When I signed up for the Retellings Challenge this year, it was definitely intended to be an actual challenge for me. I love retellings in theory and have read a decent number of them, but I still focus so heavily on contemporary fiction. Add in the fact that ROMANOV is also historical fiction, and I knew it would be a great push out of my comfort zone. I’m a fan of the movie Anastasia of course because WHO ISN’T? so I signed up quickly for this blog tour. Killing a lot of birds with one stone! I digress. I was right: this book was definitely different than the other stories I have been reading this year! The Russian folklore/themes were a really nice change of pace for me. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy other genres 😳 It’s clear that Brandes did a lot of research on the history of the Romanov family and what the setting would have been like during that time. The story begins with Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov and her journey, with her family, into exile. She is tasked with stealing an ancient spell (through a doll) along with them. The first half or so of the book involves their travel and the rest of the book involves the more ~magical~ elements. I loved that the spell was connected to the Russian nesting dolls I’m familiar with. It personally took me a little while to get into this, but I feel it’s for a lot of […]
Genre: Historical Fiction
In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE was a pleasant surprise for me – I can be hit or miss with historical fiction and it was overall a bit out of my comfort zone. I was optimistic about LADY’S GUIDE though because of how much I enjoyed Felicity in the previous book. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed here! Like the first book, it’s a bit looong. The audiobook made listening enjoyable throughout a month-long timeframe and it became one of those books where I’m not in the MOOD to listen to it, but I loved it while I was actually listening. This is exactly how I felt about GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE too. The audio narrator was solid and really brought Felicity to life. While Felicity is the main character, the other powerful ladies at the front of the story made a huge impact too. Joanna, Felicity’s childhood ex-friend, and Sim, the badass pirate, were so fun to get to know. They all wanted more for themselves and fought against the stereotypes or expectations of the time. I loved how everything ended for them too. Of course, meeting up with Monty and Percy again was wonderful. There were a lot of different parts or stages in this story, from Callum’s bakery to Joanna’s […]
I know I have full reviews and I have mini review round-ups, but there are some books that could be reviewed in just a few sentences. This is mini round-up I’ll have sometimes for books that really don’t need much more than my small Goodreads review and progress updates say. I decided to show all of my Goodreads reactions to the JACKABY series because I found that I didn’t have too much to say about each of them. I read the series with my book club over quite a few months (we had to skip some meetings). Here are my thoughts on each book in this series. We moved into the second book pretty quickly because we had to postpoone our March book club. There was a snowstorm and Chris and I had to drive back up to Maine before it hit. The third book was also pretty good. I binge-listened while packing to come home and driving around town running errands. Nothing specific to mention here that I don’t talk about below! The fourth and final book of the series was read a bit later due to some personal issues for one of the members, so we finally finished up the series for the August 1st meeting! I didn’t enjoy this one because of the ending and was mostly confused, but oh well.
After absolutely loving MY LADY JANE (despite not knowing much about the actual history/true story inolved), I was incredibly excited and optimistic about MY PLAIN JANE. Like the first book, I’m actually not well-versed in Jane Eyre, the heroine for this retelling. I’ve never read the book and actually, in hindsight, it would have been nice to read that beforehand (considering it’s on my “classics I might want to read soon” list). I can’t speak to how it compares to the original source. I can’t lie – this book was a bit disappointing compared to MLJ. I know it had big shoes to fill since I loved it so much, but I found myself slogging through it sometimes (mostly in the first half). I had to start and stop this one quite a few times for other reading commitments, but when I did have time to read it, I was never really compelled to pick it up. It wasn’t as funny for engaging as MY LADY JANE was. I started to get into it a little more in the second half of the book but this definitely felt too long. I never read JANE EYRE so I have no idea how it compares but I have to say I’m a little more interested in reading it now. Jane, Charlotte, and Alexander were interesting main characters and I liked being inside each of their heads. Despite all of those complaints, MPJ got more interesting as it went on and I really enjoyed the […]
I know I have full reviews and I have mini review round-ups, but there are some books that could be reviewed in just a few sentences. This is mini round-up I’ll have sometimes for books that really don’t need much more than my small Goodreads review and progress updates say. First up, we have an incredibly hyped up read that many bloggers have loved. I’ve owned it for a while and we read it for book club, so it was a good excuse to finally put aside the hype. Here’s a quick view of what I thought, because I’m surprised I don’t have a lot more to add?? Next, an incredibly important book that deserves more than a mini review, but I can’t really form the words. I love how all sides of the Black Lives Matter movement were discussed and I hope that anyone who doesn’t somehow see the need for the movement learns a lesson. So powerful.
In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! I was REALLY excited for this book for a long time, so I immediately put in a library hold for it. The physical copy was taking forever so I ended up requesting the ebook from there. I put my TBR on hold and dove right in. My memory is terrible with books, so I was happy when Carrie and I started chatting via DM about the book while we both read (that way I have some record of my initial thoughts and reactions!). I kind of suspected everyone and no one at the same time. I didn’t initially think any of the characters were capable of murder, even though McManus gave us plenty of red herrings for just about all of them. They each had suspicious excuses for that day, on top of dirty laundry they were trying to cover up. The more I read, the more I KNEW none of them did it. It just wasn’t possible. I developed a few theories but, as you know, I’m really bad about predicting murderers/mystery things. I genuinely loved all of the characters in this one. They had the stereotypical qualities of different types of high school students, but still felt real and unique to me. Bronwyn was the […]
The Nostalgia Project is my way of revisiting and rereading old favorites from my young adulthood to see if they still resonate with me. Learn more here and read old posts or reviews here! I didn’t include the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray in my original post about this project. Honestly it doesn’t really fit because it’s not the same kind of genre I was looking to analyze. However, if this trilogy is anything to me, it’s nostalgic. My book club decided to read this series for our meetings for March, April, and May, so it was finally the right excuse to make this reread happen! Man, this book. 💕 I love when rereads are a perfect mix of homey, nostalgic feelings plus a “brand new” story (because I forgot almost everything that happened!). It’s time like these where I love that my bookish memory is terrible. This was like revisiting an old favorite and being surprised at the same time. I think the biggest difference, looking back, is the pacing. I can see how some people may consider the story somewhat slow or even boring at times. The pacing is similar to a historical fiction book (which makes sense, because it is one), but there are some fantastical elements. The pacing is definitely not like that of a fantasy novel. I didn’t mind the slow-moving plot because my feels kept me going, not gonna lie. Gemma and her friends were worse to me this time around. I liked Gemma overall, even though she was definitely […]
I’ll be honest… I think three stars is generous for this one. I liked the ending, which does outweigh some flaws for me! I love second-chance-romance stories, especially when the two characters were best friends through childhood and reunite when they’re older. I also love anything involving time travel or alternate universes. In theory, this book is right up my alley! However… while the setup was interesting, SO much more could have been done with this premise. The biggest flaw for me – that can be applied to every single aspect of the story – is that the book lacked depth. It didn’t have any oomph to it. The romance was fine, the characters were fine, the time travel was fine… but that’s it. There wasn’t enough characterization for me to feel anything for the characters; I knew the bare minimum about them. Honestly, there were so many chapters where I forgot whose head I was in at the time. Characters (and their thoughts) should not be that flat and similar. I liked the side characters and their relationships, but they were even less developed. I don’t think we even know officially what happened to her aunt? And her relationship with her mom? I know the two things are related but the “closure” around those issues was either rushed or nonexistent. Time travel is a huge draw for me, but that was kind of boring too. Kale (yes I kept picturing the leafy vegetable) keeps traveling to the same time period for some […]
Hello friends! I’m here today for my stop on the DREAMLAND BURNING blog tour. (If you’re visiting my blog for Top Ten Tuesday, you can see the belated post tomorrow!) This book has some really important and interesting connections to previously overlooked historical events, so I hope you like what I put together today. You can find more information about the book and a mini review from me at the bottom of the post. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with book covers. I love the colors, the typography, the different designs that cover artists can create. I even have a guest post feature where people share their favorite book covers and bookmarks! I decided to start up this random feature where I draw color inspiration from my favorite book covers. I may create an outfit, pick out some nail polish, or design a quote graphic. Today’s cover is… Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham I’ve never done such a muted cover before for this feature, but I love how these colors use the sepia tones to imply history. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but the connections between past and present for this story really intrigued me. I pulled colors from the backgrounds, text, and hair to create the old-timey palette. I grabbed the above quote from a section of the synopsis before even reading the book. This quote could not be more relevant to feature here, both from a historical perspective and from the book itself. This book is […]
I was so thrilled when Alexa invited me along for the MY LADY JANE blog tour! I absolutely adored this book and truthfully haven’t stopped thinking about it since I read it so many months ago. (Get a taste of this novel by reading the prologue!) More places to find it: HarperCollins / Book Depository / iBooks / Indiebound / Chapters Indigo This book was absolutely unlike anything I’ve ever read, and it’s placed firmly on my favorites shelf. There were seriously SO many fantastic elements to this story – I’m going to have a hard time sharing just how fun and special this book is. Let me break it down as best as I can: Those narrators! I just have to mention the three amazing women who wrote this book together. They often had little asides where they would address the reader directly, and it was always so funny. It never took you fully out of the story – it really just added to its charm in ways I can’t explain. It was also super cohesive; it never felt like three different people wrote the book. Their voices and writing styles blended together perfectly and seamlessly. Pop culture references in historical fiction?? Yep. It was awesome. They made little remarks here and there alluding to things happening today (like a Red Wedding, referring to main characters as the Royal We, and quotes from Monty Python and The Princess Bride). Those examples don’t even scratch the surface; I would have to reread this book multiple times to pick up on everything, […]