Saturday, October 29, 2016

Victoria and Albert by Evelyn Anthony

Historical Fiction

Queen Victoria ascended to the throne of England at the young age of 18. Despite having powerful female rulers in the past, it seemed that England still wasn't used to one and wanted Victoria to marry as soon as possible to have a husband help her with policy-making. Victoria doesn't seem all that interested in marriage and having a man to rule over her until she meets her cousin Albert. He's incredibly handsome and Victoria falls in love with him right away. The two set to marry.

Victoria is very happy. She has Albert by her side and she is very friendly with the English Prime Minister. However Albert doesn't enjoy his new lifestyle all that much. Albert doesn't love Victoria but realizes its his duty to be a good husband. He feels worthless with the very little that Victoria allows him to do. This is the story of their marriage from when they meet until when one of them passes away.

I haven't read much on Queen Victoria in the past so I don't know much about her. This book portrayed her as rather rigid but also completely tunnel visioned about her friends. There is no grey with Victoria. It's all either white or black. She loves someone or she hates them. It's tough to see how someone could rule a nation with that kind of mentality.

This is an interesting look in to Victoria's early reign and her relationship with Albert, though it was a bit slow at times.

First Line: "A footman has opened the shutters on two of the long windows in the Green Drawing Room at Kensington Palace, and a pale predawn light spread through the room."


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

Elena is the only female werewolf, which makes her a hot commodity. She is cornered by a couple of witches that want her help. There have been kidnappings of people with paranormal abilities. They need to come together and find out what to do about it. This includes witches, half-demons, vampires, and of course Elena's pack of werewolves. When Elena is kidnapped, she realizes a narcissistic punk is at the centre of this and must do what she can to escape and help her fellow inmates.

This is the second book in the series of 13, so far. You probably don't need to read the first to understand what is going on in the second, but having the background on Elena, how werewolves are created, and how the pack works definitely helps. Plus it's a great book, so check it out.

I'm not usually in to fantasy. I only dip into the genre every so often. These books are super easy to get in to and they are page turners. Elena is a likable, strong character. She's only irritating in her love life but those irritants didn't come through as much in this novel as the previous one.

I'm not sure I want to commit to another 11 books for this series but if I do happen across the third in the series, I'll probably read it.

First Line: "He hated the forest."


Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Girlfriend Curse by Valerie Frankel

Chick Lit

Peg is getting over her ex when he calls her for a reunion. Thinking they may be getting back together, she agrees to meet with him but when he brings his fiancee, Peg can't take it anymore. Looking back at all her ex's, she finds that almost all of them got engaged with the next person they started dating after Peg. Peg is the chronic last girlfriend. She decides she needs to get out of New York and start fresh.

Peg buys a home on a huge plot of land in Vermont and moves there. On the train, she almost settles back in to her old habits when she finds herself attracted to a guy on the train, but instead ends up at Inward Bound, a camp to help those develop better relationship skills.

I'm not usually much of a chick lit reader but I wanted something a bit lighter to read and this hit the spot. It didn't invoke any cringe from me, which I find some chick lit can do. It's not going to win any awards but it serves a purpose and didn't commit any throw-able offenses!

First Line: "Peg Silver, thirty-two, could make a man come, but she couldn't make him stay."


Saturday, October 08, 2016

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz


It's a cold winter, on a lonely island when Mathilda drowns, leaving her child Ruth with sister Amanda to take care of her. Ruth's father eventually returns from the war and the three have to learn how to live with each other. Even though Ruth was only a few years old, she has a few fragmented memories including her being in the water and there being a baby. The rest of the book is Ruth piecing these memories together as she grows older under Amanda and her dad's watchful eye.

I've had bad luck with Oprah Book Club books in the past few years. This one isn't as bad as some of the othr ones out there. It was over dramatic, with Amanda being rather neurotic. I understand that she wants to take care of her niece after her sister dies but there's really no reason to the extremes she goes to in her thoughts of protecting Ruth.

The ending was a bit of a let down as well. I'm sure I hoped for the same type of ending that the majority of sane people would want for Ruth in this book. Unfortunately it was just more of the same for these characters.

First Line: "Ruth remembered drowning. "


Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles


This is the second book of the Natchez Burning trilogy. Check out my review of the first book, Natchez Burning. Mayor Penn Cage is back with his journalist fiancee Caitlin continue to try and hunt down KKK members that committed civil rights crimes in the 60s, but also to find Penn's father Tom. Tom has been on the run since he was convicted of murdering his ex-employee and former lover. As a doctor, it's possible that Tom assisted her with end of life but no one knows the answers except Tom and he refuses to talk. Caitlin focuses on trying to find the Bone Tree, which she is unsure whether is myth or really exists. It is rumored that the Double Eagles (a faction of KKK members) have killed many people at this tree. Additionally, there were indications that the Double Eagles may have been involved with the JFK assassination and FBI agent John Kaiser is interested in getting to the bottom of this; perhaps more so than the cases Penn and Caitlin are looking in to.

This is another behemoth of a book at 800+ pages. That makes this series 1,600 pages so far with an expected 800+ pages to complete it. And yet those 800 pages feel like they just fly by because you get so engrossed in the story. Again, this book takes place over the course of a very short period of time but it's jam-packed with action. There's nothing that didn't fit or felt unnecessary.

The twists in this book were even more unexpected than the last one, which I live for in books like this!

I am super excited for the last book in the series! I can't wait to see how Iles will wrap this trilogy up.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour. You should definitely consider purchasing this book! Buy from HarperCollins

First Line: "Tonight death and time showed me their true faces."

About the Author
Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He lives in Natchez with his wife and has two children.

Find him on Twitter, Facebook and at his website.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Bone by Fae M Ng


Leila is the eldest of three sisters in a Chinese family living in San Francisco. Her father is no longer around and when her mom remarried, they had two additional daughters. Leila is as close to her half sisters as if they were her full sisters. The youngest sister has moved off to New York, the middle is dating another Chinese guy, and Leila seems to hover around her mom and step-father trying to ensure they are happy.

When the family finds out that the middle sister has committed suicide, the family goes in to a tail spin. The book goes from present day and then works its way back to the day of the suicide. We find out what pushed Ona to jump from the 13th floor and end her life. By the end of the book I was thinking that's it? It didn't seem enough for me. Ona had many different ways she could have reacted to what eventually drove her to suicide, and suicide certainly shouldn't have been at the top of the list.

In the end, this book fell short for me because we're trying to understand why Ona did what she did but we aren't given enough information to figure it out. Instead, we're focusing around how this affects the family which usually is ok for plot, but not when you don't even understand why it happened in the first place.

First Line: "We were a family of three girls."