Loved, loved, loved this book! I have a feeling The Painted Girls is going to make my list of favorite reads in 2013. Blending history and fiction tog...moreLoved, loved, loved this book! I have a feeling The Painted Girls is going to make my list of favorite reads in 2013. Blending history and fiction together, Ms. Buchanan has brought the van Goethem girls to life and they leap of the pages of her latest historical fiction.
I read The Day the Falls Stood Still when it came out a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so when I saw Buchanan had a new novel and it was getting really good reviews, I snatched it right up. There are times when a novel seems to just fall in your lap and beg to be read and there is a feeling of giddy anticipation, knowing this book is going to live up to the hype. The Painted Girls did just that.
The Painted Girls is a fictionalized account of Degas’ real life model for his Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Intertwined into the lives of the van Goethem girls, Buchanan also blends the fictionalized account of a murder trial that occurred in the same time period.
Aside from the interesting historical aspect, The Painted Girls tackles issues such as destiny, family and love and asks the question is it possible to become something more than what you were born to or will poor always be poor and rich always rich.
The plot unfolds in the shifting perspectives of Marie and Antoinette. I really liked Marie in the beginning but Antoinette was hard for me to like at first. Somewhere along the way, I found my sympathies switching to Antoinette and disapproving of Marie. Questions were raised along with way that changed my view, what lengths do you go for love or family, security and success.
The historical aspects were just as engaging. The seedy streets of Paris circa 1873 come alive and as you read, are walking the same streets as Marie and Antoinette. It was really intriguing to read about a murder trial that took place over a century ago and to glimpse the inside of the Paris Opera.
Overall, I think this was a fantastic read and one I would recommend to anyone looking for the next great read. It would make a really interesting book club discussion as well. (less)
The characters of Grace and Cal are really good, they have a lot of chemistry but there is also a lot of laugh out loud moments from the moment they m...moreThe characters of Grace and Cal are really good, they have a lot of chemistry but there is also a lot of laugh out loud moments from the moment they meet throughout the rest of the book. Higgins fills the book with great one liners and truly funny moments.
While this is a romance novel, there is a lot more going on in the story than Grace falling in love; she’s also trying to find herself again after being dumped by her fiancé and learning to stand up for herself. Her family plays a pivotal role in her story, not just her role in the family, but their love lives as well.
Higgins surprised me a few times and the story took a few turns I wasn’t expecting, which I really enjoyed. Although I knew Grace and Callahan would get a HEA it’s nice to break out of that romance mold once in a while and be taken by surprise.
One thing that surprised me but by no means disappointed me was the lack of hmmpm in the book. While it was implied, Higgins never went into descriptive detail. I actually found it refreshing and felt the book had a lot more to offer that it was able to stand on its own without the hmmpm.
What did annoy me in the book was Grace’s sister Natalie. She needed a good slap. She’s spoiled, sheltered and has never had anything bad happen to her. She is dating her sister’s ex-fiancé for crying out loud and she doesn’t see anything wrong with that and Grace just stands by and accepts it?
This was the first Kristan Higgins book I read and it was not the last, she snagged me with Too Good to be True. I really loved this book and this led me to discover other books by Kristan Higgins. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books in the future. (less)
I liked the premise of The Lost Wife and I knew it was going to be a tragic story going in, any book that focuses on WWII and the Holocaust are bound...moreI liked the premise of The Lost Wife and I knew it was going to be a tragic story going in, any book that focuses on WWII and the Holocaust are bound to be tear jerkers. There were definite bring out the tissue moments but overall I wasn’t impressed with this one.
The novel starts at the end in New York and through Lenka and Josef’s perspectives, shifts back in time to tell their story from the beginning until they meet again in New York.
I couldn’t connect with Josef through most of the story and although I can’t imagine the horrific and tragic circumstances that family and lovers were forced to face, I still found myself judging him for leaving Lenka behind in Prague.
At times the same memory is told from both Lenka and Josef’s perspectives and I thought it was redundant and should have focused on the most important voice.
Lenka’s voice was more powerful and her story is the heart and soul of this novel. She was an incredible woman and I was happy that after the war, she was able to build a life and seemed to be more than content.
I did enjoy some of the questions the book raised, would you be able to flee to safety and leave your family behind, not knowing what horrors they would face but knowing things were going to be bad. How do you choose between your husband/wife and your parents.
The ending was the final straw for me; I wanted to throw the book by that point. I felt like it was a real letdown. The whole novel is building to Lenka and Josef’s reunion and I wanted a whole lot more than the author gave us. I wanted to at least be given Lenka’s perspective on seeing Josef again.
Overall, this was not a great read for me. I loved the premise and I think it had a lot of potential but it just didn’t grab me the way I was hoping it would. (less)
It took me a little while to get into Dani’s POV as opposed to Mac’s in the Fever series. They are completely different voices, not to mention all of...moreIt took me a little while to get into Dani’s POV as opposed to Mac’s in the Fever series. They are completely different voices, not to mention all of the feck’s. But I did get used to it and was soon engrossed in the fever world. I did find myself missing Mac and Barrons though.
I loved seeing more of Ryodan in Iced and it looks like he is going to be a main character in the rest of the Dani O’Malley series. On the flip side, at first I felt the same way about Christian. I loved him in the Fever books but his character does a complete 180 in Iced. He just comes across as really creepy and I don’t think all of it has to do with him becoming an Unseelie prince. I hope in future books he tones it down. I loved Dancer as well but there is definitely more to him than he’s letting on. I’m looking forward to finding out his deep, dark past.
I would like to see Dani age a bit more in the next two books. Partly because I would like to see her character’s transformation with a little emotional maturity but mainly because there is some major sexual tension going on and it’s built to the point where Ryodan, Christian and Dancer all are going to be vying for her affections and I want to see who she will choose. Right now I’m sticking with Ryodan because the feeling I got in Iced was he was the one.
The mystery itself was decent and kept me guessing but for me it’s really hard to be in Fever Dublin without Mac and Barrons fighting the good fight and I kept wondering what they were up to that kept them away from the mystery.
I will definitely continue reading this series. Not only does it keep me in touch with the Fever world until the next Mac and Barrons book (which won’t be for a few years) but KMM has snagged my interest in Dani and I want to see how she grows up. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the next installment. Until then we can always re-read Fever. (less)
Mia is Tara and Ford’s daughter whom we met in The Sweetest Thing as she was instantly lovable. I really enjoyed seeing her story and loved the fact t...moreMia is Tara and Ford’s daughter whom we met in The Sweetest Thing as she was instantly lovable. I really enjoyed seeing her story and loved the fact that it is set five years after the original stories take place. When The Sweetest Thing ended, Mia was in love with Carlos, who urged her to go to college and ended things with her to allow her to live her life but still loved her. Part of me believed they would still end up together. So at first I was disappointed Mia and Carlos didn’t make it but I loved the closure Shalvis gave to their shared first love. In the end, it felt right.
Shalvis manages to toss readers a bone with a quicky sex scene and not only does it fit, it’s not rushed (for a quicky). She develops characters in a short amount of time and manages to make you fall in love with them.
Being that this was just a short Christmas novella and they are both still in their early twenties, I think Mia and Nick’s story ended perfectly for them. It wasn’t rushed, it was just a snippet of their love story but it was beautifully done.
I love the Lucky Harbor series and the first trilogy was my absolute favorite so I loved seeing my favorite characters from beloved books five years later. Maddie and Jax are still the most perfect couple; their small interactions had me grinning like a fool.
“You’re it for me Mad. For always. And I love your yoga pants.” – Jax. Damn that Jax, it made me want to pull out Simply Irresistible and re-read yet again Maddie and Jax’s story.
Christmas novellas are hard to get into. As novellas, there is not the usual amount of pages in order to develop the characters and their relationship and they usually feel rushed and cheesy. I went in to this with low expectations because of that but I have to give it to Jill Shalvis, she can take an eight chapter novella and write an exquisite story and leave you feeling happy and satisfied that the characters ended just the way they are supposed to.
If you’re in the market for a short Christmas themed romance, I would make Under the Mistletoe your choice. If you’re a Lucky Harbor fan like myself, this is a must read. (less)
I should preface my review by stating this is the first book in a series. Most of the book is setting up and expanding on the world Moning started in...moreI should preface my review by stating this is the first book in a series. Most of the book is setting up and expanding on the world Moning started in her Highlander series. It’s a dark world where monsters and things that go bump in the night exist. Most questions do not get answered. I was ok with this because Moning is a very capable storyteller and is really great at character building. I’m fascinated enough to have ordered the next book in the series before finishing this one.
If I had to choose my favorite part of this book, I would have to say the narrator, Mac is my favorite. From the first page, I was engaged with her. Moning has done a fantastic job with her lead heroine. At first Mac can be easily blown off as a blonde, carefree, naive, twenty-something - unless you are paying attention. Mac may come across as all of those things and maybe to an extent she is but Mac is also determined and loyal with a backbone of steel.
Jericho Barrons is the owner of Barrons Books and Baubles and claims to be a sidhe-seer, just as Mac but he is deeply mysterious and Mac only chips at his surface in DarkFever. The chemistry between Mac and Jericho leaps off the page from their first encounter and I expect it may get even hotter as the series continues.
One thing that annoyed me and is very definitely a personal dislike that may not affect other readers is the way Mac and Jericho call each other Ms. Lane and Barrons. They never use each other’s first names and it leaves a very nasty fifty shades of crap in my mouth. Plus, Jericho is a much sexier name than Barrons. As I said, it’s personal.
Labeled as urban fantasy, DarkFever is a departure from what I normally tend to read. Intrigued by the world of Fae in Moning’s previous books but worried it would be too out there for me, I hesitated to pick it up for months but finally capitulated after seeing so many positive things about it. I’m so glad I did, I am addicted after one book.
Yes, it’s out there but not as much as I thought. In the world recently opened to MacKayla Lane, faeries and vampires exist, dark shadows steal life from humans and things we only dream about it nightmares are real but I myself think it’s kind of intriguing. I’ve read in more than one book that fairy tales have some basis in reality. It can be a scary thought but also an interesting one. Can it be true?
DarkFever is the first in the Fever series a MacKayla Lane novel in which she hunts her sister’s killer and searches for the mysterious and sinister Sinsar Dubh, the ancient and powerful book of Fae. If you enjoy a good mystery and don’t mind a little paranormal, read this, it won’t disappoint.(less)