Pros Amazingly written. Duran didn't use modern phrases and words, but rather reproduced the language of that period. Loved the description of In...more4,5/5
Pros Amazingly written. Duran didn't use modern phrases and words, but rather reproduced the language of that period. Loved the description of India, the war and the various effects it had on everyone. Story was very nice. Julian was, apart from really hot, a genuinely good character. He was supposed to be a rake but his behavior towards Emma was not rakish at all. He respected and cared for her from the very start and did not try to seduce her just for the sake of conquest.
Cons Even though I loved the writing, the Duke Of Shadows was undoubtedly a difficult book to crack. It took me 100 pages or so to ease into it and fully understand the surroundings and the characters. I was not a huge fan of Emma's. I didn't hater her, but I didn't love her, either. Something bothered me about her throughout the whole book and I can't put my finger on it. Maybe she was a bit too hysterical for my liking. (less)
Whitney was an obnoxious, conniving manipulator and honestly I can't for the life of me understand why Clayton went to all this trouble to get her. Al...moreWhitney was an obnoxious, conniving manipulator and honestly I can't for the life of me understand why Clayton went to all this trouble to get her. Also, their constant back and forth were exhausting. I love you to pieces Judith McNaught but this is not up to par, I'm sorry.(less)
Um…you guys! Where is the rest of the book?? You know, the one with all the character development and the not ridiculous plot line? Because I can't se...moreUm…you guys! Where is the rest of the book?? You know, the one with all the character development and the not ridiculous plot line? Because I can't seem to find it anywhere and what I read just didn't cut it.
Wentworth Hall is a YA historical fiction, so it was only natural that as soon as I got my hands on it I would read it immediately, no question. I have read so few YA historical, that I immediately jump at the chance when one comes out and I really thought Wentworth Hall would be the one. It wasn't, though. It didn't even come close.
Grahame did an OK job as far as the writing goes (just OK though), but unfortunately failed at everything else. The characters were not likable at all, not even one, and in 276 pages they had no time to change being busy doing whatever mundane stuff they were doing throughout the whole book. I found it impossible to relate to any of the characters and I didn't believe their relationships for a second. For example, the great romance between the stable boy and the Lord's daughter was laughable, at best. There was no background story to back it up, nor could the reader detect the character's feelings at all. It was like they were actors pushed into a role they hated and they played it badly. Also, why have Maggie's mother help with the baby situation only to have Maggie describe her as a cold and detached parent later? It doesn't make any sense!
As for the plot, it had enormous gaps. What happened with Therese and Wes? What happened to the twins? What went on with Ian and Lila? And most importantly what happened to Wentworth Hall?? I kept thinking there has got to be a book 2 but it turns out there isn't and I don't think there will be one in the future (shocking!).
Granted, Wentworth Hall is readable and a really quick read, if you're interested in something like that. Even if you only want to pass the time though, I suggest you look elsewhere. This is only gonna bring you pain, suffering and frustration!(less)
As a big fan of The Tudors, a TV show about Henry VIII, and an even bigger fan of books, when watching season 04 I kept thinking "Wow, wouldn't i...more4,5/5
As a big fan of The Tudors, a TV show about Henry VIII, and an even bigger fan of books, when watching season 04 I kept thinking "Wow, wouldn't it be great if there was a book about Catherine Howard, where did she come from, how she came to be a queen, how did she feel about everything?" Well, with Gilt, I got my wish! Without the hot steamy sex and Henry Cavill unfortunately, but I am not one to complain.
I admit to only knowing Cat Howard from the show. I haven't read a biography of Henry the VIII (I have one though, does that count?) so everything I know of him is from the series. Not a very reliable source, I know, but it'll have to do. In Gilt, Cat's story, surprisingly enough was not from her POV but from her "best" friend's, Kitty. Along with other young girls, they lived in a covent-type institution for ladies from not so wealthy families, either because they are orphans, or because their parents wanted to get rid of them and provide them with some sort of education, something like and old maid's school. Cat is always the little vixen, urging others in mischief and not shying away from any romantic offer. She is incredibly ambitious and she would do just about anything to get into court, what every young lady aspired to back then. She worms her way into Henry's life and before she knows it she becomes queen. Now, at the time, Henry was a sick man. His leg was seriously injured and smelled soooo bad and he was old. Not a husband a 17,18,19 year old dreams of having. But he was the King of England and that was all Cat wanted and needed. Besides, she had other things going for her which I am not gonna discuss here in case someone doesn't know the whole story.
Kitty is Cat's friend in the institution. She is supposed to be the level-headed one, the one that keeps the others in check and tries not get in trouble. On paper. Because in reality Kitty was a miserable little mouse with no backbone or sense of anything, basically. She fell in love with a guy, but she persuaded herself she couldn't and wouldn't be with him because Cat needed her in court and she just couldn't live without her best friend. A best friend who threatened her, talked down to her all the time and was flat out mean to her. Kitty for some inexplicable reason, looked up to her. I guess that explains Cat's very charismatic personality, and the reason she was able to win Henry's heart so easily. That being said, Kitty was miserable throughout the whole book and she had no one to blame for her misery but herself. She made her choices and every one of them was wrong because they were all based on making a person that neither loved nor respected her happy at all costs. At least that's my take.
What surprised me was how Longthorne chose to portray Culpepper. In the show he is the same smug jerk, but you can see he has some feelings for Cat and Cat is deeply and madly in love with him. In Gilt, Culpepper is this deranged villain, drunk with power, and Cat couldn't care less about him. So, I don't know which side of him is closer to the truth but the romantic in me hopes it's the first one.
Debuts are always hard, but a historical fiction debut must be even harder. You have to have your facts straight and do a lot of research. Even though what I know about Henry and his life story comes from a TV show, Longshore made me believe she knows what she's talking about and that's enough for me. So despite Kitty's general absurdity, Gilt was a very good historical novel about the life and demise of a woman you can't help but be intrigued by.(less)
Darker Still couldn't have come at a worse time for me. I have tons of things on my mind and get easily distracted. So, admittedly I kinda struggled t...moreDarker Still couldn't have come at a worse time for me. I have tons of things on my mind and get easily distracted. So, admittedly I kinda struggled to finish it, it took me a while. That being said, I strongly believe that Darker Still is different from other YA because not only does it combine two genres (historical/paranormal), it's also written the way historical books are written, Jane Austen style, which is something you're either going to find innovative and intriguing or confusing and boring. I was both intrigued and bored.
I liked the characters. It didn't have a lot of them, only 3 major players and 2-3 who weren't important to the story. I liked Natalie. I liked her naivete, her shyness, which seemed real and believable throughout the book, even when she finally succumbs to Lord Denbury's charms. Lord Denbury was the obvious love interest, good looking and alluring. I just can't bring myself to call an 19 century lord "hot", sorry :)
Granted, the story Hieber chose to write isn't the most original, as the basic idea is inspired by Oscar Wilde's "The Picture Of Dorian Gray". Even though Darker Still isn't, understandably, as deep and existential as Dorian Gray was, it still made a good and entertaining read. It focused more on Natalie's and Lord Denbury's romance and how that came to be, rather than the paranormal part of the story and Denbury's malevolent half. I would have liked more of that, I'm afraid. Not that I didn't enjoy the romance, quite the opposite. However, I think if the book was equal parts romance and actual plot/story, it would have a better flow and would be way easier to read and concentrate on. The flow of information and action was slow at times and that certainly didn't help to move the story forwards. I wanted more magic, more mythology and more bad guy scenes, which regretfully were very limited. Too bad, I kinda liked vicious Denbury!
If you like Victorian era type books and intricate but elegant writing, read Darker Still. Story-wise though, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. (less)
I thought a good historical YA book would be my a much needed break from paranormal YA. That's why I picked up In The Shadow Of The Lamp as soon...more2,5/5
I thought a good historical YA book would be my a much needed break from paranormal YA. That's why I picked up In The Shadow Of The Lamp as soon as I got it. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short.
In The Shadow Of The Lamp is about a 16 year-old girl, Molly, who decides to travel to Turkey along with Florence Nightingale and other nurses and nuns in order to help the injured and wounded. There, under the most strenuous and dire circumstances, she discovers a lot about herself and the devastating repercussions of war.
Well. Not exactly. The way I see it, Molly didn't stop and think about the war and what it does to people and how wrong it is all that much, despite her rather gruesome narration of the injuries and the despicable conditions in the hospitals. I'd like her to express her discomfort for being in a situation like that for the first time, her emotions-let's not forget that she was just a maid before, which hardships obviously don't compare to being a nurse during the war-and not act like she was doing that her whole life. And what's with the healing hands? Never explained.
I think the author mainly focused on the romance element of the book, which may even forgive the lack of Molly's feelings towards the war if it was well written and believable. I'm afraid it wasn't. A girl's whose true love dies but still goes back to the man who is "convenient", admitting it was him all long and not the other guy pfft what she was thinking! is not a heroine in my book(no pun intended).At least no one to be taken seriously. That said, I liked the author's detail description of the nurses' travel to Crimea by ship portraying the terrible conditions of travelling long distance at the time.
In The Shadow Of The Lamp may not be a thrilling read, but I think historical romance fans that don't read too much into a story as I do, could quite possible enjoy it.(less)
I am a total sucker for Historical books, especially when there's time traveling involved. However, I still have mixed feelings about Dark Mirror. So...more I am a total sucker for Historical books, especially when there's time traveling involved. However, I still have mixed feelings about Dark Mirror. Some parts I liked, other parts not so much, and this constant "I like it-nah,I don't" was kinda frustrating.
Let me start off by saying that the summary at the back of the book is quite misleading, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, the stuff in it do happen. But summary only covers the first half of the book. The second half, after she finds the mirror that is (not much of a spoiler, it's on the cover) is another thing entirely. Thing is, the second half of the book holds all the important parts, the jist of it, all the action and the character development, whereas the first half plays more of an introductory role. So, I guess I'd like the transition between the 1st and 2nd half to be smoother, instead of going from a relaxed, laid back mode to smack dab in the middle of World War II!
Tory, the protagonist, was likable enough. Clever, courageous and considerate of others. Although we didn't get to see much of her and Allarde together, nor learn much about Allarde, I enjoyed their short conversations and their exchanging views about relationships and how each of them think they must be. I liked the Rainfords very much and I found their love for their father who is a soldier long-lost in the war, very touching. The other charters weren't as developed and fell kinda flat. It's safe to say that Dark Mirror is a Tory-centered book and everyone else pretty much revolves around her, her actions and decisions.
I am not sure if I'll follow Tory's next adventure because this one wasn't as exciting as I expected. If you are into Historical WWII stories however, you should definitely give Dark Mirror a try.(less)
Wrapped was nothing I expected it would be and I have to admit, I had fun reading it. It was a pleasant surprise and a much needed break after so...more3,5/5
Wrapped was nothing I expected it would be and I have to admit, I had fun reading it. It was a pleasant surprise and a much needed break after so many paranormal books.
Bradbury's writing is easy going, light and mellow. The way she draws her characters is pretty much the same as in any regency romance. There is a young, rich girl who wants to do something more with her life and refuses to be contained and follow the path that is predestined for her by her parents. She wants to see the world and explore it, something that was unheard of for a woman at that time. She falls in love not with the wealthy suitor every unmarried girl covets and whom her parents push her towards to, but with a commoner, a curator at a museum, who sparks in her the flame of adventure.
I am glad I got to read Wrapped because I ended up learning so many things from it: the mummy ritual at the beginning, which was a bit disturbing (who knew the unwrapping of an Egyptian mummy passed as entertainment back then?)and which I had never heard of before, a lot of stuff about ancient Egypt which even though I find fascinating, I unfortunately haven't read a lot about . Also, because of the British Empire's "looting" of ancient treasures from other countries, Wrapped poses the question whether it's morally right for these treasures to remain in Britain and not be returned to their rightful owners. Being a greek, I am quite familiar with the situation, as large parts of the Parthenon are still exhibited in the British Museum. So seeing a subject like that discussed in a YA book, really impressed me.
As far as the mystery part of the book is concerned it was OK but a tad predictable, in my opinion. I really hope Bradbury decides to turn Wrapped into a mystery series with a different case in each book so maybe the mysteries to come will be more thought out and better planned. Also, the romance was believable enough, but we didn't get to see a lot of it. Agnes and Caedmon didn't spent as much time together as I would have liked, since it was difficult for a girl to go out whenever she pleased and without a chaperon back then.
All in all, Wrapped is a light, breezy read which I highly recommend to regency period and history enthusiasts!
PS. One of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen! Kudos to the art department, awesome job!(less)
Vespertine takes place in 1889 and much to my surprise, it is written in the language of the time and not in modern language.It added to the whole atm...moreVespertine takes place in 1889 and much to my surprise, it is written in the language of the time and not in modern language.It added to the whole atmosphere and mystique of the era but for me it was a bit tiring and confusing.Don't get me wrong, the book was brilliantly written, it just that sometimes I found it chaotic and because of that, the story wasn't as fluid as it should be,in my opinion.
Characters were all very likeable,but a bit underdeveloped.Amelia had this amazing gift of seeing the future but unfortunately I didn't see much of it,and what I did see was treated so lightly by Amelia herself,that I didn't feel the need to regard it as an integral part of the story.Her romance with Nathaniel was believable enough.However, why he also had to have a "gift",which is only revealed near the end, I still don't know.I guess that is the main reason why I felt that the story,however nice,dragged for no reason, since it could have very easily been 100 pages shorter.
Vespertine is an eloquently written book with,unfortunately, not much of a story in it.(less)
"I was crying for joy, my Sassenach. And thanking God I have two hands. That I have two hands to hold you with. To serve you with, to love you with. T...more"I was crying for joy, my Sassenach. And thanking God I have two hands. That I have two hands to hold you with. To serve you with, to love you with. Thanking God that I am a whole man still, because of you."
It seems I have forgotten the absolute sensation that is reading, but thankfully Outlander reminded me of it. It stirred up so many emotions in me during a very difficult time in my life and for that, it will always have a very special place in my heart.
Wildthorn is a very well written, atmospheric tale which deals not only with what was considered "mental health" back then and how women could actuall...moreWildthorn is a very well written, atmospheric tale which deals not only with what was considered "mental health" back then and how women could actually be driven mad by the immoral and unreasonable way society treated them, but also with women's sexuality and how, in the midst of the craziness that was their lives, could find that love was the only thing keeping them sane.
Comte Saint Germain is an elegant,charismatic and mysterious foreigner, in mid-18th century Paris.Saint Germain is one of the million names he has acq...moreComte Saint Germain is an elegant,charismatic and mysterious foreigner, in mid-18th century Paris.Saint Germain is one of the million names he has acquired throughout his existence, which basically counts back to the beginning of time.He is, of course, a vampire.However, he's unlike any vampire I have ever read.What came as a complete surprise to me, is his character.He is good.He is THE hero.He is there to save the damsel in distress because he feels it's his obligation, as a noble and gallant man.Not because he desperately wants her or because he wants something in return.I'm not saying that all the other vampire's I've read about are like that, but they all had a darkness in them,giving off a sense of danger even to the ones dearest and closest to them.St.Germain is not like that.He is so good and kind hearted, it's almost awkward.In a sentence : he is the purest vampire in the history of vampires.
He cannot feel ecstasy through the act of sex, since,according to Yarbro's take on vampires, "they[vampires:]are not capable of genital sexual contact, but they express their desires through their biting". I know a lot of people who are into PNR may be put off by this, and I'll be honest, I was too at the beginning.But when I finished reading, I found myself being fascinated and intrigued by the change of the vampire status quo.Being different is not always bad.However, the lack of sex scenes does by no means indicate that this is a Young Adult book, far from it.It contains extensive and very detailed descriptions of Satanic rituals along with nudity.
Hotel Transylvania may not the best one of the series storywise, but Yarbro's exquisite writing is what's keeping it alive,in my opinion.She portrays vividly and with impeccable period details the glamour of 18th century Paris upper class and high society along with its decadence and immorality.She is an amazing historical fiction writer(romance is mostly a sublot in this book).
You should definitely try out at least one book of St.Germain series, since,as far as I know,each one is set in a different place and in a different time, so continuity is not an issue.I recommend them,basically because of Yarbro's incredible writing but also because after all these modernized teen hunky vampires, it's good to sit back and find out where it all began, enjoying a wonderfully written, classic vampire novel.(less)