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review 2020-04-23 21:44
The GRAND Sophy
The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer

(seriously, I don't have a pithy summary for a review better that it's own title)

 

I had a total blast.

 

I love Heyer's harebrained MC's, and Sophy is an order of magnitude on any of hers I've read. I had so much fun with the way she's completely on top of all the chaos she sows around while working to set things as they should go, and I knew the ride I was setting myself to as soon as she appears, but even more when her friends start popping up and you realize they like her, respect her, will help her, but pray not to be the focus of her arrangements.

 

I also love all her side characters in all their glorious follies. I even enjoyed Eugenia, because she was such a perfect foil.

 

It's not that the end is in any way unexpected, but the getting there was hilarious and entertaining. I totally get why it's a favourite Heyer now. It's certainly elbowing up there in the podium.

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review 2019-08-25 00:40
The Prince by Jillian Dodd
The Prince - Jillian Dodd

The 18-year-old protagonist, X, is one of the top students at Blackwood Academy, a boarding school for young spies. She's given her first mission before she even graduates: keep Lorenzo Giovanni Baptiste Vallenta, the Crown Prince of Montrovia, alive. Her new identity: Huntley, a 20-year-old socialite who has just learned that she has a 21-year-old brother named Ari (also a spy, but with a slightly different mission) and a billionaire father. Their "father" has just died, and it's common knowledge that they both stand to inherit billions as long as they spend the next six months getting to know each other.

Although aspects of her situation don't quite add up, Huntley rapidly gets down to business, befriending those closest to the Prince and enjoying the money, cars, clothes, and house supposedly left to her and Ari by their father. The Prince needs all the help he can get - his security is riddled with holes, mostly due to his own love of women and parties, and there are multiple people in his life who might have reason to kill him.

I found out about this book via one of the panels at Book Bonanza 2019 and ended up buying it and getting it signed at the author's table. "YA spy series" sounded like my kind of thing. Now that I've actually read it, I can say that 1) it isn't YA and 2) it's definitely not my kind of thing. I wish the author had marketed it as what it actually is, New Adult, because then I could have avoided it and saved myself some money, brain space, and time.

The things I liked: it was a quick read, and the mystery of X/Huntley's past and plans for her future were interesting enough that I wouldn't mind reading spoilers for the later books. I just don't plan to continue on with the series myself. Oh, and I like the cover.

I knew this book wasn't going to be for me when Huntley hooked up with Daniel, one of the Prince's acquaintances, by page 40. She'd known him for maybe a few hours by that point. The sex wasn't particularly explicit, but it was definitely vigorous and on-page.

After that, Huntley spent most of the book shopping for expensive clothes and accessories, driving one of her new expensive cars, and lusting after whichever hot guy was in her immediate vicinity. Occasionally, she mistook her lusting for actual emotions, which resulted in one of the weakest love triangles I've ever read. There were a few opportunities for her to save the Prince's life, but that was mostly because the Prince was an idiot who'd structured his life around having easy access to hot women, even if that meant having enormous holes in his personal security. Huntley should barely have been a blip on his radar, someone new for him to have sex with and then forget about. However, she played hard to get, which apparently works like an aphrodisiac in this book.

I wasn't fond of the author's use of first-person present tense POV - I don't know if it was intended to somehow humanize Huntley, but instead she was oddly emotionally distant. It was like she felt whatever emotions were convenient for a particular scene and then forgot about them later. This was most noticeable with the "love triangle." When she was with Daniel, she'd feel her heart soften for him, worry that she was falling for him, and fret over the parts of her training that stated she shouldn't get emotionally involved with others. When she was with the Prince, she felt the exact same things, but for him instead, like Daniel didn't exist.

The overall world-building was ridiculous. I could sort of be on board with a school for teenage spy candidates. I was less pleased when it was revealed that

the school was created solely for Huntley, to the point that it was closed after she left - that felt a little too much like the spy story version of "the chosen one."

(spoiler show)

And I downright rolled my eyes at every mention of what life was supposedly like for citizens of Montrovia. In Montrovia, all hotels were 5-star and poverty didn't exist.

It'd be nice to find out what Black X's plans are for Huntley, and I'm morbidly curious about Dodd's plans for the romance aspects of this series (my theory: the Prince and Daniel are out, or will be, and there will be an overarching love triangle involving Huntley, Ari, and William, the 30+ year old hottie British spy that Huntley has had a crush on for years). However, I'm not interested enough to subject myself to more of this.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-10-10 19:57
Kiss of the Rose (Tudor Vampire Chronicles #1) by Kate Pearce
Kiss of the Rose - Kate Pearce

Kiss of the Rose - Kate Pearce 

This book reminded me how much I love and miss reading about vampires and legends of old. 
Christopher is a man that disguises his family shame with an over the top charming personality and being the best at what he does. Rosalind is a clever woman but is getting tired of having to prove herself as a vampire hunter. These two star-crossed lovers will have to unite forces in order to bring down a common enemy at the same time that a prophecy seems to be taking place and their feelings for each other seem to be more than just unbridled passion. 
I loved the world building. I remember reading this story when it first came out and while I remember liking it then I have to say I liked it even more now. The Druids as a historical backdrop was something I hadn’t read before and I liked how it was weaved within the Tudors era. Vampires as Machiavellian beings and not necessarily heroes provided that extra darkness that I like in my PNR. 
The thing I didn’t like much was the love triangle that took place in much of the story. I always think it unfair when one of the characters is left as an afterthought just because the object of their affections couldn’t make up their mind and kept dragging the poor guy along. I know it happens IRL but I prefer it wouldn’t happen in my romances. I also thought the prophesy aspect needed more fleshed out. It took me a while to understand it and assimilate how the whole thing tied up in the end. But I think that was a personal problem that I tend to have where prophecies are concerned. 
All in all it definitely was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone that loves paranormal mixed with their historical reads. 

*I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher**

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review 2018-08-12 05:10
Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlay
Read It and Weep - Jenn McKinlay

In this entry in the series, Violet La Rue is holding auditions for A Midsummer Night's Dream. The entire town is excited, and not just because many of them want a chance to shine onstage. It turns out that the role of Puck is going to be played by a friend of Violet's, a charming famous actor named Robbie Vine.

Lindsey doesn't want a part in the play, but she does agree to help with costuming. Meanwhile, Sully's helping build the set, and their friends hope that the close proximity will lead to them getting back together. There's definitely still a spark between them, but things become complicated when Lindsey finds herself drawn to Robbie. Sure, his personal life is a mess, but at least he talks to her and tells her how he feels. Unfortunately, something sinister is going on. Someone seems to want Robbie, and possibly anyone close to him, dead.

Mystery-wise, this was a bit weak. I correctly guessed the culprit a little more than halfway through the book and never saw any reason to change my mind. In fact, at one point I noticed a fairly obvious clue - the character made an offhand comment about an event that they shouldn't have known anything about. It took Lindsey quite a bit longer than me, but she finally noticed that comment and connected the dots, as well as a few minor ones I'd missed.

Relationship-wise, this book frustrated me. If it weren't for the library aspects (which were pretty decent this time around - a couple interesting stints at the reference desk for Lindsey) and the fact that this is one of the few series that I know people around me have read and that I can therefore talk to them about, I'd probably be quitting at this point.

I still believe that Sully breaking up with Lindsey at the end of the previous book was out-of-character for him, and this book didn't tell me anything that changed my mind. Sully's sister hinted that Sully had some deeper issues at play, but Lindsey stubbornly refused to let her tell her anything more, insisting that Sully had to tell her himself. Which, fine, except Sully's the quiet type who doesn't talk about himself much, so this left readers with nothing except "Sully dumped Lindsey because he thought her worry that her ex-fiance had been killed meant she still needed time to get over him." Never mind that it would have been weird and creepy if she'd been unmoved by the possible death of someone she'd known well, and never mind that Sully had spent the whole book up to that point taking Lindsey's fiance's presence and attempts to win her back in stride.

I remember rolling my eyes at Lindsey's worry, in the earlier books in the series, that she was reading more than she should into Sully's behavior, that he wasn't really attracted to her and it was all in her head. Still, I could understand it. Unfortunately, in this book she went right back to that state. You'd think she'd have gotten better at reading him - he was clearly still interested in her and displayed it in much the same way he had in the earlier books, only with the added awkwardness of the breakup standing between them.

The addition of Robbie Vine didn't make things better. I was fine with Lindsey having a bit of fun and flirting with him, but I was not on board with her seriously considering dating him. First, he was married. I hated how many of Lindsey's friends responded to that by saying "But only on paper!" Sorry, he was still married, had had years to see about getting a divorce, and never had. And his wife was in the play. It was a complication that Lindsey definitely didn't need. Second, his ex-girlfriend was also in the play and seemed to wish that they'd never broken up. Another complication Lindsey didn't need.

The big plot twist near the end, and Lindsey's reaction to it, did not bode well for the next book in the series. I don't buy that all of this was necessary to keep Lindsey's romantic life fresh and interesting. There are ways McKinlay could have kept Sully and Lindsey interesting as a couple without any of this mess - something from Sully's past could have cropped up, or Lindsey's brother could have stopped by and either gotten along really well with Sully or clashed with him, or...anything but what McKinlay actually gave readers. The plot twist really irked me, and I couldn't understand why Lindsey wasn't more bothered by it.

Extras:

  • The Briar Creek Library Guide to Crafternoons
  • Readers Guide for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Card-making idea
  • Recipe for Nancy's Raspberry Petit Fours. Shockingly, although the book includes references to pumpkin squares, a recipe for them is not included.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-25 01:59
Goodreads, some booktubers and Common sense media don't want you to know of the sex and language
A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

At the moment of posting this my goodreads review for A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES  has 131 likes so it should appear on the second page of that site. That isn't the case and I wonder one more time for the reasons goodreads employees are trying to cover up the information and reviews that can help readers make informed decisions. My Tower of dawn review by this same author rhas been supressed from the first page of reviews even though it currently has 265 likes.

I also want to point out that this book portrays abusive relationships (Feyre and her older sisters, Feyre and her two love interests)and torture by one of the love interests. That isn't a reason for not reading the book, it's just something you should know as many booktubers and reviewers aren't commenting on these kind of problematic content. If that doesn't bother you I highly recommend this series. Please don't take my word for it, do your own research.

 

Here are the links to the reviews that were censored by goodreads team

 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1272748928
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31450852

 

 

My review will contain spoilers.

 

descriptionUPDATE APRIL 12TH ADDING PARENTAL GUIDANCE AND SAFETY WARNINGS because kirkus reviews, some GR librarians and most booktubers won't tell you the truth. This is a New adult book not as close to erotica as ACOMAF but still. I'm also changing my original 5 rating to a 3.5 rating


PARENTAL GUIDANCE
SEX/NUDITY 8 out 10 Descriptive make outs. Heroine is sleeping with a villager at the beginning of the book but it's not a graphic scene, some nudity descriptions, a graphic sex scene,including oral, between Tamlin and Feyre . Ritual sex is mentioned as part of a ceremony called Calanmai 


VIOLENCE/GORE 7 out of 10  descriptions of torture to heroine, some of it by one of the love interests (Rhysand), a villager is burned alive during days because the villains mistook her for the heroine. The elder sisters of the heroine are emotionally abusive and unhelpful, they reap the benefits of heroine's sacrifices for themselves without lifting a finger. 

PROFANITY 5/10 some curse words, some sexual references

SUBSTANCE USE 6/10 as every single character in this book is 19 or older or a milleneal ancient fae alcohol consumption is present. Mostly at meals and during a ceremony called Calanmai


SAFETY WARNINGS, possible spoilers for the rest of the series

In this series we have two heroes: Tamlin is the love interest in book 1 and he has sex with another woman after meeting the heroine because it's part of a certain FAE ceremony that keeps fae strong. They aren't together yet so it's not exactly cheating but that's the reason I didn't connect with Tamlin. Well the OW sex and the whole begging- on-his- knees- to- a -rival- for- the -heroine's -safety. That was just stupid. 

In book 2 the love interest switches, Rhysand who appears as the villain in book 1 becomes love interest and Tamlin becomes a jerk, no one roots for Tamlin after chapter 4 because he acts stupidly. But we get a very graphic sex scene of heroine and Tamlin together at the beginning of A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. As someone who is team rhysand I didn't enjoy that sex scene. I got very happy with the rest of the book because Tamlin dissapears and later there's a lot of sex with Rhysand, but yeah, this is an unsafe read. 


So my original rating changes to 3.5 I can't rate lower in spite of the safety issues because book 2 is one of my all time favourites.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1272748928
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