Book List 2018

Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

fawkes
Gorgeous cover art is always a plus!

Title: Fawkes

Author: Nadine Brandes

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Release Date: 10 July, 2018

Summary: 

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Review: 

This book has so much in it that I love, so I’m just going to start with that. I’ve been a fan of YA fantasy since…well since I was the age that YA is usually geared towards. However it was very rare that something as good as this came along, especially something that included real life historical events.

The plot of this book comes together really well, winding the historical facts in with the fiction, and the fantasy weaving it all together in one beautifully written package.

The magic within the book is encompassing and wonderful. It was interesting to read how the masks help the users control, or invigorate their magic.

The writing in this book, and the descriptive nature carried me through the streets of London at a time very different from now. It had me clutching my eReader in fear for Thomas, a character I grew to care about extremely quickly.

This is definitely one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I wished for more the minute I turned the last page, and then proceeded to order a copy to be delivered to myself on release day. After all I am definitely going to lend it to everyone I know as soon as I can.

And I will be reading more of Nadine Brandes’ books for as long as she keeps writing.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

 

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Book List 2018

Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

jackaby.jpgTitle: Jackaby

Author: William Ritter

Genre: Supernatural, Mystery

Summary: Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings.

Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose.

The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local authorities–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–seem adamant to deny.

Review: 

This book was absolutely, positively lovely. Also let’s all take a moment, scroll up, and truly admire the beauty that is the cover for this novel. It is what captured my attention, and my inattention to detail caused me to order two copies of the pretty book, months apart, and give the extra to my sister. (She still hasn’t read it, but I’ve already told her she must!)

I read this in split sittings which made me sad because I really did not want to put it down. But sadly work exists because I have not yet won millions of dollars. Or even a single million.

Therefore I snatched as much time as I could to devour this book as though I myself, was a hungry supernatural creature. The writing is filled with warmth and wit. The setting is explained so well when I closed my eyes I could see it as though I was there.

Jackaby is an amusing character, who is adorably awkward, and does not know how to be complimentary.

Abigail is interesting, and is definitely learning who she is. I hope that she has more character development in the next books.

Jane was actually one of my favourite characters, very vivacious despite her circumstance (no spoilers 😉

This book is a good mystery, a good supernatural novel and very good at pointing out the hypocrisy of how people used to be (and some still are). It is one of those books, where if you don’t have the next one you will be tempted to weep. Not that I did that…or anything…

It is also intensely re-readable. Just go pick it up.

 

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

63.jpgTitle: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+

Summary: 

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Review: 

This book is an insane amount of frustrating fun. I know that sounds like one of the weirder descriptions that I’ve given a novel but it’s true. The language in this book is flourishing and imaginative without being too descriptive which you all know is my Achilles heel when it comes to reading.

The plot is over the top in one of the best possible ways and to be honest it is not a book I would have chosen for myself. Which is why I am so glad it was included in an Owlcrate box which allows me to step outside of my comfort zone a little more and pick up a book I might otherwise have not read. There are pirates, there is alchemy, mystery, scandal and intrigue.

Olivia Pope would have her hands full with the Duke of Bourbon, that’s all I’m saying, y’all. That’s all. Because he is a mess, and not even a hot one.

The frustrating part of this novel comes with the knowledge that although the ignorance of some characters is contextual for the time, it is still a piss off. The racism made me grit my teeth and growl in frustration, so did the ablelism and the misogyny. When I say grit my teeth I mean for a moment, until I found myself ranting, alone, in my bedroom at about…1 in the morning. If this review does not make sense that would be why. Please forgive me.

How dare they treat my darling wonderful Percy in such a manner? And Felicity as well? Monty stop talking and start thinking. And Scipio. ❤

Characters:

Monty is the main character and he will piss you off, and make you love him in equal turns. He is one of those people who could be smart. He could be. And in the end he is (Thank God). But along the route to his character growth, and he does grow, you will want to smack him upside the head (gently) or rail against the attitude he gives the world (with reason). But he is wonderfully written, and I have a real soft spot.

Percy. Oh Percy. He is a character that could do with a bit more backbone, and yes, he does get it thankfully. More serious than his best friend, he fleshes out the pages and gives the book more humanity, and humility where it’s needed most. He also experiences quite a bit of growth over the course of the novel.

Felicity is tenacious with a capital T and has brains in spades, hidden behind fake dust-covers. She is badass. So freaking badass and definitely deserves a tale or two of her own.

The Duke. Oh the Duke. A true asshat. A real villain. I don’t like him at all.

Scipio is a character I need more of. He’s trying so hard to suppress his cinnamon roll side and it’s not really working for him. But make no mistake, I think he’s at least thinking about killing you.

Favourite Quotes:

“Just thinking about all that blood.” I nearly shudder. “Doesn’t it make you a bit squeamish?”
“Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.”

It’s beginning to feel like he’s shuffling his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favourites.

I have lived most of my life as a devotee of the philosophy that a man should not see two sevens in one day…

Other Thoughts:

Take a minute before opening this book and enjoy the cover design because it is gorgeous and deserving of a second, third and fourth look.

Book List 2016, Reviews

Fast Reviews (In which I read a lot of Ilona Andrews, like seriously, a ton)

Here are some quick reviews:

6

6. Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon

This book is not exactly what I thought it was going to be but I’m not going to complain about that. It was a humorous look at Geek culture, and how we’re received by the world. I did find it funny in this book, just like in real life there is still mentions of cliques etc.

Overall this was an enjoyable read, and an enjoyable look at how people are seen and how assumptions are made.

Continue reading “Fast Reviews (In which I read a lot of Ilona Andrews, like seriously, a ton)”

Book List 2016, Reviews

3. The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

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Plot

This novel gripped me quite quickly, as I read about the fictitious beginning of one of the royals I have always been most intrigued about. The unraveling of the beginning of Catalina’s life was quite well written, and her love for Arthur definitely believable.

Characters

I read this novel for Katherine/Catalina of Aragon, and her fire, and her determination which was definitely admirable. I wish there was more accounts of her life, even if they were slightly fictional, as she deserves the attention.

Arthur is a person/character I ended up falling for as well, with his smarts, and his own ideas of the perfect Camelot.

Setting

The settings in this novel, as well as the dress etc are so well described that it was quite easy to close my eyes and picture what was happening, and what the scenery looked like.

Overall:

I got what I wanted out of his read, which was something that would take place in a time I always have been fascinated by. It was a real page turner, and it was obvious that research had been done. It was salacious and enjoyable.

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Recommended to: Katherine of Aragon fans, people interested in Tudor history, those who want a quick, immersive read.