Book Review

Book Review: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Mystery + historical fiction + romance
Length: 339 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London, 1887.

After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

THIS SLOW-BURN PARTNERSHIP IS AMAZING.

I read this based off a recommendation on Bookstagram and I was HOOKED.

I love Veronica. She is sassy and snarky and my kinda woman. I love that she chooses her own path and pursues the things she is passionate about. Veronica took her situation into her own hands (accepted some needed help) and figured out what plan would work best for her.

Stoker though? YES. Oh my goodness. Rugged, wild, gruff, yaaaaaas. But among those qualities is also the fact he never tried to control Veronica. They disagreed and argued, and then he would know she was going to make her own choices, AND HE WAS OKAY WITH THAT. They’re not even in a relationship, yet this slow-burn is going to ruin me. I can’t wait to see how they develop over the series. I hope they’re end game.

The mystery was great too. It actually kept me on my toes. The release of information was a slow trickle that was interesting and really added to each scene. It was crazy how everything actually unfolded. I did not see the entire picture at all. It loosely reminds of a better version of Stalking Jack the RIpper (which was fine, and I haven’t read the other books yet, but that’s kind of a vibe I got). So if you like those books, I would definitely recommend these!

There’s a big historical aspect to this as well since it’s set in London, 1887. That plus a mystery and some romance-esque things made for a solid read. I love a good historical aspect when it fits the plot well.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery + historical fiction + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some witty/flirty banter; discussion of having relations, but no actual scenes
  • Violence: murder, fire, physical. guns; somewhat bloody/gory

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: October 2019

IT’S NOVEMBER.

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH.

So while October is cool and all, I’m really here for next month.

I read 23 books for October! Some good, some eh, even read some thrillers to get in that spooky mindset.

  • The Art of Falling in Love by Haleigh Wenger – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Bands of Mourning (MIstborn #6, The Alloy Era #3) by Brandon Sanderson – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2) by Deanna Raybourn – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • DEV1AT3 (Lifelike #2) by Jay Kristoff – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Hunting from Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Spin the Dawn (The Blood of the Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archives #2) by Brandon Sanderson – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Heart of the Fae (The Otherworld #1) by Emma Hamm – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) by Katharine McGee – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. #3) by Jonathan Stroud – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)

Had some really great reads this month! My reviews will be out over the course of November.

My favorite this month was Words of Radiance or Lovely War.

My least favorite was Final Girls and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

Have you read any of these? What was your favorite read of October? What are you looking forward to in November? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction + Mythology + Fantasy
Length: 352 pages
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: July 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

A SWEET STORY.

This was my Book of the Month YA pick for September!

I thought this was a nice read, and I thought the writing was gorgeous. It was very whimsical and had a magical fairy-tale vibe to it that I enjoyed. What I struggled with was the pacing. This book is slooooow. Everything happens in slow motion and the story takes a bit to pick up and get going.

The concept of all of these magical doors to other worlds across Earth was stellar. I loved that idea and wish I could have explored even more of the worlds! We only got a taste of a few and I thought they would play a deeper part in the story as a whole. It was all very dream-like and I loved the bits of magic that were added in to help January along her way. Being a word-worker sounds like the coolest job ever.

There’s a big focus on reconnecting a lost family and this was the solid bones of the novel. I found this moving and was hoping that January was going to get her happy ending. I wasn’t sure how part of the story was going to weave into the mix, but after the small plot twist it all started making sense. I appreciated her tenacity to find her parents and have them in her life again.

I wish the villain had a bigger back-story. I definitely thought he was interesting and it took me a bit to catch on to what he was trying to accomplish. I felt he played a good role and added a bit of creepiness to the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a few kisses, nights spent together with pretty much no detail (I barely realized that it was implied they did have sex)
  • Violence: beating of an animal, having someone wrongly sent to an asylum, psychological abuse/manipulation, gun violence, colonialism
  • Trigger warnings: throughout the book are multiple instances of racism and sexism

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles With Numbers in Them

Y’all this is a hard topic! But hey, HAPPY TOP TEN TUESDAY.

These definitely aren’t all books I’ve read. I put in bold at the beginning of each blurb about the book about how I feel towards it. Whether it’s a book I’ve read, or on my TBR, or I might never pick up but hey, it has a number in it. It is what it is!

And I also am going in sequential order of numbers 1-10. Because I was looking for extra difficulty in my life haha.

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

READ: This was such a cute series! BUT ONLY THE FIRST THREE BOOKS. Don’t even get me started on the rampage of books four and five.


One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

CHILDHOOD FAVORITE: Who hasn’t read a Dr. Seuss book at least once in your life?! Always a great classic.


Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

TO BE READ: This is on a tentative TBR of mine. I own the last book, so it’s making me consider picking this up…should I?


The First Four Years (Little House #9) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

CHILDHOOD FAVORITE: Ohhh this series! One of my favorite childhood reads! Love them forever.


The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

MAYBE EVENTUALLY: This book BLEW UP when it became a movie and I have neither read or seen either version. Probably should remedy that, I’ve heard good things! At least about the first book.


Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

READ: LOVE THIS DUOLOGY. Read it. That is all.


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Tayllr Jenkins Reid

MAYBE ON MY TBR: I have seen people LOVING this, my mood hasn’t hit me yet to pick it up though. Eventually…maybe…


1984 by George Orwell

READ: A classic I’ve read…and not loved. This book really creeped me out, especially reading in high school. We basically live in a version of this now. Also, I’m counting this because there is an EIGHT in the title.


November 9 by Colleen Hoover

READ: Oh, what CoHo book DIDN’T I love? The answer: NONE. Still one of my favorites of hers!!


The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

READ: A whimsical read that was occasionally slow. Enjoyed it overall though!

I did it! Took me way longer than I am willing to admit. What about you? Do you have a favorite book with a number in the title? Lets talk in the comments!

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

I broke this into two parts because not only are their some great new releases coming out, there’s also a huge stack of books I’m staring at in my house that need to be read too. Lots of books to read this fall y’all.

NEW RELEASES ON MY FALL TBR:

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones


The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh


The Toll (Arc of a Sycthe #3) by Neal Shusterman


Supernova (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer


Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson


The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black


Ninth House (Ninth House Series #1) by Leigh Bardugo


Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda


Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao


The Sky Weaver (Iskari #3) by Kristen Ciccarelli

BOOKS I’M DETERMINED TO READ THIS FALL:

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson


Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim


A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn


The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. #3) by Jonathan Stroud


Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco


There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool


The Vine Witch (Vine Witch #1) by Luanne G. Smith


The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar


Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova


The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

What books are on your fall TBR? Any new releases or are you trying to conquer your back list? May we not be buried by our TBR this fall! Lets talk in the comments.

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult historical fiction
Length: 512 pages
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

QUEEN OF HISTORICAL FICTION.

I had a friend gracious enough to let me borrow this book and Y’ALL. It was amazing and I loved it.

I absolutely love the way that Sepetys puts together her stories. I own all of her books, but have only read two and clearly I need to up the rest on my TBR. The chapters are written in a fast, short, rotating POV way that keeps you flipping faster and faster. It’s so easy to read this book and keep you interested at the same time.

THE ROMANCE WAS PRECIOUS. Incredibly cute. It was slow and sweet and was exactly what this book needed. I loved watching Daniel and Ana interact and grow to be each other’s confidante. I think they both helped one another see the world from another perspective. I literally SHOUTED at my book when we had a date change in the book because I needed a happy ending for Ana. NEEDED IT. (And Daniel, but really, Ana).

I didn’t love Rafa and Puri’s point of views as much as the others. That is why I took off half a star. By the end, their contributions really made sense though and I do appreciate that. It absolutely broke my heart reading about the deception of the nuns and doctors in Spain during the 1950s-80s. I can’t put into words how that must have felt to be a mother in that time.

The work that went into this novel is clearly seen and I loved having all of the tidbits from speeches and publications that were layered throughout the book. It really brought the history to life and reminded me that things like this really did happen.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction + romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, a not detailed love scene where you do know they spent the night together
  • Violence: guns, torture, imprisonment, murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: mentions of miscarriage, kidnapping of babies and children

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Book Review

Book Review: Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult supernatural
Length: 377 pages
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 28th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

GETTING BETTER & BETTER.

This installment was my favorite yet, another simple quick read that I devoured in a day.

I love the world that Ritter has built. And each book has added another piece to the world itself. We get to see new locations, adventures and characters that only add to the book.

Jackaby is so fun to watch. He has some of the best small talk and one-liners and seeing him have some feelings?! YES. It’s also great that we got some back-story on him and I like this new layer it added to his character. My favorite is that this book is heavy on the friendship. And while I love romance, when a friendship is done so well you don’t even notice it’s awesome. Abigail and Jackaby have a great relationship and genuinely care for each other, what a great duo.

Charlie and Abigail took a much bigger backseat than in the previous books. Almost as if it might have been best to not even have a romance component for Abigail (unless it all comes together in book four, to be determined). I think they’re SO CUTE, but since I wish we had more of them it’s hard to love this romance wholly.

What I realized in this third book was that so much from the beginning of this series is pulling through to the finale. There’s been a lot of build-up and slowly peeling away the layers to create what I know will be an amazing finale. I love how nuanced some of these aspects have been and how it’s all falling into place.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult supernatural fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss or two
  • Violence: murder, vampires, physical, some magical

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