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review 2017-09-06 13:37
My Fair Baron by Licie Laine
My Fair Baron (Romance Remade Book 1) - Licie Laine

I initially read this story in its original form, when it existed as fanfiction. 

 

Will and Claire are completely different characters compared to the source material. As such, it is not difficult for me to read this as a work of original fiction.

 

On the strength of this story, I have always liked the fake marriage trope. Lady Isadora gets some humourous lines;  displayed some kickass gun shooting skills, and totally deserves a novel of her own.

 

The story flow is good, it is easy light reading, and the cover picture is very pretty. In essence, it's about two (slightly) broken dented characters helping each other heal, letting go of their respective sad pasts to find happiness together. And that is always the sort of story worth reading.

 

In short, I think this series has potential, and I definitely have The Meddling Madame on my waiting list for when it comes out next year.

 

- - - - - - -

 

Now, I am going to nitpick on the historical inaccuracies that bother me. Please feel free to stop reading at this point because whenever I do this to my friends, their eyes glaze over.

 

Disclaimer: I never criticise fanfiction because most fanfic writers devote their free time writing out of love for a fandom, and they tend to find it demotivating to receive (unsolicited) criticisms. That said, published novels are an entirely different game, and I definitely criticise novels when I review them. 

 

Firstly, baron is a rank, not an appellation. In the novel, Will and Claire addressed each other as Mr. & Mrs Knightley. Given that they hold the ranks of baron & baroness, they should be Lord & Lady Knightley. In society, he would have been presented as Lord William Knightley, Baron of _____ . Not Baron William Knightley. 

 

There were hardly any mentions of servants. The lady's maid performs the duties of a butler in addition to her own, Claire doesn't wear mourning colours, she gallivants around London unaccompanied by a maid or footman, there are no footmen in Claire's house, (footmen were supposed to be everywhere!), Baron Knightly has no valet, and they are completely unchaperoned (Lady Isadora, being unmarried herself, cannot be considered a chaperone, even if she is middle-aged, which she is not). They even live in the same house as an unmarried couple. This is the stuff of scandal in those days.

 

 

Third, no patroness launched Claire into society, no presentation to the royal court at the beginning of the season. Underaged, but no appointed guardian (a legal requirement). No mention of fortune hunters. And yes, I know I am getting ridiculous at this point, but we're talking about a time era so ritualistic in nature that non-adherence to the rigid customs caused scandals and led to ostracisation from society, so it stretches my suspension of disbelief just a little too much.

 

And about the 'restoration' of the barony ... I don't think that's how it works, but I don't even want to get into that topic lol. This post is already long enough as it is.

 

- - - - -

 

All these, however, do not detract from my enjoyment of the novel (much) and I look forward to future books by this author. :)

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review 2017-04-30 00:24
Spring Fling
Spring Fling (A County Fair Romance Book 3) - S.I. Hayes,J. Haney

Title:  Spring Fling

Authors:  S. I. Hayes & J Haney

Publisher:  S.I.H. & J. H.

Series:  A County Fair Romance Book 3

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Five

Review:

 

"Spring Fling" By:  S. I. Hayes & J. Haney

 

My Thoughts....

 

These authors give the readers quite another good series...'A County Fair Romance Book 3' in 'Spring Fling that will keep you turning the pages till the end.  I liked how this story picks up from Book 2 in 'Winter Kisses' that involves Fallon, Justin and the other interesting men in her life.  As you read through the story one will finds that there will be many issues and insecurities that will befall on Fallon as she finds out about her multiple pregnancy.  What I really enjoyed about this series was all of the help that was their for Fallon whether she wanted it or not.  Some of the story will have you laughing at some of the bantering that does take place, to even some moments that will leave the reader in tears with some of the family craziness to that deep love for one another in this well written dramatic romantic story. Will there be a HEA and what's  next for Hopkins/Blackthorne family?

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text 2017-03-28 23:36
The Three Ninja Pigs - Corey Rosen Schwartz,Dan Santat

The Three Ninja Pigs is a primary example of a fractured fairytale, and it is written by Corey Rosen Schwartz. If your students really enjoy the story of the three little pigs, they are sure to love this modern version with ninja pigs! The three pigs attend a Dojo where they train to fight the big bad wolf. In the end, it is the ultimate showdown between the ninja pigs with their quick moves and the wolf with his stealth. The book’s Lexile reading level is AD630L, but I believe children of all ages from kindergarten to fifth grade would enjoy this modern spin. This would be a book that I would use to discuss fractured fairytales in the classroom. I would first read students the original version of The Three Little Pigs, and then I would read this book along with a couple of others for students to see the difference. I would then organize the students into their own book groups to do a study on fractured fairytales. I would assign each group an original tale, such as Little Red Riding Hood or Cinderella, and then give them fractured fairytale books to read and compare with. We could then organize a class book fair, where students in their group would present their original story and show the class examples of fractured fairytales that go along with the original.

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review 2017-03-20 23:56
Love this historical romance!
My Fair Duchess (A Once Upon A Rogue Novel Book 1) - Julie Johnstone

My Fair Duchess is a fantastic historical romance by Julie Johnstone.  Ms Johnstone has once again impressed me with her writing abilities.  My Fair Duchess is a well-written book.  The characters are amazing.  Colin and Amelia's story is loaded with enough drama, sizzle and humor to keep the pages turning.  I enjoyed My Fair Duchess and look forward to reading more from Julie Johnstone in the future.  My Fair Duchess is book 1 of the A Once Upon A Rogue Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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text 2016-11-29 14:43
Collective Reading Updates for Mortal Heart
Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 3) - Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart

by Robin LaFevers
Book 3 of His Fair Assassin


The most recent updates will be added to the top each re-post.

As I progress through the book and find reasons to update, more events may or may not be revealed.  Also, as this is the third book in the series, there may be mentions of events from the first two books that could give away pertinent information.  So I will include a **SPOILER WARNING** right here just in case I have inadvertently given away anything significant to the story itself.  I've done my best not to mention any big spoilers, but I don't always check myself accordingly.

 

 



Progress on 11/29/16:  88 of 463 pages (19%)

And there it is.  The threat I have lived with my entire life.  If I am not good enough, kind enough, thoughtful enough, obedient enough, I will be cast from my home like a stunted fish from a fisherman's net.


This is what I was talking about with the abbess and the convent.  How it seems so easy for the nuns to just throw the girls out just because they dare speak up.  I thought this was a place where the girls were supposed to feel safe, and where they can understand their strengths and know how they can live a life without worrying about being abandoned or tossed out just because they refuse to be controlled by the men in their lives.

I'm glad that Annith is now finally taking some steps to figure out what might be going on with the abbess and what propels her to do the things she does.  Especially since now it seems that the revered Reverend Mother is sending girls out on assignments when they aren't even ready at all.

Again, I'm ready to get the adventure started, and the plot seems to thicken some more when Annith discovers some things about her own records kept in the abbess's study.

 

 



Progress on 11/29/16:  59 of 463 pages (13%)

"We have already spoken of this.  Serving Mortain is not a right, but a privilege.  A privilege I grant to you, not one you can march in here and demand for yourself."

"I thought it was a privilege granted by Mortain."


I am ready to get this show on the road.  I know we're not that far into the book yet, but I'm ready for the adventure to start.

The abbess is so manipulative that it's obvious there's something else going on.  In the quote above, she even slips up, claiming the tasks that serve Mortain as a privilege granted by herself.  So Annith's questioning her is quite logical, and it makes me even more curious to know about what else is going on and what the abbess has planned, whether for her own selfish gain, or maybe for her own delusional misunderstanding of the god she serves.

One of the things I don't like is how the abbess keeps using threats of either throwing the girls away, forcing them into a dangerous service, or marrying them off to keep them in line.  I had been under the impression at the beginning of the series that the convent was a safe haven for girls who get thrown out of their families, or who need a place to go to hide away from the dangerous world outside.  But the abbess threatens to throw these girls out so easily if they even try to resist a little bit.

I'm not even very happy with the rest of the nuns either, as we learn from a few casual anecdotes here and there what the nuns will tell the younger girls to keep them subservient.  Indeed, is it as Annith says that they make up these stories and rules as a means to keep the girls subservient for their own selfish reasons?  Or is there just a lack of true knowledge about what their God of Death really wants?

It makes one wonder.  And just as well, I like the new side of this series' development.  I knew I'd really like Mortal Heart because we get to see a whole other side of the entire convent and the abbess from the girl who has always been with the convent, and can say is the abbess's favorite student.

 

 



Progress on 11/29/16:  56 of 463 pages (13%)

But am I defying Him?  That is at the root of my uncertainty.  Has He asked this of me, or is it the abbess's will?

[...]

My faith, my dedication to Him, is as much a part of me as my arm or my leg or my heart.  It is hard not to question my own motives, for I realize now that I have been trained since birth to blame myself as thoroughly as I have been trained to wield a blade.  It is so easy for the sisters to imply that it is my obedience and willingness to surrender my will to Mortain that is being tested--but what if that is not what is being tested at all?  What if that is what they tell us so we will not question their own selfish motives?


By the third book, if not for the fact that we've already seen firsthand the manipulative, jealous, and petty personality that the abbess tries so hard to hide, I would assume that Annith is a rather unreliable narrator and is spouting ideals that cannot be proven.  But the fact is, we have seen from the first two books already what kind of a person the abbess is turning out to be.

At least Annith is truly asking all the right questions.

 

 



Progress on 11/17/16:  46 of 463 pages (10%)

So it seems that while Sybella's story in Dark Triumph continues right after Grave Mercy, Annith's story starts somewhere within the time frame of Grave Mercy's time frame.  I should have guessed since it sounds like Annith just learned about the abbess's plans to make her into the next Seeress of the convent.

And also, going by the letter that Annith just intercepted from Ismae, it has been quite some time since Ismae's assignment started at the duchy court.  The letter is addressed to their Reverend Mother, which tells me that Ismae is still in good standing with the abbess.  The letter details an event that occurs a little over halfway into Grave Mercy.

This is an interesting way to begin Annith's story, I think, as we may get more insight into the goings on of the convent, and see more about what the abbess is up to from another side of the story.

I find it interesting that all three stories depict the girls, unknowing about each other's situations, and each finding out in their own way that the convent may not be the ultimate messenger of St. Mortain's words, and that there is more to St. Mortain's will than the convent has taught them.

 

 



Progress on 11/17/16:  42 of 463 pages (9%)

Annith is certainly a bit different from our first two heroines, Ismae and Sybella.  She doesn't display the same demure, quietly obedient character than Ismae has; nor does she have the mad, emotionally unstable life Sybella displays.  She's one of Mortain's daughters who has lived in the convent the longest, and who has excelled in all of her studies.

And she even states that she does not have, or does not remember anything about her past life before her life at the convent.

I'm curious to see where this book takes our third heroine who has already learned that she is now fated to remain in the convent forever.  The abbess has plans to make her the new Seeress--basically she will become the nun to convey Mortain's wishes to the convent through prophecy or augury.  I never thought that those were skills that could be learned or forced on anyone, so the abbess's certainty that Annith is perfect for the job seems a little questionable.

It makes me even more wary of the abbess; as we've already seen from the first two books, the old nun does not hesitate to manipulate and use the girls at the convent for her own gain.  What her play is though, I've yet to figure out.  Clearly she's supposed to be serving Mortain, but a lot of her decisions have been questionable so far, and her ruthless manipulations aren't what I'd have expected from a woman who runs a convent that aims at taking in young girls who need a place to escape their tragic lives.

And Annith seems to be describing the abbess as a good woman... it's hard to reconcile the abbess that Annith sees in her eyes versus the abbess who so readily shunned Ismae for daring to have a life outside of the convent, or who wasn't above using Sybella in ways that could possibly get the poor girl killed, or worse.

And also, how pretty is that cover?

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/11/collective-reading-updates-for-mortal.html
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