Book Review: Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

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Title:  Only Enchanting *  Author: Mary Balogh * Genre: Romance  *

Publisher:  Penguin Radom House * Pages: 387 * Grade:  A+

Summary 

Only Enchanting is the  fourth book in The Survivors club series.  Six men and one woman make up the survivors club.  Who had all been injured during the Napoleonic wars.  While recover they forged a friendship with each other.  Each year the group has a reunion at Penderris Hall,  where they spend a few weeks in each others company.

This year they decide to have the reunion at Middlebury Park which belongs to Vincent Darleigh and his wife Sophia.  Sophia just had a baby and Vincent didn’t want to leave her or their son. Agnes Keeping is a widow,  she also lives with her sister in a cottage that is close to Middlebury.

Agnes is reunited with  Lord Ponsonby,  who she met months earlier at a ball.  Who she fell in love with,  but being a relist,  thinking that she would never see him again after that night.  Learning that he is a visitor at Middlebury,  she tries to avoid him but is not successful.  He eventually ask her to marry him,  she is shocked and doubtful of his intentions,  considering that he told her  earlier that he had no intention of ever marrying.

She eventually  say yes,  but soon regrets her decision later on when she learns that the only reason that Flavian married her was to get revenge on his former fiancé who left him for his best friend.  Agnes has her bags packed and his ready to leave,  but Flavian stops her and begs her to give him a week to make their marriage work.  Will she do it???

My Review

The beginning of the story of this story went rather slow for me,  the story didn’t really pick until  Flavian asked Agnes to marry him,  which was probably a hundred pages into the book.  I am not usually a fan of this,  but after reading the book I come to appreciate it with Mary Balogh.  I like the slow build up, and then at the end you get this amazing ending.  She had me guessing until the very last second of the story.

I also liked the portrayal of her characters. I thought she wrote them well and portrayed them realistically. I like how she used issues that the characters to were dealing from their past to strengthen the story and the characters relationship. Agnes still had issues with her mother abandoning her, though she didn’t think that was an issues for her. Flavian also had issues that he was dealing with in regards to the death of his brother and lost memories from injury.

Though she did annoy me throughout the book, I thought that Velma was the perfect villainess. The type to smile to your face and then try to manipulate the situation to her own advantage. Though she didn’t end in the end, I wish she got more her just do. That is the only criticism if you call that I had with this book.

I loved the pairing of Flavian/Agnes. I really like it when characters don’t think that they are right for each other (Due to insecurities, or they don’t think that the other person is their type) but end up falling in love with each other.

I highly recommend this book, I really enjoyed reading it and looking to reading more from this author.

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Book Review: An American in Scotland By Karen Ranney

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Title:  An American in  Scotland.

 Arthur:  Karen  Ranney

Series: MacIain #3

Genre:  Historical Romance

Era: Antebellum Period

Publisher:  Avon Books

Pages :  345 ( Mass market paperback)

Grade: B +

Review: An American in Scotland is the third book in the MacIain series.  The book takes place during the American Civil War. In the beginning of the book we are introduced to  Rose Sullivan who has just traveled from America all the way to Glasgow, Scotland.  She has come to see Duncan MacIain,  who is the Scottish cousin of her brother-in-law Bruce MacIain who is the American side of the family. She has a business proposition, she wants to sell him cotton.  Duncan had reached out to Bruce before about buying cotton from him, Duncan who owns a mill,  can make great profit from this,  but due to clash of personalities the deal falls through.  Rose hopes that Duncan will have renew interest in buying the cotton that will save her family from starving and the proceeds will help them keep Glengarden, the family plantation. Rose is expecting to meet some kindly elder gentlemen but is shocked when first sees Duncan who she is instantly attracted to. She then falls in a dead faint due to exhaustion and lack of nourishment. She is nursed back to health by Duncan’s mother and the family servants.  Rose sees for herself how caring Duncan’s family is, and not the savages that Bruce makes them out to be.  Duncan and his family automatically assume that Rose is Bruce’s wife and that he died in the war leaving he widowed.  Rose doesn’t correct them on this, but she does feel guilty for deceiving them.  The truth is that she cannot stand Bruce, and wishes that he was dead.  Bruce had tortured her both emotionally and physically,  and  he is sadistic bastard all around, who left his family to fend for themselves while he went off to war. Duncan agrees to buy the cotton from Rose because it will help his mill,  and also he wants to stay close to  Rose.  As they set sail on the Raven to head to America,  Rose has no idea that Bruce has survived the war, and has returned to Glengarden.

 Overall ,  I really like this book, I got through it really quick,  and it was not hard to read. Its been a minute since I picked up a romance, and this book is making me want to read romance full time.  When I got this I didn’t realize that it was the third book in a series. Which I was excited about because I don’t want to leave this world yet.  Though I do suggest reading the previous two books,  I don’t think its necessary that you have to read them in order.  The Only thing that I was a bit confused on was Olivia ( Lennox’s mother)  But I managed to pick up what was going on as I continued with the story.   Despite her dubious background and that she abandoned her children I found myself liking Olivia.  Who was a complex character to say the least. Another character I love was Rose,  I just loved her spirit, and how passionate she about issues she cared about.  I felt that she was very well suited for Duncan.  I think that they complimented each other,  and changed each other for the better.  Plus,  I like that characters actually treat each other with respect throughout the book,  instead of the usual love hate thing going on. The only real problem I had was that  I thought some of the plot lines were a bit contrived.  Like Bruce forcing  Rose to work and live amongst the slaves.  I just don’t see Rose’s sister allowing that,  even if she didn’t like her sister, she would be protective of her family’s reputation. It would not look good  on the family that one of its members is working and living amongst the slaves .I also took issues with Duncan who was against slavery,  but he had no problem with purchasing cotton which was made with slave labor. Which I thought was hypocritical.  Plus I wanted to see more of Claire ( Roses sister)   She was pivotal in the plot, I would have liked to hear her more from her point of view than what other characters thought of her.  Other then this,  I really enjoyed this book.  I highly recommend this book.

Amazon link to book:

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Book Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

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Title:  Victoria:  A Novel of  a Young Queen

 Author:  Daisy Goodwin

 Genre:  Historical Fiction

  Era:  Victorian

 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

 Pages: 416

  Grade: A

Review:  This is the first book I am reading for the #2017HFReadingChallenge . I have not read as much historical fiction as I would have liked.  I would like to change to that.   I was excited to learn that Daisy Goodwin had written a novel on Queen Victoria. The book was not a disappointment at all.  I finished in three days.  I couldn’t put this book down.  The novel briefly touches on Victoria’s childhood and then starts at the beginning of her reign.  The story starts off  with young Victoria wanting desperately to be free of the controlling grasp of her mother and  John Conroy.  She eagerly awaits for the day that she will be Queen.  After the death of her uncle King William IV she is finally crowned Queen of England. She soon realizes that there is more to being Queen then she imagined. And how dangerously unprepared for the job she is. She comes rely on Lord Melbourne who she sees as a father and maybe something more as time passes. Meanwhile those who are looking to advance their own power are waiting  for any weakness any weakness in the Queen to expose.  One of things I really liked about this book is how close it stuck to history.  There was something that Goodwin embellished on  but it was nothing drastic.  I thought that relationship between Melbourne and  Victoria was more embellished then it was in history.  I did get a sense that maybe she had a crush on him but I don’t think it went as far as it did in the book.  Though honestly I was not bothered that they chose to embellish on this particular couple. I like the what if factor of it all,  and I thought it was tastefully done and Goodwin made the pairing believable.  Another duo I like was relationship between Victoria and her mother.  I really liked how Goodwin wrote them.  The relationship was complicated and messy,  but despite this they really loved each other.   The only minor criticism I had on this book was that I thought Goodwin spent more time on Melbourne/Victoria and less on Victoria and Albert.  I just felt that the Victoria/Albert relationship was a wee bit rushed, but despite this I still loved the book. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Daisy Goodwin is a writer for the PBS series on Victoria.  After reading this book I am even more excited about the series.  I encourage everyone to read this.  I am definitely going  to be reading more books by Daisy Goodwin.

 

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Historical fiction challenge 2017

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Reading challenge for 2017

Hello everyone,  its been a longtime since I have been on here. Life just caught with me.  With the new year I like to start fresh with the blogs.  I was just on Facebook when I saw this great challenge.  One of my own personal reading goals is read more historical fiction.  This challenge has given the motivation to work on this goal. I will be posting my other reading goals in a future post. And for every historical I read I will post a review  of it on here. For more details on this challenge and to sign up. Please click on the link.

http://www.passagestothepast.com/2016/12/2017hfreadingchallengesignup.html

Thank you.

#2017HFReadingChallenge

Book Review: Can you keep a secret? By R.L. Stine

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Title: Can You Keep a Secret?

Series: Fear Street

Ages: 7 and up

Arthur : R.L Stine

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 272

Rating: Two Stars

Hi everyone,  its been a while since I posted any reviews or anything.  I  am not going to get into why I have been away,  lets just say the past several moments have been very stressful.  So now I am ready to get back to reading and writing reviews. One of my reading goals is start reading more Middle grade and YA books.  I used to read Fear Street as a child so I thought this would be a good place to start.

Review

I gave this story three stars.  I thought this story was okay,  I neither love this story or hated it either.  The story is about Emmy who has been having dreams that she is a wolf since she was little. In the beginning of the story she has this dream and in the dream she is in her wolf form and she kills this dog.  In the morning she tells her mother that she had  this wolf dream and her mother tells her that she has PTS because she was bitten by a dog when she was little.  Emmy of course is skeptical of this because she has no memory of getting bitten by a dog.  While she is arguing with her mother they are interrupted by the news which reports that a wolf  is running loose in shady town and it has attacked and killed a dog.  If this is not bad enough Emmy and her boyfriend find some money in the Shady Town woods that leads to a whole new set of troubles for her.

I didn’t love or hate this story. I thought it was okay. One of main problems with this book was that I felt that R. L Stine had  one to many plots going in this story and it took away from  the premise of what the story was supposed to be about.  I really liked the plot where they found the money in the woods.  I think that if  R. L.  had just stuck with this plot then the story would have been much better.  I liked  how he started with the wolf plot in the beginning,  but he spent so much time developing the money plot that he seemed to neglect the wolf plot. He did try to tie the wolves in with the money plot but it just fell  short for me and  it seemed rushed.  I like the character development in this,  I felt the character of Emmy was a little bit to paranoid,  but other wise they acted like your typical teenagers.

I always urge people to read the book for themselves they  may have a different perspective then me.  Though I was not happy with this story particularly I will go on and  read some more of his books.  Just to add, if you have any recommendation on books I should and want to review just leave a comment below.

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Book Review: Rules of Prey by John Sandford: Prey series book #1

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Summary

The “maddog” murderer who is terrorizing the Twin Cities is two things: insane and extremely intelligent. He kills for the pleasure of it and thoroughly enjoys placing elaborate obstacles to keep police befuddled. Each clever move he makes is another point of pride. But when the brilliant Lieutenant Lucas Davenport–a dedicated cop and a serial killer’s worst nightmare–is brought in to take up the investigation, the maddog suddenly has an adversary worthy of his genius.

Review

I kept hearing about John Sandford Prey series on Youtube.  Most of the responses were pretty good, and also I have been wanting to start a book series.  So I decided to pick this up.  I found the book okay,  I was not over thrilled by it,  but neither was I over disappointed by it either.  I liked the premise of the story.  Initially I like the built of this story.   The story is told in two perspectives, the serial killer who refers to himself as “maddog”  and Dective Lucas Davenport who is the dective trying to catch him.  I think that Sandford was doing a cat and mouse thing between the Killer and Davenport.  I think that he did a good job of this throughout the story,  but it was towards the end of the story and how things ended that disappointed.  I guess I expected more of the final confrontation between this killer and Davenport then what I got. Plus, I thought it was cowardly how Davenport handled the situation.  Yeah this guy committed horrible acts of murder, but taking the law in your own hands makes Davenport no better.  Another thing that was disappointing in this story was the romance in this, or should I even call it that? The whole thing was a hot mess, between Davenport not only sleeping with two women at the same time,  one being a reporter, and the other one of the victims of the serial killer who survived.  The Arthur has to go and add a baby to this mess. I think the story would have been better if Standford had just stuck to the main plot,  and not muddied the waters by adding plots that didn’t add much to the story. Even though this story didn’t blow me away I am going to continue with this series.

Stars

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Book Review: Obsession Falls By Christina Dodd

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Summary

Taylor Summers witnesses the death threat to a young boy, and does the only thing she can do–she sacrifices herself to distract the killers. Her reward is a life in ruins, on the run in the wilderness, barely surviving a bitter winter and the even more bitter knowledge she has lost everything: her career, her reputation, her identity. She finds refuge in Virtue Falls, and there comes face to face with the knowledge that, to live her life again, she must enlist the help of the man who does not trust her to defeat the man who would destroy her. She’s being hunted, but it’s time to turn the tables….

Review

I can’t say enough good things about this book.  I am used to reading romances from Christina Dodd, so I was intrigued that she wrote a thriller.  I wanted to see if it was anything like her romances, because I have enjoyed them in the past.  I have to admit I was kind of weary of reading it.   I have read books in the past where the author have branched out to other genera’s and it didn’t turn out so well.  I am glad to say to that my fears were unfounded.  The thing that I most loved about this book was  the strong female lead in it.  Not only does Taylor/Summer prove that she cane fend for herself,  but later in the story she doesn’t need to behind a man for protection, she can definitely kick ass and take names.  I think that Mrs.  Dodd did an excellent job in showing  Taylor transformation into Summer, though its one person,  they are two different people.

There was also two male leading males in this story as well,  I have to say that Christina Dodd really knows how to write some great characters. I have to admit I can see why Summer was having trouble choosing between these men.  Both of these men practically ooze sex appeal.  One of these men is a major villain in the story,  technically I wouldn’t really called either of them the good guy,  but there is one that out does the other as far as crimes goes.   Christina Dodd does a good  job of showing how she connects with both of these men. When the choice is obvious on who Summer should chose,  its hard because you find yourself secretly rooting for her to be with the guy she shouldn’t be.  This was how I was feeling when I was feeling when reading this.

I was surprised to learn that this is the fourth book in the Virtue falls series.  I haven’t read the other three books in the series, so I am not sure who was all in the last books that were in this book,   but just going by some of the scenes I can probably guess.  Though I haven’t read the first three books of this series,  I can say that this certainty stands on its own,  I don’t think that you need to read the other books before reading this one.  I am already planning to read the rest of the books in this series. I am eager to get back in Virtue Falls.  Just going by the ending of this book,  I have a feeling that this will not be the last book in the series.  So while I am waiting for that book I will occupy myself  previous three I have yet to have read.

Again please pick up this book,  you won’t regret it.  Its Amazing.

http://www.amazon.com/Obsession-Falls-Virtue-Christina-Dodd/dp/1250028477/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444712618&sr=1-1&keywords=obsession+falls

Rated

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Virtue Falls Series

The Listener #1

Virtue Falls #2

The Relatives #3

Obsession Falls #4