Book Review: Shunned No More by Christina McKnight

Book Review: Shunned No More by Christina McKnight

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Lady Viola Oberbrook is hiding from the past. A past where two brothers lives were taken because of her selfishness.  She now lives in the country running a business with a few trusted friends.  She has no plans to return to London until the past confronts her head on.

Brock Spencer, Earl of Haversham, just returned to England from war with plans to renovate his estate, find a wife and seek vengeance on the one woman who destroyed his family.  But his plans change when he falls for the woman who should never be apart of his life.

This book was stunning.  I loved the romance, the backstories, and the characters.  The two main characters Viola and Brock were a wonderful match for each other for they each had vibrant yet haunted characters.  Viola was brave yet constantly feeling guilty.  She strove to change and to never be the same girl as she was in her youth.  She ran a horse stable despite the fact that in the times most ladies did not run any sort of business.  Brock was haunted by his past and his family unwilling to let it rest.  He was ungracious at times but it was easy to understand why.  In the end, they both forgave each other and let the future take over instead of dallying on the past.

The romance between the two characters, however, was a little rough and underdeveloped.  The book spent most of the time focusing on the characters trying to get past their emotional pains but the relationship between the two main characters stuttered.  I think that the romance could have been less instantaneous for it seemed to just happen in the last two chapters of the book.  Related imageThere were hints throughout the book that Brock and Viola had feelings for each other and there was even a kiss but it was not generally acknowledged by the characters.  It wasn’t a bad romance and they were a good pair but their romance just seemed too quick.

The backstories were phenomenal.  The main characters and even the side characters each had their own pains and character development.  I loved the changes that the events in the book brought about in the characters, especially for Viola.  During the Prologue, I hated Viola because she was arrogant, selfish, stupid, and uncaring.  I almost stopped reading there because I couldn’t stand her character.  However, I was glad that I stuck that one chapter out for the Viola we met in the next chapters was much changed.  She continued to learn and grow from each mistake she made and Brock did the same which made the book all the better because the reader could easily witness the character development enacted.

Overall I adored this book and would recommend it as an excellent example of its genre.

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Book Review: Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Book Review: Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

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Lucy Waltham is trying to get one man to the altar.  In need of practice in her seductive whiles and sweet kisses, she turns to her brother’s friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall who is as cold as ice.  As she sets up dozens of ways to seduce the man she loves to her side her kisses spark a deadly passion that could turn into a blazing fire at a mere spark.

Jeremy keeps a safe distance from emotions and Lucy who displays every emotion for the world to see.  But that changes with his need to save Lucy from certain heartbreak. Their sensual battle of wills is as forbidden as it is delicious and the closer Jeremy gets to taming his temptress… the nearer he comes to losing all control.

This book, simply put, was phenomenal.  The voice, the characters, the style, I loved all of it.  I was unable to put the book down and I continued to read it late into the night.  What I completely adored about the book and what really made up the entirety of the book was the characters.

Lucy was a wonderful character.  She preferred fishing and riding over sewing and she grew up traipsing through the woods with her brother and his friends.  She was an unrefined lady which made the book all the more entertaining.  What I truly liked about her was her passion.  Once she set her mind to something she saw it through.  I was slightly annoyed with her at the beginning of the book what with her constant planning to ensnare Toby.  It was made all the more galling by the fact that I knew he cared for her little beyond brotherly love.  Furthermore, Lucy refused to bend to her husband’s will and she accepted every dare placed before her.  Below her wild surface, she was sweet, brave, and unwilling to give up on others.  I adored her character because she was a bit of hoyden with unbending values and loyalty.

Her counterpart in this tale, Jeremy was a man hiding behind a cold facade and burying his emotions to forget the pain of his childhood.  His reluctance to reveal that part of himself to anyone added such sweet appeal to his character because it was a truly fantastic moment when we the reader were told about his past.  He was coarse at times but he was denying the fact that he loved Lucy and needed her while telling himself that Lucy could never feel the same.  I loved reading about Jeremy’s return to feeling again and I adored digging underneath the cold as ice countenance he had held onto for so long.

Image result for ahh sigh gifThe romance was truly stupendous.  Their attraction to each other at first was hard to conceive of, at least for Lily because she was determined that she was in love with another man.  It seemed for a while that Jeremy was the one truly falling while Lily attempted to be unfazed by their kisses.  After their marriage, however, Lily seemed to realize that she was falling for her handsome husband.  I noticed that Jeremy’s feelings kept growing for Lily but he denied it to himself and her for most of the book. In the end, the romance was powerful and sweet despite the obstacles in their path.

Since the book was built around the romance their is little else to say about the plot of the book besides the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lily’s antics in her desperate bid to capture the love of Toby.  The side characters were entertaining and I loved Sophia who simply wanted love.

In whole, The Goddess Hunt was a prodigious tale that I would highly recommend.

 

Book Review: The Robber Bride by Jerrica Knight-Catania

Book Review: The Robber Bride by Jerrica Knight-Catania

Image result for The Robber Bride by  Jerrica Knight-CataniaVictoria knew she needed to enact change in the world when she saw a poor girl on the streets.  So, she robbed the rich and gave all of the money to those who needed it more than the haughty aristocrats.  Her friend Phineas Dartwell, Earl of Leyburn suspects that Victoria is hiding something.  He wishes that Victoria would confide him but she refuses and he severs their friendship because of a wounded pride and an injured heart.  But when Victoria’s activities are brought to life, Phineas will do anything to see that his friend and perhaps future wife be acquitted of the charges.

The Robber Bride was a wonderful tale that I truly enjoyed.  I adored the main character who cared about those more unfortunate than her.  Indeed, she stole from the rich and gave to the poor much like Robin Hood but she did it all alone and almost no one knew of her illegal activities.  She cared about everyone even though she was a part of the peerage.  I loved how she was not afraid to back down even if her impetuousness sometimes got her into trouble.  Her friend, Fin was quite a wonderful gentleman who loved painting and cared dearly about Victoria and her brother.  It was hard not to like his character.  I was further endeared to Fin when he adopted Sally even though she was from the streets.

Image result for it was perfect gifBesides the fascinating characters, I liked how the book did not completely focus on the romance.  In fact, the romance seemed to be a major side note.   The two main characters were in fact friends for the entirety of the book.  There were a couple kisses thrown in but it wasn’t until the very end of the book that the romance blossoming between Victoria and Fin finally came to a head with a proposal of marriage and a declaration of love.  This contributed to my enjoyment of the book for some books can become tedious and dramatic when they focus completely on the romance and add little action to spice the book up.

I would recommend this book especially to those who enjoy a romance with a lot of action.  In the case of this book a little action of a lady highwayman who steals from her peers to give to those who have less than she.

 

Author Highlights Seven

Shannon Hale 1 (1)Here is the second Author Highlights I promised for the month of June.  Finally, I will be caught up with this post.  It only took a few months but here we are.  This means that we are in the seventh month of me doing this post.  It’s been over half a year which is weird since it seriously seems like yesterday when I started this blog.  I know I say that a lot but it’s true.  Anyways let’s get this post started.  The author of today is…..

Shannon Hale

Image result for Shannon HaleShannon Hale has written over thirty books.  Several are individual books while other are part of a series.  She is most known for her Princess Academy Series.

I have read the Princess Academy series, The Goose Girl,  and the Book of a Thousand Days.  I loved each of these stories and I still treasure them despite the fact that the books are for a younger audience.

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

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Image result for The Goose GirlAnidora-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s incredible stories and learning the language of the birds. Little knowing how valuable her aunt’s strange knowledge would prove to be when she grew older. From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become a queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must understand her own incredible talents before she can overcome those who wish her harm.

Image result for Book of a Thousand DaysWhen Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors–one welcome, the other decidedly less so–the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.

For more information on the author visit her website at http://www.shannonhale.com/.

 

 

Book Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Book Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

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Minnie is shy and timid, a common wallflower.  That is how she wants to be seen to escape from the scandal of her past.  A past that caused her to change her name and hide her nature.  However, her facade is soon threatened when the Duke of Clermont comes to town.  He is immediately drawn to the seemingly inane Minnie but he soon realizes she is not all that she attempts to appear to be.  He tries to uncover her secrets even as she searches for his.  But this women may prove to be more than his match…..

This book was an intriguingly simple tale of a Duke and girl who suffered scandal at the young age of twelve.  I adored the book especially the characters.  The main character Minnie hid behind a timid facade that I enjoyed uncovering throughout the course of the book. However, I was occasionally annoyed by her inaction and unwillingness to let herself go. Robert, the Duke, was sweet, likable, and kind.  He had a horrible childhood and he struggled to find peace with his mom.  I was endeared to him because he was a sweet talker.  Furthermore, he was concerned for the working class and wished for the peerage to be abolished even though he ranked highly among it. Minnie and Robert were two wonderful main characters whose adventure I loved to read about.

Image result for yes gifBeyond the characters, the premise of the story which took place in Regency England was quite like many other English historical romance books.  A girl was looking for a husband but she was not all that she seemed and then she met an unattainable man.  However, I enjoyed how the book mentioned the works being done for the poor and those who worked in factories.  It spent a portion of the book focusing on the rights of the middle class and lower classes and how the peerage of the time could have helped and how some did.  In the case of the book stirring pamphlets were written by the Duke.

The backstory continued to add appeal to the book for Minnie had been a world-renowned chess player.  I myself have always enjoyed chess and it was fun to read about a young girl who could beat grown men at the game.  The book also applied chess to Minnie’s character by constantly showing how she weighed each move she made like life was one big chess game.

The Duchess War was a fun and easy read.  I would recommend this book to those in need of a sweet story with lovable characters. I truly enjoyed this book and if you read it I know you will too.

 

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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Zahra has been trapped in her lamp for thousands of years until a young thief by the name of Aladdin rubs her lamp and becomes her master.  She is shoved into a greatly changed world where her magic and she is forbidden.  In order to survive, she must use her shapeshifting magic until Aladdin uses his three wishes.  When the King of Jinn offers her freedom if she saves his son she seizes onto the opportunity.  Except she finds that she is falling in love with Aladdin.  She will have to betray him to get the freedom she seeks.  As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire.  But which will win, her desire for freedom or her love for Aladdin?

The Forbidden Wish was a wonderful retelling of Aladdin.  I loved how it was not from the point of view of Aladdin but that of the Jinni, Zahra.   Zahra was a wonderful character who was easy to love.  It was effortless to relate to her feeling of being trapped because sometimes we all feel trapped.  Zahra was filled with thousands of years of pain and regret and the reader watched as she struggled to overcome the past that plagued her.

The book conveyed the meaning of being at the mercy of others, of being trapped and unable to escape.  I think it helped me to understand how it would truly feel to be a Jinni of the lamp who could grant powerful wishes but never leave and was always under the command of others.

The other characters were each uniquely stunning in their own ways.  Aladdin was a thief determined not to become the leader the people wanted him to be.  The princess and her companions were awesome because it was unexpected to see young women in such a society behave as they did.  The other characters added their own personalities and touches to parts of the book making it burst full of life.

Beyond the colorful characters the book was filled with descriptions of a wonderful and magical world.  A world of bazaars and trees that carried the fruit of gems such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.  It was sensational to read of all the things that magic had wrought in the book’s setting.

Overall the book was an enchanting retelling of the classic tale of Aladdin.  I would exceedingly recommend this book for the writing style and voice express the pain, anger, regret, joys, and sadness of an infinite being: the Jinni.

“As the poets say, stories are truth told through lies.”   – The Forbidden Wish.  Read this book and see the truth behind the story of an infinite tale that has withstood the ravages of time.

Book Review: Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

Book Review: Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

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Izzie has the perfect life with the perfect boyfriend.  Well, except for the fact that her father’s dead and her mother’s a witch she has a happy life.  She wants her friend Branna to have the same thing so when a new hot guy shows up at school, Tristan, she knows she has found the guy to set Branna up with.  Except things don’t go as planned and she finds herself in love with two men while supernatural creatures begin to show up at every turn.  It’s bad enough that Izzie has two guys and Branna has none, now Izzie has to fight for her life.

This book was tough to get through.  I hated it.  This could be due to the fact that I have barely slept in the past two days but I did not like this book at all.  There were so many issues with Tris and Izzie that I don’t even know where to begin.  I guess I’ll start with the lack of character growth.

Image result for boring gifThroughout the entire book, none of the characters really changed or learned.  The main character, Isolde or Izzie had her moments of character growth but the rest of the cast was blah.  They were just there.  No major moments of character growth happened to the side characters which made the book so boring at times.  The emotions of the book were there but were not fully felt for they didn’t enact or help bring about change to a person in the story.  All in all, there was barely any character growth.

Another thing that bothered me was the main character’s selfishness and sometimes blatant disregard for others, especially for Mark and Tristan.   When she fell in love with Tristan, Isolde refused to break up with her boyfriend, Mark.  Instead, she continued to lead him on and yet she could not stand his touch.  It was expressed in the book that her relationship with Tristan had to be false because of the love potion she gave him.  I don’t care because she still kissed Tristan while she was in a relationship with Mark which can be deemed as cheating.  Throughout the first half of the book, she led both of the boys along which usually happens in love triangles but I just couldn’t stand it in this book.  Beyond that Isolde missed so much of went on around her like the fact that her best friend was desperately in love with her boyfriend.

Image result for slap gifFurthermore, the author seemed to throw in unnecessary and dramatic scenes.  Isolde slapped Tristan and Mark each once and both times were for no real apparent reason.  The main character was overly ruled by emotion which constantly swung up and down and around.  By page fifty I wanted to slap Isolde because of her issues with Tristan and Mark.  Love triangles can be good if a bit cliche but some are just bad and Tris and Izzie is one of those bad love triangle books.

Lastly, the cover in no way represents the book.  I know it’s a nitpicky thing but the dude in the boat has the wrong colored hair.  I assume the guy on the cover is Tristan who has white blond hair that is obviously shown as brown on the cover.   Actually, that was my main issue with the cover otherwise it looks decent but doesn’t show the true nature of the book.

Overall I would not recommend reading this book.  It would be a great waste of time.  If you want to read Mette Ivie Harrison’s other books I would go for it for they are better.  See my post on her book The Princess and the Hound which is a far more superior book than Tris and Izzie.