Sunday, March 31, 2013

War and Peace, Volume I, Part Three Wrap-Up

Confession: I read this almost all in about one sitting yesterday. I just wasn't very motivated to read it throughout the month despite my initial enthusiasm. Looking forward to April's reading, I am more interested.

I entered this section very excitedly because I thought it looked like we would be heading back to Russian society with the women. That is partially true but then we return to the battlefield, which I find terribly dull. It was also confusing, apt as there is some fighting. The volume actually ends with a brief scene of Napoleon and some Russian characters captured by the French (I think).

On the "peace" side, we saw a tiny bit of the many characters we've met with Pierre getting engaged and Princess Marya turning down the opportunity to get married (I was very confused by the number of princesses in her section and how they were all related; why does everyone have that title?)

This wasn't the most exciting chapter unfortunately but I'm pleased that we're about 1/4 of the way through the book (to correspond with being 1/4 of the way through the year) and I'm liking the look of Volume II, hoping for more about Natasha.

Wrap-Up and Week to Come (31MAR13)

Happy Easter-Christ is risen-glory Hallelujah!


I am pleased to say that my eyes feel much better. Although I felt pretty normal almost immediately after the surgery, it was still hard for me to read much and I didn't have the focus to spend time on the computer. Happily I am almost caught up on commenting and plan to finish that up today. As I mentioned last week, I am committed to using Feedly for now although I set up Bloglovin' and my feeds were finally imported to The Old Reader so I will also be exploring them.

Books Received:
(from Amazon Vine)
His Majesty's Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal-the third book in the series
Taken by Erin Bowman-I love the cover for this and I have so many questions I need answered.
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella-looking forward to sharing this with my sister who is also a Kinsella fan
Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde-a beloved author, a fun MG, fairy tales-all is good :)

(Unsolicited from Penguin)
Proxy by Alex London-sounds like a really cool action story
The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman-I loved The Grimm Legacy and unsuccessfully requested an e-ARC of this so I'm glad i received a hard copy

(Invited via Netgalley)
Dare You To by Katie McGarry-I loved the snippet of this from the end of Pushing the Limits-Ryan sounds right up my alley!

Week to Come: Kind of a weird week; we're starting with some 2013 YA releases and then shifting to adult reads

Later today will be my wrap-up for War and Peace, Volume I, Part Three just as soon as I finish writing it!
Everbound by Brodi Ashton-did this sequel live up to the enchanting Everneath for me?
Absent by Katie Williams-a ghost mystery in a high school setting
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeves-another sequel that has a tough bar to top in Grave Mercy
Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner-a retelling of Noah's ark from the perspective of his wife
The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig-the author of the Pink Carnation series tackles a new historical period
A Perfect Proposal by Katie Fforde-a release from an author I have long known of but have never tried

Saturday, March 30, 2013

ARC Review: Ender's World

Ender's World edited by Orson Scott Card
4/5 stars
Smart Pop, 2013
282 pages
Non-Fiction Science-Fiction Essays
Scheduled to release April 2

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Like many people, I discovered Ender's Game as a child and have returned to it time and time again, always finding something new. I am tentatively anticipating the film version this year (Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff...for some reason I thought he'd be Mazer Rackham.)

As The Girl Who Was on Fire made me want to reread the Hunger Games trilogy, this book made me want to reread Ender's Game as well as explore the other books set in that universe, which I have never read. There are some brief references to the other stories but the main focus is on Ender's Game. Per usual, I will briefly look at each essay, which has made for a long review. Basically if you love Ender's Game, you'll find things to enjoy in this book.

How It Should Have Ended by Eric James Stone: The premise of this essay is one I identified very strongly with. To wit, that Ender's Game should have ended with Ender's victory. Upon my first reading that is what stuck me with the most and the scenes that came after seemed unnecessary and even confusing to me. Like Stone though, further readings gave greater understanding about those moments, adding to the richness of my experience. A great essay to start off the book!

The Monster's Heart by John Brown: Brown brings in some science to accompany his look at some of the most poignant parts of the novel, analyzing how fiction can still inspire very real responses in us humans. He looks at how Card evoked such strong responses and helped us visualize certain moments so vividly without necessarily even describing a lot. I especially appreciated his look at the bugger queen as I'm still wrestling with my response to the buggers.

The Cost of Breaking the Rules by Mary Robinette Kowal: Kowal attended a Literary Boot Camp from Card and learned all some writing rules there. She then proceeded to go through Ender's Game and find the multiple instances where Card broke those same rules. BUT that was as a writer recognizing that there was a cost to those decisions-a worthwhile cost but a cost nonetheless. I was pleased to see Kowal's essay here as I have enjoyed her fiction immensely.

Winning and Losing in Ender's Game by Hilari Bell: Bell looks at the cost of winning and losing in the book, specifically where winning costs more than losing and the toll this takes on Ender especially as he compares himself to Peter.

Parallax Regained: Two Views of Ender's Game by David Lubar and Alison S. Myers: This essay is a father and daughter writing about their experiences with the novel: he as a writer and she as a teacher and how it has impacted their professional and personal lives. It is written as a conversation/debate between the two of them. I especially enjoyed Myers' confession that she probably wouldn't have read it when she was young had her father been the one to suggest it.

Mirror, Mirror by Alethea Kontis: Kontis wrote the fairy-tale retelling Enchanted and looks at a prevalent theme in fairy tales as well as other stories: mirrors (as if you couldn't have guessed that from the title of the essay ;) Not only does the mirror reflect Ender to himself, the book itself reflects each reader to a degree, influencing what we get out of it.

Size Matters by Janis Ian: (sidenote: this woman inspired the name of the character in Mean Girls!) My favorite part of this essay was the observation that perhaps shorter people live longer. I'm 5'4" which is average for an American woman, I believe, but I've always wanted to be 5'10"-this note is helping me reconcile myself to my height. The thrust of the essay though focuses on Ender's size and its importance throughout the story because he really is so small, starting at Battle School younger than most of the other kids and pretty much always being the smallest.

Rethinking the Child Hero by Aaron Johnston: This book compares Ender to a Clint Eastwood character, which didn't really resonate with me as I think I've only seen one or two of his films and haven't had much interest in watching more (I don't care for westerns and that's what I mainly associate him with).

A Teenless World by Mette Ivie Harrison: Harrison looks at children acting in an adult world and speaking in an adult manner. Card makes this utterly believable-although Ender is but six at the start, I never found myself pulled out of the story thinking that no one that age would talk like that.  This book offers kids a chance to imagine themselves in positions of incredible power and responsibility and it's intoxicating.

Ender on Leadership by Colonel Tom Ruby (USAF, Retired): This military man discusses how Ender's Game impacted him and other soldiers with their conceptions of leadership, striving to add that element of extraordinary compassion and feeling that Ender has.

Ender Wiggin, USMC by John F. Schmitt: Schmitt discusses the history of the Marine Corps and its reorganization and philosophy in comparison to the tactics used by Ender in the Battle Room. This chapter also includes a look at Tactical Decision Games, which I immediately wanted to try out as soon as I can gather a group of people to explore it with.

The Price of Our Inheritance by Neal Shusterman: Shusterman looks at the war being fought and how it hinges on the question "How many people would you kill to protect the lives of your  children?" The answer: As many as necessary, which is displayed in the book but how does that impact Ender? At the end of the war, he is condemned by the very people he saved. A very thought-provoking read.

If the Formics Love Their Children by Ken Scholes: Scholes only very recently came to Ender's Game, in fact not reading the book until he was contacted to write an essay for this book. As such, he entered with an adult's mind and prepared to study the book against the background when it was originally published and how that has changed (and what has remained the same) over the years.

Ender's Game: A Guide to Life by Matt Nix: I mostly have to mention this one as the author is the creator of "Burn Notice," one of my mom's favorite shows and beloved by my whole family really. Throughout his life, he has connected with people because of this book and it has served as a guide as he figured out what he wanted to do with his life (eventually settling on creating an excellent action/mystery/thriller/comedic/romantic/all-around awesome show).

As I wrote this review, I realized just how many essays were in this book-there are so many perspectives! I also should mention that interspersed between the essays are some questions and answers from OSC, giving further (fascinating) insight into the writing of Ender's Game.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
4/5 stars
Simon Pulse, 2013
378 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Library

This book had a lot going for it: Sarah Ockler has a fine YA contemporary pedigree; I adore books with cooking/baking; and there are cute hockey boys (including one named Will!) After reading this though, my feelings about it, alas, are bittersweet.

Let's start with the good, which would definitely include all the food related moments. Main character Hudson makes cupcakes for her mom's diner and each chapter title is a description of a kind of cupcake. And these are no ordinary cupcakes; these are gourmet absolutely delectable mouthwatering cupcakes. I got a little bit hungry just reading some of the samples.

Another highlight is the yummy hockey boys. Although Will has his moments, the real star is Josh (who shares a name with hot Paul Rudd in Clueless so that's fine with me). I am way too old for high school boys but for a time, I was able to pretend that everything was age appropriate. There are also some really excellent friends in here, way better than Hudson deserves as she treats many people poorly.

A third highlight I should mention is the ice skating. Hudson was on track for figure skating glory before throwing it all away over the dissolution of her parents' marriage. A chance for a scholarship (and thus the ability to leave her tiny town for greener pastures) prompts her to get back on the ice and also entangles her with the hockey boys. This book was really fun for me to read as Ockler ably gets us to feel the ice and cold while I got to actually chill in the So Cal sun (seriously the best weather!)

The more bitter part would be just that everything felt a little too predictable like how Hudson was slowly losing sight of what means the most on her quest for the scholarship and just how overstuffed this book is. There are family, friend, romantic, and money troubles included as well as general teen anxiety over the future-I'm not sure that everything was as smoothly handled as it could have been had a few elements been taken out. I ended up really frustrated with Hudson especially in regards to the way she handled her sole friendship.

Overall: A tasty jam-packed treat for YA contemporary fans!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Grave Consequences

Grave Consequences by Lisa T. Bergren
4/5 stars
David C. Cook, 2013
430 pages
YA Inspirational Historical

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really loved first book Glamorous Illusions last year so I was thrilled to check out the second book in the series with a cover hinting at something darker happening (also if that guy is Will, well, I've imagined him to be hotter, just saying.)

We immediately jump back into the story, leaving me floundering as it's been almost a year since I read the first installment. Soon however I was back in the rhythm, aided by the fact that this story focuses much more closely on Cora and Will. I remember the first book introducing all the characters including Cora's new found siblings but I felt like they didn't play as much of a role this time, at least not til near the end. It felt much more narrowly focused on the love story of Cora and Will. She is struggling to reconcile her new role as the daughter of a wealthy man with her long-time dream of teaching and living a simple life in Montana. He is barely afloat financially with debts hanging over his head and dreaming of being an architect while also longing for Cora despite the punishment her father would dole out to him.

Speaking of Cora's father, he is such a jerk. I didn't like him much in book one but he just continues to be manipulative and frankly cruel in this book. I understand some of his objections but he seems to be motivated largely by selfishness so it is hard for me to sympathize with him. Most grievous is him pushing Pierre toward Cora despite her uncertainty of him (and my love of Will!)

As predicted this book does seem darker. Although they continue moving apace through Europe (thus making it a book I'd recommend to anyone craving some great descriptive passages of the sights), they are haunted by the foiled kidnapping attempt at the end of book one. Are they really out of danger? Or are the children of two very wealthy men just too tempting to resist? There is somewhat of a mystery element around this and I was proud of myself for piecing one part together.

Last to mention is the religious element as this book comes from a religious publishing house. I'm Christian so I enjoy books that reflect my faith. I think that Cora does a good job of relying on her faith and the knowledge that all this money and opulence won't make her happy. The ending is especially good for her decision to wait and trust in the Lord.

Overall: A good second book that does move the story forward while also allowing you time to luxuriate in pre-WWI Europe.

Other Opinions:
Booktalk & More
From the Heart of a Bookworm
Short and Sweet Reviews

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ARC Review: The Sweetest Dark

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
4/5 stars
Bantam, 2013
352 pages
YA Historical Paranormal
Scheduled to release April 2

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I confess I was mostly seduced by this book's gorgeous cover (even if it does seem to fall in the trap of dead looking girl in pretty dress-what can I say, I'm pretty predictable). Plus there are the gorgeous purple accents. Then I saw reference to WWI, boarding school, and something about dragons so I was hooked.

There are three main characters here who are kind of but not completely in a love triangle. One is Lora, orphan girl who discovers she can transform into a dragon when she is sent to a boarding school after being evacuated from London. Once there she meets Jesse who introduces her to her true self as well as the lord's son Armand (nicknamed Mandy which kept throwing me). These two boys also have mysterious heritage. As Lora battles mean girls within, danger without threatens the people at the school and its environs.

I had read some mixed reviews so I opened it a bit apprehensively. Happily I was quite swept away. I would describe the writing as a bit on the flowery side and not to the taste of everyone but I felt that it served the story well due to its historical setting. Most of the story is focused on Lora but there are random shifts in perspective throughout. Apparently this is a YA spinoff of her adult series beginning with The Smoke Thief. That bodes well for me as it means I have a further universe to explore.

My favorite element would have to be the way the Great War was woven into the story. I also love the glimpses of a longer history that I believe would please fans of The Smoke Thief. These traces as well as my deep love for boarding school settings helped pull me through. I think I liked this book well enough to check out the second which I believe is due for release later this year (yay for a short wait!)

Have you read the adult series? Are you a sucker for dragon books as well?

Other Opinions:
Good Books and Good Wine
In which Ems reviews books
Read, Rinse, Repeat 
The Eclectic Reader

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Etiquette and Espionage

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
4/5 stars
Little, Brown and Company, 2013
307 pages
YA Historical Paranormal

Source: Won from saz101-she hosted a giveaway, ordered the book the day I responded, and it arrived a mere two days later; it's only now that I've had a chance to add it to my schedule. Thank you so much :)

While I liked Soulless, the first book in Carriger's beloved Parasol Protectorate series, I had even higher expectations of this YA novel set in the same universe simply because YA is my category. And though I did like my venture into this universe a lot (especially because it's set at a finishing school or in other words, a boarding school), I found it a bit on the young side. I guess I'm just a bit picky!

Sophronia always seems to be getting into trouble, exasperating her mother to no end and leading to her enrollment in finishing school. But this is no ordinary finishing school; rather it is training its students to not only be ladies but to also be assassins and spies. Sophronia seems to have found her perfect home if only it wasn't for pesky older student Monique and her secrets that Sophronia is determined to unravel.

Honestly I don't think the plot is that important for this book. What is important is the general tone and spirit of this book which is lighthearted and just plain fun. It reminded me a bit of Ally Carter's Heist Society and Robin Benway's Also Known As except with a historical and paranormal setting. Sophronia is a positive heroine-although she is upper-class, she notices and befriends those who would be considered beneath her. Although she has her scrabbles with Monique, she is mostly friendly and tries hard. I'd be fine having her for a younger sister (I think).

Another great bonus is the setting. The finishing school is not content to remain on the ground but instead floats above and is capable of traveling around England, allowing Sophronia to get up to some hilarious hijinks (including a great scene in the school for boys). The stage is set for many more adventures and I look forward to reading them as well.

Other Opinions: Pretty universally loved :)
Candace's Book Blog
Katie's Book Blog
Reading Extensively
Short and Sweet

The Book Scout

Monday, March 25, 2013


Prodigy by Marie Lu
4.5/5 stars
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2013
371 pages
YA Dystopia
Sequel to Legend

Source: Library

Legend was one of my favorite books from 2012 so I was heavily anticipating this second book especially after seeing so much positive buzz for it. My feelings about this book are also largely positive but there may be some SPOILERS so be forewarned.

June and Day are on the run: the prodigy and the criminal, united in a common purpose against the Republic (which reminded me very strongly of North Korea in this book). They are recruited by the resistance to assassinate the new Elector, June's old compatriot Anden. But on their quest to accomplish that, they uncover some surprising realities and keep the reader on the edge of her seat.

Now of course there is so much more to this story than the romantic parts but that has been my favorite section. June and Day are an amazing, smart, powerful (would-be) couple. And the fact that some people got in the way of that made me angry. Gah, I wanted to cut Tess! Anden was less irksome, I think because he didn't know June had Day but Tess knew and a girl I thought I liked in Legend became absolutely loathsome to me. I know that these two kids do not have an easy road ahead of them (made all the more difficult by the decisions of the last few chapters) but I'm rooting for them!

Like the first book, this is again told in alternating chapters, which were very easy to fly through. Day's font is blue instead of gold this time and I found that much easier to read while it also has the bonus of matching the cover. Also like the first book, this is filled with action, tough decisions, and stunning revelations. The world of June and Day is only getting darker and murkier-there are no easy paths and the ending left me near heartbroken but relieved that there will be a book three to hopefully give some resolution.

Cover: I am wondering if the third book will have red in the cover? Could look cool with the gray/yellow and blue/black covers.

Other Opinions:
Debbie's World of Books
Gone with the Words
Holes In My Brain
Jen Ryland/YA Romantics
Tripping Over Books

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bloglovin Set-Up (Feel free to ignore)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Updates and Week to Come 24MAR13

Eye Surgery:
So I've been a bit absent from the blogging world due to my eye surgery this week. I noticed an immediate improvement but alas reading is still an area where I'm weaker. It is supposed to continue to improve through this week. I have not been in any pain after the first day (where I had a headache and general wooziness from the anesthesia) but I haven't really felt up to much reading. Thankfully I scheduled some posts in advance and I'm planning to start tackling commenting today and through the week. I promise-I will be back with a vengeance!

Google Reader Alternatives:
Last week, I lamented the loss of GR but this week I am feeling more optimistic. I tried Feedly, Bloglovin', and Netvibes (my feed is STILL waiting to be imported at The Old Reader; it's been over a week!). Netvibes was an early favorite but I have switched back to Feedly for the time being. Now that I have discovered I can arrange my groups by title, it more closely mimics GR and I find it pretty easy to click through and comment.

Somehow I have had a big surge in new GFC followers; I'm not really sure why as I haven't been doing any special promotion. I am very appreciative though and am planning a giveaway for when I reach 500 followers.

Week to Come: this is a little up in the air depending on how much I feel up to reading
Prodigy by Marie Lu
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe (yes, I finished reading it before my surgery)
Grave Consequences by Lisa T. Bergren
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Ender's World edited by Orson Scott Card

What are you up to this week? Happy reading :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Essence

The Essence by Kimberly Derting
3.5/5 stars
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013
343 pages
YA Dystopia
Sequel to The Pledge

*Spoilers for The Pledge because they're necessary but no spoilers for The Essence*

Source: Library

When I read the first book in the series, The Pledge, I found it to be a fast moving plot-driven story that kept me breathless turning pages. So even though the characters weren't very substantial to me, I still wanted to check out this second book. I'm definitely bummed it has taken so long to arrive but I'm glad I checked it out.

After overthrowing Queen Sabara, Charlaina has assumed her rightful place as Queen of Ludania and has been implementing big changes, trying to unite everyone as one people, in one class, under one language. But not all are pleased about this change. Adding to Charlie's troubles are the fact that Sabara's essence is still contained within her and is pulling her in many different directions as well as a traitor, betraying all that Charlie has worked for.

I thought the plot was a little less engaging this time as frequently is the case. Fighting for freedom and liberty is usually more fun to read about than building a stable kingdom based on those principles. The weirdest part to me is how Charlie's closest friends are now her advisers despite only being around sixteen (or that was my impression of their age). Are there no adults who fought and would be appropriate? Also as I mentioned, there is a traitor who I kind of picked out (yay me!)

The most interesting part to me was seeing Charlie trying to interact with other queens to prepare her kingdom to resume its place with allies trading. She's a lady who prefers trousers but is forced into a dress to learn etiquette. Second most intriguing was Charlie's battle against the essence of Sabara. Her voice is represented in italics and she is absolutely devious, still intent on gaining a body, whether Charlie's or maybe someone else's. We also learn more about her back story and just about how long she's been around. These elements helped push me through some of the duller parts.

Overall: A sequel worth checking out if you liked the first.

Other Opinions:
Books Live Forever
In Between
Mundie Moms
Rainy Day Ramblings

Friday, March 22, 2013


Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell
3.5/5 stars
Bethany House, 2013
391 pages
Adult Inspirational Historical Romance

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read this author's She Walks in Beauty and I really enjoyed it so I was pleased to check out another title from her. My interest was further piqued about discovering that it was about candy makers in early twentieth century St. Louis. I don't think I've read many (any?) books set there so it would mean a new setting for me.

Lucy is the daughter of a brilliant confectioner but poor businessman who lost his candy company and has spent the intervening years trying to top his greatest success. Charlie is the son of the man who took over the candy company; long estranged from his father, he has the opportunity to rebuild those family ties. As Lucy frantically tries to save the family's fortune, she pushes against her mother's desire for a good marriage and wrestles with her own feelings for Charlie who she has dubbed the enemy. Meanwhile he wrestles with feelings of inadequacy as the dual narration takes us deep into both of their heads.

Favorite moment was definitely when sweet, nice Winnie Compton had a conversation about God with Charlie that poked at my thoughts about the God who Is versus the God I want. Charlie thinks that there should be more to the process of God forgiving him but Winnie teaches him that that's not how God works. Winnie later has a similar conversation with Lucy. I heard a sermon about that and then this book just magnified those thoughts. Regardless this book didn't feel very heavily Christian to me. Neither main character particularly likes attending church and although there is a pivotal scene of understanding in a church, I think non-Christian readers who like historical fiction would be fine with this book.

Second favorite moment would have to be reading about the actual history of candymakers, which was an intensely competitive field (see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for a taste). The author's note at the end gives a little bit of insight in to this exciting time period.

Do you see what I don't mention? I didn't say anything about liking the main characters or their romance. That's because I didn't really like them. Lucy is incredibly obsessed with candy making and very naive about a couple of plot twists even as I yelled at her about what was occurring. Charlie wavers a lot on principles and what really matters (especially the lip service he pays to his mother and all her hard work while eagerly absorbing himself in his father's shady business practices). I found the writing and plot compelling enough but I really didn't like the characters and that dragged down the whole book.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Salvation by Anne Osterlund
4/5 stars
Speak, 2013
276 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Library

I've read and reviewed all of Osterlund's previous work so of course I knew I'd be checking out her latest, especially since it is her first foray into my favorite genre, YA contemporary. Early reviews were very positive so I knew I was in for a good time.

Our main character is Salvador Resendez, known as Salva. A ery popular, very good student living under the high expectations of his immigrant father and now deceased mother. His world collides with walking disaster Beth who has her own troubles but whose years long crush on Salva encourages her to hope for more when he seeks her academic assistance.

The plot arc of this book felt like a lot of other contemporaries to me, where there doesn't seem to be too much happening (unlike the fighting and sneaking around that can occur in fantasies and dystopias) but each little event is building up to something. The Shakespeare project they undertake is amazing as is their big scene together and its repercussions. Then we have several confrontations, leading up to something big.

My dissatisfaction comes from that big event near the end, which felt shamelessly manipulative. I don't want spoilers and I'll freely admit that I cried over what happened and the consequences I imagined. Happily the epilogue helped restore this book to my good graces with a powerful message about speaking up and raising your voice for those who are unable.

I also appreciated the low socioeconomic class of the protagonists as well as Salva's Mexican heritage (many other characters are either from Mexico or of Mexican dissent)-yay for some more diversity in YA! Salva and Beth were both great characters who I found it easy to like although I'm not sure I felt that Beth received enough development. Her purpose seemed to be more to help Salva instead of being her own person.

Bottom Line: Definitely enjoyed reading this; it's just not my favorite Osterlund.

Bonus tip: I highly recommend friending Anne on goodreads as she gives fantastic book recommendations and bookish insights!

Other Opinions:
Candace's Book Blog
Katie's Book Blog
The Authoress

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ARC Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
4/5 stars
Amulet Books, 2013
404 pages
YA Historical Thriller
Scheduled to release April 2

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I hope this isn't too morbid but I find the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 absolutely fascinating. Like it's not bad enough to have all the death from war, this catastrophic disease had to spread too. Yet I didn't really know that much about it. Well this book takes us deep into that time, latching on to the paranoia and terror felt by people in addition to their deep grief as almost every family is deeply affected either by the loss of a serviceman and/or someone to influenza. These deaths also fuel a craze for spiritualism such as taking photographs in the hopes of seeing your lost loved one as demonstrated in the cover photo.

Our protagonist is Mary Shelley Black, named for the excellent author and daughter to a now deceased physician mother and a father arrested on suspicion of treason. I wish we could have learned more about him but it seems that he has some German heritage and is very anti-war, reason enough to get the authorities involved.

Therefore Mary Shelley journeys from their home in Portland to live with her widowed aunt in San Diego. Their relationship is strained as Mary Shelley was caught kissing her friend Stephen whose cruel brother Julius spread the story that it went much further. This aunt is also deeply paranoid about the flu, draping their house in onions (apparently a real attempt). Julius has a spirit photography business that is booming in this time of tremendous loss and uncertainty but Mary Shelley pines for her sweet friend.

The bulk of the narrative is about Mary Shelley somehow being able to commune with Stephen, a sensitive young man who enlisted early and shares with her a story of torments from blackbirds. Mary Shelley spends most of her time attempting to puzzle out if the blackbirds are literal or figurative. She figures it out partially but doesn't put it all together until it is almost too late in a terrifying sequence. The writing around Stephen's torture and the suspense of what exactly happened led me to classify this book as a thriller and I think it may be too intense for some younger readers so read with caution.

Overall: A fast-moving thrilling story with a smart strong heroine and focusing on a lesser known time period: in short, it's good. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ARC Review: Nobody's Secret

Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl
4/5 stars
Chronicle Books, 2013
241 pages
YA Historical Mystery
Scheduled to release April 16

Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I've read both of MacColl's previous books and have really appreciated her focus on young historically significant women. Previously it was the young Queen Victoria and aviatrix Beryl Markham. This time we are visiting Emily Dickinson, a very well-known poet but not someone whose personal life I know much about. The book relies heavily on MacColl's imagination as it has Emily investigate what she suspects is a murder, something that has no direct basis in fact.

Still the book does a great job capturing what a young Emily might have been like. She is spunky and inquisitive, not a fainting flower, filled with a deep intellectual curiosity. I always say that I don't like poetry but that's not really true as I have liked what little I've sampled of Dickinson's writing and am pleased to report that excerpts from her poems open each chapter. Themes from her writing also permeate the story such as a preoccupation with bees and anonymity while living in a very small town. Something else to think about is the effect of domestic labor on a woman's ability to write (very shades of A Room of One's Own, very subtle in this book). Emily's sister Vinnie (short for Lavinia) is one of the most important secondary characters and I was pleased with the role of family.

As I said, this is a mystery with Emily attempting to uncover the identity of a dead man and insisting it was murder, piecing together all the clues. I had a sliver of an idea of what was going on but the villainy of the murderer was beyond my capability to imagine. I'm pleased that Emily was able to unravel the threads and gain some measure of peace regarding the man's final moments and I almost wish this particular story owed more to history than fiction.

Saying that, while I liked this book, I didn't love it. I wanted something more, that ineffable feeling an amazing book gives you and that was lacking here. Lovers of historical fiction and poetry should enjoy this as will fans of MacColl's previous works.

Other Opinions:
Have not seen any; if you (or a friend) reviewed this, leave a link below and I'll add it!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Falling For You

Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder
4.5/5 stars
Simon Pulse, 2013
355 pages
YA Contemporary Issues

Source: Library

So because I'm bad at reading reviews, I thought this book was solely focused on an abusive relationship since that is what the blurb was teasing. Actually it has a wider perspective, looking in on the dark private drama of a family (flashback to Eleanor and Park for me). I found this to be an intensely emotional read and I had to put it down and gasp for breath several times before the halfway mark.

Rae lives with her mother and jerky stepfather whose bad decisions and selfishness at first seem almost manageable but that facade quickly disappears as he dogs her steps and demands her paychecks to cover his debts. At school, romance with new kid Nathan seems like it could be a dream come true but his real self is soon revealed.

This is a hard review for me to write, just because my experience with this book was more about feeling. Usually I can point out what I really liked and what bothered me pretty easily but here everything is tangled up in a ball of emotions and it is hard to separate all that out. There are two points I would like to mention though.

I guess I could say that I liked that this was not "just" an abusive relationship book because Rae figures out pretty quickly that Nathan is bad news and spends more time ducking her stepfather. Still I wonder some things about Nathan. It seems like he left a bad situation at his previous school and I wondered if he had hurt a girl there. Also was he telling the truth about his bad family life or was he making up a story in order to get attention and sympathy from Rae? As a reader who likes getting answers, I would have appreciated knowing.

Something else I liked was that Rae's school had a poetry column in their newspaper that originally allows for anonymous content but Rae ends up questioning this decision. Does keeping the writer's identity secret mean we are encouraging everyone to look perfect and never admit the bad things that are going on in their life? This is something I've thought about a lot in terms of social media, especially facebook. Some days it seems like everyone has the best life ever while you're the only one struggling, which is just not true.

Overall: This is a story with so much depth and emotion-be prepared for an intense journey that thankfully ends on an optimistic note.

Cover: Doesn't this cover look like it belongs on an intensely romantic story?

Other Opinions:
A Reader of Fictions
Addicted 2 Novels
Good Books and Good Wine
Pure Imagination

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ramblings and the Week to Come 17MAR13

Golly, so much time, so little to talk about! Wait, strike that, reverse it. First I want to wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm not Irish but I do like dressing up thematically so I wore green on Friday to work and of course I'm rocking green today!

 Image courtesy of gubgib /

April at Good Books and Good Wine wrote a fantastic post about doing whatever YOU want when blogging and not paying attention to those who try to tell you what to do. Your blog is your space to experiment, to be creative, to have fun and it's not going to work if you have to do what others tell you. Saying that, please, please, please don't use CAPTCHA-it's the worst!

End of Google Reader
This was so sad for me to read although its pending demise does explain why I've had some problems there. I have already switched over to feedly and am trying to navigate it; Jen Ryland recommended Bloglovin' which I am hoping to try out today. Unfortunately all this change left me feeling disengaged from my blogs so my commenting is way down. I'm so sorry because I know it is not the fault of any of you lovely bloggers. I am hoping my enthusiasm will return this week.

However I'm not sure how much commenting I will have time for this week because on Thursday, I'm having (elective) eye surgery! I'm so excited. I've worn glasses for 14 years but no more! The procedure is known as ICL and it's basically an implantable contact lenses. I liked it over LASIK because it doesn't change the shape of my eye. I'm not sure how I'll feel on Thursday but I'm supposed to feel better over the weekend so we'll see...I won't be online and I probably won't get much reading done but I can't wait to see myself without glasses.

Week to Come
Since I schedule in advance, I still have a full week of posts-great 2013 releases!

Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder-not what I expected
Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl-another historical fiction about a fascinating female
In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters-SPANISH INFLUENZA
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe-boarding school fantastical mystery
Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell-adult inspirational historical romantic fiction about rival candymakers (tasty :)
The Essence by Kimberly Derting-sequel to The Pledge

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Secret Lives of Codebreakers

The Secret Lives of Codebreakers by Sinclair McKay
4/5 stars
Plume, 2012
Originally published by Aurum Press, 2010
322 pages
Adult Historical Non-Fiction

Source: Library

I picked this up after having my interest piqued with the news that "The Bletchley Circle" will be coming to PBS in April. This show follows women who had worked at Bletchley Park during WWII. I was also interested in the life and times of Maggie Hope and just a general interest in code breaking.

Although I knew a little about breaking the German Enigma code, there was still much ground to explore as this book covers some of the ciphering that went on during World War I as well as the time period leading up to the second world war; there were those prescient enough to plan ahead so that England had a jump start when war did break out. Then of course this covers through the war and its aftermath, including decades long silence on the part of its participants. They still don't know everyone who worked here as records weren't kept and some have taken/will take the secret to the grave.

This book captured well the intensity of life at Bletchley Park alternating with the tedious parts. They worked eight hour shifts around the clock, switching shift times every week. Some of the work was repetitious and much of it was dull albeit vital. Because of the young women who cross-referenced the deciphered work painstakingly on index cards, they were able to stockpile and analyze a great amount of information that may have aided and cut down on the length of the war.

The amazing thing to me is how secret this was kept. People in the nearby town knew something was happening. Relatives of the men here wondered why they weren't at the front. But for the most part, people just kept their heads down and didn't probe. I'm so amazed at the lack of blabbing and the general agreement of everyone to just keep going. The reminiscences of people further back up the attitude of the time.

Overall: An interesting book about something I bet most Americans don't know much about. I would have liked to read more about the actual code breaking but this was very absorbing and educational.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rebel Heart

Rebel Heart by Moira Young
3.5/5 stars
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012
424 pages
YA Dystopia
Book 2 in the Dust Lands Trilogy

Source: Library

First book Blood Red Road was a surprise hit for me last year so I am pleased to be reviewing its sequel today. I had a bit of trouble getting back into the world but was soon flying through it until...a certain part, which will be discussed at the very bottom in a spoiler section because it cause me great dissatisfaction and is intensely spoiler-y.

The sequel picks up shortly after the end of Blood Red Road with Saba, Lugh, Emmi (the reunited family), and their other companions traveling west looking for a better future. Then Saba receives devastating news about Jack that nevertheless sends her plunging straight back into danger with the rest of her companions following her.

Lugh was a tremendous douche in this book, treating Saba and a potential love interest particularly poorly. I wish we had more insight into his head because this guy barely seems worth all the effort Saba went through to save him. Emmi meanwhile continues to be a sweetheart-she has several great scenes and I loved her. Besides the details mentioned in the spoiler, my least favorite part of the book was the lack of Jack who's only there in the very beginning and end, not nearly enough for my liking.

Saba is in a bad head space for much of the book. She is haunted by some of her decisions and actions from book one (she went through some dark stuff so no surprise there). Although she has been reunited with her family, no one is very happy. I was mostly onboard with her decisions until the spoiler, which just pissed me off. Sorry but the spoiler really is integral to understanding my perspective on this book.

Cover: Redesign! This definitely looks like a masculine person, which is displeasing to me as Saba is definitely still the lead. I'm not sure if it's Lugh or Jack but neither possibility makes me happy. In my mind, this is Saba's story and the cover should reflect that.

Other Opinions: 
Book Labyrinth
In Bed With Books
Lisa is Busy Nerding


So it's bad enough that Jack is barely present in this book and that we are led to think he's betrayed Saba (or us the reader really) but then I cannot believe she goes and sleeps with DeMalo! It almost seems like she is in a trance when she does this and obviously if she was thinking clearly, she would not have (right?) Needless to say I hated this plot development and it really ruined the book for me. The only part I might dislike more is the very ending when it sounds as if Tommo is watching the thankfully reunited Saba and Jack and possibly plotting something dark. Also we've got three guys lusting after Saba? I like her, sure, but that seems a bit much.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sexy Feminism

Sexy Feminism by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudulph
3/5 stars
Mariner Books, 2013
212 pages
Adult Non-Fiction

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've considered myself a feminist for probably about ten years now, since I was a teenager and started learning what feminism could mean. That commitment has never wavered through years of attacks on feminism, women, etc. But I haven't read many of the classic feminist texts (bell hooks being someone I keep meaning to try but I keep getting sidetracked by all the fantastic YA fiction out there!) so I do keep an eye out for new texts that could become feminist classics.

Unfortunately I don't anticipate this being one of those works. It's written very simply and engaging but is ultimately very simplistic. My main reaction to everything was "...and? Your point is?"  There really wasn't much depth and I was expecting more. I wonder if this might be a better starter feminist text because nothing in here was new or challenging to me. I feel like I was encouraged to create my own life that works for me, which, um, I was already doing.

There were some great ideas in here but I didn't think they received enough attention. For example, political rights are largely skipped over but there is an entire chapter on bikini waxing (dull as dishwater to me). Sexy feminists are given a brief profile but not very many-I would have loved some more analysis of contemporary women who are making their mark on feminism through their actions in the public eye. In some ways, the book seems to be more about making the word "feminist" more palatable to people by making it not sound so crazy (what is crazy about valuing the life and contributions of approximately 50% of the world's population as much as that of the other 50% I ask?) and I am in favor of that but I wish this book had more of substance to offer.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Strands of Bronze and Gold

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
3.5/5 stars
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013
339 pages
YA Historical Fairy Tale

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am a long time lover of fairy tales with "Cinderella" being far and away my favorite; happily that is one of the most popular for retelling. But I do try to seek out less well-known stories so learning that this was based on "Bluebeard" prompted me to pick it up.

Sophie has just been orphaned but receives a very welcome invitation from her godfather to come live with him, lifting her from being a burden to her three older siblings. He is fantastically wealthy, living in an English abbey he had shipped over to his plantation in Mississippi in the antebellum era. Although initially cowed by Bernard de Cressac's charm and wealth, Sophie soon finds herself increasingly uncomfortable and on the verge of a terrible discovery.

Having finished, I kind of wish I hadn't known that it was based on that tale (if you thought this looked interesting and didn't know that, I'm sorry for spoiling you-hugs!) as it would have had a lot more dramatic tension for me if I hadn't known. If you don't know the tale of "Bluebeard," maybe don't read it beforehand. Instead I spent the entire book waiting for Sophie to figure out what I already knew and cursing her slowness.

This book also suffered due to some of the other books I've been reading, which featured abusive relationships such as how Bernard controls Sophie. My emotions were already pretty spent from them and it was harder for me to become engaged in yet another one. I did feel very isolated and trapped (almost the entire book is set in the abbey and it gets a bit boring), right alongside with Sophie as Bernard won't let her leave but I spent more time checking the page count than worrying about Sophie's fate.

On the positive side, I thought the atmosphere was very well-done. The abbey was very Gothic and fitting for the plot while the muggy Mississippi climate was well communicated to me. I have mixed feelings about the slavery as presented in this book. I feel like it was mostly used to communicate how awful Bernard is and how good Sophie is for morally opposing slavery even if unable to actually do anything about it. But none of the slave characters got to have much of a personality and I just wish a few could have had a presence.

Apparently there is going to be a sequel, set in the same world and based on The Ballad of Tam Lin. I wonder if that means we will focus on one of Sophie's siblings or if it will be set in the plantations around.

Overall: A slow dark-ish read-recommended for those who don't really know the Bluebeard story or those who really love the Bluebeard story.

Other Opinions:
The Book Monsters
The YA Kitten

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Poison by Bridget Zinn
3.5/5 stars
Hyperion, 2013
276 pages
YA Fantasy Humor

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Everything about this book seemed like something I'd love: publisher I associate with humorous books; a poisoner; a sweet pig; a kickass heroine. So I entered this novel with pretty high expectations. I fully anticipated loving this book unreservedly. While for the most part I had fun, I found myself wanting something extra to take it to the next level.

Kyra is a young but incredibly talented potion master who, on a quest to save her kingdom, attempted to assassinate the princess, who was also her best friend. Now on the run, Kyra must use her wits to unravel a tangled plot along with the aid of a sweet pig and the bumbling but oh so charming Fred.

Upon reflection, probably the biggest element for concern for me was that although this has been marketed as a YA novel (from what I can discern), it felt younger, falling in-between middle-grade and YA. The characters were a bit old and had some more adult concerns (like marriage) for MG but the danger and intensity I tend to associate with YA was most definitely lacking. I also felt like some challenges were oh-so-conveniently handled when more struggle would have given Kyra more depth.

Saying that, I did really have fun reading this especially once the SPOILER (see below) was disclosed. Everything after that part was a delight. I really liked Kyra who is very determined and smart. She's a fast thinker and although she gets in some ridiculous situations, she is able to quickly formulate a plan to get herself out of that trouble. I also must cite the pig, Rosie, just for being adorable. The romance (because of course there is) is very clean and cute.

Overall: I consider this very fairy-tale-esque in the best way and I think there will be a lot of fans of it.

Other Opinions:
In which Ems reviews books
Jen Ryland/YA Romantics
Supernatural Snark


This made so much sense once it was revealed but it wasn't something I had figured out on my own: that Kyra was the cousin to Arianna and thus the daughter of the scary Duchess. This twist made me so happy and love their relationship even more. Everything that followed that revelation was great to me-it just took a while to get there.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pivot Point

Pivot Point by Kasie West
4.5/5 stars
HarperTeen, 2013
343 pages
YA Paranormal Contemporary

Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

So I had read some really positive reviews of this book but I still didn't pick it up with the highest of expectations. I think that maybe ended up being a really good thing since it led to me able to abandon myself fully to the story.

I know I picked this up after reading how the plot hinged around the main character's unique ability to see multiple futures. The story's catalyst is Addie's parents' divorce where she must choose: remain with her mom on their secret paranormal compound or go with her dad to live in "normal" life?

I had been told that it was always very obvious what future we were reading about and can confirm that is true with the chapter headings cleverly conveying that information although the characters and plot also make it clear. I've never been very good at predicting twists and turns so the fact that this story took me on a wild ride may not mean much to you. Still West always kept me on my toes, trying to see how each little decision Addie made in each future would affect other decisions and trying to follow the parallels between both lives.  Addie really does have a tough decision to make especially as she sees the ultimate consequences from those choices. I was so proud of her grace and strength in both futures.

Beyond Addie there is best friend Leila who was a fun and dynamic character too-I loved the combination. Of course there are also boys: paranormal Duke and normal Trevor. I don't want to give spoilers but I vastly preferred the same one that Addie ends up preferring (although I knew it from the start). I also must mention Stephanie, a mean jealous cheerleader, just because we share the same name. She's mean because of a boy and I can tell you that I've never been like her.

The thing I probably like least about this book is that there is currently a sequel listed on goodreads and I'm just not sure there should be one. If it is set in the same world but focuses on someone else, I might be okay with that but if it tries to continue Addie's life, it feels unnecessary to me. However I can't find a synopsis so I'll reserve judgment for now. If you've read this book, what do you think about a sequel?

Other Opinions (my google reader was filled with almost universal praise so here is just a small selection):
Books Live Forever
In Bed With Books
Jen Ryland/YA Romantics
Once Upon a Prologue
The YA Kitten

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Books Received and the Week to Come 10MAR13

Wow-I had a busy week! I am hoping to just kick back and relax, knowing that this new week will be less pressure. We lost our second softball game :( but it was a rainy day so I was just glad to be done with it. I am slowly starting to get caught up on comments but will use my time today and tomorrow to do so.  As a pretty weird person, I actually really like "springing forward" because it's so much easier for changing clocks although I know my sleep cycle will be out of whack for the whole week.

Books Received:
[Received unsolicited from publisher]
White Lines by Jennifer Banash-sounds like such an intense read and I love how the 1980s seems to be such a popular setting now
Orleans by Sherri L Smith-this wasn't really on my radar at all but it came with a moving letter from the author
New Lands by Geoff Rodkey-A MG sequel that I received from the publisher; I will need to research the first book before deciding to add this to my pile.

[Selected from Amazon Vine]
Escape Theory by Margaux Froley-I've seen some cool buzz for this and I'm excited to get started
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster-I keep going back and forth on this one but I saw the chance to snag a copy from Amazon Vine so I did

Week to Come: Early on is a bunch of 2013 releases but we'll end the week with some older books. In an interesting twist, I'm reviewing two non-fiction books-who'd have thunk?

Which of these books have you read? What did you think? And be sure to stop by this week to discuss!

Pivot Point by Kasie West
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
Sexy Feminism by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudolph
Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Secret Lives of Codebreakers by Sinclair MacKay

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stealing Parker

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
3/5 stars
Sourcebooks Fire, 2012
242 pages
YA Contemporary Sports

Source: Library

Although I had a very negative reaction to Kenneally's Catching Jordan, I thought that might be a fluke and resolved to try another book as well. Unfortunately this one didn't really work for me either, partly for the same reasons but also for its own problems.

A brief summary: Set in the same community as Chasing Jordan, we turn our attention to Parker whose mother came out and who has subsequently set out to prove that she is very much a straight girl by kissing as many boys as she can. When the baseball team gets a new hunky young coach, she soon finds herself playing with fire as they engage in a dangerous flirtation.

I found the first half of this book alternately boring and frustrating. I didn't feel like it really got good until Parker finally turned to her mother (loved her!) for help. Although Parker thinks back to her great life before her mother's scandal, I never really felt like I had a sense of it and thus I didn't sympathize with Parker over losing it (does that make sense?)

Like Catching Jordan, I felt like this book was somewhat anti-girl as Parker has mostly horrid experiences with her fellow females while the guys all have fun personalities who don't scorn her based on her mother's choices (and not just because she's pretty and makes out with some of them). I also thought there could have been more focus on baseball/softball whereas it seemed to be used more for window dressing. Also like in Catching Jordan, the first guy the protagonist hooks up with is just a prelude for the guy she really likes (who I called as being her ultimate date within the first ten pages)-it felt like a recycled plot although the details are pretty different.

Don't worry-I did like some things plus the book is short so I had no problem finishing it. Like I said, I really liked Parker's mother once we got to spend some page time with her. I also liked how angry Parker was. Angry characters can be really fun even when they make tremendously stupid decisions as Parker does. I really loved her growth and that is what made the second half of the book much better.

Overall: Unless someone tells me there is a huge shift in writing style and tone, I think I will have to stay away from Kenneally's Thousand Oaks books no more how much the fun summaries and bright covers tempt me :( We just don't work.

Other Opinions-I'm very much in the minority here:
Badass Bookie
Jen Ryland/YA Romantics
The Book Scout

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Conspiracy of Alchemists

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
3/5 stars
Del Rey, 2013
324 pages
Adult Steampunk

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I read the summary for this book, something about it made me think of Gail Carriger's Soulless books, the first one of which I enjoyed (haven't had a chance to try the others). But when I picked this one up to read, it just wasn't clicking for me. I had to make myself concentrate and give it a fair shake in order to be able to see its merits.

I will get to why I didn't love this in a second but first I really want to applaud the steampunk elements. I thought every bit was pretty fantastic. This was no halfhearted attempt to cash in on the steampunk frenzy; this was a carefully planned and written incorporation of some of the most interesting parts and it pays off. As I've been discovering, I really love the idea of steampunk and it's great to read it being done well.

On the less positive side, I just had trouble clicking with Ellie Chance, our main character here. She is very special and talented, which is only just starting to be unraveled in this first book. But she's also incredibly stubborn, including shutting out people who have information, no matter how vitally important it might be. There are several places when she ducks out of learning something that might have helped her to know. The other main character is Mr. Marsh and I really liked him. He's a Warlock and although his character is somewhat mysterious, I enjoyed the time we got to spending learning about him.

There are a few other characters but the story mainly rests on the two already mentioned, which surprised me. I expected a much larger cast to populate this bustling world and it made me try all the harder but ultimately unsuccessfully to fall for Ellie. Future books have a lot of room to play with and I hope that those who liked this first book will continue but I will not be.

Cover: Not that much of the book takes place in Paris although that is the opening scene. Actually a lot of the story takes place while traveling so a train or dirigible might have been more fitting.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...