Monday, September 18, 2017

REVIEW: Alexander Hamilton by Jonathan Hennessey

Book Blurb: Alexander Hamilton was one of the most influential figures in United States history--he fought in the Revolutionary War, helped develop the Constitution, and as the first Secretary of the Treasury established landmark economic policy that we still use today. Cut down by a bullet from political rival Aaron Burr, Hamilton has since been immortalized alongside other Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson--his likeness even appears on the ten-dollar bill. In this fully-illustrated and impeccably researched graphic novel-style history, author Jonathan Hennessey and comic book illustrator Justin Greenwood bring Alexander Hamilton's world to life, telling the story of this improbable hero who helped shape the United States of America.

My Review: I haven't really read or done any research for any of the founding fathers but the cover of the book intrigued me. The artwork is beautiful and I enjoyed reading about Alexander Hamilton's life. I wouldn't mind reading about more of the founding fathers in the future.

Rating: ★★★★☆

* I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, September 04, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Fair Stands the Wind by Catherine Lodge ~ Review + Vignette

I am overjoyed today to have on my blog an up and coming JAFF author.

Book Blurb: We all know that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy is proud and prejudiced because he is a wealthy landowner who believes himself above his company; and that Elizabeth Bennet can afford to be proud and prejudiced because she believes she has the freedom to make choices for herself.

But what if Mr Darcy is the second son, sent to sea at a young age? What if Elizabeth is trapped by circumstances, with an ill father on one side and an understandably desperate mother on the other?

Meet Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy, a successful frigate captain, with ample prize-money and a sister he needs to provide for while he is at sea. Meet Elizabeth Bennet, who needs a husband and is trying to resign herself to Mr Collins, the worst “least worst alternative” in the history of literature.

Vignette
Then Mary plays for Mr Haskins. She knows almost immediately she is doing something wrong, she can tell by his face as she steals glances at him over the top of her music. She winces as he bangs his hand on top of the case.

"No, no, no, Miss Bennet, who taught you to play? Which musical charlatan told you to hold your hands like that?"

"My grandmother, sir," she says timidly. Her friend has told her that Mr Haskins is irascible but fair. Mary is not sure if she believes her.

"Drop your shoulders, Miss Bennet and place your hands on the keys as though you were going to play." He sighs and lifts her wrists. "Like that and then curve your fingers as though you were holding a ball."

She tries. It feels awkward and unnatural, especially when he seizes a cushion from a nearby chair and makes her sit on it.

"There, you see the way your hands and shoulders are? Make a note of it, write it down, practise today when I am gone so that you can remember it." He looks over at the other lady in the room. "You will please remind Miss Bennet." He turns back. "Miss Bennet, you should copy this young lady, she has been properly taught." Mary murmurs something he cannot hear. "How long do you practice every day?"

"Two hours, sir. It would be more but my mother says it makes her head ache."

Mr Haskins is touched. He knows he is not a good-tempered man, disappointed hopes and the early death of his dear Margaret has soured his disposition, but he is not heartless. He draws up a chair. "My dear young lady, you must have been in agony. Why did you not tell someone?"

Mary looks at her hands and remembers all the painful mornings in the back parlour, usually in the cold because her mother begrudges the coal. "I thought it was like that for everybody," she whispers.

He sighs and rubs a hand over his face. "Miss Bennet," he says eventually. "Why do you wish to play?"

"It is every young lady's duty to be accomplished," she replies, blinking at him from behind her spectacles.

"And is that the only reason?"

Mary says nothing.

"Miss Bennet?" he prompts.

She cannot speak.

"Mary, dear?" says her friend in the corner, getting to her feet.

She swallows hard and then bursts out. "I wanted something that was mine! Jane is beautiful, everyone says so and Lizzy is witty and charming and .... and all the young men crowd round Lydia and Kitty and say they are lively and friendly. And I cannot do any of that and I am not at all beautiful and father says I am a fool. So I wanted music to be mine and now you say that I cannot do that either." She chews her lips furiously, desperate not to cry.

He pats her hand and waits until she has herself under good government. "Now when did I say you could not play? Eh? Now, there are two kinds of musician, young lady, and I do not mean those who have talent and those who have none. No, the two kinds are those who work at it, and those who do not. We already know that you are the kind how knows how to work. So long as you are doing the right kind of work, I know that you can make music that even your mama will enjoy."

Mary giggles damply and dabs at her eyes.

"And no more practising for two hours. One hour, no more, especially until you get used to holding your hands correctly, and if it starts to hurt - stop."

"Yes, sir."

"And don't forget your cushion. If your arms are not at the angle I showed you, ask for a cushion."

"But won't people think it strange?"

"Not if they know anything about music: and if they know nothing about music, then why should you care about their opinion?" He claps his hands together and makes a mental note to find some more suitable music for her. That ponderous liturgical stuff is doing her no favours at all. "Now let me hear you sing."

She stands up, clasps her hands before her and begins. She does not get far.

"Miss Bennet," he said. "Who told you you were a soprano?"


My Review: So I went into this story very apprehensive as I had never read this author before and didn't know what her writing style was like. This story didn't really seem to have a lot of conflicts which to me made it a long read even though the story is quite short. Anything that happened seemed to be fixed very quickly and made the story very fast paced. Also at one point, Lizzy bowed to Caroline. Um... she should have curtsied not bowed. This book is worth a read but I'm not sure if I'll re-read it.

Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 5

~ I received an advanced eARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own ~


About the Author: Catherine Lodge is a semi-retired lawyer and lecturer, living in Yorkshire–a part of the UK even more beautiful than Derbyshire. One of five daughters, although by birth order regrettably the Jane, she found 19th Century literature early in her teens and never looked back–even if that meant her school essays kept coming back with “archaic!” written in the margin next to some of her favourite words. She still thinks that “bruited” is a much nicer word than “rumoured.”

After years of drafting leases and pleadings, she finally started to write for fun in her forties and has never stopped since. Much of this will never see the light of day, having been fed to the digital equivalent of a roaring bonfire, but “Fair Stands the Wind” is the first book she thinks worthy of public attention. She spends her day fixing computer problems for friends and family, singing in her local choir, and avoiding the ironing

Contact Info:
Facebook

Buy Link:
Amazon

Blog Tour Schedule:

08/30 Babblings of a Bookworm; Guest Post or Vignette, GA
08/31 My Vices and Weaknesses; Character Interview, GA
09/01 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Excerpt, GA
09/02 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
09/03 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, GA
09/04 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Vignette
09/05 Of Pens and Pages; Review, Excerpt, GA
09/06 Diary of an Eccentric; Guest Post, Vignette, Giveaway
09/07 From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post or Vignette, Excerpt, GA
09/08 So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
09/09 My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, GA
09/10 Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Excerpt, GA
09/11 My Jane Austen Book Club; Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
09/12 Just Jane 1813; Review, GA

Saturday, August 19, 2017

REVIEW: Mr. Darcy's Bride(s) by Regina Jeffers

Book Blurb:I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.

ELIZABETH BENNET is determined that she will put a stop to her mother’s plans to marry off the eldest Bennet daughter to Mr. Collins, the Bennet heir to Longbourn, but a man that Mr. Bennet considers an annoying dimwit. Hence, Elizabeth disguises herself as Jane and repeats her vows to the supercilious rector as if she is her sister, thereby voiding the nuptials and saving Jane from a life of drudgery. Yet, even the “best laid plans” can often go awry.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY is desperate to find a woman who will assist him in leading his sister back to Society after Georgiana’s failed elopement with Darcy’s old enemy George Wickham. He is so desperate that he agrees to Lady Catherine De Bourgh’s suggestion that Darcy marry her ladyship’s “sickly” daughter Anne. Unfortunately, as he waits for his bride to join him at the altar, he realizes he has made a terrible error in judgement, but there is no means to right the wrong without ruining his cousin’s reputation. Yet, even as he weighs his options, the touch of “Anne’s” hand upon his sends an unusual “zing” of awareness shooting up Darcy’s arm. It is only when he realizes the “zing” has arrived at the hand of a stranger, who has disrupted his nuptials, that he breathes both a sigh of relief and a groan of frustration, for the question remains: Is Darcy’s marriage to the woman legal?

What if Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet met under different circumstances than those we know from Jane Austen’s classic tale: Circumstances that do not include the voices of vanity and pride and prejudice and doubt that we find in the original story? Their road to happily ever after may not, even then, be an easy one, but with the expectations of others removed from their relationship, can they learn to trust each other long enough to carve out a path to true happiness?

My Review: So this was an interesting book to be sure. I have never read a book where Elizabeth tries to save Jane from marriage to Mr. Collins while pretending to be her and ends up marrying the wrong man. Mrs. Bennet's scheme to marry off Jane like that wouldn't have worked anyway because it was the father who controlled stuff like that back then. Plus why would Jane go along with it anyway? I get that she is a dutiful daughter but there is a limit. You have to draw a line somewhere. I know that Mr. Bennet was sick but that didn't give Mrs. Bennet any right to do that.

The situation of rather or not Lizzy's and Darcy's marriage was legal turned out to be quite entertaining. However, it is solved very nicely by the end of the book. I have to say I enjoyed this book as I have with all the rest of her novels. It was a fresh tale in the world of JAFF and I recommend that you read it.

Rating: 4½ stars out 5

Saturday, August 12, 2017

REVIEW: Colorless by Rita Stradling

Book Blurb: In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colorless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.

Their only target: Annabelle.

My Review: I went into this book very hopeful and it didn't disappoint. I found the concept to be original and to be honest very refreshing in the world of YA. I hate reading the same old story just from different authors. This book left off on a cliffhanger and I'm hoping the author writes a second book.

Rating: ★★★★☆

*I received an advanced reading copy from NetGalley.*

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Book Series that I Love

I know that I haven't posted anything in months now but I've been busy. I started a new job and it's twelve-hour shifts so once I get home from work all I want to do is crash and not do anything. Plus I also started dating this guy and well he's a major distraction too. And I've gotten addicted to my PS4. Where I used to average reading about four or five books a week I'm only maybe finishing one now.

So this a list of the book series that I love in no particular order. I will have a mixture of genres on this list and I will not be going into detail about them. I have so many series that I love that it would take forever to write about them. So without further ado here we go.

  • Lois Lane by Gwenda Bond
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Dark-Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • The Carpathians by Christine Feehan
  • Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole
  • Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole
  • Tairen Soul by C.L. Wilson
  • Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Hook and Jill Saga by Andrea Jones
  • Hunter Legends by Lindsay Mead
  • Origin of Love by Jendela Tryst
  • A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • Frederick Wentworth, Captain by Susan Kaye
  • Rochester by J.L. Niemann
  • Bridgertons by Julia Quinn
  • Fever by Karen Marie Moning
  • Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
  • Great War Romance by Ginger Monette
  • California Legends by Glynnis Campbell
  • Savage by Cassie Edwards
  • Manifestations of a Phantom's Soul by Michelle Rodriguez
  • Seven Brides by Leigh Greenwood
  • These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
  • The Moralities of Marriage by Elizabeth Ann West
  • Seeds by M.M. Kin
  • Jane Austen's Dragons by Maria Grace
  • The Queen of Rosings Park by Maria Grace
  • Yours by Design by Robin Helm 
  • Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet
  • Weathermages of Mystral by C.L. Wilson
  • Five Hundred Kingdoms by Mercedes Lackey
  • Memory by Linda Wells
  • Fairy Tales by Eloisa James
These are all the series that I can think about right now. I'm sure I'll remember more later on. Until next time.