Posts Tagged ‘ARC’
London, 1838. Sixteen-year-old Liza’s dreams of her society debut are dashed when her parents are killed in an accident. Penniless, she accepts the position of lady’s maid to young Princess Victoria and steps unwittingly into the gossipy intrigue of the servant’s world below-stairs as well as the trickery above. Is it possible that her changing circumstances may offer Liza the chance to determine her own fate, find true love, and secure the throne for her future queen? (From Goodreads)
I absolutely loved this book! I loved the writing, I loved Liza, and all the other characters in this book were just wonderful to read. The plot was really good and the pacing was well done. For those that love intrigue into their historical fiction, you will also find that here. Sir John is certainly the type of villain to make your skin crawl and his plotting with the Duchess gives the plot a good amount of intrigue to enjoy.
Victoria was made to be seen as a spoiled brat, but at the same time she acts this way because she’s lonely and has no one of her age to be with, so her friendship with Liza is somewhat of a Princess/maid relationship, but at times they also put aside their class differences and act like real true friends would.
What I really liked best about this book is that the plot never did slow down, it was a constant steady flow and there was never any stalls or anything done to extend the plot. It got really interesting in the end and made the perfect climax to any story. The author’s note in the end was good and provided good information for further reading.
There was only one criticism, and that was Albert. I didn’t think he was such a surly guy, then again they were younger at the time and he probably did change as he grew older. I was hoping for more of a love story between Victoria and Albert, but it was not to be, they weren’t such a big focus at this time. No matter though, this was just a small setback but nothing that would change my opinion about this book.
I recommend this book for all those in love with the Victorian age! it was a wonderful book to read. Those who like YA books would also love this book as well.
I give it a 9.5 out of 10.
When little Alice follows the Black Rat down into the open grave, she falls and falls, and soon finds herself in an undead nightmare. Following the Rat, she ventures further into this land of monsters, encountering characters both creepy and madcap along the way. But there’s something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her? Have a seat at the table for the wildest tea party of your life and explore the unforgettable adventure that is Alice in Zombieland. (From Amazon.ca)
The book certainly had its’ fun moments! Zombieland was well written and well thought out. It certainly put a funny twist on Wonderland (even though Wonderland is quirky to begin with anyway). It’s definitely not for the squeamish, as body parts are flying everywhere and Alice gets a craving for a bite of flesh once very so often. The characters are all there, they’re just zombified. The only difference I have seen is instead of a White Rabbit, you have a Black Rat instead. (If I am wrong, forgive me, it’s been a while since I’ve read the original Alice in Wonderland).
The zombie element does not really get in the way of the plot, so nothing much has really changed. My favorite moment was the croquet game between the Queen and Alice – it’s more of a croquet game with body parts which was laughable and was fun to read through.
Even though it was a fun idea, I felt like there just could have been more to this story. There just wasn’t enough to it that I could fully enjoy the book. To me, it felt as if they just copied and pasted the zombie bits of the story and added it to Alice in Wonderland, and just changed the title appropriately. It just felt like a very haphazard read.
Perhaps what I wanted to see was, a twist to the plot to enhance the zombie aspect of the novel. Not just zombies added. It did feel like all you got was a simple add on to the story (something similar to an expansion pack for a game). More could be done with the combination but sad to say, there really wasn’t anything to it.
It was a clever idea, and it had potential, but a lot more could have been done with this book. Instead, what you got was a few cut and paste moments of zombie goodness. Some parts were good and fun to read, but it just seemed to be lacking in something big to make this book exceptionally good and read worthy.
I give it a 4 out of 10.
If you have read my previous reviews before, you probably have figured out that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was one of my favorites. Now, thanks to Quirk books and Raincoast books, they have provided me with an ARC of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls – which is a prequel of the original P & P & Z. Needless to say, I was so very excited when I got the copy of this book. If you would like more information regarding this wonderful prequel please go to their main book page.
I won’t summarize the plot, as the main book page does it for me. However, I can tell you, that I LOVED this book as much as P & P & Z. It had the wonderful moments of humor and wit that I experienced before and enjoyed. You will see the original characters except for a few (no Darcy or Bingley here, sorry. This does take place before they met Lizzy and Jane). You read more about Mr Bennet who seems to take a more active role in the story (he helps trains his daughters to become warrior women). However the book also introduces new memorable ones which will prove unforgettable and absolutely hilarious to read. What I thought was interesting was the nice reference made with the mysterious “soldier” the left and broke Mrs Bennet’s heart when she was a girl. If you’re well versed in P & P then you’d know what I’m taking about. It’s these little references to the main novel that make the prequel do justice to P & P & Z. Readers also be advised, this book is meant to be a parody, and a funny one at that. If you treat it with a sense of humor, enjoyment is increased tenfold.
Of the new characters, I enjoyed Dr Keckilpenny (really, with a name like that, what’s not to enjoy?) the most. First, because no one seems to get his name right (except for Lizzy), and second because he just seemed to be so friendly and so likable. Lord Lumpley played your average greaseball with a secret – I especially enjoyed how he tried his advances on Jane, but to no avail. Then you get one of the most interesting characters I have ever seen, and that is Captain Cannon who uses four of his soldiers as arms and limbs (you have just to read it to get a good laugh). The moment I started reading about his arms and limbs made me laugh, but it made the book much more enjoyable with these kinds of new, strange yet quirky characters.
The book was very well written, the plot flowed well and did not stop. The humor was in the right places at the right times so reading this book was enjoyable and fun. There is gore. Lots of it. I think moreso than P & P & Z. So, if you are not into that sort of theme. Perhaps this book may not be for you. However this would be great for zombie fans and will satisfy P & P & Z readers, it’s a well done prequel and will be listed as one of my favorites for 2010.
Overall, I love this book. What I would like to see next, is another zombie novel but with Darcy and Bingley before they met the Bennet sisters. That would be interesting, I think. Who knows where the Dreadfuls will strike next?
I give it a 9 out of 10.
Alas, here’s the awesome cool part. If you click on this link it will take you to a message board. Mention that you read my review from my blog (Okbolover) and you’ll have a chance to win one of 50 Quick Classics Prize Packs!
Prize Pack includes:
ARC of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Audio books of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
A Dawn of the Dreadfuls poster
A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies journal
A box set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies postcards
Awesome swag huh? so what are you waiting for!? click here and mention my blog to have a chance to win!! good luck and I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did
Thank you Barnes and Noble for letting me receive a copy of this book for the First Look Book Club! It was very much appreciated!
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, is rather unique. It has two mini plots which then merge into one through the novel. The first arc features the inhabitants of Franklin, Massacheusetts mainly Will Fitch and his wife Emma, and Iris James who works at the post office. The second arc is focused mainly on Frankie Bard, who’s in Europe. She works as a journalist covering the Blitz in England. The Postmistress focuses on one letter Iris decides to not send, which in turn brings the three women together and also brings the realization of war to their doorstep.
I have to admit, I had to force myself to get into it at first. The start of the book was rather slow and hard to get into. It really wasn’t until I hit the chapters that focused on Frankie that I suddenly got myself into the book and was more interested in it. Besides the slow start, I was left wondering what in the world these characters have to do with each other until certain events take place then the pieces fall in, slowly. To be honest, if it weren’t for Frankie and her experiences throughout Europe, I probably would have liked this book less. I found Frankie to be the most central part of this book and which brought all the characters together through her voice on the radio. The descriptions of the quiet town of Franklin and its’ inhabitants is nice and detailed enough to make it real. There is a big distinction between both Franklin and London and it’s written well enough that both places are realistic and well rounded out. I liked how Franklin is so far away from the war and in their own little world, oblivious to what is happening on the other side of the world, knowing there is no way of the war hitting home. Yet Frankie brings it to them through her voice and she does what she can to make sure all sides of the war is shown and that people get the truth of what’s happening. When she comes on the radio, you can almost “hear” her talk and it goes to show how powerful the use of radio was back then in the 40′s because it’s left to the listener’s imagination.
The most eye opening part in the book is when Frankie goes within Europe to interview refugees she finds along the way from Germany to France. This actually changes her outlook of the war and this is where you see a key development in her character. I also thought it was the most interesting part in this novel and felt just as helpless as she was towards these refugees. I also liked how Blake intertwined both plots to eventually make it into one towards the end of the novel by having the three main women featured in the novel to finally come together face to face. It went smoothly and without a bump, definitely a good job done by the author.
Aside from the slow start, I sort of didn’t understand Iris and her character. In the beginning I thought she was strange and not very likable at all. Honestly, I get the idea of why she would be part of the story in the first place, but she’s such a flat character and very uninteresting that I feel the author just placed her there just for placement and for necessity. She’s really just a secondary character, I think. However of all the characters, I really did like Frankie the best. She was such an free spirit and a forward thinking individual, definitely a woman that stood out during the 40′s!
Another thing, Frankie likes to say “Christ” a lot. For some reason I can’t see a woman swearing like that in the 40′s, it just seems unreal and odd. Also, there’s a part in the novel where Emma smokes and she’s pregnant. Now perhaps it wasn’t known that smoking during pregnancy is harmful for an unborn child so it was really strange and odd to read that. Then again, we have to remember, this book takes place in 1940, not in present day. It’s hard to remember that and it’s odd to read. Once you have it set in your mind about the major differences, then it gets easier.
Overall, a book that starts to grow with you, so don’t give up early on it. It does eventually get better.
I give it a 7 out of 10.
First! thanks Nicole at Candlewick Press for sending me this book! why I chose this one I don’t know. It just called out to me. Lately I’ve been in the mood of trying different type of books. So far so good. Haven’t had one that I have regretted asking for.
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles covers a teenage pregnancy through the eyes of four characters: Ellie the would be mother, Corinne her best friend, Caleb the nice guy who’s had a crush on Ellie, and Josh, the would be father. Throughout the story you go through Ellie’s pregnancy and how each of these characters feel as they try to help her through her ordeal.
I found it a very sombre story. Ellie just wants to feel and be loved. Although she’s going about it the wrong way, as you read more into her character, you see her family isn’t your typical loving one. As you figure out how her family really is, you understand and start to sympathize with her as the story progresses. I have to admit I didn’t really have much patience for Ellie. I just felt like shaking my head and slapping her across the face and telling her to wake up, grow up and do the responsible thing whatever it is. On the other hand, she’s extremely scared. This sort of thing is very life changing, so her behaviour is understandable.
The plot flows well throughout this story, each chapter is told in each of the character’s perspective so you have a glimpse of how they live and they problems and issues they face even though it’s all centralized with Ellie. I can’t help but think this is like one of those made for TV after school specials for teens. It sure seems that way when I was reading this book. However, it does the job of engrossing me and kept me turning the pages to read on. Most of the time you just feel so sad for Ellie and what she’s going through (once your initial anger phase goes away). I changed my mind about her more than halfway through the book and realized that she indeed is a very brave person to go through her decisions regarding her baby.
The only thing that irks me is Josh. I don’t know how the rest of the guys feel when they’re having an unexpected surprise spring on them by a girlfriend. I suppose the pessimistic side of me expects them to just take a hike and leave. Although I know most guys probably aren’t that way, you just hear about the bad ones more. So I’m not sure if Josh as a character is realistic but that’s just me. You would think most guys would run away at the sound of “baby” and “yours” put together.
Other than that, I thought all characters had a sense of realism to them. They weren’t the cookie cutter ones you read in some of those teen books where everything is perfect. They each have their issues and problems too. It makes the characters almost “three dimensional” so to speak. The ending leaves with a sombre note too, but with a sense of optimism for some of the characters.
Overall a good sombre, serious read, but a satisfying one.
I give it a 7 out of 10.
Like in my last review, I normally don’t read this kind of book. However I gave it a try – why not? I should at least try almost everything once. I found this book to be a touching read. Not touching in a sad sense, but more of a feel good touchy feeling. When I first started reading this book I just felt this wretching pity for Mary. She’s grossly overweight, her husband just left her, and she was so dependent on him so obviously she’s lost and doesn’t know what to do at first. I wanted to just take her by the shoulders and shake her. The pity and sadness just deepens further when Mary goes to California to her mother in law’s place thinking her husband is there. I hated her mother in law. She’s everything I would never ever want to have in an in law. Eden’s (mother in law) callousness and spite just makes her look like your typical old mother viper. She sort of gets her come uppins towards the end of the book but, well you do change your opinion of her after that. However as the story progresses, from pity, you then feel very supportive of Mary and you start backing her up (that “you go girl” feeling becomes more present)
What will never change throughout this book is Mary’s very open and willingness to help others despite what they think of her. She has this strange uncanny ability to make acquaintances as she meets them and she’s so friendly that even strangers help her at random encounters. Which does sort of bother me, however perhaps it’s because I have a rather pessimistic view and would never rely on strangers to help me. I couldn’t, for example go up to random people on the parking lot to ask for a ride (which Mary did…and succeeded). That doesn’t really strike up as realistic to me, however I put that thought aside, it’s just a story, after all.
There are moments in the book where I had the warm fuzzies (did I just SAY THAT?). I especially enjoyed Mary’s makeover at the salon. I liked how other women around her supported her, and even comforted her as she told her story of how her husband left, and how she’s off to find him. It was a great moment and my most favorite part of the book.
Plot flow was great! no blips or bumps! No side tracking to anything. There were times where Mary would be flooded with memories and flashbacks. However I thought it was an essential part of the story, so you could understand her relationship with her husband.
I liked the ending, it gave me a sense of optimism and it looked like Mary was indeed off to a fine start.
Overall a good, nice, comforting touchy feely story. One I would recommend to those that like a “feel good” book.
I give it a 7 out of 10.
First of all, thank you very much the lovely people at Randomhouse.ca for giving me the opportunity to read and review Fear the Worst. I greatly appreciate it. *hearty applaud* Now! where do I start?
The book starts off with Tim Blake, a normal average car salesman who finds out his daughter is missing. When he goes where she’s currently employed to ask if they might have seen her, he finds out they haven’t even heard of her. In turn, this opens up a huge can of worms as Tim is set off on a wild goose chase that’s filled with more twists and turns I have ever seen in a book.
I liked how the main protagonist is a simple car salesman. We don’t get very “normal average every day” people as the ones who are caught up in this sort of dilemma. It’s a nice refresher and gives you a break from other stories which always include either a detective, a member of the police, or even a member of the military. It gives the plot an overall realistic flavour to it. However wrong it is, a lot of teenagers and children are missing everyday and we don’t usually see it from the parent’s point of view.
My heart went out for Tim. I don’t know how it feel like to be a parent but sometimes on my evil juvenile days I used to make my parents worry a lot and they would probably feel like Tim did. There were times in the book where his acts of desperation in finding his daughter just makes your heart want to sink. He’s not exactly a character you would like or dislike, but he’s someone you would cheer for until the end.
I don’t have many criticisms for this book. I just advise if you are going to read this, pay very close attention.
The book has plenty of twists and turns and throughout the book you find everybody has a dirty little secret and as you follow Tim you eventually figure them out. I actually liked that, as some of their secrets are related to the disappearance of his daughter. Some weren’t but it was just interesting to know anyway. The ending was something I did not expect. I was already putting the blame on whoever was coming along but afterwards when it all sinks in it’s rather shocking and almost..creepy. I just like it how it all started with one huge large difficult puzzle and the pieces just fit together nicely in the end.
It’s a great book if you’re into twists and turns and unexpected finds.
Overall this book gets an 8 out of 10.
I’ve read bleak depressing books before and this one is one of them. There are a few light hearted moments but not many. Living on a farm in the 30′s was extremely hard and twice as difficult if you were immigrants. This book stresses the family dynamic and without the cooperation of everybody then nothing would work and everybody would starve. You have Teodor and Myron (father and son) who work the fields and do the majority of the heavy duty work. Maria (the mother) and her daughters help in the kitchen and prepare food, plant seeds into the soil, and help out what’s needed around the farm. Throughout the pages you just read about them working so hard to overcome harsh winters, and hot summers. It’s not the most easiest work in the world.
So you have one family doing a lot of work, putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their beloved farm to make a living, and to survive. On the other side you have the other family. Anna, Petro, Lesya (might be Mischa in other versions of the novel from what I hear), and Stefan. They don’t do much. Although Lesya seems to be the one carrying the family on her shoulders (and she’s a young girl, younger than 16). Anna is busy wallowing in her self pity and depression. Her marriage to Stefan isn’t so great as he leaves for several months and then comes back whenever he feels like it. Petro idolizes his father not knowing any better.
There, you have two very different families. You read through their hardships and at first everything is all right. Then several catastrophes happen. It’s almost as if it’s an omen for things to come. Then Stefan arrives into the picture. Remember my hatred for Robert Dudley in The Virgin’s Lover? Well Stefan is down there too. I can’t stand this guy. He’s arrogant, he’s scum, he’s got all the qualities I dislike. Thanks to him, everything just goes to nothing. I can’t sympathize with Anna. Then again perhaps she has every right to be acting the way she is. Of all the characters I like Teodor and Maria the most. They were so supportive of each other and were very strong. I admired Maria the most because she went through great lengths to support her family and was the steady “rock” who was the glue of the family.
Normally I don’t read this kind of fiction but I decided why not. Give it a try. I don’t regret it, however I was a little squeamish as there were parts of graphic deaths of animals and I just can’t stomach those. There was a lot of description and normally I can’t stand that but it was well done. It wasn’t over the top description but enough to let you feel and literally smell the surroundings of the setting so you can actually feel like you’re there with the characters. The plot was good and flowed nicely. The ending, well, let’s just say it suits the book. Whether it could have been prevented or not, I’m not sure. Probably not. (You’ll see what I mean if you read it)
Don’t pick this up if you’re squeamish. However if you want something dramatic and realistic then read this. It’s actually quite good. It’s a serious read. It’s dramatic, serious, dark, bleak yet beautiful. All at the same time.
Overall I give this a 7 out of 10.
Today’s Mailbox Monday! I’ve been getting quite a few packages in the mail some were total surprises to me:
Under This Unbroken Sky – Shandi Mitchell (Barnes and Noble First Look Club)
Hannibal’s Elephant Girl – Charley Brindley (requested by me)
Lizzi & Fredl – Willam Stanford (from Bostick, total surprise)
Giv: The Story of a Dog and America – Boston Teran (Bostick again, another surprise)
The Wife’s Tale – Lori Lansens (Thanks Random House Canada! I won this one)
that’s it for last week! I got some nice goodies