I think I expected a lot more from this one. The concept is epic and the reviews are glowing so far, but it just did not shine for me, at all. What II think I expected a lot more from this one. The concept is epic and the reviews are glowing so far, but it just did not shine for me, at all. What I did love: the feel of the city from the back alleys to the palace, the alternate history, the magic. What didn't work? The overall plot and the characters, which ... yah, kind of ruins things. I liked enough of the book to give it 3 honest stars, but I disliked enough of it that I'm flabbergasted at all the five star reviews.
Some vague spoilers below.
The romances are super weak in this book. I'd be hesitant to call them romances at all. Pasha gets one look at Vika and is obsessed. Nikolai at least has a magical connection with Vika, that she can feel too. But let's face it, none of them really know each other well enough for all these pronouncements of love.
The characters themselves never really felt fully realized. They had personalities, but then they would do things that felt totally out of character. Then they would go back to "themselves" and then do something totally crazy again. It made me feel like either I didn't know them at all, or the author didn't bother to wonder if or why a certain character would take a particular action.
Beyond the main characters were several supporting characters. Renata could have been an interesting character, one you could root for, but instead she's even more cardboard than the leads. She exists solely to cheer on Nikolai and be that poor pathetic girl in love with him who gets scraps of attention in return for her loyalty. The sort of villain, who I won't name, is a really weird part of the story. They're absent for so much of it, that all they are is a convenient way to dispatch of someone else. One character who I really did love, probably more than any other, is Ludmila. Even she was mainly just a mother figure for Vika, but at least she had some depth to her.
So ... this was definitely not the book for me. The characters fell flat and the plot was meandering, rather than epic and exciting. ...more
3.5 stars definitely. I loved the cheeky tone and the general idea of the book. Great characters, too. I just felt it dragged on at some parts, especi3.5 stars definitely. I loved the cheeky tone and the general idea of the book. Great characters, too. I just felt it dragged on at some parts, especially toward the end....more
Soooo good!! Everything I was hoping for. It's been a while since a historical romance really made me fall in love with the characters and their relatSoooo good!! Everything I was hoping for. It's been a while since a historical romance really made me fall in love with the characters and their relationship, but it's no surprise that Julia Quinn and the Bridgertons made me feel that way. So charming and witty and romantic and lovely....more
It’s not surprising, considering this is a Julia Quinn novel, but The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy was absolutely enchanting from the very first pIt’s not surprising, considering this is a Julia Quinn novel, but The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy was absolutely enchanting from the very first page. It was a true delight to pick up a book and right from the beginning want to dive in and get to know the characters and their situations. The Smythe-Smith Quartet has been a very fun series overall, so I suggest reading all of them, but this can easily be read as a standalone as well -- you would just miss out on the fun references to previous main characters.
There’s huge chemistry between Richard and Iris, which makes it difficult for Sir Richard to go through with his original plan. It’s semi-obvious to the reader what's going on behind the scenes in Richard's life, even before we’re completely looped in, but it's very difficult for Iris. She's completely in the dark and feeling like her husband doesn't like or want her. It was interesting to see their relationship progress, because Richard has done a fairly unforgivable thing, and Iris is so confused about what’s going on. It all leads up to a satisfying conclusion, of course, but it's the journey there that's the most interesting.
No matter what, you can expect epic swoons from a Julia Quinn book, and this one is no exception. The author is great at creating dynamic characters with massive chemistry, and secondary characters who leap off the page. While this isn’t my very favourite of hers, I still found it to be a massively entertaining read that any historical romance fan will enjoy....more
Was hoping it would be a celebration of geek culture, and it some ways it was, but there were a few things that I just didn't care for. Not i2.5 stars
Was hoping it would be a celebration of geek culture, and it some ways it was, but there were a few things that I just didn't care for. Not inherently a bad novel, but not one I cared for either. Review to come....more
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a beautiful novel about finding your voice: it’s about standing up for yourself and others; about doing what is righThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a beautiful novel about finding your voice: it’s about standing up for yourself and others; about doing what is right, but also what is true for you. The main message in it is basically “you do you”, and I love that. Elyse’s journey is a beautiful one to experience and she was a lovely character to read about.
One fabulous aspect of this book is the breaking down of gender stereotypes. I loved, loved, loved Sebastian and his mermaid obsession. His character was a really positive example of accepting people how they are and believing that there aren't girl things and boy things. Along the same train of thought was Elyse entering the pirate regatta, even though she's told that only guys can enter.
Christian and Elyse’s romance was steamy, lovely, and fun. I loved how they got to know one another, how there was respect, and how when it came to sex there was a conversation about consent. I loved how Elyse had sexual thoughts and sexual agency and that Christian gave her a voice in these matters. It’s not that anyone deserves a medal for doing the right thing, but I still liked seeing that example put out there for teens to read. I also liked how their relationship was a mixed race romance and that no one in their group made a big deal of it.
There are a lot of great things about this book. I liked experiencing Elyse’s culture, with her being from Trinidad & Tobago. I also liked the sailing element, with Christian and Elyse fixing up the boat before sailing in the regatta. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a gorgeous contemporary YA novel, and I highly recommend it....more
Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless is a a cute story and a very quick read. I would describe this book as a modern day Breakfast Club set in a grocery storTop Ten Clues You’re Clueless is a a cute story and a very quick read. I would describe this book as a modern day Breakfast Club set in a grocery store on Christmas Eve. And, I mean, what sounds better than that?!
I really enjoyed the set up for the story. The book is filled with fun characters and situations, and I was totally crushing on Tyson along with Chloe. Once we got into the main plot of the book I had a bit of a hard time believing that these teens would be forced to stay after work without telling their parents why. I also wondered why despite Chloe investigating what happened to the missing money, no one asks (out loud, anyway) why it's only the teens being held. No one bothers to wonder who accused them, which I found pretty strange.
So while the book took a little suspension of disbelief, I still liked the story and the characters. It's a fun read, something perfect to pick up when you want to read something in one sitting. If you're looking for something sweet with a bit of saucy and a mystery on top of that then I definitely recommend it....more
There is something so exciting and interesting about this book. Right from the time I heard of it, Red Queen was being hyped as a big series to come.There is something so exciting and interesting about this book. Right from the time I heard of it, Red Queen was being hyped as a big series to come. Most of the time I end up being disappointed by those, but in this case I absolutely loved it. I was intrigued and excited throughout, and so curious about where the book was going.
Probably one of my favourite things about Red Queen is that there’s a real sense of not being able to trust anyone. It’s a theme of the book, so when you’re reading, that fact is constantly in the back of your mind. You can’t ever be sure who is actually portraying themselves honestly, which makes for a very intense read. Without going into spoilers, there’s definitely some betrayal in the book, and even when you think you see it coming the book it's so well written that you can’t be entirely sure. I kept questioning my instincts and wondering who was really good or bad.
The synopsis of the book compares it to The Selection, which makes sense because of the way the royal court operates and the competition to be the next queen. It had those aspects, but it was a very different book, too. It had a lot of elements that readers might find familiar, but it puts them together in an amazing way. There’s a secret rebellion aspect similar to The Hunger Games and people with different powers like in Graceling. It had a great fantasy genre feel to it with the major class differences: the poor in the slums, the rich in their palaces.
I can’t even really talk about the characters without spoiling things, but Mare is our main character, and she gets swept into a world she’s never dreamed of. Mare starts off a little bit like the Ultra Special Female Protagonist (she’s a pickpocket, she’s a smartass, she gets away with things -- she just fits into that stereotype), but as she’s thrust into the unknown she becomes a lot more interesting. I loved seeing the way she reacted to things, the way she processed her thoughts and feelings.
One big theme of YA literature is being on the outside and not fitting in. I loved that even in this ultra complex fantasy world, our main character was going through the same thing that so many contemporary teens are. In the world of Red Queen there’s the red blood (normals) vs the silver blood (the elite, oppressors, having powers). And then there’s Mare, who doesn’t fit into either category. It sucks for her, but it makes for an incredibly interesting read.
Red Queen is a book with big secrets, intrigue, and action. It’s about fighting the oppressors, something which is made difficult when the people in charge have the ability to control you. It asks important questions, like how can you breed a rebellion when you’re barely surviving? When you’re the ones fighting and dying in an impossible war, when you don’t have enough food for your family -- how can you get beyond that? It asks all these questions and it doesn’t offer up easy answers. Red Queen is a wonderful beginning to a new series, and I’m incredibly excited to see where Victoria Aveyard takes us in the next book....more
Four Nights With the Duke is Vander’s story, who you got to know fairly well if you read Thorn and India’s story, Three Weeks With Lady X. Vander is tFour Nights With the Duke is Vander’s story, who you got to know fairly well if you read Thorn and India’s story, Three Weeks With Lady X. Vander is the Duke, and we know he has a bit of scandal in his family -- from the prologue we know very well what it is, and we meet his heroine, Mia. This book contains a couple of tropes, first with the marriage of convenience, but also with blackmail. It makes for an interesting coupling, and the situation makes it so I didn’t blame Vander at all for his attitude at first.
From Mia’s POV we see someone who has been left alone, who’s been jilted, who needs a husband in order to take care of her nephew. It makes her a sympathetic character, but it doesn't fully excuse her actions. I liked when her plans backfired on her to an extent. I liked her, but considering she blackmailed a guy into marrying her, she deserved to get a little back at her.
Mia is also an interesting character because she’s a writer. We see Mia plotting her book and having issues with it, which is very relatable. It was like seeing into a writer’s brain when Mia wanted her publisher to send her other books to read so she could avoid her own work. The thinly veiled references to Julia Quinn's and Lisa Kleypas’ books were so fun to pick out.
In a romance you always want to root for the hero, but it’s also great when the hero isn’t perfect: when he’s making mistakes and doing dumb things. Romance may not always lend itself to total realism, but I always enjoy when the hero seems like he could be a regular person instead of the Best Man Ever. Well, Vander definitely fits into the imperfect hero role. The arrogant assumptions he had at first about how Mia felt made me literally LOL.
Despite how he acts at first, Vander is a very understanding character who quickly gets why Mia did what she did. I loved how he supported Mia’s nephew, Charlie, so well and showed him love right away in a different way than he was used to. Charlie was a great character, which is no surprise, because one thing Eloisa James always does well is secondary characters. I loved Vander’s uncle and how he was a total fanboy over Mia’s books. I also liked what we saw of Thorn and India, and how they were so loyal to Vander.
While I did like Three Weeks With Lady X better, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. There’s always something so epic and compulsively readable about Eloisa’s books. If you’re just getting into historical romance and haven’t yet read her backlist I highly recommend you do so....more