Once upon a time I insisted on finishing every book I started. Mostly because as a kid ebooks weren’t a thing yet and I didn’t want to waste the money spent on books. I also only got a handful of new books a year so I wanted to savor them all. These days I’m more likely to put down a book I’m not enjoying before finishing it. When I can’t get into a book I’d been eager to read, it leaves me with the predicament of when to quit reading. I do a lot of my reading via the library now, and when I buy books I try to read the first chapter before I do.
It took quitting a few books before the guilt of not finishing finally left me alone. Sometimes I want to know how the story ends, but I’m not enjoying the journey. In that case once it feels like a slog for more than one chapter I just look up the book to see how it ends. More recently while reading Hunted I decided to quit as soon as I began to feel bored. The truth is I have so many books on my reading list that I don’t want to waste my time on something I’m not feeling when there are so many other books calling my name. These days my to-be-read list grows faster than I can read. I give every book at least three chapters to catch my attention. A few get put down just from scanning the first chapter, while I make it farther in others before quitting. Continue reading
I recently got a Goodreads account and for the first time I’m taking part in the yearly reading resolution. I’m hoping it will motivate me to stay on track. My first read of 2018 was Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart by Marci Jefferson. Marci is the same author who wrote The Enchantress of Paris, one of my favorite historical reads of 2017. Once again Jefferson didn’t disappoint and I can’t wait to see what her third novel will be about. I loved this book and I give it 4.5 stars. First up, the plot. There are some big spoilers about the story in this post, so don’t read if you want the book to be a total surprise.
Impoverished and exiled to the French countryside after the overthrow of the English Crown, Frances Stuart survives merely by her blood-relation to the Stuart Royals. But in 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and springs to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches King Louis XIV’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty, she has Stuart secrets to keep and people to protect. The king turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He banishes her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and stop a war.
Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers through the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him. He believes her love can make him an honest man and even chooses Frances to pose as Britannia for England’s coins. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. Until she is forced to choose between love or war.
On the eve of England’s Glorious Revolution, James II forces Frances to decide whether to remain loyal to her Stuart heritage or, like England, make her stand for Liberty. Her portrait as Britannia is minted on every copper coin. There she remains for generations, an enduring symbol of Britain’s independent spirit and her own struggle for freedom. Continue reading
I’ve posted about subjectivity before and while it can determine what books we like to read and write, it can also play into how we review books. I found myself thinking about this recently after I read and reviewed The Selection by Kiera Cass. When I reviewed it the average rating on Goodreads was 4.15 stars. I rated it 3 and the more I think about it, according to my tastes it’d be more of a 2.5. However the series is a bestseller and there are a ton of reviews gushing about the series. However, it wasn’t to my tastes. I can see why the story did so well, but I found too many aspects about the writing and book itself weak. This book is a great example of subjectivity since while I, one reader, found the book to be lacking, the book still became a popular series.
The Selection is basically The Bachelor for teens. Let’s take a moment to review the blurb and cover for it. One thing this book does have going for it is a gorgeous cover.
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. Continue reading
The Wardrobe Mistress is a historical fiction about a sixteen-year-old undertirewoman who works for Marie Antoinette. I was excited about the concept since this period of French history is fascinating with how it’s full of intrigue and excitement. I mean come on, there are riots, guillotines, and sweeping historical change. This wasn’t one of my favorite historical reads of the year, but it was decent. I’d give this 3.5 stars and recommend it to fans of French Revolution stories. Below I will explain what didn’t work in this book for me. However, after reading this book I’m thirsting for more stories about the time period, so give me recommendations if you have any. Continue reading
Over the weekend I read a historical that I got sucked into and couldn’t put down. Flight of the Sparrow is by Amy Belding Brown and I give it four stars out of five.
Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her.
Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meanings of freedom, faith, and acceptance.
I finally got around to reading Caraval by Stephani Garber and I can see why it became a bestseller. I loved the book. I had some misgivings when I first started reading, but I got hooked and didn’t want to put the book down. I loved how I couldn’t predict the book with the twists and turns thrown at me. It made for an exciting read and a breath of fresh air since I love an unpredictable book but read so few. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book and in fact hope to get one of my friends to read it.Normally I don’t pay attention when books are heralded as the next whatever one of the latest bestsellers have been, in Caraval’s case The Night Circus, but this is definitely a book that would appeal to Night Circus fans although the writing styles are vastly different. Still, they are both about a magical world hidden away in the normal world with a sprinkling of love thrown in. I found Caraval enchanting and if it were real, you’d better belief I’d be trying to get myself a ticket every year. I’d probably try to be a performer. And while there is a romance thread, I appreciated how in the end the focus was on the love between the sisters winning at the end of the day.
Why did I have misgivings at first? Well the father in this book was abusive and I’ve noticed a tendency toward terrible parents in books lately as an excuse in fantasy for characters to leave to go exploring, which was also true in Caraval’s case. However once the sisters left their island, I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know more about Caraval and just exactly who the mysterious sailor known as Julian was. And once the game of Caraval started, there was no way I could walk away from the book.
I find books boring when I can predict the ending, and even if I enjoy the reading an ending I predicted can at times disappoint me. On the flip side I hate when authors go with unbelievable twists in an attempt to be unpredictable. I definitely didn’t predict the way the game ended in Caraval. As soon as I thought I understood the infamous Legend and his Caraval, another twist made me feel like I knew nothing. But that didn’t frustrate me, it just made me eager to know the which truth was right. After all, you can’t trust anyone in Caraval. The twists and turns fit in with the Caraval game well and made for some mind blowing endings.
The first thing I did when I finished reading was hop online to see if there would be a sequel–and there is one! The sequel is coming May 2018 and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m curious to have a story from Tella’s perspective since Caraval was from Scarlett’s. I want to know more about her and if the way her sister views her as being rash is true. But more than any other character I want the chance to meet Legend and learn more about the enigmatic man.
So if you haven’t read Caraval yet, you definitely should grab a copy and dive in. But be warned by the end you might want a ticket to next year’s game.