Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: Dangerous Alliance

Can't Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Pub. Date: December 3, 2019


Goodreads says, "Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older sister happily wed, the future of her family estate secure, and ample opportunity to while her time away in the fields around her home.  But now Vicky must marry—or find herself and her family destitute. Armed only with the wisdom she has gained from her beloved novels by Jane Austen, she enters society’s treacherous season.  Sadly, Miss Austen has little to say about Vicky’s exactcircumstances: whether the roguish Mr. Carmichael is indeed a scoundrel, if her former best friend, Tom Sherborne, is out for her dowry or for her heart, or even how to fend off the attentions of the foppish Mr. Silby, he of the unfortunate fashion sensibility.  Most unfortunately of all, Vicky’s books are silent on the topic of the mysterious accidents cropping up around her…ones that could prevent her from surviving until her wedding day."

As a Jane Austen fan, I think this may be the most perfect YA novel to curl up with this holiday season. What do you guys think? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.   When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?  Nina considers her options.  1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)  2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).   3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)  It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page."

Nina Hill is an introvert. Obviously. She likes her quiet life with her trivia loving friends, and her job at the local bookstore.  Nina's world is thrown upside down when her father, whom she has never even met, leaves her something from his will.  She knows absolutely nothing about her father as her eccentric mother has always said she doesn't know who he is.  Well, as luck would have it, he was very wealthy and she perhaps she is looking to inherit some of his fortune.  But what is even more concerning to Nina is the fact that her father had a whole family, which means she has aunts, nephews, nieces, and even siblings that she didn't even know about.   To top it off, her new "family" lives nearby!  Some of the family members have been reaching out to her, but she is not interested in gaining an instant family, especially one that is boisterous and filled with drama.  On the other hand, Nina has always wondered what it would be like to have a sibling or even a family who is around for all the ups and downs in life.  Nina opens herself up to some new experiences in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Oh, Nina. I adored her in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, but would you really expect anything less from a fellow bookworm? I mean I could obviously relate to her and I bet, dear reader, you could as well.  Nina's childhood wasn't conventional to say the least, she was mostly raised by a nanny, but despite her rocky upbringing she has made a life for herself.  However, this life is strategically mapped out.  Nina isn't exactly the most flexible of people, so this new development in her life really throws her for a loop.  It's exactly what she needs though. 

Waxman's writing is superb in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. I was laughing out loud. Some of Nina's observations, the witty banter, her sarcasm, and the comments Nina made had me grinning ear to ear. Her depiction of Nina, right down to her daily schedule, had me laughing (I may or may not have a similar daily calendar) and it was reminiscent of one of my other favorite literary character, Bridget Jones.  

If you are looking for a quick and fun book that will make you laugh, tug on your heartstrings, and if you are bookish, you may, like me, relate to Nina in some way, then definitely check out The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. It's one of my favorite books of the year.  


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Stacking the Shelves (108)


Book Review: Realm by Alexandrea Weis 
Can't Wait Wednesday: The Queen's Fortune




Coming up on the blog, I am going to share my thoughts on The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, which was one of my favorite books of the year!






Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas  - Thanks to Blink YA






The Irish Princess by Elizabeth Chadwick 


Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts. This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Thanks for visiting!



Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Review: Realm by Alexandrea Weis

Pages: 397
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

 

Goodreads says, "Based on a true story.  When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.  Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.  Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.  However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.  History tells his story. This is hers."



Roxana is living a simple life with her family in Persia. Her father is a chieftain, so that gives her family some status, but it's nothing compared to the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great, who has invaded her homeland.  While Alexander has occupied Persia, he has become friendly with her father and has met Roxana, who is known in the village for her beauty.  He has decided he wants to take her for his bride, because not only is she beautiful, she is also of mixed race, so this will be an advantageous marriage that hopefully will bring people together.  Roxana is only sixteen years old and doesn't want to marry and leave her family, but she can't say no to Alexander and either can her father.  Once they are married, Roxana finds there are even more obstacles that she must climb.  There's his other women, traitorous plots, ongoing wars, and the very problem of who can she trust? Realm by Alexadrea Weis highlights a lesser known woman from history, Roxana, and takes up on her journey from an unknown civilian to the wife of one of the greatest kings and conquerors the world has ever known.

Roxana was an interesting character and I love that Weis decided to share her story in Realm. To be honest, I was somewhat familiar with Alexander, but didn't know much about his wives.  I enjoyed her rags to riches tale as she isn't noble, so his marriage to her was unexpected.  Roxana's life is far from cushy though.  She is often on the road with Alexander to different places facing different wars, and it gets dangerous.  It's obvious that unlike other Alexander's other women, his marriage to Roxana is one based on love; I definitely enjoyed this aspect of the novel.

Alexander is depicted very well in Realm.  I knew a little bit about him as well as some of his controversy that surrounds him and I think Weis did a good job bringing that all to light, but not in such a pushy way.  The many plots to kill him definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and his relationship with his mother was an interesting one.  His mother definitely deserves her own spin-off novel.  

My only issue with Realm was some of the dialogue.  It felt a bit too modern at times.  Also, the pacing of the story was a little off towards the middle as it dragged a bit.  Other than that, I felt it was an interesting read that had me flipping the pages and wondering what would happen to Roxana.  Fans of historical fiction, and readers who like learning about unknown women from the past will especially appreciate this novel.



Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday: The Queen's Fortune

Can't Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Queen's Fortune by Allison Pataki 
Pub. Date: February 11, 2020



Goodreads says, "A sweeping novel about the extraordinary woman who captured Napoleon’s heart, created a dynasty, and changed the course of history—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi.  As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone and it’s fallen on her to save her family from the guillotine.  A chance encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte, the ambitious and charismatic young military prodigy, provides her answer. When her beloved sister Julie marries his brother Joseph, Desiree and Napoleon’s futures become irrevocably linked. Quickly entering into their own passionate, dizzying courtship that leads to a secret engagement, they vow to meet in the capital once his career has been secured. But her newly laid plans with Napoleon turn to sudden heartbreak, thanks to the rising star of Parisian society, Josephine de Beauharnais. Once again, Desiree’s life is turned on its head.  Swept to the glittering halls of the French capital, Desiree is plunged into the inner circle of the new ruling class, becoming further entangled with Napoleon, his family, and the new Empress. But her fortunes shift once again when she meets Napoleon's confidant and star general, the indomitable Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. As the two men in Desiree’s life become political rivals and military foes, the question that arises is: must she choose between the love of her new husband and the love of her nation and its Emperor?  From the lavish estates of the French Riviera to the raucous streets of Paris and Stockholm, Desiree finds herself at the epicenter of the rise and fall of an empire, navigating a constellation of political giants and dangerous, shifting alliances. Emerging from an impressionable girl into a fierce young woman, she discovers that to survive in this world she must learn to rely upon her instincts and her heart.  Allison Pataki’s meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history—a woman who, despite the swells of a stunning life and a tumultuous time, not only adapts and survives but, ultimately, reigns at the helm of a dynasty that outlasts an empire."

I adored Pataki's previous novels, so I am excited to check this one out. It sounds like the perfect historical read to curl up with this winter. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Fountains of Silence Blog Tour: 10 Reasons to Read It


So, if you know me, you know I am a HUGE fan of Ruta Sepetys. I think she is one of the best, if not THE best writers of young adult historical novels.  As part of Penguin Teen's blog tour for The Fountains of Silence, I'm going to share my ten reasons why you should read this book:

1.  Crossover Appeal - All of Ruta's books have a crossover appeal; her books aren't just for the young adult audience. I know so many adults will appreciate her books and that is the case here with The Fountains of Silence.

2.  Dan - Dan is the American character in The Fountains of Silence and many of the chapters are from his point of view. At first, it took me awhile to warm up to him, because I thought he might just be another spoiled rich kid since he is the son of a Texas oil tycoon, but, boy, was I wrong. As I read more of the novel, I truly enjoyed him.  Dan's bravery, his kindness, his ability to love, and even his downfalls all really captivated me.

3.  Seeker of Lost Stories - Ruta's website has this slogan on it and it is *so* very true.  Ruta has a way of highlighting lesser known aspects of history and in this case, she is focusing on Spain in the late 1950s after the Spanish Civil War in The Fountains of Silence. During this time period, Spain was under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.  What a wild, cruel and heartbreaking time!  Ruta opened my eyes to this time in history that I knew little to nothing about.  

4.  Connections - Even though the characters lived in the late 1950s, I think many young adults can relate to their wishes, their struggles, their courage, their silence, their desires, their conflicts, and so much more. The themes of the novel are still applicable to present day.



5.  Well-researched - You know when you read a historical novel and you think did this *actually* happen? Then you come to find that the author took not just some, but a lot of liberties. That is never the case with Ruta's novels. She is a meticulous researcher and took over seven years to research this novel including many back and forth trips to Spain.  She includes excerpts from primary sources within The Fountains of Silence and that made the novel even more realistic and powerful.

6.  Google - The Fountains of Silence is so well researched; reading it made me want to learn more.  I find that all really great historical fiction has the power to do this and that is the case here. I found myself looking up information about the the Spanish Civil War, Franco, and other aspects of the novel.  When I find myself doing this then I know I am reading something very compelling and thought provoking.

7.  Believable - Oftentimes there are young adult characters in historical novels that simply aren't believable. That isn't the case here. Dan, Ana, and the others felt so real to me.  As Ruta jumps from different characters' points of view, I never once dreaded a particular character; I cared about all of them.  

8.  Discussion - I bet many schools will be adding this book to reading lists, especially to complement studying the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.  I think The Fountains of Silence truly lends itself to some great discussions; it would be a perfect supplement in a high school classroom.  Check out the discussion guide here

9. All the Emotions - Ruta's novels always leave me blubbering like a fool and that is the case here too with The Fountains of Silence.  All.the.feels!

10. Smart Read - If you want a novel that makes you think, makes you truly feel, and makes you want to call your best friend to discuss it, The Fountains of Silence is it.  I love immersing myself in a smart read that leaves me with so much to think about and I can always count on Ruta Sepetys to deliver.


Learn More About Ruta Sepetys:


"Ruta Sepetys (www.rutasepetys.com) is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist, as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Her novels Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea have won or been shortlisted for more than forty book prizes, and are included on more than sixty state award lists. Between Shades of Gray was adapted into the film Ashes in the Snow, and her other novels are currently in development for TV and film. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is passionate about the power of history and literature to foster global awareness and connectivity. She has presented to NATO, to the European Parliament, in the United States Capitol, and at embassies worldwide. Ruta was born and raised in Michigan and now lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter @RutaSepetys and Instagram @RutaSepetysAuthor."


Learn More About The Fountains of Silence:



"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray comes a gripping, extraordinary portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.  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 promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an 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 difficult 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 postwar struggles of Span.  Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more."
You can purchase The Fountains of Silence from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

Hopefully I have convinced you to pick up a copy of The Fountains of Silence this fall.  If you do, be sure to let me know what you think.  It's one of my favorite books of the year; keep your eye out for my full review soon.  

Is The Fountains of Silence on your TBR list?  Are you a fan of Ruta Sepetys as well? Let me know in the comments below.  

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Stacking the Shelves (107)


Audio Book Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover




Next week I'm sharing my thoughts on Realm, a historical fiction about Alexander the Great's wife, Roxana. I loved the setting and learning more about an little-known woman from history.  I'm also super excited to be a part of the Penguin Teen's blog tour for The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys, whom I adore! If you haven't read her novels, you must! 





 

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys - Thanks to Penguin Teen
Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey - Thanks to Gallery and NetGalley





Meet Me on Love Lane by Nina Bocci - Thanks to Gallery and NetGalley
The Girl in the White Gloves by Kerri Maher - Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley


Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts. This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Thanks for visiting!


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