Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review: Love Me

Love Me (Starstruck, #2)Author: Rachel Shukert
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: Starstruck # 2

A new series set in the golden age of glam . . . 

Amanda is heartbroken. She's tried, but she can't get over her breakup with hotshot writer Harry Gordon. If only she could talk to him, she could convince him that their love story is bigger than any screenplay. But Amanda isn't the only one in Hollywood keeping a secret—Harry's got one too. 

Margo has to pinch herself: there's talk of her getting an Oscar nom for her first film role, and she's living with the Dane Forrest, the gorgeous movie star millions—including herself—swoon over. But if the public finds out about their domestic arrangement, her career will be over. The studio has a plan to fix it all . . . but is Margo prepared to pay the price?

Gabby's drinking is out of control, but who cares? She's bored and depressed. She needs someone who will treat her like the woman she is beneath the silly stage costumes and pigtails. And she's sure unpredictable musician Eddie Sharp is The One. But playing with bad boys like Eddie isn't for little girls. . . .

“You’ve been in Hollywood long enough to know that all the real acting happens offscreen.”

“Tell Eddie Sharp I’ll see him at the Oscars. Until then, I’ll be in my dressing room. Don’t forget. I’m a star.”

The only thing that matters is that I look like a million bucks.

I am so pleased with the second book in this series! The first one was amazing and this one was not better than the first, but kept me just as entertained and intrigued as the first one did for sure! The time period is to die for; any book set in the 1920’s-1930’s is sure to be at the top of my To-Be-Read list. The drama and the action that Margo, Gabby, and Amanda land themselves in is always enough to keep me entranced and usually mad at one of them for the decisions they make! I mean what could be more glamorous than being a movie star in the 1930’s? And what could be more interesting than getting a behind the scenes look into this life of drama and intrigue?

These books show the side of Hollywood that we all often forget. We most always associate Hollywood and movie production with glamour, beauty, and scandal. However, we often forget that these movie stars are just real people with real life problems. In this book we are able to get the full effect of a Hollywood lifestyle and what that really entails. There were several references to actual films that we all know and love in this book and that made me love this series and this author even more.

I was glad to see more of Gabby and Amanda in this book. Not that I do not like Margo because I do, but I was just glad to see Gabby and Amanda a little more in the spotlight. I would like to say that while these books are intriguing and while you will feel like you are watching an extremely addicting TV show, they do deal with some racy content. The girls all drink heavily and a couple of them do drugs. I have a love/hate relationship with these girls because while I love them at times, there are times when I hate the decisions they make. Kudos to Rachel Shukert for making me love her characters and hate them at the same time!

The only sad thing about this book is that I probably have to wait another year for the next one to come out!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Delacorte Press in exchange for my honest review***

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: Tyringham Park

Tyringham Park: A NovelAuthor: Rosemary McLoughlin
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Atria

Tyringham Park is the Blackshaws' magnificent country house in the south of Ireland. It is a haven of wealth and privilege until its peace is shattered by a devastating event which reveals the chaos of jealousy and deceit beneath its surface.

Charlotte Blackshaw is only eight years old when her little sister Victoria goes missing from the estate. Charlotte is left to struggle with her loss without any support from her hostile mother and menacing nanny. It is obvious to Charlotte that both of them wish she had been the one to go missing rather than pretty little Victoria.

Charlotte finds comfort in the kindness of servants. With their help she seeks an escape from the burden of being the unattractive one left behind.

Despite her mother's opposition, she later reaches out for happiness and believes the past can no longer hurt her.

But the mystery of Victoria's disappearance continues to cast a long shadow over Tyringham Park – a mystery that may still have the power to destroy its world and the world of all those connected to it.

“Artists don’t live in the same world as we do,” said her father when the clock showed five minutes past eight and the painter’s chair across from her stood unoccupied.

The mother wasn’t seen to lose her composure and the father didn’t return from London when Victoria Blackshaw, the pretty one, went missing at the age of twenty-two months.

How could she have known how easy it was to love and care for a child? Why had no one told her how all-consuming and satisfying tending to a child could be?

I’m not afraid of her anymore. What harm can she do to me at my age?

This book turned out to be nothing like I expected it would be. Marketing for the book compared it to Downton Abbey, which I cannot get enough of, but I found this book to be more emotional and heartbreaking than Downton Abbey ever had time to be. This book was a nice surprise and different from any other book I had read this month. The story focuses around Charlotte Blackshaw, who has lived her life constantly in the shadow of her younger sister, Victoria. There is only one problem with this situation: Victoria disappeared when she was just a toddler. Her entire life has not been the same since her sister’s disappearance and her parents treat her differently because of it. Charlotte suffers from more than mental abuse and neglect, however. This book is truly heartbreaking, but something you should not miss!

Charlotte is a truly riveting character. The struggles and psychological damage that she suffers is something that took me awhile to wrap my head around. This book deals with issues that are heart wrenching and not for the faint of heart. Many reviews that I have read focus mostly on the bashing of Charlotte because of her destructive nature. Yes, Charlotte can be difficult, but I couldn’t help but have hope for her future. Charlotte is not your typical protagonist, but it was a nice change. This book is not at all clichéd or predictable and Charlotte adds to that greatly!

A lot of the characters in this book are extremely unlikeable – but, alas, this is a compliment for Rosemary McLoughlin. Charlotte’s mother in particular is completely loathsome. Neither of Charlotte’s parents are at all very likeable. This plot changes quickly and keeps things interesting as well. For as much information that is packed in this book, McLoughlin keeps readers fascinated with dramatic twists and turns for not just one but all of the characters.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Atria in exchange for my honest review***

The publishers at Atria have graciously offered up one free copy of Tyringham Park for giveaway on my blog. If you are interested in possibly owning your own copy of this book, please enter in the Rafflecopter giveaway below. The giveaway will run through Friday, February 28th! This giveaway is for the US ONLY!

This a way that I can repay all of my wonderful readers! Thank you for reading and staying faithful to my blog!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Revell Blog Tour: The Dream Dress

The Dream Dress (Weddings by Design #3)Author: Janice Thompson
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Revell
Series: Weddings by Design # 3

A seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides. She wants to see her own dress designs gracing the young women of Texas. When Jordan Spencer, the editor of Texas Bride magazine visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is devastated to lose her job in his very influential presence. Convinced she'll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement--especially from her friend Bella Neeley--to take a chance and start her business. And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well. Could it be that she'll have to design her own wedding dress soon?

When a seamstress uses the phrase “coming out of the closet,” it takes on a whole new meaning.

To say the least. The man was more emotional than a mother of the bride on her daughter’s wedding day, and I’d met more than my fair share of those.

They, like my career, were a catastrophic mess, one that no amount of alterations could fix.

The single girl in me smells someone’s yummy cologne here.

A book about weddings when I am planning my own…what could be more perfect? Ever since I was a little girl and I fell in love with the movie The Wedding Planner, I have dreamed of my perfect day and wanted to help other people plan theirs. So, of course, anytime I am given the opportunity to read a book about weddings, bridal boutiques, or heroines like Gabi who dream of having their own wedding dress line, I am immediately in heaven! This book offered all of that and so much more. Gabi Delgado has big dreams and even bigger doubts, but in this charming and cozy read she finds the power to pursue her dreams and so much more!

This book is perfect for any woman who loves a girly read filled with loveable characters, lots of wedding talk, and a cozy feel that will have you wanting more as soon as you turn the last page. This book is an easy, fast read and left me with a light, fluffy feeling. It is beautifully written and the eloquent language often made me stop and pause, taking in everything I had previously read before. I could not recommend this book more. I was reminded of Nora Roberts’ bridal series, that I cannot remember the name of at the moment.

The message behind this book is very inspirational as well and completely feasible. Our heroine, Gabi, has the dream of owning her own dress designs. She often gets discouraged, but what red-blooded American doesn’t? This is a motivational story about having enough faith to go out on a limb and make your dreams come true. And I cannot forget to mention that this book does have its fair share of romance as well!

***I received a free copy of this book from the publishers at Revell in exchange for my honest review***

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Early Review: Love and Chaos

Love and Chaos (Brooklyn Girls, #2)Author: Gemma Burgess
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Series: Brooklyn Girls # 2

Wild child and secret romantic Angie wakes up in a hotel room with $3,000 and no memories of the night before. Her best friends aren’t talking to her, she can’t get a job in fashion, her parents are divorcing, and she’s about to turn twenty-three. And life is about to get much worse.

Brooklyn Girls: Love and Chaos continues the story of our five favorite grads sharing a brownstone and starting out in New York City through Angie’s eyes. On a journey from private jets and yacht parties to dirty subways and hipster bars via crazy storms, flash floods, and retail jobs from hell, Angie discovers who she is, what she wants, how she’s going to get it —and a crazy little thing called true love.

Meanwhile, her roommates lives are imploding, too. Coco’s self-medicating and self-loathing, Pia’s breaking up and cracking up, Madeleine’s finding her voice and Julia might—just might—have met someone she can actually date.

Brooklyn Girls is the hilarious, inspiring Gemma Burgess series every twenty-something has been waiting for that tells you that whatever you do, whatever mistakes you make, everything is going to be okay. All you need is a little luck, a little work, and your best friends.

I was really going to be somebody by the time I was twenty-three.

Sighing. I reach into my nightstand where there’s always my latest Harlequin, M&M’s, cigarettes, and Belvedere vodka.

“Mazel tov! Welcome to the club. Let’s celebrate.”

Never again. Never, ever again. I’m staying single. Forever. I’m staying away from all dudes. Especially rich kids and liars.

This series captivated me in the summer of last year, and I am still hoping and praying that Gemma Burgess writes an installment for each girl mentioned so far: Pia, Angie, Coco, Julia, and Madeline! This book tells Angie’s story, a character that I did not think I would like at all after the first book. Angie is definitely the wild child that doesn’t care too much what anyone else thinks about her, maybe with the exception of her best friend Pia. Pia completely stole my heart in the last book, and I think that is why this book didn’t seem as good to me. Angie was still a lot more likeable than I gave her credit for. Her life, much like the Pia’s life in the start of the last book, is in shambles and it feels that nothing is going right for her. However, things take a turn for the worse when she wakes up one morning in a strange hotel with an envelope that contains $3,000 on her nightstand! Oh, Angie, what have you gotten yourself into?!

Angie is just no Pia in my eyes. I tried my best not to hold that against her, and by the end of the book I actually found myself liking her and wanting her to succeed and turn her life around. The book had a bit of a slow start for me, but the action definitely starts to pick up after the first chapter. Angie is a complete mess at the beginning of this book and a lot of her characteristics are self-destructive, which is similar to feelings I believe a lot of twenty something year old women face. She has pretty much hit rock bottom and a lot of events occur that make her own friends question her stability. She is quite an inspiration, even though I found myself questioning a lot of her actions!

I am so excited for the next book in this series! I have no idea when it is coming out, but I really hope it is Julia’s story because that girl needs to lighten up! These books are incredible if you are looking for something to get you out of a reading slump or if you want to pass the day with your nose buried in a book. They are extremely fast reads and will have you turning the pages at lightning speed. They are so light and airy and just allow me to get lost with no care for the time! I highly recommend them!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for my honest review***

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Legacy of the Clockwork Key

Legacy of the Clockwork KeyAuthor: Kristin Bailey
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: The Secret Order # 1

A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.

When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key that only Meg which unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg has no choice but to follow.

She has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect, and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge. The clockwork key has unlocked her destiny in this captivating start to a trilogy.

Something in my life had to change, but there was only one thing I could call my own. I pressed my hand to my bib, feeling the broken watch push against my heart as I silently left the room.

He could sit in the dust and dark of the carriage house and rot for the rest of his life. Clearly that's what he wished to do. It was not my place to get in the way of so profound a destiny.

I was the only person who knew the song, who could complete any section of it. I was the master of the key.

Have you ever wondered how great books often slide by you? Yes, well that happened to me with this particular title. Apparently this book was the debut for the author back in 2013 and I just completely missed the memo! However, I am so glad that I found out about it now. This book is full of so much imagination and steampunk that I might explode with excitement before I finish typing this review. Meg’s life has been swept out from under her as we begin the story. Her home has burned, killing her parents, and destroying her fortune and any hopes for her future. But, alas, Meg is a fighter and picks her head up eventually and finds work as a housemaid in Lord Rathford’s mansion. There she witnesses a multitude of strange phenomena and meets some pretty interesting characters as well; the stable boy being one of them. After asking him to help fix her watch, she learns that she possesses no ordinary watch but what is actually a key unlocking her ability to travel through time!

This book is full of action, adventure, and even a secret society! Readers could honestly not ask for any more than what this book offers. Nothing is too clichéd and I actually really enjoyed being able to help Meg search for clues. There were amazing twists and turns around every corner and Meg picked up some pretty interesting characters on the way. I actually found myself more attuned to Will than Meg. It took me a little time to warm up to Meg, thus the four star rating. However, by the end of the book I was happy to understand her a little better and be able to see her in a different light.

I have always said that it takes such artistic skill to be able to create a steampunk world much like the one Bailey gives us in this story. Since starting my blog in 2012, I would say that steampunk is one thing I have been trying to find and read more of, that and New Adult. There is just something about the world of steampunk and all the inventions and uncanny characters that sends a spark through me! I absolutely loved the world and the descriptions that Bailey incorporates in her story. I cannot wait to read the second book!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Simon Pulse in exchange for my honest review***

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review: Sweet Thing

Sweet ThingAuthor: Renee Carlino
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Atria
Series: Sweet Thing # 1

"You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together…then you'll hear the sound of your soul."

Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She's an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use and exploring music, her true love.

When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father's café, a treasured neighborhood institution that plays host to undiscovered musicians and artists. She's denied herself the thrilling and unpredictable life of a musician, but a chance encounter with Will, a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist, offers her a glimpse of what could be. When Will becomes her friend and then her roommate, she does everything in her power to suppress her passions-for him, for music-but her father's legacy slowly opens her heart to the possibility of something more.

A "heartbreaking and romantic" (Aestas Book Blog) debut, Sweet Thing explores the intensity and complexities of first love and self-discovery.

You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together... then you'll hear the sound of your soul.

It's a fool who thinks love will set him free. Love equals a morbid and relentless fear of losing the other person.

Sometimes it takes the love of others to show us who we really are.

You are your mother and your father. You are your experiences and your fears and the love you let yourself feel. You are your degree and your talent and your passion. You are your pain, your joy, and your fantasies. You are me and Sheil and Jenny and Will and every person that touches your soul..but most of all you are you, whoever you dream that to be.

Share your special soul with me
And I promise to
Give you all of mine.

I am not sure if it was because of Valentine’s Day, but here lately I have been craving some contemporary romance or new adult books. When I was approached by the publisher about reviewing this book, I was overly excited and started the book as soon as it came in the mail. I loved this book so much that I tried my best to prolong reading it. Mia’s story is romantic, heartbreaking, and completely inspiring! I was swept away with the author’s writing and the characters that are painted beautifully on these pages just like art on a fresh canvas. This was a perfect Valentine’s Day read.

Mia’s story starts shortly after we, the readers, realize that her father has recently passed away. Mia is on her way to New York City to take over her father’s café. Her journey is just beginning at that point and readers are in for such a treat from there on out. I have read reviews where readers became easily frustrated with Mia, and I can understand why at times, but I love her too much to be frustrated with her. Her journey is remarkable and her character really does start to realize, as the story progresses, what is most important in life. It is always nice to read a story in which I get to see the heroine or main character grow and change after experiencing new and something scary things.

Everything about this story was realistic and the characters became a part of my world. This was definitely one of those books that after I turned the last page I already missed the characters and the world they lived in. Will and Mia were of course my favorite. They were both also realistic and I felt like their relationship was as well. Will turned out to be just how I pictured him from the start. The time they spent together always felt so endearing and really added warmth and character to the storyline. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a book that will be difficult to put down!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Atria in exchange for my honest review***

Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: Prince of Shadows

Prince of ShadowsAuthor: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: NAL Trade

A thrilling retelling of the star-crossed tale of Romeo and Juliet, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series.

In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honor and—if they survive—marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born.

Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona—and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona…

…And will rewrite all their fates, forever.

I stood in the dark corner of my enemy’s house, and thought of murder.

“Sir Montague,” the taller one said. “You stand in danger here. You’re in Capulet territory, and walking alone. Unwise, sir. Very unwise.”

It was the beginning of the end of the good days.

Any kind of retelling is right up my alley. A Romeo and Juliet retelling is at the top of my list along with my other favorite, Jane Austen retellings. I was a bit hesitant to pick up this book because I have read so many Romeo and Juliet retellings in the past; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this was Benvolio’s story, Romeo’s cousin. This story painted Benvolio in the limelight and not Romeo; it actually made Romeo out to look like a silly boy with silly fantasies and a knack for finding trouble, which was a new take for me as well. Not only is Benvolio written to be smart and debonair, but he has an alter ego as well: The Prince of Shadows. He steals from the rich and gives to the poor, while pocketing a few trinkets for himself!

This book was everything I hoped for and more. Rachel Caine does an amazing job of making this retelling unique. She still tells the story of Romeo and Juliet, in just the way we all expect, but by telling it from someone else’s perspective she gave herself this new creative license. I have only ever read the story from one of the main character’s perspectives and this was such an interesting change. I felt like I was reading a brand new story, even though Romeo and Juliet is as old as time itself. Benvolio was an impressive character and personally I loved watching him take control of Romeo’s silly antics and boss him around. This book makes Benvolio out to be the hero, and I think it’s about time another character gets the spotlight.

What I loved most about the book was the fact that Caine made this story completely her own but kept parts of the original tale that we all love. The Montagues and the Capulets were already having it out every day in the streets when this book opened up, and Tybalt was already a much hated character whom everyone wanted to fight and destroy. None of this went away and even more was added. Rosaline played more of a role in this story than in the original, and she was just the opposite of Juliet. This book is for everyone who once enjoyed the original tale or any retelling after it!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at NAL Trade in exchange for my honest review***

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Throw in the Trowel

Throw in the Trowel: A Flower Shop MysteryAuthor: Kate Collins
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Signet

Series: A Flower Shop Mystery # 15

The couple that sleuths together…

Flower Shop owner Abby Knight has just returned from a romantic honeymoon with the man of her dreams. There’s no reason for the bloom to be off the rose just because she and Marco are returning to normal life. But when Marco discovers a skeleton buried in the basement of his bar, it is a bit of a mood killer.

When the body is identified as a carpenter who went missing back in the 1970s, Abby and Marco decide to cultivate the clues to solve the cold case. What could be more romantic? But the deeper they dig, the more desperate the murderer grows. And if Marco and Abby don’t unearth the killer’s identity, they may not live to see their first anniversary.

Correction. Let’s make that Abby Christine Knight Salvare.

Both men leaned close to look at the object in his palm. I stood up and brushed my hands on my pants, feeling as though I’d touched something disgusting. “That’s a finger bone.”

If I were a betting man, I’d place my money on the Salvares.

This marriage thing was a real game changer.

Kate Collins and her Flower Shop Mystery Series have been at the top of my charts when it comes to Cozy Mystery books for quite some time now. I have patiently awaited one book after the next and have never been disappointed by the writing, characters, or the adventures and mysteries we solve alongside our brave heroine, Abby. I was wondering where Collins would take readers next, especially after Abby and Marco were married in the book prior to this one. However, I was wrong for even beginning to question the work of Kate Collins. She brought back all our loveable characters in this book, post wedding, and they were better than ever!

This was one of the most interesting mysteries that I have read in this series so far. A skeleton is found in the basement of Marco’s bar and Abby and Marco think that the skeleton might belong to a carpenter who went missing back in the 1970’s. Collins knows just what to do to draw a reader in. This cold case mystery had me on the edge of my seat and I was so intrigued with a few of her key plot points and twists. It really does say something for an author that after 15 books in the same series she can still keep readers guessing and hunting for clues just as intently as the characters themselves.

Abby and Marco are not the only loveable characters in this series and I have said this from day one: Kate really knows how to incorporate secondary characters that readers can cherish and be delighted to see at any given time during the books. Grace and Lottie will always remain at the top of my list just because of the reliable and cozy nature they both have. You can always count on them to be right there when Abby needs them most with something freshly baked and a cunning quote to add to my journal!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Signet in exchange for my honest review***

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Release Day Review: The Traitor's Wife

The Traitor's WifeAuthor: Allison Pataki
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Howard Books

A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason.

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the infamous Revolutionary War General who betrayed America and fled to the British as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot; a charming and cunning young woman, who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as Military Commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former lover and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

“To beguile the time, look like the time;
Bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue:
Look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it.”

                     - Lady Macbeth

No one will suspect a flower of such beautiful bloom to conceal a serpent underneath. She can manage it. She can manage anything.

I wonder, as I study his large features – his placid eyes, his wide, honest brow – does Washington know already? Or is there still time?

I see, as the men do, the panic, the bewilderment and despair of a woman who has just found out that her husband is a traitor. I see all that, but I also see something they do not; I see that the pain she shows is nothing more than a mask. A painfully beautiful mask.

To be completely honest I have heard people called a “Benedict Arnold”, but never knew what or whom it referred to. After doing my research and reading this fascinating tale, I am pleased to say that I now know the story of Benedict Arnold and his wife, Peggy Shippen Arnold. I became so completely immersed in this couple’s story and life, as I am sure the author, Allison Pataki, did, that I found it hard to stop researching and reading about the life they shared together as well as the betrayal they both took part in. History was my second favorite subject in school, next to English, and stories like this one only feed that passion. 

This tale was told from the perspective of our heroine and Peggy’s maid, Clara Bell. I enjoyed reading about Clara and hearing all of the treason and treachery unfold from her point of view, but she was definitely nothing like Peggy. Clara was more timid and shy than her mistress. I couldn’t help but want to know and hear more from Peggy. Seeing her through Clara’s eyes was an interesting turn of events for me because I got to see Peggy how others might have saw her as well. She seemed to be confident and often times unlikeable. However, I do believe that reading this story from Clara’s point of view made Peggy seem all that more intriguing to me.

While reading this book, stopping and realizing how immersed I was in the story, I found that I had stumbled across an inviting and truly talented new author. I enjoyed everything about Pataki’s writing style and didn’t realize until many pages in that this was her debut novel. I could feel the passion and the soul that she had poured into writing this book. It was obvious that this topic and these characters were ones that had danced around her mind for quite some time. Any history nerds, fans of the Revolution, or fans of amazing female protagonists should pick up a copy of this book as soon as possible!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Howard Books in exchange for my honest review***

Sunday, February 9, 2014

ARC Book Review: All That Glows

All That GlowsAuthor: Ryan Graudin
Publication Date: February 11. 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen

Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

“He’s a challenge. No one volunteers to guard him anymore. He takes too much energy. When’s your first shift?”

I start to breathe again. He’s forgotten all about the Green Woman. And that moment between us. Whatever it was.

“Emrys, you’re one of the best Fae in my Guard.” Breen is all severity. “You just need to deal with it. I know you can.”

“I won’t hurt you,” I begin. “It’s my job to protect you, to keep you safe.”

Emrys, a fiery young girl full of life and passion, has just been sent away from her homeland, the Highlands, back to London with a specific assignment: guardian to the royal Prince Richard. Prince Richard is notorious for his party boy reputation and his careless and carefree lifestyle and attitude. Both of these things make him susceptible to the dark magic that lies in wait. Emrys and Richard are about to meet their matches within one another. Their relationship sparks from the very first time they meet, and promises readers a thrilling adventure ride!

I loved this fantastically modern, faerie world that Graudin has invented. At first I picture a world that was old, historical, and charming but this world was really modern and changed the way I had it pictured in my head. There is dark magic afoot, murders, and paparazzi who can’t mind their own business, of course. She develops this world that is so completely different from how you might first imagine it. I am sincerely hoping that Graudin decides to write another book in this world! The world building was some of the best I have read so far this year.

The relationship between Emrys and Prince Richard takes a front row seat and in this book, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. I know a lot of readers who like to focus more on the adventure and less on the romance might not like the sound of it, but hear me out. Their relationship has stipulations and consequences because of what they both are and their place in society. From the moment they meet they are both on a wild goose chase because of all the dark magic that is circulating London. It really is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride, and their romance is only an added feature!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at HarperTeen in exchange for my honest review***