Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: Maid of Wonder (Maids of Honor #3) by Jennifer McGowan

Maid of Wonder (Maids of Honor #3)Title: Maid of Wonder
Author: Jennifer McGowan
Series: Maids of Honor (Maid of Secrets, Maid of Deception)
Pages: 336
Published: September 15, 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9781481418263
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss







Description: Sophia Dee, the most unusual spy of Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor, has run out of time for her psychic skills to fully manifest. A terrible new prophecy haunts Windsor Castle, and the Queen demands answers before the next doomed soul dies. Thrust into a dangerous and horrifying competition to solve the deadly prediction, Sophia finds herself pitted against the most celebrated mystics of Europe: John Dee, her devious uncle and the Queen’s personal astrologer, and Nostradamus, the renowned prophet-seer of France. In a court where whispers of witchcraft, poisonous plots, and grim assassins threaten her at every turn, Sophia needs answers fast. But does she dare trust Marcus Quinn, her uncle’s striking and overambitious assistant? Or, instead, should she turn to the tortured dark angel of the spirit realm, who whispers to her only of sorrow and death? As new dangers surface and the dire prophecy sweeps toward its final victim, the five Maids of Honor prepare to do battle. Only then will the girl who so often sees the future finally discover if she can save the Crown—and herself. 

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I've really enjoyed this series to date.  So their was no doubt that I would read this book when it became available.  I admit that Sophia is not my favorite maiden, but I was intrigued to learn her story.

Sophia's gift is interesting to me.  I wonder how it would be viewed in today's world that she conversed with angels?  It was definitely hearsay in that time.  I wonder if that fear was partially why she seemed to have so little control and understanding of it.  Until it came down to an ultimatum, it didn't even seem like she was trying to make complete use of it.

I did find her voice annoying at times. You can tell she is a little bit more sheltered and naive compared to the rest of the maids.   She doesn't seem to have any responsibility like the others.   While her gift is no easy, she needed to be pushed to do it.  I think Elizabeth did it in her typical fashion.  She wanted to make a spectacle of it for her own amusement.  I loved the inclusion on Nostradamus,  although I admit that I don't know much about him besides his name.  I was on the fence when it came to Marcus Quinn.  I felt it was kind of creepy how he could see Sophia in her dreams and seemed to be there every time she turned around.  But, he also seemed very invested in her well being.  

Overall, an adequate addition to the series.  You can't really have it without a story about Sophia, so I'm happy to have it.  I sincerely hope this series continues.   

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher

The Last ChangelingTitle: The Last Changeling 
Author: Chelsea Pitch
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 360
Published: November 8th 2014 by Flux 
ISBN: 9780738740843
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
 





Description:  A Kingdom at War . . .  Elora, the young princess of the Dark Faeries, plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother, the Dark Queen, and bring equality to faeriekind. All she has to do is convince her mother’s loathed enemy, the Bright Queen, to join her cause. But the Bright Queen demands an offering first: a human boy who is a “young leader of men.”   A Dark Princess In Disguise . . .  To steal a mortal, Elora must become a mortal—at least, by all appearances. And infiltrating a high school is surprisingly easy. When Elora meets Taylor, the seventeen-year-old who’s plotting to overthrow a ruthless bully, she thinks she’s found her offering . . . until she starts to fall in love.

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I don't particularly like giving negative reviews.  I feel I tend to be very open minded and rarely come across a book that I don't find enjoyable in some small way.  Even rarer still is the book I give up on completely.   With this one, I fought for every page trying to find the small moments.  

I think I struggled with many different aspects of this book.  The fae world being strange and different than typical stories was a little of off putting.  Especially when that world is put together for us piece by little piece.  I also had a  hard time with Elora.  She's trying to overthrow her mother, who is The Dark Queen, plus instigating revolutions in the human world.  You would think this might make her a bad ass.  She just doesn't come across that way and I wasn't buying into it.  I just didn't feel the charisma she seemed to possess.

I did like Taylor and felt the struggle with his own identify and his relationship with his parents was genuine.  I wasn't over the moon about the love at first sight tone his relationship with Elora took.  But, I was expecting it at the same time.    I also liked how the book became about more than just saving the Fae world.  Not many books will attempt to tackle more than one difficult subject in one sitting.

But, in the end, this was a struggle.  It was hard for me to appreciate it for what it was. Maybe next time!

 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Brewer's Tale by Karen Brooks

The Brewer's TaleTitle: The Brewer's Tale
Author: Karen Brooks
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 582
Published: October 1st 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
ISBN: 9781743568675
Source: Publisher via Netgalley






Description: It had been Mother's secret and mine, one passed down through the de Winter women for generations. I would ensure it was kept that way, until I was ready to pass it on. When Anneke Sheldrake is forced to find a way to support her family after her father is lost at sea, she turns to the business by which her mother’s family once prospered: brewing ale. Armed with her Dutch mother’s recipes and a belief that anything would be better than the life her vindictive cousin has offered her, she makes a deal with her father’s aristocratic employer: Anneke has six months to succeed or not only will she lose the house but her family as well.  Through her enterprise and determination, she inadvertently earns herself a deadly enemy. Threatened and held in contempt by those she once called friends, Anneke nonetheless thrives. But on the tail of success, tragedy follows and those closest to her pay the greatest price for her daring. Ashamed, grieving, and bearing a terrible secret, Anneke flees to London, determined to forge her own destiny. Will she be able to escape her past, and those whose only desire is to see her fail? A compelling insight into the brewer’s craft, the strength of women, and the myriad forms love can take. An unforgettable tale of love, treachery and ale in medieval England

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This book took me a long time to read. I would go through spurts were I felt like I was making headway. And then there would be times that I could barely get through a couple pages. Add to the fact that it's hefty at almost 600 pages, and you have a monster of a historical fiction.

All that aside, I did enjoy the book. Anneke's life is not one that I would wish upon anyone. But, she never gave up. She endures her father's death, the ridicule of her cousin, taking up a profession that is considered for men only. All with the church and specific men out to thwart her every move.

I was horrified at the events that lead to her having to move to London. As if losing her father and her way of laugh wasn't hard enough, then she had to endure all that cruelty at the hands of someone else. And life did not get any easier for her in London. I often wondered how much heartache and loss one person could endure. But Anneke is proof that the soul can take it.

Not my typical historical fiction read, but I am glad that I finally got around to this one.

 
 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Coverl Reveal: AMERICA'S FIRST DAUGHTER by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

Tasty Book Tours is Pleased to Present...

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AMERICA'S FIRST DAUGHTER
Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
Releasing March 1st, 2016
William Morrow
Historical Fiction 



In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. And it is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that she learns of her father’s liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age.

Patsy too has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé, William Short, a staunch abolitionist intent on a career in Europe. Heartbroken at having to decide between being William’s wife or a devoted daughter, she returns to Virginia with her father and marries a man of his choosing, raising eleven children of her own.

Yet as family secrets come to light during her father’s presidency, Patsy must again decide how much she will sacrifice to protect his reputation, in the process defining not just Jefferson’s political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

Pre-Order Now
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo



 
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LAURA CROGHAN KAMOIE

LAURA KAMOIE has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books, Laura Kaye. Her debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.


Find Laura Here


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STEPHANIE DRAY

STEPHANIE DRAY is a bestselling and award-nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. As STEPHANIE DRAVEN, she is a national bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and American-set historical women’s fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.

Find Stephanie Here



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan


My rating:
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Picking this one up, I was a little put off that the lead character was Beatrice.  She wasn't my favorite person in book 1.  But, she surprised me.  I ended up liking her by the end.

She seems very bitter for such a young girl, but she's basically been Elizabeth's play thing for a very long time.  It seems the Queen gets a particular kick out of manipulating Beatrice's world.  Turns out though that Beatrice can make life tough for the Queen as well.  She knows a secret that the Queen would rather stay hidden for ever.  You would think that would make the Queen fawn over her instead.  But, that's not the Elizabeth I know and love.

I really enjoyed learning about Beatrice's family and estate.  It turns out she's learned that art of secret keeping from them.  Her mother's crazy, the estate is full of orphan's, and her father has something hidden in the well at the center of the overgrown maze!  Not to mention that the gypsies hidden on her land are enough to be charged with treason.

Beatrice comes across as materialistic for quite some time.  But, I think our young Scottish Lord is teaching her that there are some things in life that are more important.

I enjoyed this installment a lot!  I felt it a little bit better written than the first book.  Plus, I'm a sucker for YA historical fiction!



View all my reviews

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

All the RageAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Courtney Summers. She knows how to tackle tough subjects. But, even this one was hard for me to read. Mainstream society is getting better about handling rape, but it's still not were it should be. I'm afraid what happens in this book happens far to frequently. Society has a tendency to blame the victim. It's easy to look away.

I really felt for Romy. She's just trying to move forward. She's constantly the target for intense teasing and ridicule. I can't even begin to imagine all the internal turmoil she would go through on a daily basis. It's too much for any one person to bear. I think her mother really tries to help her, but she doesn't know how to reach her.

The side story of the missing girl felt a little bit like filler. I didn't mind it because it did weave into the story in a way. I would have like more redemption and forgiveness for Romy when it came to that situation.

Over, it was a very good read.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review: Breath by Jackie Morse Kessler

Breath Title: Breath
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Series: 4th (Hunger, Rage, Loss)
Pages: 336
Published: April 16th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN:  9780547970431
Source: Personal Copy 
 



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I think this one was easily the best out of the four. And that's saying something but I really enjoyed this series. 

Death is an amazingly complex character. All that he has seen as he has managed death throughout humanities existence. He reminded me a tad of death in "The Book Thief" Humans fascinate him. But, he knows he can't get attached because our life compared to his is but a speck in time.
 I found it interesting that he created the 4 horseman and how he did it.  Despite all that he has witnessed, he's lonely. He has nothing to share this world with. 

Xander was also an interesting addition to the story. I enjoyed how his story is woven in with death's and how he was the one person Death turned to when he felt the world was at it's end. 

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