September 2, 2018

The Book Lode (27)

Okay, so this is a book haul video for January to March of this year, which means it's long overdue to be up on the blog. But nevertheless, here it is (and in the meantime I have accumulated many more books, so I will need to do another video soon!):

Books bought:

Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Deafening by Frances Itani
The Furies by Natalie Haynes
The Two of Us by Andy Jones
Doctor Death by Lene Kabberbol
Read Bottom Up by Neal Shah and Skye Chatham
Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter
Bell Weather by Dennis Mahoney
My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn
Oblivion by Kelly Creagh 
Charisma by Jeanne Ryan
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff
Amy Snow by Tracy Rees
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Compulsion by Martina Boone
Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato
Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass
The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

September 1, 2018

Ember Island: A Rambling Review

Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman

Really enjoyed this one. The characters felt true to life, the description of the setting vibrant, and the story unpredictable and compelling. The way the author leads the reader to care about the characters and their struggles reminded me of Kate Morton's writing. Indeed, this is definitely one I'd recommend if you're looking for a Kate Morton read-alike!

I did find the contemporary storyline a lot weaker and less compelling than the historical one, although it too involved a twist that I didn't see coming. As well, the ending didn't quite hold up for me compared to what had come before it -- it seemed like it wrapped up too quickly and easily, and without the sorts of consequences I would expect there to have been had the story happened in real life.

Overall, though, a very enjoyable read -- quite possibly the best so far of my 2018 reading year!

ETA: Some of the themes and elements in this book reminded me of Jane Eyre, in particular, the struggle between passion and rationality. In fact, there is even a mention of Jane Eyre at one point -- perhaps a shout-out by the author to one of her sources of inspiration? 


July 8, 2018

Book Unhaul Challenge

This is a tag started by BooksandLala (you can see her video here) that was floating around BookTube a few months ago. These days I basically always need to un-haul books (seeing as I keep buying new ones from Book Outlet!) so I thought I'd use this fun tag as an opportunity to get some more shelf space in my room.

Books un-hauled:

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Chataine's Guardian by Robin Hardy
Heist Society & Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
The Bailey Game by Celia Rees
Shizuko's Daughter by Kyoko Mori
Chenxi and the Foreigner by Sally Rippin
Oblivion by Kelly Creagh
Death by Denim & Death by Latte by Linda Gerber
The Drackenberg Adventure & The Philadelphia Adventure by Lloyd Alexander
Places I Never Meant to Be edited by Judy Blume
A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt
Cathy's Book by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman (illustrated by Cathy Brigg)
Midnight Magic by Avi
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin

July 5, 2018

Short & Sweet: The Jewel

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

So that ended on an abrupt, cliffhanger ending! I liked the sudden reveal, though, as I had been wondering if there was more to that character than met the eye. Glad to see I was right! Overall, this was a decent "dystopian lite" read -- overly dramatic and sappy in spots, with a protagonist who (at this point anyway) is still a bit too passive for my liking, but the premise of surrogates for the upper classes is an interesting one and I enjoyed watching the power plays between the members of the royal class. There are definitely some chinks in the worldbuilding and plotting, and questions raised in my mind that were never answered (spoiler, highlight to read: for example, why didn't Violet use Lucien's arcana way more often when she was having a confidential discussion? She just seemed to forget about the tuning fork until it became convenient for the storyline!). The writing is simple and accessible, making this an easy read.

3.5 stars.


Wrong About the Guy: A Rambling Review

Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

I feel like this "retelling" of Emma was a pretty loose one, making a lot of changes and cutting out some elements that I think were important to the original storyline. Spoiler, highlight to read: for example, Harriet Smith had Robert Martin in the original. Who/what was her Robert Martin here, or was he just removed completely? There were some characters in this retelling that didn't appear to have counterparts in the original Austen tale, and yet didn't really add anything.

The George-Ellie relationship was cute, although I felt surprisingly little chemistry/tension between them until Ellie realized how she felt about him. I think there were probably moments that could have been played up a lot more, to ramp up the romantic tension.

I liked Ellie's voice, and it seemed quite true to the original Emma's character — somewhat superficial and self-centred, but with a good heart and a willingness to admit her faults and try to change. I also thought the storyline involving Jacob was an interesting addition that felt quite realistic.

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