Review of A Matter of Class

A Matter of Class

A Matter of Class

Yes. I’ve read a romance novel. What came over me? a number of things; 1. I like Regency period books. 2. I knew it was romance but what I run away from are those that are filled with body fluid swapping moments (really, not my thing). and 3. It was short and I could finish this in one day. Mind you, I don’t mind romance as long as it’s clean. I’m not into explicit moments as I’d prefer to just get onto the story line without these unnecessary blips, hence why I shy away from Paranomal romance books sometimes – especially when the cover says it all. However I do pick them up, rarely. Perhaps it was a full moon that day who knows?

Lady Annabelle Ashton is involved in a scandal. So deep in scandal she’s now considered damaged goods. Her father decides to marry her off to Reginald Mason, the son of a family he sees as ‘lower class’ and not even worth the time to socialize with. Reginald on the other hand, is offered an ultimatum; marry Annabelle or get cut loose from any kind of allowance. Ever. Both Reginald and Annabelle reluctantly agree. What starts off as an antagonistic relationship might or might not end up in either being a happy marriage, or a sour one.

It’s a short and sweet novel that took me just one evening to read. For the short length that it was, I thought it was entertaining and a special twist was added in the book to add more to the story. I thought the twist was well thought of and to be frank, I didn’t even expect something like that to happen. It was definitely a refreshing surprise and I was glad to see that this sets the book apart from the typical romances you see on the shelf.

When it comes to these kinds of books, I expect the main couple in question to have the chemistry required to make the plot flow and to make the reading interesting. Annabelle and Reginald felt well together. Both were headstrong and stubborn, and both had a fiery streak. When they both argued, you couldn’t help but chuckle to yourself while reading. They were entertaining and had that perfect chemistry to make them a good couple. They were also both very likable characters, Reginald did start off as a spoiled brat at first but as the story progressed, he was not who I thought he was.

As for the ‘romantic’ parts, I’m not a fan of explicit scenes, but this novel passed. It wasn’t pages long with unnecessary descriptions, and can be skimmed through for those that are just not into that sort of reading (like I am!).  This book is a nice light quick read that can be finished in less than a day. The twist in the novel brings more flavor to the storyline and sets itself apart from the typical romances you see on the shelves. This has been a most enjoyable read – even for a non romance fan like myself.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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Review of Masquerade

Masquerade

Masquerade

Thank you LibraryThing for sending me this book (well, I was picked, as part of the Early Reviewers program). Normally, I don’t really do Christian fiction. In fact I didn’t know it was until I looked up Bethany House (then realized, not all of their works were Christian fiction, but the majority are). So, since I received this book, I thought I might as well read it. Books are like different types of food. You have to try everything at least once. The cover of this book is extremely lovely!

Masquerade is the story of two women: Charlotte Gleason and her maid Dora Connors. Charlotte gets shipped off from England to America to meet her betrothed, Conrad Tremaine. She’s hesitant and uses this opportunity to plan a scheme that might just work; she’ll switch places with Dora. Upon arriving, Dora gets thrown into a world with parties, luxury, and high society. Charlotte on the other hand, gets a taste of the ‘real life’ which isn’t so fun, and unfortunate events occur that make her reconsider her idea. Both are experiencing difficulties in their new roles. Are they going to give up their charade? or continue living in what appears to be, a lifetime of unhappiness?

This book kept me up at night. I look at the clock and said to myself; ‘right, one more chapter then bedtime’. I really liked the way this book was written. The history was interesting, and rich in detail. I especially enjoyed how the dresses were described, and at the end of the book there’s a small appendix with pictures to help with the visuals. The author’s note was extremely informative and helpful, and you get an explanation on how Moser got her ideas to make this book happen. The plot was really interesting and attention grabbing, and although this book would be considered inspirational fiction (with a bit of Christian element in it) there is mention of God, and some parts do end up being a little preachy but it’s not enough to be a bother. It may get a little annoying and unnecessary at some points, but you’d have to consider, back then there was a heavy dependence on God and the Church. I’d like to think of it that way, and it does add for more historical accuracy to the plot.

The characters in the novel were excellent and Charlotte (in the book she’s mentioned as Lottie) was your typical high society girl. I did not really like her from the start. She’s seen as shallow, oblivious to anything except what she plans to do next at a social event, and throughout the book she’s really a jealous spoiled brat. She actually got me riled up towards the end, it got me thinking that she’ll really never learn her lesson. However, she does develop and mature (eventually). She becomes a much better person but whether she remains likable or not is up to the reader. I preferred reading about Dora though. The particular plot arc was much more interesting and Dora was much more likable as a character. Regarding Beatrice (Conrad’s sister), wow. I really hated her. After what Dora did Beatrice does a nice wonderful ‘thank you’ in return. I felt like giving her the slap for that moment. She was really a hateful witch. Mrs Tremaine, on the other hand, I disliked at first but she became a surprise at the end, and I ended up forgiving her for being so cold.

An engaging plot, a wonderful cast of characters and rich historical detail makes this book worth reading. If  you’re willing to put aside the religious content and read it for the sake of its’ historical content pick this book up. It really is worth the read. I enjoyed this book and am glad I gave it the chance it deserves.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Today’s Book Blogger Hop Question is:

When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

– I wait until I read the entire book. Sometimes, I might find the beginning of the book tedious….but then change my mind instantly through the middle or the end. Sometimes I do write notes to help me with the review. Otherwise, I just wait until I’m completely finished.

What about you guys?

If you came from the Hop, well hello there! and please help yourselves to some Pumpkin spice cookies 🙂

Review of Poison Study

Poison Study

Poison Study

Poison Study is the story of a girl named Yelena, who got  a second chance at life. About to be executed for murder, Yelena encounters Valek. Valek, who works for the Commander of Ixia (as head of security and intelligence) offers Yelena a deal; she won’t be executed, but in return she’ll be the Commander’s new food taster. She’ll have a comfortable room, free food, and clothing but she’ll never be allowed to leave the premises. It seems like a perfect deal right? too perfect. Yelena discovers that aside from learning how to identify several poisons, someone is out to kill her, and she has a role to play as a magician with powers she never even knew she had.

It took me a while to picture the setting for this book. I wasn’t sure if it was a typical fantasy setting, or if it was an urban fantasy setting but using medieval props? it took me a bit to actually get the picture. It’s an interesting way to create a world and I’m still trying to picture it. Some may have trouble with it (especially those who are so used to epic fantasy settings like in LOTR or in Forgotten Realms novels), some might picture it easily. I think what got me was when the different parts of Ixia was divided into ‘districts’. Wait a minute. Fantasy doesn’t do that. At least the fantasy that I am used to reading. So, you can see what I am trying to get it when I’m talking about the setting for this book.

From the start, there’s a lot of intrigue and political scheming. Which is great because it adds more feeling to the story and you can’t help but keep reading to wonder what might happen next. I really liked how Yelena got herself out from the state of being close to death and all of sudden a food taster, but also a ‘frenemy’ of Valek’s. She was forced to trust him, but at the same time she didn’t like being under his thumb. They had an interesting chemistry going on (until later in the book – where it became blatantly obvious). I had to admit though, I like Valek. (Yes, I have a crush on Valek, nothing new, read on). He’s the strong but silent type that you can’t help but be drawn to. I also enjoyed reading about Janco and Ari as they provided the comic relief but were also extremely likable characters.  Yelena as a character is well written, I liked her because of her strong will to survive under her circumstances. It annoyed me when it seemed she needed the help of others though, it was as if although she was strong in so many ways, she was still a damsel in distress.

As mentioned before, the plot was good. It was interesting and in so many ways, a very entertaining and satisfying read. Although then came the part where I was suddenly blindsided with this romantic bit and then the plot did a very strange twist and it suddenly became a romance novel. Not sure if I really liked that bit (they were in hiding…and doing the deed and any guard searching DIDN’T HEAR THEM?) but I let that go. I wasn’t about to have this little bump take the enjoyment I had of reading the novel. I’m more curious as to what the future holds for Yelena. Speaking of twists, I really enjoyed reading about the Commander’s secret. I would have never thought of that and it is one of the most surprising and well done parts of the book.

Overall, I was pleased with the book and will continue to read the series. I thought it was well worth the read. However, perhaps this is not the perfect book for hardcore fantasy fans. If you want something with fantasy (or in this case, urban fantasy) with a splash of romance this is for you.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Review of The Compound

The Compound

The Compound

The Compound, by S. A. Bodeen is the story of the Takanaki family. They’re a prosperous, wealthy family and are very lucky to be living in the Compound. The Compound is an underground shelter, where Eli and his family have been living in for that past six years because of a nuclear war. Unfortunately not all of his family his made it. His grandmother, and his twin brother was left outside during the panicked escape towards the compound. For the last six years, Eli and his family have been living in this compound relatively comfortable and happy. However recently strange things have been happening. Food has been spoiling and is running out. Eli’s dad had already come up with a solution to the hunger problem – which disgusts Eli and the rest of his family. Eli then decides to do what he can to try and communicate with the outside world, even if it means opening the hatch of the compound and risking his life.

Eli wasn’t such a nice character to begin with. I found it really hard to like him and thought he was surly, rude, callous, at times down right awful to his sisters, and had such a horrible attitude problem I felt like pulling his stupid long hair out of its roots just to make him shut up. However, I realize being stuck in a place for six years and seeing/doing the same things over again is taxing on the mental state of health. I had no particular liking to any of the characters in this book, none really stood out for me and Eli was the only one with a real personality whereas the others were wooden like and almost seemed as if they were robots. I thought the solution to the hunger issue in the compound was a little…extreme (and disgusting). It does however, make you think on how far would you be willing to go to survive under these circumstances.

However, I did enjoy the plot and the way things were going. It had a very interesting twist that changed my view of the book a dramatic 360. At first I was a little disappointed with the twist but as the plot became more tense, and more suspenseful, I thought it was a good job well done by Bodeen. As you progress towards the end of the book you certainly do feel the tension and it certainly does become so tense it becomes a nail-biter as the mystery deepens and the intrigue is set on high. I enjoyed the ending as well, although I have to admit it does sound a little cliche. But! it certainly did fit well with the book. By the time you do finish the book though, you’ll feel as if you’ve just gone through a huge adrenaline rush.

Overall, a book filled with tension, action, and suspense. It’s good enough to keep you turning the pages and having you reading it until it’s done. It had a perfect twist to keep things busy. You will not experience boredom with this book. Highly recommended for those into dystopian fiction but who are also willing to accept the twist in the novel.

I give it a 8 out of 10.

Review of The Plague

The Plague

The Plague

I believe I heard of this book from a book blog while blog hopping. It was a while ago and the book was just sitting on my wishlist it wasn’t until I saw it on the library shelf that I decided to pick it up and give it a go.

The Plague is set in fourteenth century Europe. Nell has an uncanny resemblance to Princess Joan and is invited to become her body double. The Princess is on her way to Spain where she’s to be married to Prince Pedro, and Nell with her brother George come along on the journey. When the plague strikes, and the Princess dies from it, Prince Edward (also known as The Black Prince) devises a scheme to make Nell pose as the Princess and marry Pedro. Nell must then make her escape with George, with the help of an unlikely group of characters.

I thought this book was going to be all historical and for the most part, it is. However then there’s this fantastical element that’s been added in and I can’t quite understand why as there really was no need for it. Actually I think it made the book worse. I especially disliked how Edward was seen as a ‘sorcerer’ with his army of black rats descending terror upon Nell and her friends. What in the world was that about??!!! I really did not like that at all.

Although the plot was interesting, the pace was really slow and it felt as if I would never get around to finishing the book. The characters, were well done though, if only there wasn’t a magic theme to it, it would have been ten times better. If the story was just purely historical fiction I think it would have been a decent novel. Even with the magic though, it wasn’t properly explained and you are left rather perplexed at the entire novel. The description of the plague wasn’t really the main focus but it seemed as if it was just rushed through to get to Nell’s journey back home. In other words, the theme of the plague just seemed secondary to everything else.

The ending was all right. Decently written but by the end of novel I was glad I was done. Overall, I’d definitely pass on this one. It could have been so much better but instead it falls short. Fans of historical fiction may not like the way the Black Prince is portrayed (such as me). I might recommend this book to those that aren’t too heavy on the historical fiction and wouldn’t mind a bit of fantasy as well.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Book Blogger Hop 9/10

Book Blogger Hop

Post a link to a favorite post or book review that you have written in the past three months.

Hmm…a difficult one…let me rummage through here.. *goes through a Mary Poppins file cabinet* Ah! here it is!!!

I give you my review of Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. I chose this one for several reasons: 1. I liked the book. 2. I want others to know about the book. and 3. It’s one of my favorites that I have read this year.

Enjoy! complete with a plateful of petit fours and tea 🙂