deanna Raybourn fans will not be disappointed.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Two Mrs. Abbotts by D.E. Stevenson

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

The Two Mrs. Abbotts is the third book in the Miss Buncle series, and while the title suggests it's about the former Miss Buncle and her niece-by-marriage, it is really not.

Of the two, we spend the most time with the younger Mrs. Abbott: Jerry. We see Barbara every now and again, but her story line is nothing substantial. Actually, none of the story lines are. There are just too many characters and too many plots going on that it's hard to keep it all straight.

This is a weird little book, because while it takes place during World War II, it's about nothing at all, really. There are certain characters that we see for a little while, and then they disappear never to be heard from again. And at the end of the book, there are a bunch of characters' stories still hanging there.

Unfortunately, the charm of this series dissipates with each book. If you like books set in the country during this time period, then this is probably your thing, but it just wasn't mine. If you liked the first book Miss Buncle, don't feel the need to continue because the two books after it are just pale imitations, sadly.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra

I received a galley of this novel from EdelWeiss for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

I have been wanting to read this book for probably two years, and I'm so excited that it's finally being released in the states.

I love historical fiction books set in Italy during WWII, and in my opinion there are not enough. I feel that most people don't understand about Italy's involvement during the war or the horrors the people of Italy went through during the Nazi occupation.

Tuscan Rose didn't mince anything. It showed the true story of Italy during the time of Mussolini and WWII through the eyes of fictional characters, who are probably not unlike the real people who lived through it. Mussolini was an absolute madman, and that's putting it lightly. He single-handedly ruined Italy, all because he wanted to be Hitler's lapdog. And for the horrors Italy went through during the Nazi occupation, you can read my review of The Villa Triste, which focuses just on that specific time.

The book ran a bit long, sometimes there was almost too much detail. When the partisans were discussing strategy, I admit to just skimming. Even if I read it word for word it would have went over my head.

The story follows the character Rosa over a period of fifteen years. When we first find her she's sixteen and living at a nunnery where she was left sixteen years prior by a mysterious man called The Wolf. We see through her eyes the rise of Mussolini, the war, and the occupation. Over the years she grows from an innocent young girl to an efficient woman doing whatever it takes to survive and save the ones she loves.

The ending was a rollercoaster ride. I went from crying my eyes out, to being in shock over something I never saw coming. What a twist!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

I echo the sentiments of other reviewers: this is very different from the first book.

First of all, this book takes place almost entirely in France, during the time of Napoleon III, where Katharine goes to search for Lane. Second of all, the story takes place over a wider area, whereas the first book took place in a confined area of a small town.

Intrigue ensues, with shady characters, royal secrets, and the like. New characters pop up, who I quite like and hope to see again, if there is another book, that is.

I can't guess what a third book would be about. This book didn't end with a question mark like the first book, which I knew would have a sequel. I guess we'll just have to see.