Reviews

Review: Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Book Review

Suitors and Sabotage.png
Suitors and Sabotage
by Cindy Anstey
Historical, Mystery, Young Adult, Romance
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Synopsis
Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father’s approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother.

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother’s intended.

But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .

What I thought

I read this book as a buddy read with the wonderful Brittany from Perfectly Tolerable. If you have not checked, her out you really should. She also reviewed this book and you can find her review here.  Brittany is wonderful and more on the ball than I am lol she posted her review right after we read the book unlike me who let my reviews pile up.

I really enjoyed this book.  Imogene who was given one season for only one reason, to find a suitor, and did she ever with Earnest he is everything that her father had in mind, the firstborn of an influential family. Due to the constant criticism from her parents, she is an anxious person. (Brittany touches more on this in her review) Okay her parents are just downright mean, just to be mean, I really felt for Imogene there was no reason they picked on her the way they did. After the season was over Earnest comes to call and brings his brother Ben along for support. Once Ben sees Imogene’s drawings, he is impressed with her ability to render art. With that common interest, Ben begins bringing Imogene out of her shell and it is such a cute story to watch unfold even if they don’t realize there could be a future for them. Ben and Imogene are at constant war with their feelings since it is Earnest that wants/is supposed to ask for Imogene’s hand. And they do not realize that they have feeling for each other even though it is obvious to everyone else.

I only had one issue with this story and Brittany had the same issue too.  Imogene leads Earnest on for far too long. Imogene wants to tell him but is asked not to because her friend is trying to impress Ben and they know that if Earnest leaves then Ben will too.  I can’t be too mad about it all since Imogene acknowledges that it isn’t right, so the story does not support that issue but recognizes that it is wrong.

If you enjoy clean Regency Romance/Mystery novels than you should really give this one a chance.

My Rating: /54 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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Reviews

Review: Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey

Book Review

Duels & Deception
Duels & Deception
by Cindy Anstey
Historical, Mystery, Young Adult, Romance
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Synopsis
Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father’s choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won’t hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert’s help, Lydia strives to keep her family’s good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

What I thought
I read this book as a buddy read with the wonderful Brittany from Perfectly Tolerable. If you have not checked, her out you really should. She also reviewed this book and you can find her review here.

Before Lydia’s father passed, he arranged for her to marry their neighbor, Lord Aldershot.  Lydia has accepted this and is willing to marry him because it was what her father wanted.  When issues arise with the estate Lydia and her uncle do not agree about the crops they should be planting.  Her father’s lawyer sends Mr. Robert Newton, his clerk, to handle the issue. After they resolve the crop issue Lydia asks him to begin the process of drawing up the marriage contracts. Lydia is a business-oriented person and you see she has resigned herself to a marriage of tolerance rather than love.

When Lynda goes to sign the marriage contract she is kidnapped and subsequently so is Mr. Newton Since the kidnappers only need her they through Robert out and hold Lydia in a barn for no other purpose than ruining her.  Luckily for Lydia, her friends step up and she is saved from being ruined.  But the question remains who would do this?

I have the same issue she had with this story the amount of “wool-gathering” aka daydreaming that happens.  I mean yes it happens but not mid-conversation. As much as it happens in this story. Other than that, it was a good story that I really enjoyed.

My Rating: /54.5 starsFollow me on other platforms:
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Reviews

Review: Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Book Review

Escaping from Houdini
Escaping from Houdini
by Kerri Maniscalco
(Stalking Jack the Ripper #3)
Young Adult, Historical, Mystery
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Synopsis
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea.

It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

What I thought
I put off reading this book for so long and I think it had a lot to do with the hype surrounding it. There was so much build-up to its release then there were so many negative reviews that I…well…panicked it guess. I loved books 1 and 2 so much that I didn’t want to ruin them by reading this one. I know dumb reason especially if when I am rating it 4 stars.

I completely get why those people were mad. Thomas Cresswell is downright amazing and Audrey was a fool, no matter her motivations. At the end of the day it all worked out and I don’t think anyone will be doubting them as a couple ever again. That ending has to be the sweetest thing I have read in a long time.

I enjoyed this book from the beginning and did not want to put it down. Yes, I cringed through some scenes, but without those scenes, the ending would not have been as sweet. This book was a journey for these two characters who both lacked confidence in their feelings, and I think that this book truly silenced Audrey’s biggest fear. If you have read the other books in the series you should know which one I mean If not ask below.

If you are waiting to pick this one up because of the bad buzz it got, in the beginning, don’t. Watching these two grow through this issue was so worth it. I have to say I didn’t think it was possible but I like Thomas even more after this one.

My Rating: /54 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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New Releases

Waiting On Wednesday: Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday you got to highlight a book that you were really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

This week I’ve chosen: Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

capturing-the-devil
Capturing the Devil
by Kerri Maniscalco
Historical, Young Adult, Mystery

In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by unspeakable tragedy.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London they knew. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.

Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve heard of before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.

Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?

Expected publication: September 10, 2019

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Reviews

Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Book Review

The Dark Days Club
The Dark Days Club
by Alison Goodman
Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance
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Synopsis
London, April 1812.

On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

What I thought
I have no idea why when I know I am going to love a book that I “save” it. New Goal read all the books I know I am going to love. This book sat on my shelf for way too long.

This story checked so many of my boxes:

Regency area checkmark
Strong female character checkmark
Some hate to love romance vibes checkmark
Fantasy elements checkmark

So in the story, Lady Helen has lived with her aunt and uncle since her parent’s death when she was younger. Helen has long been told that her mother was a traitor to the crown, but this may not be the case. Helen soon learns that her mother was part of a secret society that fights demons.

I really enjoyed the character Helen and how she was a very strong female character even though this is it any regency time. Of course, Lady Helen’s views cause some problems because she is definitely not a product of her time, she is an educated woman and proud of it. She’s also very opinionated which seems to get her in more trouble than anything else.

I won’t lie I really want horrible things to happen to her uncle, I think he is just scum. Then you have Carlston I really want to see more happen there. And there is just something about the Duke of Selburn that I can’t quite like.  I think he has an ulterior motive and he does not have Helen’s best interest in mind at all. I think he showed interest just because he thinks Carlston has. 

I cannot wait to pick up the next book. I already have it pulled off my bookshelf and on top of a stack of books ready.

My Rating: /55 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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New Releases

Blog Tour: Beauty’s Curse by C.S. Johnson

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Don’t you just love a good fairytale retelling? Today I have this gorgeous book to share with you, along with an excerpt to read, and a chance to win a print copy of this stunner!

Beauty's Curse


Beauty’s Curse
by C.S. Johnson
(Once Upon a Princess #1)
Publication Date: January 2016
Genre: Fairytale Retelling/ Historical Fantasy/ Romance

For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

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Excerpt

Rose and Theo discuss their next move in finding Titania, the queen of the fairies, in hopes she will be able to tell them how to break Rose’s curse.

***

She had never been one to waste her time; after all, she had so little of it left. But whether or not the weather cooperated with her was another matter entirely.

Rose looked up at the bleak sky, feeling the hood of her protective cloak sliding down from her face, exposing her nape at the end of her close-cropped hair. The wind tickled her skin, and rather than finding it charming and pleasant as she might have when she was younger, she found it taunting and terrifying.

Her gaze moved down from the crying skies to the sea, the rough and tumbling creature so keen on hogging every inch it could of the world’s edge.

There was nothing to it, she decided. They would have to enter into the cavern during the rain. According to the map Ethan had found, the entrance to Titania’s realm was not far down the cliff, and while it would be easier if the rain would stop and the tide would recede, Rose knew she could never count on life to make things easier for her if it could.

That was how Theo found her; looking down the edge of the cliffs, standing in the rain, and declaring all the world her enemy. No wonder she had insisted leaving the palace when she’d been thirteen, he thought. Even the grand palace would have demolished itself, had she been unable to fight her own way free of it. She was a warrior through and through.

Theo shook his head and pushed back the cover of his cloak. “I know that look,” he muttered, coming up from behind her. “And the answer is no.”

Rose would have normally grinned at the sight of her best friend following her out of the safety of the camp to talk. But ever since she and her group had finally found the location of the home of a powerful Fairy Queen, time seemed to crush into her a little bit more each day, pushing her into possible tomorrows long before her today’s had finished.

She pursed her lips together. “Come on. I’m the princess, remember? I’m the one in command here, Theo.”

He smiled at her. “You only pull rank when you know I’m right.” Crossing his arms, he added, “It’s only been two days, Rosary. We’ll give it at least one more before we go barreling in.”

He was not fooled by the calm look on her face; there would be a battle in getting her to agree.

He had known Rose–officially Princess Aurora Rosemarie Mohanagan of Rhone–for over ten years, ever since he arrived to work in the royal chapel, and he knew well her charms. It was impossible not to notice them, and knowing her well enough, it was impossible for him to fall for them–which, he knew, she both liked and hated on different occasions. Knowing her expressions just as well, Theo knew this time she hated it.

“Mary can protect us with a weather spell,” she argued.

He had to admit, halfway begrudgingly, he admired her tenacity as she refused to back down. “Mary is still tired from our battle with the Eastern Warlords. We’re all still tired, even you. The rest will be good for us. We have time enough for rest.”

“No, I don’t have time, Theo. My birthday is coming up.” Frustration and fear crept into the pattern of her speech.

“And you can spare a day now, and we’ll make up for it later.”

“What if we don’t?”

“You still have a whole year afterwards, Rosary.” Patience melted away into concern at her words. He knew she was upset and afraid, and there was little he could do about it.

That was why he had come, though, wasn’t it? The thought hit him with a disgruntled air. There were few reasons besides counsel and comfort that would cause one to bring a priest across continents and into battle. He was fortunate to have found a friend in the doomed princess of Rhone.

Available on Amazon

For your chance to win a paperback copy of Beauty’s Curse, click on the link below!

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C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

 

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Blog Tour Schedule

May 13th
Reads & Reels (Excerpt) http://readsandreels.com
Triquetra Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com
I Love Books and Stuff (Excerpt) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com
Pages and Paw Prints (Review) http://pagesandpawprints.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) http://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com
Speedy Reader (Review) https://speedyreadercom.wordpress.com/

May 14th
I Smell Sheep (Excerpt) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
Daily Waffle (Excerpt) http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk
Sophril Reads (Excerpt) https://sophrilreads.wordpress.com
Love Books Group (Review) https://lovebooksgroup.com/

May 15th
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
The Cozy Pages (Excerpt) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/
Stacy is Reading (Review) https://stacyisreading.blogspot.com/?m=0
Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com

May 16th
Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com
An Ocean a Glimmer (Review) http://anoceanglimmer.wordpress.com
The Bookworm Drinketh (Excerpt) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/
Tsarina Press (Excerpt) https://www.tsarinapress.com

May 17th
B is for Book Review (Review) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
Darque Dreamer Reads (Review) https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com/
Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
The Must Reads (Review) http://themustreads.com/
Eclectic Review (Review) https://eclecticreview.com/

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Reviews

Review: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Book Review

The Radium Girls
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

by Kate Moore
Nonfiction, Historical
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Synopsis
The incredible true story of the women who fought America’s Undark danger

The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives…

What I thought
I waited a few days before I begin thinking about writing this review and I still do not know where to start. So bear with me and we will start at the beginning of this journey. I had never heard about the Radium Girls, they were not talked about when I was in school. I found a podcast called The Morbid Curiosity Podcast, now anyone that actually knows me will not be surprised that I jumped on this as soon as I saw the name.  So since I found it around the end of last year I have been working through the backlog of episodes that they have and one of them was on the Radium Girls.  I was so amazed by the story that I began looking into them and that led me to find this book.

While reading this book I was constantly surprised at the new lows that these women went through.  I know this should not have surprised me but their story was so tragic and a lot of things could have been prevented. My heart truly went out to these girls they suffered so much and were treated so horribly. I know I am not doing any justice for this book I just can not put the words together that I want to.  I was so moved and truly inspired by the spirit of these women.

***SPOILER*** 

I usually try not to do this but…

I can’t even imagine living through what they did, having bones and limbs removed just to slow down the radium poisoning.  Then to have the person that put you in that position, who knew that you were being poisoned, to just stand back and say prove it.  The exams they made them go through just to humiliate these women and try to dismiss them like they were worth nothing just makes me want to scream. They knew the dangers hell they protected the other Male staff in the labs with lead aprons and then told these women to lip point their brushes again and again. Then knowing they were going to die, they tried to delay the trial so that they wouldn’t survive long enough to be able to finish the case. I know I shouldn’t be surprised but I had more faith in people.

***SPOILER END*** 

Sorry, I guess I needed to just vent all those thoughts since they are the first things that come to mind when I think of this story.  I guess there is no way to really not spoil the story.

I really wish that their story was at least touched on in school it is such an important part of our short history.

My Rating: /55 StarsFollow me on other platforms:
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