Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

GoodReads Summary:
Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands… no matter what it takes
Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.
Annabelle is determined to resist Simon’s wicked propositions, but she can’t deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle’s courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.
Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1)Review:
I used to read Lisa Kleypas in high school. But it’s been many years since I’ve read any of her books. After reading some newer historical romance I decided I wanted to try some of the historical romance that I loved in my younger years. This was one of those.
I thought this story was fun. It was definitely entertaining. I love the concept of the wallflowers befriending one another and coming together to help each other catch husbands. The friendships of these four girls was most definitely my favorite part of the story. These girls are hilarious and outgoing and they make each other more confident. I’m continuing this series 100% for the friendship of the wallflowers.
The romance was actually pretty good in this book too. It’s an enemies to lovers story that follows Annabelle as she’s in her last season and desperate to get a husband to hopefully pull her family out of financial ruin. I think that’s what made me not hate her motivations. She’s only doing this for her mother and her brother. But the romance was pretty good. It was well developed and I really enjoyed seeing the couple fall in love even though they both really didn’t want to. I also enjoyed seeing Annabelle end up in a marriage that is very different from what she’d planned for her entire life. Simon Hunt is a businessman and not a part of the peerage. So, he doesn’t run in the circles that Annabelle’s hoping to become a part of. This was an adjustment for her and I think made the book that much better.
Overall, this was a fun and entertaining read. I liked the romance and the friendships were excellent. There were some great steamy scenes and I just all around had a good time reading this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

GoodReads Summary:
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times–bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America. Walk on Earth a Stranger begins an epic saga from one of the finest writers of young adult literature.
Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?
Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns series, dazzles with the first book in the Gold Seer Trilogy, introducing a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance, as only she can.
Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)Review:
I have to start by saying that I thought this was a totally different book. I was rereading this because I thought it was a book about something else. Despite going into this expecting a different story, I still liked it. I’m not big on historical fiction but this one was good.
Lee is going west to meet her best friend after her parents were murdered. Her journey was full of action and adventure, loss and love. I thought her ability to sense gold was really interesting.
This cast of characters had so many secrets that were revealed in time. I thought the writing was really well done. I also thought despite the book being kind of slow, it was still interesting.
It’s not my usual genre, but I still enjoyed this book. The characters were complex and interesting. The plot was a bit slow, but there was enough action that it wasn’t boring. Lovers of historical fiction will probably love this book. It talked about some complex topics with the inclusion of slaves and Native Americans. I thought those topics were discussed very well.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

fullsizeoutput_238b

GoodReads Summary:
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)Review:
I’ve been thinking about this book for days, unsure of how to go about this review. I have so many thoughts that I’m not sure how to form them into a cohesive post. So, I’m just going to talk about my enjoyment. There were things wrong with this book, yes, but I still had fun reading it. There were things about the setting and the love interests that could have been done better, but despite that, I had a good time reading.
Lou was funny and sassy and I enjoyed every minute of her trying to give Reid a hard time. It was hilarious and I loved it.
Reid was straitlaced and a little annoyingly so, but once Lou got him to loosen up a bit, I could see his appeal.
I thought their feelings for one another were a tad insta-lovey, but I could get past it.
I also thought the author did a really great job with all of the little connections that were revealed at the end of this book. I was blown away at the big reveal of certain identities and I totally did not see them coming.
Overall, I don’t think this was a perfect book by any means, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the characters and their differences. I loved the fake married turning into real love. I enjoyed the heck out of this book, even if there were flaws.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

fullsizeoutput_238b

GoodReads Summary:
Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.
A Madness So DiscreetReview:
After reading Heroine, McGinnis’ 2019 release, and absolutely loving it, I’ve been trying to make it through the rest of her books. A Madness So Discreet was…different, to say the least. I read in other reviews that it was supposed to be a conversation about madness and also the state of care for those with mental illnesses in the 1800s. But this book was actually pretty fucked up for lack of a better phrase.
I couldn’t help but love the main character, Grace. She as fiery and fierce despite the things she’d had to endure throughout her life. She was smart and clever and made the best of the horrible situation she’d found herself in. She was really the only reason I continued the story.
The doctor, Thornhollow, was odd but in the best ways. I liked that he saved Grace, even if he wasn’t the most personable sort. He was a bizarre character, but I liked him because of that. I especially liked his sister. She just added a bit more to the story that I really liked.
Overall, I’m going to keep this review short because I think I’m still sorting out my thoughts. I finished this book and all I could think to myself was, “What the actual F” I’m still not sure whether I even liked this book or not, so? I read it quickly. McGinnis has a way with words that makes me want more, even if I’m not super invested in the characters. I think my issue with this story was its darkness. I usually love things like that, but this story was all too real in the time period, even though it’s a fictional story, people suffered like this every day. And that’s not something I can enjoy.

Quotes:

“The darkness has long lived inside me, sown if not by my nature then by nurture.”

“I think we’re all quite mad. Some of us are just more discreet about it.”

“It’s a madness so discreet that it can walk the streets and be applauded in some circles, but it is madness nonetheless.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

GoodReads Summary:
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.
As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.
Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.
A Piece of the WorldReview:
A Piece of the World was given to me as a gift by my wonderful aunt. She gave it to me because my family is actually in it. I’m related to Christina Olsen. We have a shared ancestor in the Hawethorne’s of Salem. I picked this one up for WitchAThon because it fulfilled the prompt of reading a book featuring my heritage.
I think I probably would have DNF’d this book if it hadn’t been literally about my family. I actually did DNF a book that was eerily similar to this one, but I pushed through to complete the readathon prompt and to learn more about my family history. The thing with historical fiction that gets to me is not knowing which parts are facts from history and which parts were fictionalized.
I’m honestly not sure what to even say. I liked the way this story was told. We flashback and forth between Christina’s past and present and eventually the storylines meet. The author really made it easy to care about Christina and feel her struggles. I was captivated by the story.
Overall, A Piece of the World was a well written and fascinating piece of my own family history, even though I’m still not sure what parts were true and which were not. I enjoyed learning more about my ancestors.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

Summary:
Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, she doesn’t believe that her mother killed herself three years ago. And since her father is about to be executed for his crimes, Molly is convinced that her mother will return to her soon. Finally, the hole in her heart will stop hurting.
Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with serious girl problems and the most embarrassing seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer…or fail out of school.
And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.
When Molly and Pepper are tasked with finding Ava’s murderer, they realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.
The ArsonistReview:
I found The Arsonist as my local Ollie’s Bargain Outlet store. I like to go there and check out their selection once in a while. I thought this book sounded interesting and the cover totally drew me in. I actually enjoy the cover even more after reading the book because there’s so much to the story that the cover tries to show.
The Arsonist was told in three perspectives. We follow Molly who is writing letters to an injured Pepper. She’s telling him her side of their adventures and everything she learned after he was injured. Hearing the story from both Molly’s side and from Pepper’s was a really interesting way to tell the story. We hear from Pepper as he writes ‘essays’ in an attempt to still graduate high school instead of just dropping out. So, Molly is writing to Pepper and Pepper is writing to his teacher. The third point of view is Ava Dreyman. She’s a girl that grew up in Germany during the time that the Berlin Wall was still standing. We’re reading her diary, learning about her life as we follow Pepper and Molly’s journey to find out what really happened to Ava.
This story was intricate and complex. There were so many different things going on and I’m awed by Stephanie Oakes ability to weave the different perspectives and timelines. The writing was interesting and authentic to each character. Ava’s chapters were accurate to her time, historically. I also liked how Pepper’s chapters showed errors in grammar and spelling because English was not his first language. I thought this was an interesting way to make the characters more authentic. I also really enjoyed that this was a story about ‘the weird kids.’ Molly was a girl that didn’t have any friends. Her mother killed herself and her father is in jail about to die via the death penalty because he killed six people when he burned down an abandoned house. Pepper was a boy that has a few friends, but is failing his senior year of high school and struggles with the death of his mother. Ava was a resistance fighter trying to take on the whole of Germany. These are kids that are just trying to make a difference.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I didn’t know what to expect going into it, but I’m really glad that I picked this one up. It surprised me a little that I’ve never heard anything about this book because it blew me away. I definitely recommend The Arsonist to anyone that likes a good mystery and also to those that like historical fiction. This one won’t disappoint.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Summary:
1777. Albany, New York.
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.
Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.
Alex and Eliza (Alex & Eliza, #1)Review:
I bought this book when I first discovered BookOutlet. It took me entirely too long to get to it. I found the audiobook through my library. It took me a little while to get invested in the story. But once I was, I couldn’t get enough.
I loved Eliza and her sisters. I’m a sucker for good sibling relationships and this one didn’t disappoint. Eliza was sassy and did her best to stand up for the things she believed in. She tried to be there for her sisters and also respect her parents wishes. I thought she was such a good main character.
Then there’s Alex. I thought he didn’t really have all that much depth in the beginning. But he had goals and dreams and just wanted to fight for what he thought was right.
While I don’t know how historically accurate the story is (because history is one of my least favorite subjects.) I still thought it did well with the language and societal customs.
Overall, I thought this was a sweet romance, with lots of complications. I’m really interested to see where the story will be taken in the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

Summary:
Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.
Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.
To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.
In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.
As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.
The Devil's Thief (The Last Magician, #2)Review:
After reading the first book in this series, The Last Magician, I knew I had found a new favorite. Despite this, it still took me three months to get to The Devil’s Thief and I have no idea why.
I was so happy to be back in this world. It was exciting and magical and I loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed all the different perspectives this story is told it. It jumps around between characters and time periods. I thought this was such an interesting way to tell the story. I was just sad to see the gang broken up.
Esta was still a firecracker. I wish we’d gotten to see her travel in time more and use her ability more but she couldn’t under the circumstances and it was understandable. Harte was infuriating literally the entire book and that’s all I’m going to say about him. Viola was sassy and fierce and mischievous and I cannot wait to see how her story plays out in the end. I loved Cela and Jianyu and mayyyybe I hope we get to see some romance with them.
These characters were the heart of the story and I just adored them all. They’re a diverse cast in the sense of ethnicity and sexuality. I love them all so much and I’m so mad at Lisa Maxwell with the way she ended book two.
I also really enjoyed the timeline. Most of this story takes place during the World’s Fair and Maxwell doesn’t hesitate to have Esta point out all the bad shit that took place there. Though the people of that time period may not think about it, Esta looks around and acknowledges the things that should have been done differently.
Overall, this sequel was a little slow. I still enjoyed it very much. But I was expecting some sort of step toward the resolution of their end goals. Instead they seem to just get themselves into more and more shit. The end up worse off than they were when the story started. I’m really interested to see how Maxwell is going to wrap up all the loose ends in the next book. I’m not sure how many books are supposed to be in the series but I’m already anxiously anticipating the next installment.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Summary:
After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.
Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.
Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.
If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.
Or perhaps her time will finally run out.
The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl From Everywhere, #2)Review:
I read the first book in this series (reviewed here) because I was going to an event where this author was going to be. I am very glad I did read that book because I met the author and she was completely wonderful. She was funny and I just adored meeting her. So, after that event I thought I should probably get this book and read it (as well as all her other books but those will be for their own reviews.)
I adored this book just as much as the first. There were times where I thought to myself that Heidi was really going to do this or that to me and then she turned everything around again much to my pleasure. I love the concept behind the magic in this series. Being ‘Navigators’ they can travel through time, but only if they really believe in the place that they are going to, as well as having a map of that time and place. I just find time travel in general so compelling, but this method was so unique and interesting to me. I also really enjoyed how the author incorporated a combination or history and mythology. So, the characters visit real places in history as well as places that cannot be proven to have existed. I just loved it.
Next are the characters. I think there’s a really interesting father/daughter dynamic here that I appreciate, specifically because I was raised by my father in a single parent home. I really felt like her father wasn’t as present as he was in the first book and I think I would have liked just a little bit more insight into his struggles of fighting his addictions for his daughter. Nix was still my favorite. She’s fierce, strong, clever, and unapologetic about who she is. She stands up for what she wants and what she thinks is right. She’s insanely curious and always trying to learn and I really loved that about her. I also adored her love interest. Kashmir was exactly what I wanted him to be. I’m happy we got chapters from his perspective. I felt like it gave a bit more insight into his character. We learned more about his fears and insecurities and I liked that.
The rest of the supporting characters were as enjoyable as they were in the first book, but we didn’t really get any further insight into the familiar characters which I would have liked. Instead, we met new characters and learned all about their struggles and goals.
Overall, this was a great sequel. I enjoyed all of the different aspects of the story and plot. I loved all the dynamics between the characters. Time traveling pirates is all you have to say to me and I’m sold.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

GoodReads Summary:
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
Daisy Jones & The SixReview:
There were so many things I loved about Daisy Jones and the Six that I honestly don’t even know where to start. Taylor Jenkins Reid is so incredibly talented. I can only hope to be as skilled as she is one day. I listened to the audiobook for this story and I’m very glad I did. I’ll talk about that first. This audiobook was narrated by a full cast. Each character had its own narrator which is one of my favorite things. I adore audiobooks with full casts. Each narrator bought life and personality to their character. I loved the interview formatting of the story as well. Bringing up an event or time period and then letting each of the characters tell the story of that event the way they remembered it was so complex and captivating. Which brings me to one of the things that really fascinated me about this story. Because it was the memories of all seven of the band members, plus a few other characters, no one characters told the same story. They each told things they were they remembered so the experiences varied from character to character. I think that added so much complexity to the story. It really made you think about how no two people have the same memories or experiences of the same events. Another thing that Taylor Jenkins Reid does really well is writing a story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until she’s finished. After reading this book, it was hard not to think that these were all real people and a totally true story. The fact that Reid can make me think, “wait this didn’t happen?” really just blows me away.
I’m not going to talk about each character because there were entirely too many and that would make this review way too long. The characters each had their own personality and their own voice which I appreciate. They were distinct and vibrant, each in their own ways. They all had different goals and motivations which really made for a great story. They brought such fun and excitement and life into the story. I think the character were really what made Daisy Jones and the Six was it was. The story was all about the characters and their experiences and their feelings. There wasn’t really a specific plot outside of following the band members and other miscellaneous people as they rose to fame and then eventually fell apart. I think this story was written beautifully. I loved the whole experience. I cannot wait to see what Taylor Jenkins Reid comes up with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

GoodReads Summary:
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.
The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)Review:
Pirates is something I’m always interested in. It’s a buzzword of mine. This story was not about pirates in the way that I originally thought. The Girl from Everywhere is more a story of a father and daughter and their found family. I loved it. It was fast paced and exciting. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed following Nix and her adventures. She’s brave and funny, curious and ambitious. I thought she was a great main character. Her relationship with her father, the Capitan, was complex and dysfunctional. It brought a really interesting dynamic to the story. They were sassy and complicated. I was happy to see Nix stand up for herself and fight for her right to learn more and for her father to treat her better. This relationship took centerstage in the book. Nix was constantly trying to save her father from himself and cleaning up after him.
I loved the supporting characters. The fellow pirates each had their own unique and thought out back story. I liked that they had their own personalities and each added something special to the story.
Finally, the setting was my favorite part. I loved seeing historic Hawaii and the myths and lore than come from there. There were also a few other places visited. I loved the magic, time traveling pirates, it was interesting and unique. I would have appreciated learning a bit more about how the time travel magic actually worked.
Overall, this story was fun and interesting. I couldn’t get enough of the banter between characters and the antics they got up to. I’m interested to see what else they get up to in the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Summary:
Love. Loss. Liberty.
Andie Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and angry at the world for taking her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And her father has determined that Andi’s accompanying him to Paris over winter break is the solution to everything.
But Paris is a city of ghosts for Andi. And when she finds a centuries-old diary, the ghosts begin to walk off the page. Alexandrine, the owner of the journal, knew heartbreak also, and Andi finds comfort in the girl’s words. Until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
Review:
I received this book for my birthday from my best friend, Colleen. She explained that it’s one of her favorites and was surprised that I hadn’t read it. She bought it for me as part of my birthday gift last month. I was intrigued by the premise and got so much more than I expected from this story.
I generally don’t pick out historical fiction as a genre I read often, but when I do they are usually excellent books. Revolution certainly fills that standard. An excellent story it was for sure. Growing up in the United States, I learned primarily about American history doing my schooling. So going into this book I didn’t know very much about the French Revolution. I learned so much in this book that I didn’t previously know. I was a little worried I was going to be bored once the journal entries started and I realized that this was a historical fiction novel. I was not bored in the slightest. The back and forth between Andi’s story and Alex’s story kept it interesting. History is not one of my favorite subjects so it was nice to have Andi’s story to break up the massive amounts of information we were getting from Alex.
I liked all of the characters in this book. Andi is a deeply troubled girl. After losing her brother, she’s drowing in grief and blames herself for his death. She almost kills herself many times. I think the best thing this book did was accurately portray grief. Loosing someone you love can overwhelm you and take over your life. It can be so hard to deal with and move forward from that it consumes you and nothing else seems like it matters. I feel as if this story also accurately portrays depression and anxiety. Andi is so deep in her own troubles, taking too many of her pills that are supposed to be helping. Hallucinating, suicidal, she’s a girl with many problems. But these problems made her real. They made her relatable. I also like that at the ending they weren’t just magically resolved. She still had her problems, but she was slowly pulling herself out of the hole she was in and moving forward. She’s not cured but she’s trying.
Alex was an impressive character. Being alive during the French Revolution is not something I would want. She’s a character that also knows hardship and grief, but she deals with it differently than Andi. She’s fiercely loyal and incredibly brave. She fights for what she believes in and does her best to do the right thing for the people she loves. I wish she had met a better end, but the Revolution was a hard time to live in.

“I will go out again this very night with my rockets and fuses. I will blow them straight out of their comfortable beds. Blow the rooftops off their houses. Blow the black, wretched night to bits. I will not stop. For I mad I may be, but I will never be convenient.”

Revolution had some great supporting characters. Andi’s best friend back home was great. He knew she was having a hard time and did his best to be there for her even while she was in another country. Andi manages to make some friends while she’s in Paris and I loved them. Virgil is a total dream boat. He’s totally into Andi even if she doesn’t realize it for a while. He’s sweet and caring, but also intelligent with goals for his life. I totally loved him for Andi. He was supportive of her, even when she was being a totally bitch.
The last aspect of this book I want to talk about was the music. Books and music are two of my favorite things, but I can’t play or write music to save my life. This story features several musicians that use music to soothe their soul. Music is Andi’s passion and I love that we really see her come alive when she’s playing or listening to or talking about music. It played a huge part in this book and I really loved it. It was super interesting to read about, even for someone that doesn’t understand anything about making music.

“I’m wishing that he could see that music lives. Forever. That it’s stronger than death. Stronger than time. And that its strength holds you together when nothing else can.”

Overall, I totally loved this story. My only complaint is that the ending felt as if it was a little bit rushed. Andi spent so much time walking around Paris and reading Alex’s journal that I was already 300+ pages in before the real action happened. Even the epilogue felt rushed. We were told everything about Andi’s life one year later. There was definitely some opportunity to ‘show not tell’ toward the end of the book and the opposite toward the middle of the story. I loved the characters. I love that I learned about history and music. I loved this book.

“Every heart is made of stories.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Summary:
You make think you know the story. It goes like this: once upon a time, there was a sixteen-year-old girl named Jane Grey, who was forced to marry a complete stranger (Lord Guildford or Gilford or Gifford-something-or-other), and shortly thereafter found herself ruler of a country. She was queen for nine days. Then she quite literally lost her head.
We have a different tale to tell.
Pay attention. We’ve tweaked some minor details. We’ve completely rearranged major details. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not-so-innocent, or simply because we thought a name was terrible and we liked another name better). And we’ve added a touch of magic to keep things interesting. So really anything could happen.
This is how we think Jane’s story should have gone.
Review:
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and it’s second that came out this summer (My Plain Jane). My bookish twin, The Bookish Chick (check her out she’s amazing!) ranted and raved about the audiobook and I knew I had to read it. I couldn’t wait for the audiobook to be available through my library so I bought the book when I saw it available on Book Outlet.
This story does not disappoint in the least. It’s full of hilarious and loveable characters. I knew I was going to love this book after ten pages. I was cracking up pretty much the entire book.
I adored Jane. A fellow bookworm that’s not afraid to speak her mind. She ends up in all kinds of ridiculous situations and manages to get herself out of them as well. She’s smart and clever, funny and sassy, but also kind and loving. She’s incredibly protective over those that she loves and will do anything in her power to make sure they’re safe. I adored everything about Jane.
Gifford, preferred to be called G, was entertaining, but slightly annoying. He doubted Jane for most of the story and it really bugged me. Instead of just talking to Jane and asking her about the things he was assuming, he just let himself stew and feel bad. Other than this, I liked him. He did what he thought was right. He tried to protect Jane, even if that meant causing her to be ridiculously mad at him.
Edward, King of England, was funny and infuriating. He had some really backward ideas for most of the story. Ideas about men being superior to women and such. I liked Edward only because of the wonderful development he did throughout the story. He met a girl that helped him see how wrong all of his ideas really were. I liked that we got to see this change and development. It’s really what made me like him.
Overall this book was hilarious and I just couldn’t get enough. I don’t know too much about the real story of Lady Jane Grey, but I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as this book. If you like historical fiction, you’re going to love this story. The characters were wonderful and kept me wanting to get the rest of their story. I also loved that the narrators kept chiming in with little tidbits. It just made the story that much better. I really liked that the narrators (I don’t know if it’s called the same thing as is it with the movies, but I’m going to go with it) broke the fourth wall and addressed the readers directly. It was a really interesting aspect of the story and just added that little extra. I think all different kinds of readers would love this story. I will for sure be recommending this book to many readers.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!