The Austen Escape: Book Review

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath.  While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them. 

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts. 

Review:

I always pick up books by Katherine Reay. I have loved her novels from the beginning. I love how she has figured out how to incorporate Austen/Regency-era novels with the present. Even if I had not received an early copy of The Austen Escape to review from NetGalley, I would absolutely have picked this up.

However, this novel seems a little bit rough. Perhaps I didn’t receive the finished version. The novel starts in chaos, which didn’t seem intentional. I had to reread it several times to figure out what was going on. It seemed very odd to start a book in the middle of a conversation at a tech company work place. I felt like I had landed in Oz and was trying to get my bearings.

And that isn’t the only part of the novel that feels like confusing. The middle part of the novel also includes a house-party type situation, which readers who love cozy-mysteries will be very familiar with. However, there is no mystery.

Again, as a reader, I was confused because there are so many characters that it is hard to keep them straight, which is also sort of a joke among the characters because they are all also using fake names derived from Austen novels, which makes it only more confusing. However, only a few of them are well developed enough for a reader to keep them straight.

Also, the book involves a trip to something like Austenland, so I was a little bit concerned that it would mimic a book that I liked a lot. However, Reay did a great job making her book different from that book, even though it involved play acting Austen characters during a very expensive vacation.

Overall, the novel was interesting enough for me to read the entire book in three days, which is no small feat. I really take a long time to read Kindle books, but this was great.

This is a book for:

  • Austen lovers
  • people who love a complex romance
  • fans of Katherine Reay

It’s definitely not a book for everyone, but don’t let that dissuade you, if it is up you aisle.

If you do want to pick it up, look for it on November 7, 2017!

 

***I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Don’t forget that you can follow my reviews and what I’m reading in real-time here on Goodreads. Add me as a friend! I love to see what you’re reading/reviewing, too!

 

Categories: Book Review Tags: , , ,
What I’ve Been Reading: Spring Edition (Part II)

Yesterday, I posted about all of the books that I read February-Present that were part of a series or multiple books from the same author.

Today, I am going to review the rest of the books that I that I read. I hope that this organization of reviews is helpful to everyone who is interested in my thoughts on books. Again, don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads, so that you can get real-time reviews. I’ve been told that they help people when choosing between which books to read next 🙂

 

A Portrait of Emily Price

Review: 3 Stars

The beginning was super rushed, which made me think that the whole book was going to be bad. Any book where a woman meets a man who is very similar to herself, but “hits it off,” with someone with her absolute opposite makes it seem like things will go awry, but instead the book had a greater moral message. I was glad that I stuck with it, though, because the end came together well.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this to my friends, unless I knew they had a very specific taste in books and a ton of time.

 

Abide with Me

Review: 5 Stars

After I picked up Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton, I knew that my reading life wouldn’t be the same. Somehow, though, I let her other books fall through the crack until I saw her 2017 publication on the shelves. While I was waiting on Anything is Possible to come in from the library, I decided to pick up with the rest of Strout’s cannon.
Abide with Me was the first novel by Strout, other than My Name is Lucy Barton that I picked up. Her insight into the human character, which she displays masterfully in the short, fictional memoir of Lucy Barton is also evident in Abide with Me. Additionally, the story, which follows the pastor of a small church in New England during the time when people began to turn from the church to psychology, gave the women of the story full, wonderful inner lives full of struggle, individuality, and even sexuality during an era when women were meant to be conform and be chaste.
For such a short novel, Strout uses her characters to touch on the topics of the meaning of life and death, the possibility of an afterlife, class differences, the complexity of marriages and families, and how to love, among so many other strong topics even though the community in which the story takes place is incredibly conservative and restrained.
I simply can’t get over Strout’s masterful, for lack of another better word, ability to bring complex characters to life through their inner lives, rather than dialogue.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Review: 5 Stars

This was a great re-read. I decided to read it again after I read a book about how the movie was made. I read this book again so that I can watch the movie and see the differences, especially since I watched the movie before I read the novella.

Every Secret Thing

Rating: 4 Stars

When Every Secret Thing was originally published, Susanna Kearsley used a pseudonym, Emma Cole. I am guessing it was because the novel is a departure from her usual time travel type novels. Every Secret Thing was even titled Book #1 of a series, but it has been enough years that it is clear that Kearsley isn’t going to follow up.

Honestly, I would have loved it if Kate Murray became the central figure in a series. Most of Kearsley’s other novels are very formulaic (not that it keeps me from reading them), but this mystery series took the journalist on a world-wide search for information to keep herself alive. Also, the body count was kind of high, so it would have made sense to give her more novels where people weren’t dropping like flies.

Anyway, it was really great. I would recommend it, if you like mysteries and WWII.

Every Wild Heart

Rating: 5 Stars

I read this in one day. I wasn’t sure if it was chick lit or a psychological thriller. I loved it, overall, but thought that maybe the author wasn’t sure what genre she was writing.

Another reader compared the mom in this novel to Lorelei Gilmore, which I totally see. The daughter wasn’t exactly a Rory, but there was overlap. There was a total Luke. However, there was an active father, etc.

I was surprised that this was on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide when I’ve read other great books that have already been released this summer that were better. I guess it does have mass appeal.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman

Rating: 4 Stars

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but this was a fascinating look at how a highly censored Hollywood took a very racy novella and turned it into an iconic movie with the classy Audrey Hepburn. Because, in all honesty, what Capote wrote has very little to do with what we see on the screen.

Additionally, the novel also talked about how Hollywood whitewashed other books or plays that were made into movies in order to get them around the censors, which was really interesting. There were a lot of censorship rules at the time that I wasn’t aware of! Also, the movie broke a lot of rules/pushed a lot of boundaries, even with things as small as using a little black dress.

The novel was really short, but I learned a lot about Audrey Hepburn, how the movie was made, how movies were made during that time period, and how much power the censors had over what people saw at the theaters!

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II

Rating: 5 Stars

I love Rhys Bowen. Her series are some of my favorite. They are generally very light hearted; however this book felt much more substantial than previous novels.

The novel begins by introducing us to an obvious love triangle. Then, of course, a mystery during the beginning of WWII ensues! I absolutely adored every character. The main character, unlike Bowen’s two most prominent series, has a man for the main character. Her other novels show that women are capable of doing what men do, and there is a young woman in this novel doing that, also, but I liked the switch in perspectives because the main character wasn’t quite the cad that the love interests her main characters usually fall for.

While there is nothing to indicate that this novel was the first in a series, it ended in such a way that there is more than enough material to make it one. And it was so wonderful that in my greed, I hope it becomes one!

Jane Steele

Rating: 2.5 Stars

This one was a bit weird. I really don’t know how to review it.

It’s like Jane Eyre except… no. She’s a murder? Maybe? It’s very morally ambiguous. I don’t recommend it.

However, if you would like something more to go on, here is the synopsis/review that Book Riot Community left on Goodreads:

This Victorian novel follows Jane Steele, an orphan whose life mirrors that of her favorite literary heroine, Jane Eyre. Their paths diverge at this one fine point, however: Jane Steele is a serial killer. She uses her wit, nerves, and slight sociopathy to off abusive men, all the while wondering what would Jane Eyre think? This book scratched all my favorite itches: Victoriana, feminist rage, and excellent, gut-punch sentences. You’ll love this Jane just as much as you love the original.

 

I highly recommend following Book Riot Community on GoodReads. They never leave a number of stars on their reviews, but someone from their team always writes a good synopsis that lets you know if it would be if is a book that you would like. That being said, I liked that synopsis, but the book was weird AF.

The Dry

Rating: 4 Stars

I will begin by saying that I picked this one up because it was part of MMD’s Summer Reading Guide. I am a member of her online book club. I read it in a day, so I could participate in the live chat with the author. So, fun news if you like the book: Reese Witherspoon has purchased the rights to the book!

It is also the first book in a series. If you’ve read this, let me know what you think: would you prefer for the second book to take place in the same small, farming town or would you prefer for it to take place back in the city where Falk is now working? I have a definite opinion. I would love to know what other people think.

If you haven’t read it, you can probably tell that I did like it. It’s a strong 4 stars. I hadn’t read a thriller in a long time until I picked this up. It really pulled me into the story because there are two separate mysteries–one from the present and one from the past. Falk, who is a detective in a big city, returns home for the funeral of a possible current victim. He looks into what has been going on in the town to see if a crime occurred and how they are connected.

It was particularly interesting because it takes place in a rural farming town that is experiencing a drought. In Australia! So, the setting and culture are just different enough from what I’m used to reading to make it fascinating.

The Night the Lights Went Out

Rating: 4 Stars

Wow. Awesome novel. I would recommend this to all of my friends. I really didn’t know anything about it when I started the novel, other than I liked the cover. Yes, I judged the book by the cover.

I also wanted to read a novel by Karen White because she cowrote a novel with two other authors who I enjoy. Fortunately, this was a good place to start. And now, I want to read more of her novels!

One reason this is not 5 stars is because it isn’t really about revealing universal truths about the human character. It doesn’t explore anything thought provoking. It’s just highly entertaining. And some highly entertaining books are 5 star worthy, but this was not one of those.

Also, White tried to pack a lot of different writing techniques and even genres into the novel, which is why it was on the lengthy side. There were blog posts, which gave it the Gossip-Girl-esque feel and flashbacks to the landlord’s childhood and adolescence, which gave a hint of Kate Morton’s influence, since crimes were committed on the land and connected to the present day.

It was definitely a Southern novel because place was important. The land was incredibly important to the novel. It may have even had Southern Gothic elements, specifically in the flashbacks, which took place during the Great Depression and some could argue that the cottage that the main character rented was a character.

There was a romance throughout the novel. And White even threw in a bit of a psychological thriller there at the end (which I would have known about, if I had read what the book was about).

Overall, the characters were endearing. I rooted for them. It was nice to see the layers of the main characters unfold. 

Aside from the novel being a bit of soup made from everything in the fridge, which oddly worked, it was good. I found it a bit slow at the start because the blog posts were confusing, even though I think they were there for comedic effect. Once I committed to it, though, I REALLY couldn’t put it down. I was listening to it in the car, when I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep, etc.

The Story of a Brief Marriage

Rating: How do you rate this?

I barely know how to rate this, much less review it. I think that every person who reads this novel will take away something different. At it’s core, it’s about humanity.

The novel isn’t plot driven. It’s more about memories and living in the moment. It’s gut-wrenching when you think about the fact that people are actually living in these conditions. This isn’t a book to read for entertainment. It’s a book to challenge yourself.

I really didn’t know what this book was about when I picked it up. Someone mentioned it on the What Should I Read Next podcast, so I thought it would be a good read. It was. But I don’t feel comfortable assigning value to it. Just read a synopsis:

In the last months of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Dinesh’s world has contracted to an evacuee camp, where he measures his days by shells that fall like clockwork. Alienated from language, home, and family, he is brought back to life by an unexpected proposal from an old man in the camp: that he marry his daughter, Ganga. In the hours they spend together, Dinesh and Ganga attempt to awaken to one another, to reclaim their humanity.

Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage is a feat of stunning imaginative empathy, a meditation on the bare elements of human existence that give life its pulse and purpose, even in the face of atrocity.

Abide with Me

The Dry

Every Wild Heart

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman

The Night the Lights Went Out

The Story of a Brief Marriage

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II

Jane Steele

A Portrait of Emily Price

Yesterday, I posted reviews of the other books (books in a series) that I read since January. Don’t forget to check those out. You can also read reviews of everything that I read in January here. Then you can get my take on everything that I’ve been reading so far this year. The year is basically half over!

Come back tomorrow for a full review on Katherine Reay’s newest book, The Austen Escape, which I received from NetGalley! You’ll be able to pick it up this fall.

And let me know what you’re planning on reading this summer in the comments because I have a long list that I don’t mind making it longer!

 

Categories: Book Review, What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I’ve Been Reading: February-June (Series Edition)

I’m back! I’ve been reading up a storm. I am going to take a short break from enjoying my new Kindle Paperwhite, as well as working my way through Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading List, to jot down a few book reviews.

Confession: None of these books were read in February. Somehow I didn’t finish a single book that month, according to my Goodreads account (you can add me as a friend there!). But, I have a sneaking suspicion that I read a some during the month, since I finished a few books in Early March!

Instead of grouping these by the date that I read them, I’m going to put the all of the series/books with with the same authors in this post, and write about the other books next!

Like always, I hope that you find something awesome to read! Most of them are easy/YA reads. And honestly, most of these are not great literature. However, you may find something really entertaining:

A Hundred Summers

Review: 4 Stars

I adore Williams. I thought that I had read all of her novels, but realized that I overlooked this one because it wasn’t available through my library. So, I spent an audible credit and enjoyed it.
It was slower to start, but I was VERY invested in the characters and outcome of the story by the end.

A Certain Age

Review: 3 Stars

Not my favorite book by Williams. I usually read her books in 2 days (or less!). I had to push to finish this one. Like usual, Williams incorporated her normal characters, even if tangentially.

 

The Wicked City

Review: 3 Stars

I would give this a 3.5, really. I wanted a slightly more fulfilling ending. I wish I could write more, but it wasn’t that memorable.

 

The Gossip Girl Series (1-3):

I watched a few seasons of the series, but it was so confusing and windy. However, I read that the books were really different from the show. In the books, the parents are barely around, which makes the books almost a different creation. I have to wonder if the show might have been better if they took the parents out.

I rated these books all 3 stars, but they were really more like 2.5 star books. They were entertaining, yet I do not recommend these unless you know that these are your cup of tea.

 

A Mourning Wedding (Daisy Dalrymple #13)

&

Fall of a Philanderer (Daisy Dalrymple #14)

Of course, I read two Daisy Dalrymple novels! I have to read cozy mysteries. I had meant to read the newest Maisie Dobbs that came out this year, but I haven’t read it yet. However, I read these two, numbers 13 & 14.

They were great novels, if you like the series. If you are looking for a new cozy mysteries series because you’ve already read all of them, read this series!

Famous in Love (Famous in Love #1)

Truly, Madly, Famously (Famous in Love #2)

 

I picked up these Young Adult novels after the TV show came out. The first book left a lot of questions, so I picked up the second one. It seemed to wrap up nicely at the second end of the novel, but a third novel would be fun!

Famous In Love: 3 Stars

A highly entertaining, easy read. At first, I was concerned that I did not read this before I watch the TV series based on the book. However, I think that the television series is actually better than the book. The writers for the TV series really created something out of nothing. They created subplots and much more complex characters than this book offers.
The only thing that was nice about writing a book was that I could actually get into the main characters head and hear her reasoning.
The setting for this book was different than the TV series, the love triangle was different than the TV series, the ages were even different from the TV series. And there was a tiny subplot forming at the end of the novel–maybe. It was not a book of lies and deceit. It was really a book about love and accidentally getting famous.
I decided to read the second novel out of curiosity.

Truly Madly Famously: 3 Stars

Again, highly entertaining. More of a 2.5 star. This was my second YA novel in a row, but these two were my first in a very long time. I was more than a little bit in awe of how “they” managed to create an entire TV show with subplots with older characters who barely resemble the ones in the books.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)

&

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)

 

Again, I picked up another YA series. I read a lot of books over the past few months, so it has been interesting to put all of the series books together and find out that most of them were YA! I read the first 2 of the 3 books in this series. I read them each in a day.

I enjoyed how the author incorporated the fact that the main character was Korean and her non-Korean father tried to keep her close to her heritage, despite the fact that her mother had passed away. I thought that the details about celebrating Korean holidays made the book more interesting than just a book about a girl with two sisters and who wrote some love letters!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1): 3 Stars

This was highly entertaining. I definitely identified with the main character–the levels of embarrassment that you can feel as a teenager cannot be replicated in adulthood, but maybe neither can than sense of joy.
Also, I was that girl who preferred to like guys from afar, like Laura Jean. However, I never actually got close to them in HS, like her.
Overall, this was a fun YA novel. I would recommend it to anyone from 8th grade up who is looking for a fun way to pass the time without a TV. In fact, I’m surprised that they haven’t made it into a a movie or something!

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2): 3 Stars

Super entertaining. A great YA book and second book for the series. I would recommend this series to someone who is tired of TV, but wants a book that is equally entertaining.

Again, I would recommend this to all of my friends at large, but it is a fun series and I will be reading the third novel!

Next up, I am planning on reviewing the rest of the novels that I read February through the present. These novels were just the novels that are part of a series.

This is what I read in my last post! You can read it here.

And let me know what you’re planning on reading this summer in the comments because I have a long list that I don’t mind making it longer!

 

Categories: Book Review Tags: , ,
The Classics Club: Mission Completed

The Classics Club

Well, I completed my mission on time, but I’m a few days late in posting it! Two years ago, I posted that I would read 50 classic books in 2 years. In fact, I read 51 classic books! I accomplished it!

I didn’t write a review for every single book, but I wrote a lot of reviews.

So, I won’t recap all of the reviews–if you’ve been following the blog, I parsed out contemporary and classic novels apart from each other in the monthly reviews. I didn’t write as many round up classic reviews as I would have liked, due to my illnesses!

Without further ado, here is what I read between 12/24/14 and 12/24/16 (starting with the most recently finished and ending with the first one that I read):

Lady Of Quality, Georgette Heyer

Little Women (Little Women, #1), Louisa May Alcott

Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen

Partners in Crime (Tommy and Tuppence #2), Agatha Christie

Persuasion, Jane Austen

The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1), Anthony Trollope

Why Shoot a Butler?, Georgette Heyer

Black Sheep, Georgette Heyer

The Corinthian, Georgette Heyer

Cotillion, Georgette Heyer

April Lady, Georgette Heyer

Friday’s Child, Georgette Heyer

The Bostonians, Henry James

Romola, George Eliot

The Nonesuch, Georgette Heyer

The Reluctant Widow, Georgette Heyer

Where Angels Fear to Tread, E.M. Forster

Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell

Jamaica Inn, Daphne du Maurier

A Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer

The Way We Live Now, Anthony Trollope

Mary Anne, Daphne du Maurier

Sprig Muslin, Georgette Heyer

The King’s General, Daphne du Maurier

The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton

The American, Henry James

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers

Charity Girl, Georgette Heyer

Venetia, Georgette Heyer

The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy

Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

The Professor, Charlotte Brontë

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins

Wessex Tales, Thomas Hardy

The End of the Affair, Graham Greene

The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Adam Bede, George Eliot

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ripley, #1), Patricia Highsmith

Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence

The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

Daisy Miller, Henry James

Little Men (Little Women, #2), Louisa May Alcott

The Awakening, Kate Chopin

 

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Categories: Book Review, Reading Challenge
What I Read: January 2016

Well, I read a lot of Phyrne Fisher novels, since I want to catch up with the TV show. I tried out a new series. And I picked up a few new authors, too!

what i read january

 

Contemporary

Some Luck

some luck

Verdict: A great look into the 1920’s to 1950’s. Must read for saga-lovers.

I loved this novel. I can see why it Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Not only was the story highly entertaining, but the prose was beautiful. The story was amazing! It followed so many people, who went through so many changes. During the time of the novel, America went through a ton of changes. Since the family started on a farm, but slowly integrated technology.

The Book of Speculation

the book of speculation

Verdict: Not what I expected. Great for learning about circuses.

I thought that this novel would be more about books. It was about a librarian, but a former librarian. The novel is really more about how an old novel intertwines with a family of circus performers. While I liked how the novel was written, it wasn’t what I was expected. I was thinking something more along the lines of Charlie Lovett’s novels.

The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher #5)

the green mill murder

Verdict: Another fun, quick, mystery.

The Green Mill Murder was interesting because it was based on Phryne’s attendance at a dance-a-ton. It reminded it me a little of that Gilmore Girl’s episode where Rory dances with her mom and that thing happens with Dean… but at least there wasn’t murder there!

Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher #6)

blood and circuses

Verdict: A fun Phryne Fisher novel where she leaves the life of luxury.

Phyrne leaves the life of luxury to help her friends in the circus to find out what keeps hurting the circus. Along the way, Phryne has to pick up a new name, learn a new trade, exchange her clothes for used and mended ones. It was nice to see how she acted with a different place, with a different personality, and not in a position of authority.

The Longest Night

the longest night

Verdict: Williams made a statement, but it lacked entertainment value.

I couldn’t fault the great statement that Williams made about morality standards imposed by society, but it lacked entertainment value. It was dry, boring, and I couldn’t quit cringing. The novel skipped around among narrators as it followed Nat, an Army wife, her husband, Paul, a young Army Specialist, and his boss and his boss’s wife. The most cringe-worthy moments were in the young husband’s mind. I am hope it was meant to be slightly cringe-inducing when he describes meeting his wife and thinks of her as loose, but then over the course of their marriage, never gets a chance to know the real her and why she acts the way he does. His temper flares whenever Nat does anything that embarrasses him, even having fun in front of strangers. The shame follows her wherever she goes, even when he is gone.

Overall, the setting, which is in the middle of nowhere, and involves nuclear energy, radiation, cover ups, affairs, Indian reservations, and apparently a lot of Mormons, who are all new and confusing to the Army people, was also bizarre and slightly off putting from a reader’s perspective. I ended up getting the audio-book from the library, so I heard a different voice for every narrator, so that could have influenced my perception.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.

American Housewife

American Houswife

Verdict: Smart, biting, and funny. Must read for women with a sense of humor.

I couldn’t put this down! I thought that it was quick, funny, and insightful. My favorite story was about the reality show. The final story almost felt like a horror story. I had the audio version of this novel from my library, which was fantastic. There were several narrators who were familiar because they read books that I listen to a lot.

I let my husband listen to a few of the stories, which he loved, too.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.

The Crossing

the crossing

Verdict: A must read for Harry Bosch or Lincoln Lawyer fans.

I look forward to Michael Connelly’s fall release every year. This year didn’t disappoint. Harry Bosh worked as an investigator for his brother, defense lawyer Mickey Haller. Bosh was torn about working for the defense, but like any good homicide detective, he didn’t want to just prove that the defendant was innocent, he wanted to find the guilty. It was made more interesting because the guilty party was very dangerous.

Since Bosch is now retired and Connelly combined Bosch and Haller in a single novel, I have to wonder if Connelly will move to just write about The Lincoln Lawyer.

Austenland

austenland

Verdict: Great entertainment for Austen fans who are looking for light fun and romance.

It’s not a genius piece of writing, but it’s incredibly entertaining. If you like Jane Austen (like you can recall the plots to all of her novels), plus quirky main characters and romances, this is for you. You can easily read it in a day or two. I had a lot of fun finding the parallels, which were sometimes laid out by the author for less well-versed readers, but the entertainment value is certainly high. I think I need to read the sequel!

Murphy’s Law

Murphy's Law

Verdict: Great for people who like mysteries who keep you on edge!

I fell in love with Rhys Bowen’s mysteries when I read the Her Royal Spyness series. So, I picked up this series about Molly Murphy, who is on the run from Irish authorities and found a way to America. Unfortunately, there was a murder that complicated her entry, but it introduced her to a handsome detective. I loved Molly’s determination to find the actual person who committed the murder and make her way in New York City.

Death of Riley

death of riley

Verdict: Great follow up!

If you like Murphy’s Law, Death of Riley is a great follow up! Molly finds herself learning from a real private investigator and living with the artsy crowd. I loved it! I can’t wait to keep reading the series. I had to make myself read other novels, or I would have finished the entire series within a week or so!

Eight Hundred Grapes

eight hundred grapes

Verdict: A great light read!

I read a lot of reviews that were 50/50 on this. Some people hated it, but others loved it. I liked it. I thought it was a touching story about family, figuring out what matters, and making the life you want.

Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher #7)

Ruddy Gore

Verdict: A big change for Phryne

I have been reading as many Phryne Fisher novels as possible, so I can watch the television show, since the shows are not in the same order of the books. I can’t wait to finish watching the show, since it is so well done.

This novel was a big change because Phryne actually finds a man that she seems like she wants to keep!

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

The Poisoner's Handbook

Verdict: A must read!

I have wanted to read this novel for a long time. I love the Jazz Age, but this novel gives an amazing look at the underbelly of society. It also talks more about how life really was for most people, not just the glamorous people, of the Jazz Age.

On Netflix, I watched a documentary based on the novel. The documentary puts pictures and videos to a lot of what went on in the novel, However, the novel was redundant, since the documentary focused more of a few of the cases touched on in the novel, while the novel expanded greatly on the fight against prohibition, since the bootleg liquor was killing so many people, as well as gave insight into other parts of how hard Dr. Norris and others fought to legitimize forensic sciences.

Thornwood House

Thornwood House

Verdict: An haunting search into the past

I couldn’t put this novel down. I would dare to put this novel into the Gothic category. Since it was Australian, I thought that made it more interesting. The main character, Audrey, inherits an old house on an enormous amount of land in a small, quiet city from the father of her child and the only man she ever loved, after he commits suicide. However, she didn’t even know that he had the property or any living family. She moves there with her 11 year old daughter. There, Audrey becomes obsessed with the house and the surrounding property. She becomes enthralled with the home’s former resident, who appears to her in dreams, as she tries to find out if he really killed his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t have touched a book like this. And as I read this novel, I kept asking myself why I was so enchanted with it. Finally, I realized it was Gothic and Southern Gothic literature is my favorite. If I could have my dream job, it would be as an English professor, specializing in that. So, that’s why I think I found Thornwood House so enthralling.

classics

The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)

The Warden Anthony Trollope

Verdict: The shortest Trollope novel that I’ve ever read!

This isn’t my favorite Trollope novel, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

 

read these

American Housewife

Austenland

Eight Hundred Grapes

Some Luck

if you have time

The Poisoner’s Handbook

Murphy’s Law (Or the entire series!)

don't bother smaller

The Longest Night

The Book of Speculation

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

December 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

 

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading?

 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

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Pretending to Dance Review

pretending to dance review title
pretending to dance review

Verdict: An average fiction book aimed at women.

Per the publisher:
Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can’t have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly’s past and her family—the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison’s Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father’s death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?

Pretending to Dance Review:

Pretending to Dance follows Molly during the summer when she is 14, during the 1980’s, as well as her late 30’s, during our contemporary time. As the adult Molly and her husband attempt to adopt a baby, we learn about the summer of Molly’s life that changed her world forever. As you can imagine, there are obvious parallels between adult Molly’s situation and child Molly’s situation, and there are some clever parallels that the reader doesn’t find out until later into the novel. On the whole, it’s a fiction novel. No more and no less. It’s not really a coming of age story; it’s not a thriller; and finally, it’s certainly not a mystery.

I really enjoy novels that have narratives that go back and forth between time. I liked this one a lot because most novels that I read that employ the technique, like Kate Morton novels, jump 50 to 100 years. This novel, however, had a shorter jump, and followed the same woman. I found myself wishing that story would follow the older Molly more, though. The summer that Molly was 14 made her who she was, essentially, but I still liked the chapters about her life in San Diego and the adoption process.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend that you run out and put this novel at the top of your To Be Read list, but it’s not a bad book. And, if you happen to be a Diane Chamberlain fan, then definitely read it. It caught my attention enough that I will definitely be reading more novels by her soon.

You can add Pretending to Dance to your TBR list here on Goodreads. Don’t forget to add me as a Goodreads friend, if you love books, too!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.

 

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Girl Waits With Gun


Girl Waits With Gun: Book Review
Girl Waits With Gun

Verdict: I wanted to like this book more than I did.

Girl Waits With Gun is supposed to be about the first female sheriff; however, it tells the story of her life leading up to that event, so I felt that the publisher’s synopsis was misleading. I probably wouldn’t have picked up the novel if I had known the true plot.

The novel about a family of first generation Americans who live in a rural area outside of New York City and find themselves, specifically the two older sisters and the much younger sister, alone and without male protection, which was odd for their time period. The women had the misfortune of having their horse and buggy hit by a mobster/generally bad guy’s car. The main character then sets out to seek payment for repairs, but instead incurs his wrath. The novel follows that storyline, among others.

While I didn’t hate the book, it wasn’t one that I just had to pick up or couldn’t put down. I dutifully read 30 minutes every day until I finished the novel, so it took me almost 2 weeks, which I thought was sad because I anticipated devouring the novel. Contrast that with the next novel that I picked up, which was similar in length and style, but I finished that in 3 days.

In hindsight, I can’t put my finger on anything particularly wrong with the novel, other than maybe I just didn’t like the characters. They were supposed to be quirky, but they felt forced and just weird. I didn’t feel any particular empathy for them. I wished that there was a romantic component to the novel because that would have probably kept me reading, but the repetitiveness of the plot was tedious. There are only so many times that I can read about the main characters not listening to the sheriff. It might be true to history, but it doesn’t make it interesting.

My honest assessment of the book is don’t bother reading it. If yo don’t u do want to read it, I wouldn’t push it up high on your reading list or pay for it. The library would be the way to go. I honestly couldn’t stand to read it, so I ended up using an audible credit to listen to it, even though I am reviewing it for Netgalley. It was a waste of a credit, but I wasn’t going to be able to force myself through it, otherwise.

So, history buffs may find it extremely interesting since it was a good look at life at the time, but for someone who is looking for a compelling fictional story, this isn’t it.

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.

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The Sisters of Versailles: Book Review


the sisters book review
The Sisters of Versailles

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.

Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.

Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.

Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot – and women – forward. The King’s scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

My Thoughts:

This novel was interesting because I do like historical fiction, plus this was a time period with which I wasn’t familiar. It was definitely on the racy side, but I had never read about this king or the court lifestyle. Otherwise, I didn’t find the book that interesting.

While the book wasn’t poorly written and the characters were well imagined, it felt like a lot of other historical novels. There was a ton of backstabbing and bickering among the sisters. I guess it was probably true to the time period and kings with ambitious mistresses, but a person can only read so many of those novels.

So, overall, the only thing that made this stand out was the fact that it took place in the French court with a king that I hadn’t read about before. So, if you are looking for something new this could be the novel for you. The novel, which was told from the view points of several narrators, covered the girls’ lifespans, so I am interested to see what the rest of the trilogy could possibly cover.

I wasn’t impressed with the novel, as a whole, but I did finish it. I am not looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy… in fact, I will probably only read the synopsis to see how the author even makes it a trilogy.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy of the novel to review.

If you love Goodreads as much as me, add me as a friend here!

 

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We Never Asked for Wings: A Beautiful Novel


we never asked for wings book review we never asked for wings book review

Verdict: Must Read for Everyone!

We Never Asked for Wings is the highly anticipated novel by the New York Times Best Selling author of The Language of Flowers. The story, We Never Asked for Wings, takes place around San Francisco, where the single mother of two children had been sharing her childhood apartment with her parents for her entire life. Unfortunately, her parents, who were undocumented when they crossed the border from Mexico into the United States go back to Mexico, to visit a dying relative, when the story begins.

This story touched my heart in so many ways. I loved how Diffenbaugh covered so many topics in one novel and brought them together beautifully. The story is told by two different narrators, the mother and the son. In a way, it’s a coming of age story for each of them, even though they are 18 years apart. The story doesn’t just pull on the readers heart strings. It examines love, loss, politics, and why people treat people the way they do.

This story has something for everyone. I would recommend it to high school students through adults. It’s about first love. It’s about family. It’s about finding love. It’s about life. While the book is fiction, I could picture the novel being based on a true story. It’s probably the true story of too many families. Since it was fiction, it was “white washed,” in a way, so there was always money to borrow in a pinch or those sorts of things. However, it was a book that I couldn’t put down. As a mostly mystery book reader, I was highly impressed with how much I loved this book.

Do yourself a favor and pick it up today!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.

If you love to read, add me as a friend on Goodreads, so you can keep up real-time.

You can purchase the novel wherever books are sold or add it to your TBR list on Goodreads here. Don’t forget to check out Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s website, if you’re interested in more information.

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Bream Gives Me Hiccups: A Book Review


Bream Gives Me Hiccups
Book Review
bream gives me hiccups

Verdict: A must read for humor-lovers!

I won’t lie, I snatched up the chance to read this as soon as possible because, well, Zombieland is my favorite movie ever. I was interested to see what Jesse Eisenberg could put to page. Most telling, I thought, was his thank you page at the end of the novel. They gave me the most insight into his inspiration. I won’t give anything away. Save the end for the end!

As I mentioned in my monthly book review round up, this book is a must read! Bream Gives Me Hiccups is a hilarious mix of short stories, some longer than others. Eisenberg mixes different mediums to tell stories and weave a slight thread about revolution into the story. It’s a little bit out of left field, but it adds some “random” funniness to the story.

Oddly enough, my two favorite stories are written from a child’s point of view first, when he writes about his life through a series of restaurant/life reviews that are very touching and insightful and then from a series of letters written by female freshman in college to her high school college counselor as her mental health starts to unravel.

I’m partial to audiobooks, but I read the ebook of Bream Gives Me Hiccups, which was hilarious. I have to guess that the audiobook would be even more funny, since Audible.com lists the narrators as Jesse Eisenberg, Hallie Eisenberg (his sister), Annapurna Sriram, Erin Darke, and Colin Nissan.

I like that Eisenberg has his sister narrating since in several short stories, an unnamed narrator has his sister email the narrator’s girlfriend, text him early in the morning, and so forth. I’d love to know how much of the unnamed narrator’s sister is based on his real life sister!

Basically, if you’re looking for something fun and quick, let the multi-talented Jesse Eisenberg entertain you! I really can’t tell you how funny this novel is. I wouldn’t compare it to BJ Novak’s short stories since Novak’s stories were almost entirely prose, if you are looking to compare celebrity short stories. I really enjoyed the different styles of writing captured in a single book, plus the wit and humor. It was great to see him take on all of the different characters. With all of the celebrity novels coming out, I’m glad Eisenberg gave us short stories!

You can pick up the novel when it comes out on September 8, 2015!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.

Don’t forget that you can go here to check out more of my book reviews, monthly book round ups, and all things literary (like how to save money on audible!). Also, if you love Goodreads, don’t forget to add me as a friend because I’m always looking to see what other people are reading!

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